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11-23-2010, 08:26 PM   #1
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Pentax-F 135mm vs. Sigma 105mm

Hello all -

I was about to buy a Pentax-F 135mm lens for about $375, but put the brakes on at close to the last minute. The price seems toward the high side of fair for a lens in bargain condition, but it is hard to tell as these lenses are pretty rare in the market. I already have a Sigma EX DG 105mm macro lens that I have hardly used, but it seems really nice. Probably if I got the 135mm I would have to sell the macro lens. I already have 1:1 magnification covered in other ways, and have some nice 135mm glass but in manual focus with much longer minimum focus distances.

So, can anyone compare the two lenses? It appears the F is a little smaller and focuses a little faster, but it is very hard to judge how IQ might compare. Are the F and FA 135mm truly "buy it if you can" lenses? Some say so, some say get an M 135/3.5. Is that price fair?

Thanks for any help!
Nick

11-23-2010, 08:53 PM   #2
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I have the Sigma and the FA 135mm (paid rather more for the FA than $375, btw, but it's in very good condition.) I use them very differently: the 105mm, mostly for macro and the 135mm, mostly for candid portraits. I've been using the 105mm less since I picked up an FA 50mm macro but there are times when I need more reach. I really like the 135mm: it's very sharp and so compact (fringing can be a problem, though.)
11-23-2010, 10:08 PM   #3
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The Sigma 105 is a great lens, both with sharpness and color. The lens hood is a little PITA to put on and take off but really you're not going to need it that often. The lens element is so far down in the lens barrel that it acts as its own hood.
I don't have the 135 though so I can't compare.
11-23-2010, 10:24 PM   #4
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I own both

And at the end of the day, I'd take the F 135mm over the sigma any day of the week. Don't get me wrong the sigma is fantastic, but the ridiculous AF of the F 135mm is mind blowing and its IQ is fantastic also.

Plus, it does macro with a reversed lens attached!




Check here to see more images with the F 135mm....
Pentax F 135mm F/2.8 - a set on Flickr


edit: Oh, and to anyone who might have said skip the F/FA 135mm and get the M 135mm has clearly never owned both. I have, and the F is better in EVERY way imaginable... SIGNIFICANTLY. That doesn't mean the M isn't a good bargain, but come on.....

IMO, yes it is a "buy it if it shows up" lens. I jumped on mine when I found it on ebay on a pure whim. Got it for $375 in great condition

11-23-2010, 11:58 PM   #5
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QuoteOriginally posted by yeatzee Quote
I own both

And at the end of the day, I'd take the F 135mm over the sigma any day of the week. Don't get me wrong the sigma is fantastic, but the ridiculous AF of the F 135mm is mind blowing and its IQ is fantastic also.

Plus, it does macro with a reversed lens attached!




Check here to see more images with the F 135mm....
Pentax F 135mm F/2.8 - a set on Flickr




edit: Oh, and to anyone who might have said skip the F/FA 135mm and get the M 135mm has clearly never owned both. I have, and the F is better in EVERY way imaginable... SIGNIFICANTLY. That doesn't mean the M isn't a good bargain, but come on.....

IMO, yes it is a "buy it if it shows up" lens. I jumped on mine when I found it on ebay on a pure whim. Got it for $375 in great condition


Man, this is one scary photo!
I mean scary sharp lens
11-24-2010, 12:03 AM   #6
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I have a FA135 and paid more than what you mentioned for the F version (which is even more rare). In fact the FA and F are less common that the highly regarded K135, so either there are less out there or ppl are hording them
I also have a F100/2.8 macro.

I did some comparisons shots between some of my lenses in an attempt to 'weed out' my lenses (failed at it of course.... ).

I want a lens for Portrait -some short teles compared - ClubSNAP Photography Forums


Personally, never been fond of using the 100/2.8 for people shots. It just seems to lack that sweet spot combination of FL, focus distance (for people shots) and aperture. (They do look very similar in my test shots though, but this is closer to a head & shoulder portrait.)
11-24-2010, 01:16 AM   #7
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I used to have Sigma 105 and FA135. Out of those two I'd pick 135 any day as long as I didn't need macro. It's (bit) smaller, lighter and has faster AF. If you need macro then it's different matter. IQ wise, I think the 105 is one of the best Sigmas out there but I think in use as tele, F/FA135 still beat it.... If you want compromise, track down FA100/2.8 Macro. It's a brick of a lens (bigger and heavier than Sigma 105) but it has AF as fast FA135 and terrific rendition (which IMHO beat both F/FA135 and S105). In UK they go for around 300....

my 2p
11-24-2010, 01:29 AM   #8
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QuoteOriginally posted by yeatzee Quote

edit: Oh, and to anyone who might have said skip the F/FA 135mm and get the M 135mm has clearly never owned both.
get the M135mm.

btw, I never owned an M135/3.5. that's why I said it. but I did tried it.

11-24-2010, 02:20 AM   #9
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anyway, if I were to choose between the DA*50-135 at 135mm and F/FA135, I will choose the latter. the F/FA135 are AF speed demon on the K-7, much so I assume on the K-5. aside from that, this is what you can expect from the lens.






although, I'm pretty much hard-pressed choosing between the FA100/2.8 macro and FA135/2.8. both are outstanding in their own personal way. although as someone already mentioned, the combination of focal length and aperture speed + focusing distance makes the F/FA135 lens gives it a lil more DOF punch. 100 macro will always be a macro. great CA control and abit sharper and contrasty. bokehs from both are of their own and both are very nice. colours from both are great, punchy and vivid (although I think that the 135mm is a bit more saturated). the 135 is lighter and is IF which is great. the 100 macro is heavy and solid and extends when focusing. AF speed, 100 macro is good, FA135 is very fast. again, between the two, I can't choose which is better. they have their own focal length strengths and uses. colors from both lenses are outstanding.

in comparison with the M135, the F/FA has a half-stop advantage which gives you more light and a bit more DOF. but what is really good about the F/FA 135mm is it's MFD can go as low as 70mm. that is half the focusing distance of the M135 at 150cm and 30mm below compared to the DA*50-135.

with Pentax's shortage or lack of an AF 135mm lens in it's existing line-up, I would say it a a "buy it if you can" lens. the Sigma 150 would be the closest but is not available for the K-mount. besides, the OS one might not be available for Pentax or could cost more.
11-24-2010, 03:49 PM   #10
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Thanks everyone! I re-ordered as soon as they re-stocked it. Fingers crossed that it works as well as the experiences above. If all goes well, the Sigma macro (and SMC Tak 135/2.5) will shortly be on the market.

I'd love to see even more shots, though, if anyone has them handy!
11-24-2010, 04:02 PM   #11
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FA 135mm f2.8 @ f2.8

11-24-2010, 04:03 PM   #12
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QuoteOriginally posted by Nick Siebers Quote
Thanks everyone! I re-ordered as soon as they re-stocked it. Fingers crossed that it works as well as the experiences above. If all goes well, the Sigma macro (and SMC Tak 135/2.5) will shortly be on the market.

I'd love to see even more shots, though, if anyone has them handy!
were the copy you didn't buy got sold? the F has a better MF ring since it has some grid where you can grip on to. the FA however has a very flimsy and loose MF ring which can be annoying. anyway, this is an AF lens, so might as well use it. it's pointless if you have a speedy AF that you dont use.
11-24-2010, 04:07 PM   #13
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Samples

FA 135mm f2.8 @ f2.8



11-24-2010, 05:59 PM   #14
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that should do it
11-24-2010, 08:18 PM   #15
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Dave, Yeatzee - Gorgeous! I am excited already. Yeatzee, I like your flash set-up from Flickr. I presume the inside is aluminum foil or similar? I've tried handholding a flash on a cord, but it just doesn't work.

Pentaxor - it was through KEH. I had been watching it for a while, went ahead and ordered, got cold-feet, then posted my question. After the glowing reviews here I kept refreshing their AF lens list until it reappeared, then bought it. Again. :-)
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