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10-19-2007, 10:06 PM   #1
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I touched the Holy Grail today.... (or one of them)

Had a little time to kill at the end of work today and decided to drop into my local Pentax repair shop. He always has something to sell that a customer drops off to get rid of. So from under the counter he pulls out this lens. Says "here give this a try". So I pop the lens on the K10 and take it outside for a few minutes. Holy **it, this
thing is sharp! Any doubts about the camera's ability, were totally washed away.

The best piece of glass I own is a 77mm Ltd. Damn good lens but this was better. Nicer colour and sharpest thing I've ever seen.

Only had 5 minutes to take a few test shots and the resize here probably won't do the quality justice. The RAW images are almost surreal. Unfortunately the owner knows what this lens is worth and it's out of my comfort zone. But at least I can say that I had one in my hands. As it turned out the owner came in the store and on impulse I said I'd trade him my K10, grip and Tamron 28-75 f2.8 Di that happened to be on the body. He didn't bite.

Oh yeah what lens? The A* 85mm f1.4. Now I know why everyone that has one, loves it so much.

So here's a couple of test shots and 100% crops.

The typical Brick wall of the repair shop. 1/80th, f5.6 ISO 200:
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Then a 100% crop from that same image.
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There was a Harley parked at the curb that was nice and clean. The owner didn't mind me taking a couple shots of his bike. 1/60th, F6.3 ISO 160
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And again a 100% crop from that same image.
Name:  IMGP5443 100.jpg
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I didn't do anything (including sharpening) to these images other than crop the 100% versions. These are straight off the card. You'll notice some blue dots on the brick wall shot and that was actually there on the mortar.

So Now I'm wondering if I should sell some stuff and make this guy an offer. I can't get over how stunning this lens is. The 77mm is good, very good but can't quite compare to this. Not only is the 85 sharper by I'd guess 10% or so but the colour is different, deeper and slightly warmer. The bokeh is better than anything I've seen as well. And at that aperture this is dream to manually focus. As they always say invest in the best lenses you can afford, they make all the difference. Anyone want to buy my car quick????


Last edited by Peter Zack; 07-13-2009 at 04:35 PM.
10-19-2007, 10:46 PM   #2
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Looks good Peter. I wish that I had one.

I'll PM you a link to one that I just found. It might be a little more in your price range.
10-19-2007, 10:48 PM   #3
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hi, nice pics, One of those 'magic' lenses. I have the FA version on my wish list, I wish they would rerelease it (perhaps under the guise of now being the rough requivalent of 135mm). How much is he asking for it (just out of idle curiousity)

Phil
10-19-2007, 10:56 PM   #4
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Wow that baby really IS sharp! Dang I'm glad I didn't have it in my hands. It seems like the kind of lens that would get under my skin in a hurry. I had the same reaction to the 77 ltd. When I looked through the k10d with the 77 ltd on it, I knew I HAD to have that lens.
The A*85mm f1.4 certainly has increased in value since it was first made. I can see why.

10-20-2007, 04:30 AM   #5
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Thanks Stu, As for his price, it will be over $1000.00 but there's more to the story that I'll add once he sells the lens.


QuoteOriginally posted by little laker Quote
Looks good Peter. I wish that I had one.

I'll PM you a link to one that I just found. It might be a little more in your price range.
10-20-2007, 04:41 AM   #6
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Holy chit Batman! Now that is CLEAR.

And how right you are - buy the best glass you can afford - it IS an investment.
10-20-2007, 06:51 AM   #7
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Haha, what car is it?
Shipment to Europe? My mom just crashed into a tree, and is looking for a new one!

Good luck, Syb
10-20-2007, 08:49 AM   #8
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I immediately searched for this gem - google came up empty - ummm let's see a flight to PEI, car rental, hotel .....just outta my price range

That is one sharp lens without a doubt - even compressed Web jpg's are outstanding. This is one I would like to own . Thanks ?? for adding another one to list Peter - Damn ......

10-20-2007, 09:54 AM   #9
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I think that may be the sharpest lens I've seen shots from. Too bad it's so rare, I'd like one too. This is the quality the DA* lenses should be.

I guess they really don't 'make em like they used to'.
10-20-2007, 02:57 PM   #10
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any idea on how this compares to the zeiss alternative?
10-20-2007, 03:42 PM   #11
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I'd like to know that myself. It looks like a very nice lens and if it's as good, then a worth while purchase. I know, I know Ziess is the best but after using the Pentax variant, any supplier would have a tough time topping this.
10-20-2007, 04:03 PM   #12
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The food fight that erupts whenever this lens shows up on flea-Bay is quite something to watch. It sells for almost as much as the FA* version, sometimes more.

Consumer products typically depreciate after purchase or after they are discontinued. The A* and FA* lenses break this rule. I guess camera bodies come and go but the best quality glass can keep its value.

If you can afford this lens (or its FA* sibling) you will hear a "thud" when you review the images it can render. That will be the sound of your jaw hitting the floor.
10-20-2007, 04:32 PM   #13
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I know what you mean Dave, This thing has me slightly haunted now. I was out shooting today with the 77 and 43. Even though the shots look great, I keep wondering what more this one could have done. Imagine what the shots of the Harley would have looked like if I had set up the tripod, used MLU and a cable release? These were hand held at slow shutter speeds. I keep wanting to delete the pictures so I can return to normal Lol.

QuoteOriginally posted by daacon Quote
I immediately searched for this gem - google came up empty - ummm let's see a flight to PEI, car rental, hotel .....just outta my price range

That is one sharp lens without a doubt - even compressed Web jpg's are outstanding. This is one I would like to own . Thanks ?? for adding another one to list Peter - Damn ......
10-20-2007, 05:03 PM   #14
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well Peter...

You've seen the light...

I still have problems believing my FA* lenses sharpness and clarity. My reviews of these lenses on PentaxForums.com is simply confirmation and testament to Pentax optical engineering.

This is LBA at it's highest definition... counselling is available my friend...
10-20-2007, 05:12 PM   #15
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Marc, you are so correct. My wife is not helping. I showed her the shots and as she says 'she's no photo buff'. Now she's telling me to get it as an Xmas present to myself. Arrrg. I wonder if I can skip the rent this month...

If she keeps this up along with my own rampant case of LBA I will need a 12 step program very, very soon.
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