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03-31-2011, 05:37 AM   #1
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New lens: SMC Pentax 85/2.2 Soft

I picked up my newest lens, SMC Pentax 85/2.2 soft today. Nice condition, aperture ring is a bit stiff but blades move freely.Seller said it might be stiff because it was hardly ever used. Glass is clear and cosmetically quite nice, one could even say mint. This is a "K" series lens (the last). And bonus, it meters quite well in Av mode on my Kx! Just as well, I hate the green button metering.

Focusing is proving to be quite tricky with this one, I think I'll need some practice. Perhaps I should try at 5.6 instead of jumping straight to 2.8.Too embarrassed to post a test shot at this stage.

03-31-2011, 05:56 AM   #2
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Cool and Congrats. I am very curious about this lens. Pricy too, so I can't just buy one to try out. Please post some photos and tell us your thoughs. Would it be the same as post processing?
03-31-2011, 06:20 AM   #3
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stiff aperture likely won't be an issue since the soft is used wide open in many cases anyway
nice score looking forward to seeing samples from it
03-31-2011, 06:42 AM   #4
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Good that your copy has glass that is clear. The two that I've come across had foggy lens elements.
This lens works like any M series lens.


Last edited by creampuff; 03-31-2011 at 06:47 AM.
03-31-2011, 02:13 PM   #5
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That's what I expected- that I would have to use stop down metering, but this lens appears to behave like a takumar, seems to work in av mode. I can see the shutter speed change by itself
03-31-2011, 03:00 PM   #6
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QuoteOriginally posted by selar Quote
That's what I expected- that I would have to use stop down metering, but this lens appears to behave like a takumar, seems to work in av mode. I can see the shutter speed change by itself
Great lens, you'll have fun with it. Don’t forget it's a manual lens with no aperture pin.
Also make sure you read the manual first, as it’s different from regular lenses and the aperture ring also dictates the softness.
The K85/2.2 Soft also works well with the Pentax variable (Helicoid) extension tube for floral macro work.

http://www.pentaximaging.com/files/manual/Soft_lens_85mm_f_2.2_01.pdf

Enjoy

Phil.

Last edited by gofour3; 03-31-2011 at 03:06 PM.
03-31-2011, 04:31 PM   #7
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@gofour3, thanks for the link to the pdf. It explains why I am finding focusing tricky on page 8, i.e you cant rely on focus confirmation beep. Back to the good old eyeball system.

Happy to report that the aperture ring has also become less tight after a bit of use.
03-31-2011, 06:17 PM   #8
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Test photos, maximum softness is at f2.2, minimum softness is at f5.6:
@ f4


@f2.8


Please ignore the reflections on the sides of the image of the cup, they are from glass behind cup. However the halo effect on the lip of the cup on the left is produced by the lens. Imagine it as the effect it would have on backlit hair on a model.

04-01-2011, 12:14 AM   #9
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It's a joy of a lens to use isn't it!

I've found 2.2 to be too soft for my taste, but fine from there until it sharpens up completely at 5.6.

Keep in mind that the stiffness in the aperture ring is also part of the design - it's infinitely variable between stops, so you can get the softness "just so". As a non-A lens, it's wysiwyg for softness and metering. I use the aperture clicks as a guide for strobe calculations more than anything else.
04-01-2011, 01:37 AM   #10
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QuoteOriginally posted by openyourap Quote
Keep in mind that the stiffness in the aperture ring is also part of the design
Yeah makes sense, as also the Takumar like metering. You really want to see what the effect looks like before shooting. Composing wide open is of limited value here. One could say you could acheive the same in post processing, but I dont rewally see ho one could acheive that halo in PP. There was an ugly cement wall behind that cup, where did it disappear?
04-01-2011, 01:39 AM   #11
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I suppose P-TTL flash is out of the question here, pardon my ignorance.

Edit: Yes looks out of the question with a simple test with pop up flash. A specialist lens like this is probably meant to be used with studio lighting.

Last edited by selar; 04-01-2011 at 03:07 AM.
04-01-2011, 03:10 AM   #12
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FWIW, a simple snapshot in poor lighting of a subject that didnt really wanted to pose for more than a second:


Worth it because the subject remarked on the glow on her face.
04-01-2011, 09:50 AM   #13
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QuoteOriginally posted by selar Quote
FWIW, a simple snapshot in poor lighting of a subject that didnt really wanted to pose for more than a second:


Worth it because the subject remarked on the glow on her face.
Nice shots!

Here are a couple examples of “soft” floral shots. The second one is using the Pentax variable extension tube. Note these are slide scans taken with a film camera, so the FL equivalent will be different than with your DLSR.







Phil.
04-01-2011, 01:11 PM   #14
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QuoteOriginally posted by gofour3 Quote
Here are a couple examples of “soft” floral shots.
Like the cool effect on your flower shots. What softness setting did you dial in for each?
04-01-2011, 03:28 PM   #15
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I rented this lens years ago.

The ladies love it for portraits. Have fun with it.

Tom G
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