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04-29-2011, 10:29 AM   #1
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FA77 vs Sigma 85

Anyone with both of these lenses? They appear to be absolute top quality. I have been comparing the tests at lenstip.com and there is really little to distinguish one from the other. May be the limited is slightly softer wide open? I also though the FA could be more prone to purple fringing (see the sample photo: Canon label), yet the Sigma does not seem to be free from it either (see the similar sample photo). How would you rate the color rendering and bokeh of these lenses? I need a fast portrait lens and am really confused...

04-29-2011, 11:10 AM   #2
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Either lens will do you well.

If you hate CA, consider the DA 70, which preforms better in that department. The FA 77 shows a lot of noticeable CA on digital cameras. Not sure about the sigma.

I think between the 77 and the sigma, you will want to consider size, and AF (screwdrive vs. HSM). Build quality is more of an aesthetic thing, I'm not convinced the FA LTDs are more durable just because they are made out of metal.
04-29-2011, 11:17 AM   #3
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both lenses would do for your purpose. the things that you would consider most likely is budget, size, and HSM support.
04-30-2011, 08:39 AM   #4
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Both lenses are pushing the limits of the classic focal range for portraiture but should work well, if know how to use them. The FA77, like all the FA Limiteds, is renown for its lovely rendering, which is a thing apart from sharpness. I own one and absolutely love it. As a film era lens, it is somewhat prone to CA, but this is easily corrected in PP. Also, it is considerably smaller and lighter than the Sigma, which may or may not matter to you. I don't think that you can go wrong with either lens.

Rob

04-30-2011, 08:56 AM   #5
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I would also throw in to account is warranty coverage since Sigma's coverage (here in Canada) has been known to be between 7-10 years, Pentax warranty is 2 years. Not sure what your federal commerce regulations are, as long as they are not like the USA's which all are pretty much 1 year warranty (Still 3 year for Sigma).. then it really wouldn't matter as much.
04-30-2011, 10:25 AM   #6
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QuoteOriginally posted by robgo2 Quote
Both lenses are pushing the limits of the classic focal range for portraiture but should work well, if know how to use them. The FA77, like all the FA Limiteds, is renown for its lovely rendering, which is a thing apart from sharpness. I own one and absolutely love it. As a film era lens, it is somewhat prone to CA, but this is easily corrected in PP. Also, it is considerably smaller and lighter than the Sigma, which may or may not matter to you. I don't think that you can go wrong with either lens.

Rob
We all have our preferences, but to me the FA77 is right in the middle of the portrait range. I love the FA77 for people (use the DA70 more for places and things.) It also does quite well on manual focus for film.
04-30-2011, 02:31 PM   #7
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QuoteOriginally posted by GeneV Quote
We all have our preferences, but to me the FA77 is right in the middle of the portrait range. I love the FA77 for people (use the DA70 more for places and things.) It also does quite well on manual focus for film.
I find that with longer focal lengths, facial features become unnaturally flattened. Of course, this does not happen if you are standing a good distance from your subject, which would most likely be the case with longer lenses. You just have to avoid shooting too tightly. So, you are right, longer lenses are perfectly appropriate for portraits.

Rob
06-19-2011, 06:05 AM   #8
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QuoteOriginally posted by Urmas R. Quote
Anyone with both of these lenses?
I'd like to know that as well.

So far we haven't seen a direct Sigma 85/1.4 vs Pentax 77/1.8 comparison yet (at least I'm not aware of one). It would be great if such a comparison could be created.

Currently I think I really want the FA 77/1.8 but maybe I should be wanting the Sigma 85/1.4?

06-19-2011, 07:23 AM   #9
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QuoteOriginally posted by Class A Quote
I'd like to know that as well.

So far we haven't seen a direct Sigma 85/1.4 vs Pentax 77/1.8 comparison yet (at least I'm not aware of one). It would be great if such a comparison could be created.

Currently I think I really want the FA 77/1.8 but maybe I should be wanting the Sigma 85/1.4?
there was a comparison between the FA*85 and Sigma 85 though. maybe you can use that as a basis. I considered getting the Sigma last year and it's too bad too late and broke the budget for it when it finally arrived for the K-mount and I have now considered getting an 85 for a different system as I would had preferred it for the K-mount FF which unfortunately Pentax doesn't have a plan of making.
06-19-2011, 07:27 AM   #10
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QuoteOriginally posted by Class A Quote
I'd like to know that as well.

So far we haven't seen a direct Sigma 85/1.4 vs Pentax 77/1.8 comparison yet (at least I'm not aware of one). It would be great if such a comparison could be created.

Currently I think I really want the FA 77/1.8 but maybe I should be wanting the Sigma 85/1.4?
I'm sure that the Sigma is a fine lens, but it is BIG, takes 77MM filters and weighs almost THREE times as much as the FA77. For anyone who values compact, lightweight, high quality lenses (which includes most Pentaxians,) the FA77 is the way to go. I cannot imagine anyone being dissatisfied with the IQ. Yes, it may be somewhat prone to CA, but is that really a problem in the era of digital editing, in which CA and purple fringing can be fixed with the greatest of ease? The DA70 is another consideration for portraiture in this focal range. It is also a very compact and fine lens, but it renders differently than the FA Limited. I have never used it and cannot comment further on it. I do own the FA77 and absolutely love it, as do the vast majority of owners.

Rob

Last edited by robgo2; 06-19-2011 at 07:47 AM.
06-20-2011, 04:25 AM   #11
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QuoteOriginally posted by Pentaxor Quote
there was a comparison between the FA*85 and Sigma 85 though.
The FA* 85 has a different optical design. The A* 85 has the same optical design as the FA 77 so a comparison between the A* 85 and the Sigma 85 would be interesting. Still, as I'd go for the FA 77, I'd rather see a comparison between that specific lens and the Sigma.

QuoteOriginally posted by robgo2 Quote
I'm sure that the Sigma is a fine lens, but it is BIG, takes 77MM filters and weighs almost THREE times as much as the FA77.
Size doesn't concern me, if the results are top notch. Yes, the FA 77 has a sweet size but if the Sigma 85 were shown to deliver better images, I'd go for it despite the size.

QuoteOriginally posted by robgo2 Quote
I cannot imagine anyone being dissatisfied with the IQ.
From what I've seen, I'm very inclined to believe you.

Currently I think the FA 77 is the one for me, because of its special rendering. Would still be good to see a direct comparison.
06-20-2011, 09:49 AM   #12
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QuoteOriginally posted by Class A Quote


Size doesn't concern me, if the results are top notch. Yes, the FA 77 has a sweet size but if the Sigma 85 were shown to deliver better images, I'd go for it despite the size.
Well, then you are in the minority on this forum, where size and weight are generally considered to be of great importance and are key factors that distinguish Pentax from certain other manufacturers. But each person is entitled to his own priorities.

In any event, I cannot recall hearing of a single person who did not like the IQ from the FA77. I consider it borderline long for portraits, which simply means that you need to be able to stand at a reasonable distance from the subject, which is not always possible. In close quarters, you will need a shorter lens. (For me, it's the FA43.) With that caveat in mind, I expect that the FA77 will serve you very well. Good luck with whatever you decide.

Rob
06-20-2011, 02:55 PM   #13
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QuoteOriginally posted by robgo2 Quote
Well, then you are in the minority on this forum, where size and weight are generally considered to be of great importance and are key factors that distinguish Pentax from certain other manufacturers.
Maybe. I'm not a fan of the "M series" lenses, for instance. Clearly some optical compromises have been made to achieve the compact size. Many of the "K series" predecessors are optically better.

I'm not a fan of the modern super small primes either. They are typically quite slow, in particular on APS-C.

But I understand that to some (e.g., street photographers, or people on a hike) size is important. To each their own.

QuoteOriginally posted by robgo2 Quote
In any event, I cannot recall hearing of a single person who did not like the IQ from the FA77.
Well, I've read a number of stories where people sold it because they didn't "get it". Sometimes people reacquire the lens and then either still don't get it or keep it. I believe the lens is great and I'm sure I'd love it but it is definitely not for everyone.

QuoteOriginally posted by robgo2 Quote
Good luck with whatever you decide.
Thanks.

Last edited by Class A; 06-20-2011 at 07:12 PM.
06-20-2011, 03:04 PM   #14
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QuoteOriginally posted by Class A Quote
Well, I've read a number of stories were people sold it because they didn't "get it". Sometimes people reacquire the lens and then either still don't get it or keep it. I believe the lens is great and I'm sure I'd love it but it is definitely not for everyone.
I've had it for a couple months now and I'm not sure I fully "get it" yet either. I see what it can do, and it surprises me a lot sometimes (in both good and bad directions). It can occasionally be a hard lens to utilize, and I think the biggest factor for me in "taming" it has been trying to figure out when and where it's best used. Having said that, I haven't taken it off my camera in weeks, so that surely says something itself.
06-20-2011, 06:33 PM   #15
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QuoteOriginally posted by v5planet Quote
I've had it for a couple months now and I'm not sure I fully "get it" yet either. I see what it can do, and it surprises me a lot sometimes (in both good and bad directions). It can occasionally be a hard lens to utilize, and I think the biggest factor for me in "taming" it has been trying to figure out when and where it's best used. Having said that, I haven't taken it off my camera in weeks, so that surely says something itself.
What you describe sounds like difficulties related to the focal length, rather than to the lens itself. 77mm in APS-C has an angle of view equivalent to 116mm in FF. That is something that you cannot get around. You may or may not find that it fits your photographic vision, but one might surmise that you are, indeed, "getting it," if this is the lens that you are using exclusively.

Rob
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