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08-06-2011, 12:05 AM   #1
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85mm lens

any suggestions on an 85mm lens. I've seen the Pentax for 1500 on ebay, but then there's the sigma, and the "vivitar(MF)", and also the zeiss for around the same price as the sigma. Just interested in thoughts especially anyone with experience with the lenses.

08-06-2011, 12:14 AM   #2
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If you can't find a FA* 85 outside of Ebay, the Sigma seems like the most sensible alternative as it is current and has auto-focus.
08-06-2011, 12:22 AM   #3
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if you don't mind manual focus, there's also the rokinon(samyang built) 85m f/1.4 and the pentax smc-M85 f/2
08-06-2011, 12:44 AM   #4
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Carl Zeiss Planar 85mm f1.4 might be worth a look at. I have one and quite happy with the results.

08-06-2011, 01:11 AM   #5
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You seem interested in 85 mm f1.4 (fast prime). There are some AF and MF lenses. To sum up:

- The FA*85mm (AF) is very well liked by Pentaxians but hard to find 2nd hand (and usually above $1,200). See user's reviews (9.69/10): Pentax-FA* 85mm F1.4 [IF] Reviews - FA Prime Lenses - Pentax Lens Reviews & Complete Lens Database

- The Sigma 85 mm f1.4 (AF) is a newer lens. See in depth review (9.2/10): Sigma 85mm F1.4 EX DG HSM Review

- The Vivitar/Rokinon 85mm f1.4 (MF) a also a new lens. See in depth review (8.8/10): Vivitar Series 1 85mm F1.4 Review

- The Carl Zeiss 85mm f1.4 (MF). See users' reviews (9.5/10): Carl Zeiss Planar ZK T* 85mm F1.4 Lens Reviews - Prime Lenses - Pentax Third-Party Lens Review Database

Recently I was after a 85mm f1.4. The FA*85mm was above my budget. I consider the other three. At the end I took the plunge for Zeiss 85mm f1.4 and I love it. The IQ is excellent. The focus ring is a true pleasure to use. All in all I have no regret, but for the absence of new Pentax 85mm.

Hope that the comment will help.
08-06-2011, 01:14 AM   #6
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I shall mention manual-focus 85's on eBay.

* I bought a Nikkor 85/2 (CHEAP! but I was lucky) that I easily modded for Pentax mount. I've seen these sell for under US$75, and an 85/1.8 for around US$135.

* I have a not-quite-so-cheap Jupiter-9 85/2, which is readily available for around US$100-120. Be sure to get an M42 or M39 version, NOT a Contax-Kiev-Leica version.

* This week I saw a Vivitar 85/2.8 NOT sell for US$70 -- reserve not met. I figure the reserve was around US$100. I think it was in T2 mount -- cheaply adapted to Pentax.

* Also this week I saw a Carl Zeiss (NOT Jena) Pro-Tessar 85/4 sell for under US$10. It would need a DKL-PK or -M42 adapter, which are available for well under US$100.

* A couple weeks ago I saw a Steilheil Culminar 85/2.8 sell BIN for US$65. This was in Exakta mount, which is VERY easy to non-destructively modify for Pentax mount.

* I see Carl Zeiss Jena Triotar 85/4 lenses in Exakta mount sell for around US$125. OM and C/Y mounts are also easily modded for Pentax, but I've not seen their 85's.

* I also have a Vivitar-Komine 90/2.8 macro (also luckily cheap); if you can stand the 5mm difference, 90mm macros can be found for pretty reasonable prices.

Bottom line: Depending on your needs and your willingness to adapt mounts, some very good used 85-90mm lenses can be found that you won't have to rob a minimart to afford. Besides native PK mounts, you can look for: M39 (but not L39-LTM); M42; T2, T4 or TX; Nikon AI (but not AF); DKL; OM; C/Y; and Exakta. Happy hunting!
08-06-2011, 03:55 AM   #7
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I have the Jupiter 9 85mm f2, the version without coating in M42 mount. It's great to do some portrait of adults / senior, because it's soft at f2, i mean like if you have a "soft" filter in front of the lense. Rendering is great.

But, do to this softness, it's almost unasable at night or during party.

The Samyang / Rokinon / Vivtar / etc ... 85mm f1.4 is deadly sharp from f1.4. (no AF, "A" setting" around 350€ /400$)

If you want some AF, the sigma is good.
08-06-2011, 05:41 AM   #8
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Good Morning,

It looks like you have quite a selection from which to choose. However, I will go ahead and add an additional suggestion. The Contax Carl Zeiss 85 f2.8 Sonnar T*. I have recently acquired one, and I still need to change the mount - I have just been too busy, and gotten home from work way too late, to get it done. The reviews that I have read indicate that the f1.4 version of this lens (Planar) has great performance from f2.8 and beyond, where as the f2.8 version is both equal to and solid wide open and across the aperture range.

For my landscape/cityscape needs, the f2.8 is very fast, and f1.4 is not at all necessary. The additional increase in the physical size and acquisition cost of the f1.4 just put this lens outside my consideration. The other impediment was that Leitax which has a mount conversion available only provides the f1.4 Planner version in a M42 mount. Personally, I find this a bit more cumbersome when changing lenses in the evening (in the dark) so the K mount conversion on the f2.8 is much more convenient.

I was able to acquire my f2.8 Sonnar for $325, plus an additional $100 for the K mount. So its not dirt cheap or inexpensive - its more than Rico's suggestions, but less than the $1,500 your looking at for the Pentax.
I also have the Contax Carl Zeiss 28 f2.8 Distagon T* which I have found to be equivalent to the FA 31 Limited - other than being all manual, and slower by 1.3 stops. I liked this lens so much, it persuaded me pick up the 85mm.

Last edited by interested_observer; 08-06-2011 at 02:17 PM.
08-06-2011, 01:32 PM   #9
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I have 4 lenses of this length. All have different behavior.

Pentax K 85/1.8 -- good portrait lens. Slightly soft wide open, but just a bit.
Pentax K 85/2.2 soft -- this is very special lens, and I like every single shot with it. Good for portraits, flowers (close focus) etc. Very special bokeh. Sharp at all apertures despite the soft effect. Almost normal at f5.6.
Pentax F 85/2.8 soft -- also a soft lens, with smoother bokeh. Autofocus. Good for portraits as well. One of the lenses that make people to switch to Pentax. I have not made a decision on this one yet comparing to K 88/2.2.
Voigtlander 90/3.5 APO Lanthar. Razor sharp, excellent colors. This is A-lens (auto aperture).
08-06-2011, 01:44 PM   #10
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I have FA*85mm and it is a wonderful lens.
08-06-2011, 07:15 PM   #11
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You can aslo look into the takumar 85mmF1.8 and 1.9 lenses but for the price these go for the samyang is better, newer, faster by almost a full stop, has a KA mount, and better coatings
08-06-2011, 08:48 PM   #12
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If you want AF, then I'd suggest getting the Sigma 85/1.4. I've got one, and it's a great lens. However, if you don't care about AF and don't mind a MF lens, then I can't offer any suggestions there.
08-06-2011, 11:06 PM   #13
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QuoteOriginally posted by interested_observer Quote
Good Morning,

It looks like you have quite a selection from which to choose. However, I will go ahead and add an additional suggestion. The Contax Carl Zeiss 85 f2.8 Sonnar T*.
I can support this opinion, I also had Contax CZ Sonnar 85/2.8 and it easily is on par with 77 limited. Nice feature about Zeiss lenses (not Jena) is also T* coating, which is pretty much like Pentax's own SMC coating - both well ahead the competition.
08-07-2011, 12:22 AM   #14
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If it's the SMC Pentax A* 85mm F1.4 in the Ebay listing, well what can I say, for me this lens is just so good, bright viewfinder, smooth action, razor sharp when stopped down a couple of stops from wide open. Just delivers the images I need day in day out.

If you can find it get the "pukka" metal lenshood for this lens, just finishes it off, like the icing on the cake.
08-08-2011, 06:30 AM   #15
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I too have been considering the Sigma 85mm f/1.4 for my next lens purchase. I think the magic for this lens is the fact that it is f/1.4 so the options given for f/2.8 lenses are of no interest to me personally. Have considered the FA 77mm f/1.8 instead of the Sigma though as it is a few hundred dollars less and a legendary lens. Also not that huge of a difference in focal length.

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