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01-22-2012, 02:42 PM   #1
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Anyone has/had both the DA 70mm/2.4 ltd. and the Samyang 85mm/1.4?

Two superb lenses--I hesitate between them, and I'm tempted to get both...
I'm sure I want the DA 70mm for street shots: small, fast AF, super-sharp. I also know it's an excellent portrait lens; however, its bokeh seems to be a bit harsh in certain situations (based on the numerous pics I've seen on various online sites). In any case, the DA's bokeh doesn't seem to be as creamy as the Samyang's. Samyang produces stunning portraits, but it's manual and 5 times heavier than the DA. I wonder if anyone has/had both and can offer me reasons for/against getting both. Thank you!

P.S. No need to mention the FA 77mm--I'm set on the DA 70mm for streets, and for the price of the FA 77mm I can get both the DA and the Samyang.

01-22-2012, 02:59 PM - 1 Like   #2
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I know you said dont mention the FA77, but it really is the best of both worlds, save a bit extra
01-22-2012, 03:14 PM   #3
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QuoteOriginally posted by TOUGEFC Quote
I know you said dont mention the FA77, but it really is the best of both worlds, save a bit extra
Still, I prefer the DA + Samyang combo (even if I'm not sure it makes sense). My impression is that the Samyang has just a bit better bokeh than the FA 77, while the DA 70 exceeds the FA 77 with respect to AF (faster & more precise).
01-22-2012, 03:23 PM   #4
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I have had the DA 70 and a Vivitar 85 f1.4 which I believe is the equivalent of the Samyang lens. To me these are different lenses and I liked both of them (I traded the DA70 several years ago for a DA 12-24 that I needed more. Clearly there are size differences and I've always found the 85mm fine for film but too long for APS-C sensors. It's hard to focus wide open but it does give lovely bokeh. I liked the DA 70 for portraits but I've replaced it with the DA*55 and Voigtlander Nokton 58 f1.4 the length of both of those I find better for portraits but that's just me. To me the DA70 is too long for street work and I'd go with the DA40limited. I know too many suggestions...

I've worked with both the DA70 and 85 in studio settings and I really preferred the 70mm length as I had to work too far back from the subject with the 85. I have no memory of the bokeh of the DA70 but I do like the 85mm bokeh. Happy choosing.

01-22-2012, 03:46 PM   #5
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QuoteOriginally posted by blackcloudbrew Quote
I have had the DA 70 and a Vivitar 85 f1.4 which I believe is the equivalent of the Samyang lens. To me these are different lenses and I liked both of them (I traded the DA70 several years ago for a DA 12-24 that I needed more. Clearly there are size differences and I've always found the 85mm fine for film but too long for APS-C sensors. It's hard to focus wide open but it does give lovely bokeh. I liked the DA 70 for portraits but I've replaced it with the DA*55 and Voigtlander Nokton 58 f1.4 the length of both of those I find better for portraits but that's just me. To me the DA70 is too long for street work and I'd go with the DA40limited. I know too many suggestions...

I've worked with both the DA70 and 85 in studio settings and I really preferred the 70mm length as I had to work too far back from the subject with the 85. I have no memory of the bokeh of the DA70 but I do like the 85mm bokeh. Happy choosing.
Your input is much appreciated.
I have the DA 40mm, but I've found myself in situations in which the DA 70mm would have been nice--recently, in a traditional marketplace in Romania... The DA 70 is as unobtrusive as the DA 40, and yet it's a tele-prime.
I've learned to use A lenses with the catch-in-focus feature, which, as far as I'm concerned, erases much of the AF advantage.
01-22-2012, 04:08 PM   #6
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QuoteOriginally posted by causey Quote
Samyang produces stunning portraits, but it's manual and 5 times heavier than the DA. .
The weight is a major issue and you are right to bring this up. If you intend to have your camera+lens around the neck all the tine, go for the lighter lenses.

On the other hand, MF is not an issue:
https://www.pentaxforums.com/forums/pentax-beginners-corner-q/146443-manual-f...we-afraid.html

Most MF lenses have a nice focus ring, and I bet that MF on the Samyang is 10 times better than MF with the DA70mm. As long as the Samyang has automatic aperture (with the red A on the aperture ring), the manual focus should not be an issue. In my opinion, MF is as easy to use for portraits as AF.

Hope that the comment may help
01-22-2012, 04:13 PM   #7
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QuoteOriginally posted by hcc Quote
The weight is a major issue and you are right to bring this up. If you intend to have your camera+lens around the neck all the tine, go for the lighter lenses.

On the other hand, MF is not an issue:
https://www.pentaxforums.com/forums/pentax-beginners-corner-q/146443-manual-f...we-afraid.html

Most MF lenses have a nice focus ring, and I bet that MF on the Samyang is 10 times better than MF with the DA70mm. As long as the Samyang has automatic aperture (with the red A on the aperture ring), the manual focus should not be an issue. In my opinion, MF is as easy to use for portraits as AF.

Hope that the comment may help
I think you are right about MF. I recently discovered the catch-in-focus function, and it makes MF so much easier!
Haven't thought of getting the Samyang instead of the DA 70, because I had the DA 70 from the beginning. Now I'm wondering... I'll probably have it on the camera significantly less than my wider lenses (Samyang 14, Sigma 24, DA 40)...
01-22-2012, 04:52 PM   #8
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My Vivitar 85 has a nice buttery MF feel and long throw on it making it very nice to use in my book. The only better feel is the Voigtlander 58 Nokton. I don't recall the feel of the DA70.

01-22-2012, 04:58 PM   #9
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The only real problem with the DA70 Ltd is that my brother has it all the time so I barely get to use it, I think that is a good rating. Not that the 70mm got a itsy bitsy focusring (due to the lens size) and that comes from me that got itsy bitsy fingers. It takes som time getting used to but I've been successful with the MF with the lens.
01-22-2012, 06:46 PM - 1 Like   #10
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I currently have both the DA 70 and the Samyang 85 (the Vivitar version). In fact I just came back from a studio shoot where I used both lenses along with the DA 40. I'll give you my impressions:

In terms of weight, the DA 70 is super light (obviously). I could have the lens around my neck all day and not miss a beat. The Vivitar is heavier but in a studio setting, combined with the grip it didn't bother me much. Would it be a lens I want to carry around all day? Probably not, but I don't think that's the strength of the lens anyway. It was still a lot lighter than the L glass my friends were shooting with though!

Regarding build quality I don't need to say much here about the DA 70. It's fantastic. Although I don't like the felt lining on the lens hood since it's a dust magnet. But I'm nitpicking here. The 85mm's build is surprisingly good considering the price. The focus ring is smooth and buttery and it's built using high quality plastics. The mount is metal as well.

Focusing the 85mm is a real challenge wide open if you don't have a proper focusing screen which I don't yet. I've found a good method is to get as close as I can and take a couple of shots on either end of the "focused" shot. When you do shoot wide open, the bokeh is very good though not amazing. Around 2.4, the bokeh on the DA 70 is slightly smoother. But you are obviously buying the 85mm for f/1.4. I was shooting around f/8 in the studio so focusing wasn't really difficult. I found the DA 70 was hunting quite a bit though. Probably because of the dark clothing and background. I often switched to manual focusing on the DA 70 which you can operate with one finger.

The image quality on both lenses is fantastic especially stopped down. The 70mm is excellent straight from max (especially the center) while the 85mm is very good wide open and becomes excellent stopped down. The corners of the 85mm are not as sharp as the 70mm but for a portrait lens who really cares.

I plan on keeping both lenses. The 85mm is my studio and portrait head shot lens. Beyond this and some low light work, I don't see myself using it for anything else. For $250, that's limited use I can live with. 85mm is quite long for indoor low light work. A Sigma 30mm 1.4 would probably be a better fit. The DA 70 is much more versatile. I've used it for street shots when you want to get the close shots without getting too close. It focuses quick in decent light so it pairs well with the DA 40 and DA 21. I don't think I'm quick enough with the manual focusing to achieve the same results with the 85mm.

So is the 85mm essential to my photography? No, but it's a fun lens to shoot with. If you have the money (and it's not much for a new lens) why not? But I would highly recommend the DA 70 first. It will serve you well in whatever situation you find yourself in. Buy the 70mm and see if you really want the 85mm 1.4 anymore.
01-22-2012, 08:50 PM   #11
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My reactions are very similar to Sol Invictus. I've owned the Rokinon (rebadged Samyang) 85mm and the DA 70 (twice!), and the only preference I have differently is that I'd say is that I love the Rokinon for wide open headshots under normal indoor lighting -- I usually need a little extra light to pull off the shot with the DA 70 handheld. One trade off, though, is that the Rokinon has a VERY big look - the large front element can be intimidating for people you are taking a photo of. If I had to pick only one lens I'd like to own again, it would be the Rokinon.

Also, the weight of the DA70 is delightfully light, but the Rokinon 85mm is pretty well balanced, so it's not bad to work with. By all means, get a focusing screen if you get the 85mm. Oh, and the min focal length is 1 m for the 85mm vs the DA70 at 70 cm.
01-22-2012, 08:56 PM   #12
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I just read about catch in focusing and holy *#&!^. Why didn't I know about this earlier!!!
01-22-2012, 09:01 PM   #13
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QuoteOriginally posted by Sol Invictus Quote
I just read about catch in focusing and holy *#&!^. Why didn't I know about this earlier!!!
Yeah, it's like AF without AF. We can call if MAF
Thanks for the detailed comparative comments. Very helpful. I might end up getting both... I'm continually looking at pics on flickr--where usually most pics don't look good--and those produced by the Samyang really impress me. On the other hand, I can have the DA 70mm with me all the time... Only 130 grams! Goes well with the DA 40mm.

Last edited by causey; 01-22-2012 at 09:13 PM.
01-22-2012, 09:02 PM   #14
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Indeed! This also reminds me that with the Samyang 85mm, you can see pretty easily if something is in focus wide open - it has quite prominent bokeh fringing, so I noted for my use that green borders meant back focus and purple borders meant front focus.
01-24-2012, 03:40 PM   #15
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Thank you all for your input. I made up my mind (I think). I'll get the Samyang 85/1.4. Catch-in-focus is a game changer for me. I have a K 55/1.8 and a Cosina 100/3.5 Macro which can complement my Sigma 24/2.8 and DA 40/2.8 for streets. The Cosina is very light (220 grams) and has the "A" setting, so, with catch-in-focus, manual focusing becomes extremely easy, if not as fast as AF. It might even have a more convenient focal length to go with 24mm and 40mm... The Samyang is a better value for me, all things considered. The images I've seen on flickr and other sites compete with those taken by the FA 7--the FA may have something extra, but it also requires a lot of extra money.
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