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03-25-2012, 02:19 PM   #1
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A85mm F1.4 or FA77mm F1.8 Limited

Which is the best short telephoto lens

03-25-2012, 02:41 PM   #2
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Optically these are very similar. The 77mm F1.8 Limited is much more compact and has a built-in lens hood and is therefore more convenient to use. But half a stop slower. I have both. I never use the A 85mm.
03-25-2012, 03:11 PM   #3
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I own both, and both are superb. I like to think the A*85/1.4 is better because of how much I paid for it, but when I look at pictures from both, there really isn't all that much difference. Another poster was able to make the 85 purple fringe like crazy, which is something to be aware of with this lens. It's never been a problem for me, but that could be luck as much as anything else.
03-25-2012, 03:51 PM   #4
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the are bothe very good choices. though there is a pretty big difference in form factor - the FA77 is very small for what it is, the A85mm f/1.4 is rather large, and like the FA*85mm f/1.4 i'm more familiar with it doesn't balance as well on a K7-K5 as the FA77 does.

03-25-2012, 03:58 PM   #5
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I have the FA*, 77ltd and have access to the A* through my brother who has it.
Most important difference between them is the lack of AF on the A*, which makes it harder to get good focus at larger apertures.
This may not be a concern if you shoot stationary subjects or those that will stay still for you.

The other main difference is size. The A* and FA* are pretty big.
03-25-2012, 06:02 PM   #6
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If this can help, here are two comparaisons between different Pentax portrait lens. It's in French, but the pictures speak for themselves.

Les tests de MonuniversPentax.com

Test_85mm

In my eye, the A 85mm 1.4 is clearly superior to the FA 77, but that's just me. I would even go as far as to say it's the best lens tested.
03-25-2012, 06:08 PM   #7
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FWIW I can make the 77 Lim "purple fringe like crazy" as well. :P
03-28-2012, 02:49 AM   #8
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I have both. To me A* 85 has following advantages over FA 77:
- A* 85 has less CA wide open than FA 77 lim (this is probably my copies)
- It is 85 vs. 77 that coupled with faster f1.4 gives better separation of subject from the background
- Bokeh is also smoother for the same reason.
- The handling and feel of A* 85 is fantastic.

Having said that -- I use FA 77 more often due to its compact size and AF.

Note, the original A* 85 lens hood is HUGE and frightening.

03-28-2012, 04:19 AM   #9
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QuoteOriginally posted by kaipa Quote
Having said that -- I use FA 77 more often due to its compact size and AF.
That is also the reason I prefer the FA77 over the FA*85mm f/1.4 - or the Canon 85mm f/1.2L. Though the FOV on APS-C format is a bit awkward to work with.
03-28-2012, 09:03 AM   #10
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QuoteOriginally posted by SylBer Quote
If this can help, here are two comparaisons between different Pentax portrait lens. It's in French, but the pictures speak for themselves.

Les tests de MonuniversPentax.com

Test_85mm

In my eye, the A 85mm 1.4 is clearly superior to the FA 77, but that's just me. I would even go as far as to say it's the best lens tested.
Interesting comparison. The A 85 CA looks the worst of the bunch in those tests (though FA 85 is close and FA 77 isn't far behind). The FA 77 resolution, especially in the real world example, looks considerably worse than the other lenses tested (and much worse than I would expect based on my experience with that lens). I have to imagine that copy variation effects these tests to some degree.

Thanks for posting.

-Brandon
03-28-2012, 04:30 PM - 1 Like   #11
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QuoteOriginally posted by bpv_UW Quote
Interesting comparison. The A 85 CA looks the worst of the bunch in those tests (though FA 85 is close and FA 77 isn't far behind). The FA 77 resolution, especially in the real world example, looks considerably worse than the other lenses tested (and much worse than I would expect based on my experience with that lens). I have to imagine that copy variation effects these tests to some degree.
To my eyes and my calibrated monitor, the FA77 does indeed have bad CA - but that is because of its inherently higher contrast than the f/1.4 lenses it is being tested against. The FA77 has more contrast than the Leica R 80mm f/1.4* lens at the widest aperture. The Zeiss 85mm f/1.4 is clearly back-focused and the samyang lens is also incorrectly focused. I wouldn't base my opinion on a lens after just viewing one single review of any lens. Though when they stop the lenses down to f/2.8 and f/4 the playing field flattens out, though truth be told all the lenses tested have CA - it is the nature of ultra fast primes. Perhaps the only exception to that rule would be the pentax SMC 50mm f/1.2 which doesn't purple fringe much at all.

*I use the Leica R 80mm f/1.4 on my Canon 1DsMkIII - because it manually focuses better than the EF 85 f/1.2L II

the FA77mm f/1.8 Limited is an excellent lens, sure it has its flaws, which lens doesn't? give it a shot:

03-29-2012, 06:18 AM   #12
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I've had FA*85, FA77 and A*85, now I only keep the FA77 for its excellent optical quality and small size. It's one of the best lenses out there IMO.
03-29-2012, 06:42 AM   #13
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QuoteOriginally posted by Digitalis Quote
To my eyes and my calibrated monitor, the FA77 does indeed have bad CA - but that is because of its inherently higher contrast than the f/1.4 lenses it is being tested against. The FA77 has more contrast than the Leica R 80mm f/1.4* lens at the widest aperture. The Zeiss 85mm f/1.4 is clearly back-focused and the samyang lens is also incorrectly focused. I wouldn't base my opinion on a lens after just viewing one single review of any lens. Though when they stop the lenses down to f/2.8 and f/4 the playing field flattens out, though truth be told all the lenses tested have CA - it is the nature of ultra fast primes. Perhaps the only exception to that rule would be the pentax SMC 50mm f/1.2 which doesn't purple fringe much at all.

*I use the Leica R 80mm f/1.4 on my Canon 1DsMkIII - because it manually focuses better than the EF 85 f/1.2L II

the FA77mm f/1.8 Limited is an excellent lens, sure it has its flaws, which lens doesn't? give it a shot:
The FA 77 has a lens profile for Pentax software, the FA85 does not.
I have sold my 77 for the 55 mostly for the change in angle of view and AF noise.

Summicron 90 AA has no flaws by the way :-)
03-29-2012, 06:51 AM   #14
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QuoteOriginally posted by zapp Quote
Summicron 90 AA has no flaws by the way
actually it does have flaws, because it isn't a f/1.0 noct
03-29-2012, 07:08 AM   #15
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If I want 85, I reach for my M85/2. Paired to my K-5, it ranks right up there with my FA77... no complaints.

Good luck... M
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