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04-23-2012, 07:48 AM   #1
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85mm F2.2 soft, or suggestions of a lens that is accidentally poor except the middle?

I'm very tempted to get a Pentax 85mm F2.2 soft for trying to get dreamy-looking portraits of my kids.

However, it occured to me that there may be some badly-regarded lenses that achieve the same, ie bad blurring and softness away from the center of the frame...

You can see a few of the 85/2.2 images here:

The Great Pentax 85mm Lens Shoot-Out

At 2.2, you may as well smear vaseline over a regular lens, but at 2.8 and 5.6 (I think the optimum point will lie somewhere in-between), it really does create a nice effect.

My Lensbaby 50 distorts too much. I'm just looking for something that has acceptable sharpness in the middle and then progressively worsens, creating a soft, rather than distorted, image. Ideally worsening spherical aberration rather than chromatic.

Up until I saw the lens in a HK 2nd hand camera shop, I didn't know it even existed. Now I really want it, but am just wondering if there is something that achieves a similar effect at a lower price (the shop is asking US$500 for it, though I've seen it for $305 in the states).

Here's a nice shot from it:

soft lens | Flickr - Photo Sharing!

04-23-2012, 07:57 AM   #2
D0n
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pentax had two versions of 85mm softs... an m and an af version.. I believe the af version is cheaper...
other than that you need center spot filters that are clear in the center and get progressively softer towards the edges..
I own the 85 2.2 soft and must add this.. tho boke wide open is like nothing else... I often shoot multi exposures and switch the aperture between exposures to get awesome effects on still lifes and landscapes...
04-23-2012, 08:05 AM   #3
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first thing that comes to mind of something like that is the Jupiter 9
04-23-2012, 08:18 AM   #4
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Wow, soft-focus seems to be the topic of the day! We have a few threads on soft optics and vaseline etc. I am, at this very moment, trying one SF approach: Onto my M42 Bellowscope I've stacked a 42-43mm step ring, Raynox DCR-250, 49mm +2dpt closeup optic, and 49mm hood. That makes a 100/2.7 optic lacking corrections.

Images aren't of graduated softness, like smearing goo around a filter's edges. Rather, contrasty image elements show detail and all else has a 'romantic' glow. Of course only wide-open shooting is possible unless I put a Waterhouse-stop disc behind the Raynox. Too bad I left my 25-49mm step ring at my home base, it's perfect for this and would make it a soft 100/4.

The Raynox corrected optics aren't super-cheap, around US$70. A cheaper test approach would use the hood and bellows, the 25-49mm step ring as an aperture, a 42-49mm step ring, and a 49mm +10dpt closeup optic. Without the 25-49 it's 100/2.5. Those rings are under US$5 each; the +10dpt optics I've bought recently cost around US$10. And my Bellowscope was only US$21, heh heh.

These setups will reach infinity focus. Metering is totally off. I need to be in M mode and take test exposures because Green-button metering fails. But I sure get that 'romantic' look! Adding another dioptre to get +11dpt, far-focus is maybe 2.5m.

EDIT: Yes, the Jupiter-9 85/2 will get you there simply, with romantic but not excessive softness wide-open, and great sharpness when stopped-down a bit. Are they going for around US$100-$150 now?


Last edited by RioRico; 04-23-2012 at 08:23 AM.
04-23-2012, 08:20 AM   #5
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Can I ask a question? Why not just do the effect on your PP? I know there are stuff that you can't achieve at PP vs the real effect from that lens. But on a financial stand point spending $500 to get a dreamy look is not worth it IMHO.

Anyway I think The M 85 will do a great job. Not really Super dream or soft but damn! Here's some sample.

That's at wide open.




Full view here----> https://www.pentaxforums.com/gallery/images/44598/1_whiteflowerM85.jpg

Here's one more

https://www.pentaxforums.com/gallery/images/44598/1_Whiteflower.jpg
04-23-2012, 08:27 AM   #6
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i have a filter with a hole in the middle, that achieves the same thing you can leave it alone or smear it with some form of transparent or semi transparent grease to modify th eimpact, even with colored grease
04-23-2012, 08:39 AM   #7
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QuoteOriginally posted by kaiserz Quote
Can I ask a question? Why not just do the effect on your PP? I know there are stuff that you can't achieve at PP vs the real effect from that lens. But on a financial stand point spending $500 to get a dreamy look is not worth it IMHO.

Anyway I think The M 85 will do a great job. Not really Super dream or soft but damn! Here's some sample.

That's at wide open.


two reasons..
one... time and photoshop skills.... not everybody has plenty of both to invest in each image they shoot..lol!
two.. repeatability and or video shooting when you need a series of shots or a video clip...

also the tip I gave above on multiple exposures at varying apertures... hella goood tip.. a version of orton imagery actually.. check this out:
http://www.naturephotographers.net/articles0106/dw0106-1.html
04-23-2012, 09:27 AM   #8
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QuoteOriginally posted by Lowell Goudge Quote
i have a filter with a hole in the middle, that achieves the same thing you can leave it alone or smear it with some form of transparent or semi transparent grease to modify th eimpact, even with colored grease
Me too... Hoya 'soft spot' I believe... It's on a 49mm ring and has an insert that makes it 'dreamier'... I'll dig it out and check the name/filter code when I get back (couple of days as at folks) home...

04-25-2012, 05:01 AM   #9
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Here are some more sample images from K85 2.2 soft from me and other forum members:

https://www.pentaxforums.com/forums/pentax-slr-lens-discussion/138695-new-len...-2-2-soft.html
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