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03-28-2013, 05:12 AM   #1
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FA 85mm F2.8 Soft aperture questions

I recently found a small camera store near my house that has a case full of vintage cameras and lenses, and tonight I noticed they had an FA 85mm F2.8 Soft in pretty damn good condition. No obvious scratches on the elements, no visible fungus, no haze, and the aperture ring turns quite smoothly. Guy running the shop said that he's willing to part with it for $150 despite it being an expensive lens since he's had it so long.

However, I noticed that at the highest F-stops, the aperture blades don't make a perfect circle. When I'd crank the aperture ring all the way to F22, the bottom blade or two seemed to create more of an oblong, oval shape. At lower F-stops, the slight change in shape is hardly noticeable, but I'm wondering if this discrepancy is the reason the price is as low as it is.


Now for my questions:
Has anyone else gotten their hands on this lens with this same discrepancy? If so, how has it effected the shots taken with the lens?
Would this lens, despite this aperture blade problem, still be a steal at this price?
Would it even be worth the money to fix?

Thanks for any help!

03-28-2013, 07:31 AM   #2
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"Soft" lenses like this one are pretty specialized and take quite a bit of experimentation to get the effect right (and the exposure sometimes!). However, if that is a lens you want to try, $150 is a steal for it! The aperture problem probably won't make a visible difference in most shots with this lens, and the reason it's been in the shop for so long is that the "soft look" for portraits has fallen out of favor long ago. These days, most people don't know what to do with these special lenses...
03-28-2013, 08:30 AM   #3
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The aperture ring also controls the amount of soft focus, F2.8 will be the highest amount.
From f11 to f32 there is no soft focus effect.
I would not judge the way the aperture blades work on a soft focus lens compared to a regular lens.

Bring your camera in and test the lens out before you decide to buy it.

Phil.
03-28-2013, 08:32 AM   #4
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QuoteOriginally posted by chinotenshi Quote
However, I noticed that at the highest F-stops, the aperture blades don't make a perfect circle. When I'd crank the aperture ring all the way to F22, the bottom blade or two seemed to create more of an oblong, oval shape. At lower F-stops, the slight change in shape is hardly noticeable, but I'm wondering if this discrepancy is the reason the price is as low as it is.
Well, then just don't use it above f11 lol
I don't know, these lenses are, by modern standards, pretty odd. Its hard to say what they are worth, because it really depends on whether the photographer can pull it off. It would be great if you could put it on your camera and take a sample shot in the shop, before buying. You might try to haggle it down a little, mention the aperture worries
Also, the forums would probably have a great time reading your review of this lens

03-28-2013, 08:38 AM   #5
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I think for that kind of money, I'd take it home and have a play.

There is a review on the forum here for this lens, if it helps, follow the link below.

SMC Pentax-FA 28mm F2.8 Soft Reviews - FA Prime Lenses - Pentax Lens Reviews & Lens Database
03-28-2013, 10:35 AM   #6
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QuoteOriginally posted by panoguy Quote
The aperture problem probably won't make a visible difference in most shots with this lens
That's what I was hoping to hear. Considering how expensive these lenses can go, looking at the lens database, the price seems like such a steal. I love messing around with old lenses, and I really like the effect of soft lenses, even if they have fallen out of favor.
03-28-2013, 10:37 AM   #7
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QuoteOriginally posted by Na Horuk Quote
Well, then just don't use it above f11 lol
I don't know, these lenses are, by modern standards, pretty odd. Its hard to say what they are worth, because it really depends on whether the photographer can pull it off. It would be great if you could put it on your camera and take a sample shot in the shop, before buying. You might try to haggle it down a little, mention the aperture worries
Also, the forums would probably have a great time reading your review of this lens
Yeah, I'm going to see if I can get out to the shop tomorrow with my camera and test it out. I won't be able to afford it until mid-April, but if I can haggle the price down due to the aperture, that would be great.
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