Forgot Password
Pentax Camera Forums Home
 

Reply
Show Printable Version Search this Thread
08-09-2016, 07:44 PM   #1
Junior Member
jonnycreative's Avatar

Join Date: Aug 2016
Location: Denver
Posts: 29
Portraiture | Pentax 77 1.8 vs Sigma 85 1.4 | Experiences with each?

Hey, all --

Yes, I know how to use the search feature. Yes, I have used the Google machine. No, I am not lazy. No, I am not trying to ask a redundant question.

I'm also aware that the Pentax 77 has achieved mythological status and, thus, asking for a comparison to a third-party manufacturer will be tantamount to blasphemy in some eyes.

I realize that this question has been asked before but the discussions are old(er) and I'm wondering if there's any new, relevant information.

Basically, I recently purchased some new gear that included a Tamron 70-200 2.8 -- was planning on mainly using this for portraits, mounted on a K-3 body. The lens itself is stellar, and the image quality is great, but only when I am able to nail focus. Between the weight and dimensions of the lens and the slight variability in autofocus accuracy, I'm finding that I don't have as many keepers as I would like. The photos that are good are really good, but don't necessarily have a ton of character. The dimensions are also intimidating for all but professional models.

I am capable, if not a solid photographer. I want a piece of glass that I can rely on to be consistent in the quality and caliber of imagery it produces. I am by no means flush with cash so I am somewhat nervous about such a large investment -- especially after my experience with the Tamron.

So, my plan is to return the Tamron and purchase either the Pentax 77 or Sigma 85. The main uses will be for portraits, lifestyle, and candid street photography. I'm starting to earn a living from portrait, family, and lifestyle work so I need a workhorse lens to support my growth as an artist and professional.

I know that the Sigma focuses faster, is sharper, and is better in low light. I also know that the Pentax tends toward creamier bokeh, has pixie dust potential, and has more character.

I guess I am looking for opinions from experienced photographers who have spent time with both lenses. The photo examples really don't say much as the images tend to be taken with different bodies, in different locations, with an array of lighting, in the hands of photographers ranging from amateur to pro. In other words, I can't discern a whole lot from looking at the photos other than the fact that these are both stellar pieces of glass. I will say, at least on the Flickr group, the 77 images tend to be more heavily processed which makes it harder to evaluate

I am open to any insight, suggestions, thoughts, ridicule, etc.

A friend of mine recently suggested I wait on the Sigma because it was recently announced that the current 85 1.4 is discontinued and will be replaced by an Art version at some point in the [potentially] near future. Given this, I considered going for the Pentax 77. If I am not impressed, the resale value is currently rock-solid -- I could always sell and fund the 85. Food for thought.

Anway. Sorry for the long-winded question. I suppose it's part question and part thinking out loud. Feel free to berate me if this post is in bad taste!

Thanks all!

Cheers,

-Jonny

08-09-2016, 08:04 PM - 1 Like   #2
Senior Member




Join Date: Dec 2012
Location: Orting, WA
Posts: 252
I wish I could help you in the 77 vs. 85 comparison, but I've had neither of those lenses. However, I do wonder -- did you just shoot the Tamron at the wide end? My understanding from a lot of portrait shooters who use 70-200 lenses is that they use the whole range for portraiture, depending on what they want. Do you never do head shots?

Also, don't forget that Pentax had an 85 -- are used copies of that out of your price range? And also that Sigma hasn't necessarily committed to releasing new lenses in the K mount. We can hope, but don't be shocked if it takes them a while to decide there's enough money in Pentax mounts to make one for the 85.
08-09-2016, 08:19 PM   #3
Pentaxian
Kozlok's Avatar

Join Date: Jun 2012
Location: Albuquerque
Photos: Gallery
Posts: 2,816
If you get the 77 used, and decide it's not for you, you can sell it along for what you paid for it. Kind of a free long term rental. They usually sell quickly.

The 77 is absolutely stunning. Both physically and in IQ. Go for it.
08-09-2016, 08:29 PM   #4
Forum Member
Wildfire_ja's Avatar

Join Date: Nov 2006
Location: Jamaica
Posts: 62
I have the Sigma and the Tammy. For portraits, the Sigma is stellar. Before purchasing it I had the same concerns. I wished I had the option to rent them before I purchased. Even while I have no real regrets with the Sigma, I would say if you have the option of renting before your purchase, do so.

08-09-2016, 09:12 PM   #5
Junior Member
jonnycreative's Avatar

Join Date: Aug 2016
Location: Denver
Posts: 29
Original Poster
Fred | I used the entire range, from 70-200. I really don't mind longer working distances. The issue, for me, is that the lens is only sharp at 2.8 between roughly 70-100 and above 150 I need to stop down to at least 4.0 in order to get a sharp image. Maybe my technique is weak but I feel like I have a hard time completely stabilizing the lens (due to size and weight), even at decent shutter speeds. The end-result is an image that initially looks sharp but has a very minute blur or ghosting visible upon import. The lens is primarily useful from 70-100 and even then there seem to be intermittent focusing issues. But if I am going to stick in that range, I may as well have a dedicated lens that is significantly faster and produces a much higher quality image quality. I love the range itself and the variability offered is tremendously useful. However, If I have to shoot 4 x the images to assure I get the shots that i need, the utility quickly spirals toward moot.

Unfortunately, that lens is out of my current price range; it looks phenomenal, though.

I had not considered that, honestly. Great point.

Another concern is that the first generation of new designs usually suffers from all sorts of unexpected issues. It's not until they've been on the market for 6-12 months that quality seems to be more consistent. IMHO. Especially for a third-party lens adapted to the "esoteric" K mount. Haha. Appreciate the input.

Koz | That was my thought as well. Obviously, I've seen and heard some really tremendous things about the lens; it's a legend for a reason. I suppose I suffer from a serious, incurable case of paralysis by analysis...

Wildfire | Unfortunately, renting is not currently an option for me. I would love to be able to shoot with both lenses prior to making a decision. Given how often I use my gear, the weight, balance, and tactile feel all make a tremendous difference to me. Between the two do you prefer the Sigma? If so, why? Out of curiosity, do you happen to have similar examples shots with both? If not, no worries, of course. Thanks for the insight.
08-09-2016, 09:22 PM - 1 Like   #6
Site Supporter
glee46's Avatar

Join Date: Nov 2010
Location: North of San Francisco, California
Photos: Gallery | Albums
Posts: 596
I have both the Sigma 85mm 1.4 & the 77mm. I use both of them for portraits. If I had to pick between the 2, I would stick with my Sigma. On my K1, I like the IQ better. But, that's me and I mostly use it in my small studio. However, the Sigma has taken great shots outside as well on portraits. Good luck and let us know what you decided.
08-09-2016, 09:26 PM - 1 Like   #7
Loyal Site Supporter
Loyal Site Supporter
clackers's Avatar

Join Date: Jul 2013
Location: Melbourne
Photos: Albums
Posts: 13,480
(Edit: Corrected links)

Have you actually done the AF microadjustments on the Tamron since you received it, though?

I find it to be a beautiful portrait lens:



Mind you, my silver FA77 is great, too:



The Sigma 85mm by all accounts is a wonderful piece of glass (@Winder is an owner) and the Australian eBay vendor DCxpert has stock available.

Last edited by clackers; 08-09-2016 at 11:05 PM.
08-09-2016, 09:42 PM - 1 Like   #8
Loyal Site Supporter
Loyal Site Supporter
UncleVanya's Avatar

Join Date: Jul 2014
Photos: Gallery | Albums
Posts: 15,987
I own the fa77, da70, da200, da*60-250, da*50-135, and previously owned the a*85 1.4 and on my k3 the fa77 and DA*50-135 are the best most of the time. The 1.4 dof can be very challenging to focus on apsc and on ff film before it. (no k1 here). I find I prefer the look of fa77 over fa85, not as familiar with the sigma. I find the fa77 gives a shallow enough dof without leaving key parts of my subject blurred. That is more a matter of style and taste. LeRolls has recently acquired the fa85 and loved it more than the 77. He also recently added a k-1 to the mix.

Back to my own experience. I think if the 70-200 seemed too heavy and not quite the lens for potraits you might want to try the 50-135. It gives you a similar look on apsc and has stunning iq. The 77 is no slouch and is faster and can shoot with shallower dof - but the 50-135 is the right zoom if you think a zoom is a good answer to portraits. I'm afraid I can't post a shot from today due to poor internet access. Your one downside to the 50-135 is future k-1 use if any is planned.


Last edited by UncleVanya; 08-09-2016 at 09:48 PM.
08-09-2016, 09:47 PM - 3 Likes   #9
Moderator
Site Supporter
Loyal Site Supporter
Sandy Hancock's Avatar

Join Date: Feb 2012
Location: Adelaide Hills, South Australia
Photos: Gallery | Albums
Posts: 8,288
Just get the FA77.

I had a FA*85/1.4 for a while, and despite the beautiful image quality, it was shockingly big compared to the FA77. The Sigma is bigger: three times the weight of the 77.
08-09-2016, 09:56 PM - 1 Like   #10
Loyal Site Supporter
Loyal Site Supporter




Join Date: Aug 2011
Photos: Albums
Posts: 2,008
I have both. They are very different lenses, although both for portrait.
Sigma is very sharp from 1.4 from minimum to ~15ft, and needs a lot stop down for far away shots. Not sure if it is the lens design or AF accuracy at distance. f2.0 is sharp sharp sharp.
77 is not as sharp wide open, but is definitely more than enough sharp for portrait. I take 77 90% of chance.
I take Sig 85 only when I want to take full body portrait and still want DOF controlled.
And I haven't talked about color and rendering. 77 is better to my eyes.
08-09-2016, 10:16 PM   #11
Junior Member
jonnycreative's Avatar

Join Date: Aug 2016
Location: Denver
Posts: 29
Original Poster
glee | Thanks so much for the input.Completely understand that personal preferences extend well beyond technical specifications and on-paper performance.

clackers | Yes, I have. Had to correct for some significant back-focus that became more pronounced as focal length increased.

The issue doesn't seem to back or front focus, but maybe an intermittent combination of the two? Focus almost seems to hop around at times, despite the fact that I use center focus. Though, admittedly, it could me and my lack of refined technique at handholding such a large lens. It is significantly less forgiving than my 35!

For whatever reason, I can't see the images that you posted.

Out of curiosity, do you prefer the Tamron or Pentax for portraits? Or is it wholly dependent on the situation and circumstances? Also, are you using the Tamron on the K-1 or a crop-sensor?

Thanks for the input!
08-09-2016, 10:28 PM   #12
Junior Member
jonnycreative's Avatar

Join Date: Aug 2016
Location: Denver
Posts: 29
Original Poster
Sorry for the multiple posts. Didn't realize there were new responses. Laptop has been sitting idle on this page.

Vanya | Firstly, thanks so much for the advice; especially given your collection of and experience with a wide variety of lenses.

Honestly, I'm not sure how I feel about the zoom. I told myself I needed it in case I decided to delve into shooting weddings, events, etc. But that's not the current situation and I'm not sure it will ever manifest. I can say that I refined and evolved my photographic skills through street photography using a 35mm and 50mm lens, respectively. Maybe it's the zoom itself that feels odd and foreign.

I am definitely a fan of quality over quantity and I absolutely feel like I'm sacrificing image quality for the sake of range. I seriously considered the 50-135 but heard a ton of horror stories about SDM failure. Given how much I use my gear and given that my finances are somewhat limited, I opted not to take the risk.

Right now, I'm running 2 K-3 bodies but would love to upgrade when and if finances allow -- so investing in FF compatible lenses is definitely a relevant consideration.

Sandy | Thanks for the input. Size is definitely a consideration, both from a practical standpoint and how I interact with clients, models, and subjects. I like the small form factor of the 77; it is infinitely less intimidating and I feel like people would be a lot more at ease without a coffee can pointing in their direction.

I see that you have both the K-1 and K-3. Are you a fan of the IQ and performance of the 77 on your K-3? Thanks!

Grahame | Appreciate your opinion and insight. Your opinion seems to echo a lot of what I've read -- the Sigma produces sharper images but the 77 produces images that have a more appealing "aesthetic".
08-09-2016, 10:35 PM - 1 Like   #13
Administrator
Site Webmaster
Adam's Avatar

Join Date: Sep 2006
Location: Arizona
Photos: Gallery | Albums
Posts: 49,075
QuoteOriginally posted by jonnycreative Quote
Sorry for the multiple posts. Didn't realize there were new responses. Laptop has been sitting idle on this page.

Vanya | Firstly, thanks so much for the advice; especially given your collection of and experience with a wide variety of lenses.

Honestly, I'm not sure how I feel about the zoom. I told myself I needed it in case I decided to delve into shooting weddings, events, etc. But that's not the current situation and I'm not sure it will ever manifest. I can say that I refined and evolved my photographic skills through street photography using a 35mm and 50mm lens, respectively. Maybe it's the zoom itself that feels odd and foreign.

I am definitely a fan of quality over quantity and I absolutely feel like I'm sacrificing image quality for the sake of range. I seriously considered the 50-135 but heard a ton of horror stories about SDM failure. Given how much I use my gear and given that my finances are somewhat limited, I opted not to take the risk.

Right now, I'm running 2 K-3 bodies but would love to upgrade when and if finances allow -- so investing in FF compatible lenses is definitely a relevant consideration.

Sandy | Thanks for the input. Size is definitely a consideration, both from a practical standpoint and how I interact with clients, models, and subjects. I like the small form factor of the 77; it is infinitely less intimidating and I feel like people would be a lot more at ease without a coffee can pointing in their direction.

I see that you have both the K-1 and K-3. Are you a fan of the IQ and performance of the 77 on your K-3? Thanks!

Grahame | Appreciate your opinion and insight. Your opinion seems to echo a lot of what I've read -- the Sigma produces sharper images but the 77 produces images that have a more appealing "aesthetic".
You should use the @tagging syntax to let other users know you're quoting them, or simply over over the text of their post and a link to quote that excerpt will appear

Adam
PentaxForums.com Webmaster (Site Usage Guide | Site Help | My Photography)



PentaxForums.com server and development costs are user-supported. You can help cover these costs by donating. Or, buy your photo gear from our affiliates, Adorama, B&H Photo, KEH, or Topaz Labs, and get FREE Marketplace access - click here to see how! Trusted Pentax retailers:

08-09-2016, 10:54 PM   #14
Junior Member
jonnycreative's Avatar

Join Date: Aug 2016
Location: Denver
Posts: 29
Original Poster
QuoteOriginally posted by Adam Quote
You should use the @tagging syntax to let other users know you're quoting them, or simply over over the text of their post and a link to quote that excerpt will appear
Noted! Thank you!

---------- Post added 08-10-16 at 12:02 AM ----------

@fredralphfred | @Kozlok | @Wildfire_ja | @glee46 | @clackers | @UncleVanya | @SandyHancock | @grahame |

Thanks to all of your for your insight and input. I apologize for not quoting/tagging you properly. Getting used to the forum.

I've responded to each of you throughout the thread.
08-09-2016, 11:09 PM - 1 Like   #15
Loyal Site Supporter
Loyal Site Supporter
clackers's Avatar

Join Date: Jul 2013
Location: Melbourne
Photos: Albums
Posts: 13,480
QuoteOriginally posted by jonnycreative Quote

For whatever reason, I can't see the images that you posted!
Corrected, mate, my fault, not yours.

QuoteOriginally posted by jonnycreative Quote
Out of curiosity, do you prefer the Tamron or Pentax for portraits? Or is it wholly dependent on the situation and circumstances? Also, are you using the Tamron on the K-1 or a crop-sensor?
These are on the K-1.

On crop sensor, the DA*50-135 gets used instead of the Tammy.

I'll use primes when there is a lot of time to set up, but usually zooms to avoid 'missing the shot'.
Reply

Bookmarks
  • Submit Thread to Facebook Facebook
  • Submit Thread to Twitter Twitter
  • Submit Thread to Digg Digg
Tags - Make this thread easier to find by adding keywords to it!
images, k-mount, lens, lifestyle, pentax, pentax lens, photographers, portraiture | pentax, post, question, sigma, slr lens, tamron, vs sigma
Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search


Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
For Sale - Sold: Pentax K-3, K-5IIs, FA* 85/1.4, FA 31/1.8, Sigma 15/2.8, DA 18-135, ... + MORE wullemaha Sold Items 13 09-04-2015 02:53 AM
K85/1.8 vs Samyang 85/1.4 FF comparision yusuf Pentax SLR Lens Discussion 7 04-13-2015 01:50 PM
Better Portrait Lens? FA 77 1.8 vs DA 55* 1.4 reivax Pentax SLR Lens Discussion 83 01-02-2015 06:45 AM
FA 77/1.8 or Sigma 85/1.4? Wilson1802 Pentax SLR Lens Discussion 34 04-05-2013 08:06 AM
Takumar 85 1.8 vs 77 limited OrenMc Pentax SLR Lens Discussion 12 08-21-2008 09:17 AM



All times are GMT -7. The time now is 06:35 PM. | See also: NikonForums.com, CanonForums.com part of our network of photo forums!
  • Red (Default)
  • Green
  • Gray
  • Dark
  • Dark Yellow
  • Dark Blue
  • Old Red
  • Old Green
  • Old Gray
  • Dial-Up Style
Hello! It's great to see you back on the forum! Have you considered joining the community?
register
Creating a FREE ACCOUNT takes under a minute, removes ads, and lets you post! [Dismiss]
Top