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03-15-2017, 11:33 AM   #1
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Help: M 85 or wait?

I came across an M 85 for a good price and I am tempted. At the same time, having read some reviews here, it seems that it is not as good as K, A, FA 85, or FA 77. It doesn't help that I don't have any of those lenses either I read that it is a good value in a sense that you get less of a lens for a much less of a price. But then I thought that if I didn't buy the lenses that I did buy this year (Helios 40, Jupiter 3, and Jupiter 11), I would have been half the way towards FA77, and with this M85 I would be 3/4th of the way. So I am trying to decide whether to sell stuff I don't use and save up for the more expensive lenses, or just go for the M85 right now. I must say I do prefer K rendering (based on K28 f3.5 vs M28 f2.8). I know it's a tough question, and probably one that has been raised before, but what would you guys have done?

03-15-2017, 12:05 PM   #2
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I've owned both, and both are good performers. When I sold a lot of redundant lenses I kept the 85 f/1.8 K as I think it is slightly sharper wide open, which is where I use it a lot for theater photography. Balanced against that is the smaller size and weight of the M series. Both the K and M series have the same issue with metering on digital bodies--if you don't mind that, I would say go with the 85 M. I haven't used the 77, which has a great reputation. But since you seem to like the look of older lenses, you might like the 85 M well enough.

Last edited by Cascadilla; 03-15-2017 at 12:07 PM. Reason: Had further thoughts...
03-15-2017, 02:17 PM   #3
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K 85

I've never had a chance to use M85, but I acquired K 85 couple of years ago. I also owned 2 copies of FA 77, one at the same time as K 85, so I was able to compare. My opinion is that FA 77 met its match in K 85. Optically and in terms of construction I even prefer older lens slightly, On the other hand FA77 has autofocus and built-in hood, and more delicate design.
Two things I will highlight - I noticed that K85 renders blue tones little cooler and doesn't suffer from purple fringing as FA77. I highly recommend K85, if you can find one for reasonable price and don't mind manual focusing.
03-15-2017, 03:15 PM   #4
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I am very happy with my M85 2.0. Very small, very nice rendering.
Used for portraits it is great; I have no problem using it for landscape @ 4.0 either.

03-16-2017, 11:49 AM   #5
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It's not really my preferred focal length, and it's a tricky lens to master.
But if you get it for a decent price in good nick, simply go for it.
I might get another copy of it myself if I ever find a mint one.

When you nail it it gives stellar shots. Don't expect to learn it as quickly as the M28/2.8. Well I didn't.

Seb
03-16-2017, 12:40 PM   #6
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I'd love to see a side-by-side comparison of the FA77 to the K85/1.8. I have the 77 and my only complain when using it on a film body is focusing because it's not dampened like a MF lens.
03-16-2017, 01:03 PM   #7
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QuoteOriginally posted by jtkratzer Quote
I'd love to see a side-by-side comparison of the FA77 to the K85/1.8. I have the 77 and my only complain when using it on a film body is focusing because it's not dampened like a MF lens.
I have the FA77/1.8, K85/1.8 and A85/1.4 and only use them on my manual focus film cameras.

They are all good, but yes the FA77 is the worst for manual focusing and overall my least favourite. (The A85 is my 1st choice)

Phil.
03-16-2017, 01:21 PM   #8
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QuoteOriginally posted by gofour3 Quote
I have the FA77/1.8, K85/1.8 and A85/1.4 and only use them on my manual focus film cameras.

They are all good, but yes the FA77 is the worst for manual focusing and overall my least favourite. (The A85 is my 1st choice)

Phil.
Thanks, Phil. The last thing I needed on my 35mm wishlist was a lens with a limited price tag.

03-16-2017, 05:00 PM   #9
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I spent a long time looking for a nice M85, but I eventually gave up and bought the Rokinon 85 f1.4.

It cost about the same.

It meters in all modes, is absurdly sharp, has nice colors, and focuses well (apart from the thin depth of field).

I'm pleased, and it will hold me until I can justify the DFA ☺

-Eric
03-18-2017, 03:57 PM   #10
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Original Poster
QuoteOriginally posted by Cascadilla Quote
I've owned both, and both are good performers. When I sold a lot of redundant lenses I kept the 85 f/1.8 K as I think it is slightly sharper wide open, which is where I use it a lot for theater photography. Balanced against that is the smaller size and weight of the M series. Both the K and M series have the same issue with metering on digital bodies--if you don't mind that, I would say go with the 85 M. I haven't used the 77, which has a great reputation. But since you seem to like the look of older lenses, you might like the 85 M well enough.
Sorry, got flu, so was out of commission for a couple of days. Thanks for the comment - I would probably use an 85mm lens wide open quite a bit, so it's good to know that K 85 is sharper...

---------- Post added 03-18-17 at 03:59 PM ----------

QuoteOriginally posted by vrrattko Quote
I've never had a chance to use M85, but I acquired K 85 couple of years ago. I also owned 2 copies of FA 77, one at the same time as K 85, so I was able to compare. My opinion is that FA 77 met its match in K 85. Optically and in terms of construction I even prefer older lens slightly, On the other hand FA77 has autofocus and built-in hood, and more delicate design.
Two things I will highlight - I noticed that K85 renders blue tones little cooler and doesn't suffer from purple fringing as FA77. I highly recommend K85, if you can find one for reasonable price and don't mind manual focusing.
I don't mind manual focusing, in fact, I love it. I am surprised that the K 85 has less fringing, that's good to know.

---------- Post added 03-18-17 at 04:00 PM ----------

QuoteOriginally posted by wpvv Quote
I am very happy with my M85 2.0. Very small, very nice rendering.
Used for portraits it is great; I have no problem using it for landscape @ 4.0 either.
Thanks! Weight can definitely be an issue...

---------- Post added 03-18-17 at 04:01 PM ----------

QuoteOriginally posted by jtkratzer Quote
I'd love to see a side-by-side comparison of the FA77 to the K85/1.8. I have the 77 and my only complain when using it on a film body is focusing because it's not dampened like a MF lens.
So would I! With FA 85 just to make it more interesting

---------- Post added 03-18-17 at 04:02 PM ----------

QuoteOriginally posted by gofour3 Quote
I have the FA77/1.8, K85/1.8 and A85/1.4 and only use them on my manual focus film cameras.

They are all good, but yes the FA77 is the worst for manual focusing and overall my least favourite. (The A85 is my 1st choice)

Phil.
Thanks Phil, that's good to know. I am selling my last two AF lenses, so ease of manual focusing is very important.

---------- Post added 03-18-17 at 04:04 PM ----------

QuoteOriginally posted by TwoUptons Quote
I spent a long time looking for a nice M85, but I eventually gave up and bought the Rokinon 85 f1.4.

It cost about the same.

It meters in all modes, is absurdly sharp, has nice colors, and focuses well (apart from the thin depth of field).

I'm pleased, and it will hold me until I can justify the DFA ☺

-Eric
Haven't thought about Rokinon, to be honest. Phil told me that would break LX karma
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