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04-14-2017, 04:52 AM   #1
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Sigma 85mm f1.4 or FA 77mm f1.8 or just wait for DFA 85mm f1.4

Hi All,

I am considering to buy a medium telephoto lens for my k-3. I would be happy to get your thoughts. given the k-3 have APS-C sensor which one would you go for?

Sigma 85mm f1.4 EX DG HSM
SMC FA 77mm f1.8
wait for DFA85mm f1.4
or considering the sharpness issue of FF lenses on APS-C sensors 55mm F1.4 SDM?

Thanks in advance.

04-14-2017, 05:25 AM - 1 Like   #2
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While it isn't entirely designed to be the sharpest lens ever*, the FA77 certainly has a charm to its rendering. And the physical quality of the lens itself is marvelous.

The D-FA 85mm f/1.4 is an unknown quantity, i'd wait for reviews to come out before making any decision. The sigma 85mm f/1.4 EX DG HSM has a much quieter focusing mechanism - however it isn't as flare resistant and is substantially larger than the FA77. Both lenses have issues with PF and LoCA.


Pentax K-1 - SMCP-FA77mm f/1.8 Limited ISO100 f/4 1/250th - APS-C Crop mode on.


Pentax K-1 Pentax FA77mm f/1.8 Limited ISO100 1/200th f/2.8

* though at f/4~f/5.6 it produces superb IQ across the frame.
04-14-2017, 06:00 AM - 3 Likes   #3
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I agree with Digitalis. The FA77 is a glorious lens. And amazingly compact, and a joy to handle.





Mind you, there is something indefinably wonderful about the 85/1.4 lenses on full frame. This is a Pentax, not the Sigma, but you get the idea....



04-14-2017, 06:02 AM - 1 Like   #4
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Buy a 77 used. You will be able to sell it later for what you paid for it if you decide to try the 85.

04-14-2017, 07:39 AM - 1 Like   #5
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I'm always puzzled at how often the amazing, optimized for APS-C , delightfully compact, pixie dust rendering DA 70 is overlooked by crop sensor shooters. On the K-3 sensor 85mm might be a touch long (127mm FF equalivent). Why not consider the HD DA 70 (red ring) or a used DA 70 (green ring). Both are plenty sharp and very compact. You could buy & sell a used DA 70 and recover your cost easily. I have 4 HD DA Limiteds in my bag. The most used is the 21 for walk-around. The most loved is the 70 because it's magical for portrait and even landscape when you need a longer focal length. Here are Pentax Photo Gallery Links to view sample photos from a variety of APS-C Pentax Camera Bodies:

HD DA 70 Limited: PENTAX : Select a PENTAX interchangeable lens camera or a lens model

DA 70 Limited: PENTAX : Select a PENTAX interchangeable lens camera or a lens model

Last edited by Saltwater Images; 04-14-2017 at 07:47 AM. Reason: Added text
04-14-2017, 08:14 AM   #6
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QuoteOriginally posted by Saltwater Images Quote
I'm always puzzled at how often the amazing, optimized for APS-C , delightfully compact, pixie dust rendering DA 70 is overlooked by crop sensor shooters.
Mine doesn't get as much love as it should, but that's mostly because I discovered only too late that it has a relatively long minimum focal distance - and I like to get up close. REALLY close (among other things I have rather small dogs for whom a frame-filling shot is an impossibility with the DA70, even on APS-C, unless you want canine front-bokeh). When I can get a good shot, OTOH, the results are really quite impressive. The optics are to die for.

If you KNOW, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that you will move up to the K-1 one day, the DA70 is not such a good idea and an FA or D-FA is a better bet*. When I bought my DA70 the K-1 specs and price hadn't been firmed up, and I couldn't see myself changing up from my K-5 until it was dead, at which point economics said FA77 vs. DA70 and a significant slice of DA15 (the DA21 followed as a corollary).

Then the K-1 came in at an almost unbelievably low price (compared with the worst projections), with mind-numbingly good specs and little if anything bad to be said about its stills-photography capabilities, and that was that. In retrospect, and considering how much film photography I do on K mount bodies, the FA77 might have been the better buy... but everything is easy with the "retrospectoscope".

Long and short: if you're sticking with APS-C, the DA70 is not to be sneezed at - but you will find yourself stepping back a bit compared with most lenses.


* = Yes, you can shoot in crop mode to eliminate any hint of corner vignetting or unsatisfactory performance, but for K-3 shooters it's a big step down in MP. OTOH K-5 (and related body) shooters don't lose enough MP to matter. Everyone else (i.e. pre-K-5 bodies) gains, in every way.

Last edited by pathdoc; 04-14-2017 at 08:20 AM.
04-14-2017, 08:31 AM   #7
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Completely agree with pathdoc on stepping back a little with the 70. You'd step back much more with the Sigma 85. When I want to get close it's the HD DA 40. The FA 77 would cause you to step back too. The DA* is amazing if you can get past the lethargic AF speed. AF with the 70 is blazing fast. Before upgrading to the 40 and 70 The FA 50 f/1.4 was my portrait lens - while the bokeh was stunning and colours warm the 40 and 70 squeeze much more image quality and dynamic range out of my K-5II sensor.

If you plan on full frame eventually maybe a FF lens is better. If you plan on shooting crop fo the foreseeable future maybe you can save a few dollars and invest them in lighting or other tools to optimize your system.
04-14-2017, 09:29 AM   #8
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The 55 has a significantly wider field of view than the others, at 83 equivalent, vs. 105 equivalent for the 70, 115 equivalent for the 77 and 128 equivalent for an 85. Of all these lenses, I only own the DA 70/2.4. It is a great lens, but significantly slower than the others listed. If you are looking for bokeh, it might not be your best choice (although it is far from a bad choice).

04-14-2017, 09:46 AM   #9
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Actually DA 55mm is on my BH Photo wishlist but i also have sigma 17-50 f2.8 and so not sure to buy 55mm. Of course f1.4 is will make difference but in terms of focal length i am looking for something different.

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04-19-2017, 11:00 PM   #10
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I sold my SMC A* 85 f1.4 and bought the FA 77 ltd. I have been very happy with the results. I also own the HD DA 70 Ltd. It is a lovely lens also. Like another poster I use an SMC DA 40 for more intimate shots.

HONESTLY YOU CAN'T GO WRONG... pick one. Enjoy.
04-19-2017, 11:08 PM   #11
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Thanks all.
04-20-2017, 12:16 AM   #12
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Hi there
You could also try the sigma f2.8 EX DG 70mm Macro. Very very sharp, look it up, This is a very affordable and very sharp lens, plus you get the added macro ability.
I've owned one of these for a while now, and it still amazes me. One review on the net stated that it was one of the sharpest lens tested on record, I Didn't believe it at first but once i got hold of a copy, wow.
04-20-2017, 02:31 AM   #13
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Used the DA* 55 for the longst time on APS-C. From f/1.8 on it performed really nicely on K3 - on K5 AF had trouble with indoor light.
FA* 77 produced purple fringes and was too long for APS-C - at least for my likes.
Sigma 85 - is probably the best AF solution overall, but larger than both Pentax, heavier and f/1.4 will make want the DFA* as soon as it is released. The DFA* will probably be of similar dimensions as the Sigma ART 85. So if you want small, go Pentax 55/77 today. If you want large: wait for the DFA*, the older Sigma 85 is somehow in the middle of everything/nothing. Did anyone say that Sigma coupld solve all of Pentax' missing prime lenses at once... the ART series would be great to have - much better than DFA* 50/85 mockups.
I am waiting for the DFA* 85 and will use the DFA*70-200 in the meantime - not perfect, but quite OK. I would consider the FA*77 for the K1. Not the most modern design, but field of view on FF would be quite nice.
04-20-2017, 02:41 AM   #14
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What about ff lenses on k3 apsc? Would u wait for dfa in that case? (in terms of sharpness and Megapixel loss)

Last edited by cataseven; 04-20-2017 at 03:18 AM.
04-20-2017, 04:12 PM   #15
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QuoteOriginally posted by cataseven Quote
What about ff lenses on k3 apsc? Would u wait for dfa in that case? (in terms of sharpness and Megapixel loss)
What sharpness and megapixel loss? The FA 77 is not a razor sharp cut yourself design exactly but it is very sharp and has great characteristics. The megapixels on whatever sensor you use will be leveraged on whatever lens you use.
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