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06-05-2009, 11:36 AM   #1
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85/1.4 FA*/ A* or Zeiss??

Im looking for a midrange fast prime and I have been looking at FA* and A* but sence I got my voigtlander I have realy started to like Manual focus (need to get a katzeye or similar for a 1.4 I think).

How well does the FA* / A* preform compared to the Zeiss. Because Zeiss have gotten some pretty nice review in sharpness etc. Similar price for them all too. A* can get a bit exp tho.

Dreams of taking concert pictures with a 85/1.4 image stabilisation.

06-05-2009, 08:20 PM   #2
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there really isn't much difference in optical quality between the Zeiss/Pentax lenses they all perform at an equally high level and in some situations the FA* will outperform the Zeiss.

as a matter of taste I prefer the out of focus rendering of the Pentax lenses, Zeiss lenses have a tendency to be a bit harsh.
06-05-2009, 08:54 PM   #3
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I'm not familiar with the Zeiss, the A*85/1.4 is good enough that I'm not looking. I don't think you can go wrong with that lens, but do be prepared to pay through the nose for one.
06-06-2009, 11:10 AM   #4
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I would say, go with an AF lens.
It is very difficult to focus an f1.4 lens correctly, esp. 85mm.

06-06-2009, 02:25 PM   #5
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MF is definitely a pain in the ass which is why I use mostly FA lenses, but with a bright non-wide lens + manual focus screen, it's pretty easy.

Also well worth it for certain lenses like the A*85
06-06-2009, 09:27 PM   #6
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Angelodon(sp?) did a comparison of the A* 85mm and the Zeiss 85mm and I thought the A* photos were much better. It convinced me to get the A*. The Zeiss images wide open were hazier if I remember correctly.

Now I've got the FA* and A* 85s and they're both great.
06-07-2009, 03:46 PM   #7
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QuoteOriginally posted by melander Quote
Im looking for a midrange fast prime and I have been looking at FA* and A* but sence I got my voigtlander I have realy started to like Manual focus (need to get a katzeye or similar for a 1.4 I think).

How well does the FA* / A* preform compared to the Zeiss. Because Zeiss have gotten some pretty nice review in sharpness etc. Similar price for them all too. A* can get a bit exp tho.

Dreams of taking concert pictures with a 85/1.4 image stabilisation.
Now I have only shot the Zeiss in f-mount, but it is an absolutely stellar lens all the way from wide open IMHO.

The FA*85 and probably the A*85 are so close that the differences will be down to personal preferences, rather than whatever measured difference in wide open sharpness people are going to point you to.

I would probably go with the FA* if I had all 3 options available for me or the zeiss, depending on how well it does on APS-C

QuoteOriginally posted by Digitalis Quote
there really isn't much difference in optical quality between the Zeiss/Pentax lenses they all perform at an equally high level and in some situations the FA* will outperform the Zeiss.

as a matter of taste I prefer the out of focus rendering of the Pentax lenses, Zeiss lenses have a tendency to be a bit harsh.
Now that may or may not be true, but the one thing i have not found the zeiss is harsh in its OOF renderings.

A few examples (totally unsharpened samples):




But then again I could be wrong and that you consider these samples harsh in OOF rendering.

That said I really like the FA*85 output too.
06-07-2009, 05:31 PM   #8
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well I don't theink they are harsh. The issue I'm talking about is when the Zeiss 85mm f/1.4 it is used for more than head/shoulder portraits. admit it, even the FA77 could create those images without breaking a sweat. Those samples are superb, but at mid to long distances and in the contrasty Australian light I work with a lot of zeiss lenses don't seem to handle the contrast all that well.

06-07-2009, 06:04 PM   #9
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QuoteOriginally posted by Digitalis Quote
well I don't theink they are harsh. The issue I'm talking about is when the Zeiss 85mm f/1.4 it is used for more than head/shoulder portraits. admit it, even the FA77 could create those images without breaking a sweat. Those samples are superb, but at mid to long distances and in the contrasty Australian light I work with a lot of zeiss lenses don't seem to handle the contrast all that well.
Well, i would hate to say that you are worng, but these partivular shots would not be doable with the FA77
But agreed the FA77 is up there with the best and on APS-C better suited for headshots than the ZF85 is on the D3

Well the australian light probably is very harsh and contrasty but so is the light up here, a regular nightmare during summer and extremely contrasty as well.

So I do know what you mean, but have not encountered what you talk about with the zeiss lenses, much of it probably comes down to taste and preferences.
I personally think one ot the things about the ZF85 that is so great is its abilities in high contrast situations.

But as stated in my post above, the difference between 85mm lenses in general, whether nikkor 85/1.4D, FA*85 or Zeiss 85 are down to personal preference.
06-07-2009, 09:51 PM   #10
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QuoteOriginally posted by blende8 Quote
I would say, go with an AF lens.
It is very difficult to focus an f1.4 lens correctly, esp. 85mm.
Do you mean only at 1.4? I normally manual focus about 95% of the time and have zero issues, however I never shoot wide open.
06-07-2009, 11:26 PM   #11
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Of course, the wider open the lens, the more critical is exact focus.
If you have non-moving objects you have several tries and can vary the focus, but if you have moving objects like your kids, it is almost impossible to follow them with manual focus.
Thus, it depends on your motives if AF is needed or not.
06-08-2009, 12:00 AM   #12
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Well, this thread helped me! NOT!! :P

Well, I have narrowed it down to Zeiss or FA* sence I have heard that Zeiss is better for Manual focus. If this is true or not I cant say. But atm Zeiss is in a bettre price range too.

Manual focus wont be an issue sence Im getting the splitfocus screen to my K-7. And I feel I miss less shots when I manual focus then when I trust the AF when shooting action.

Tho, the FA* is a fine looking lens <3 But so is zeiss, and I think it would go great with my voigtlander.

AAAAHHHHHHH, how to decide, I think I just throw that dice.
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