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06-28-2009, 11:53 AM   #1
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77 vs. 85 limited

I'm sure this has been brought up before, but the search yielded no results for me

To anyone who's tried on or the other

How much better is the 85 1.4 limited (the mid 90s grey "teacup hood") vs. the 77 1.8 limited?

I know both are great, .4 stop difference etc etc.

But is the 77 close enough or is it worth gunning/saving for the 85 and hittin' ebay?

06-28-2009, 12:32 PM   #2
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I had the FA*85 (it is not a Limited lens btw) in mid 90's and found the FA77 to be more useable wide open on film. The 85 has special quality which is nicer for portrait than the 77, but at macro & infinity distance, the sharpness dropped dramatically. Being smaller & lighter the 77 is much nicer to use but it has PF which is visible on film, and more noticeable on digital. I didn't keep the 85 long enough to find out if it had PF too. Personally I consider the FA*85 a portrait lens only, and not as good as the A*85/1.4 optically. There are quite a lot of hypes surrounding used Pentax lenses, and this is one of them imho.
06-28-2009, 02:35 PM   #3
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QuoteOriginally posted by wlachan Quote

...but it has PF which is visible on film, and more noticeable on digital...
Not wanting to hijack the thread, but that is an interesting comment. I have been shooting film since the late 60s and have never seen PF (Purple Fringing) with any lens on negative film or slides. CA yes, PF no.

Steve

(P.S. I have not experienced objectionable PF with my 77 Limited, but then again, perhaps I am too easy to please. I have only seen it on one test shot where I was intentionally trying to generate PF. The best I could do was to create a very mild case. Here is the link to Photozone's tests of the FA 77 that include a discussion of CA and PF with this lens: Pentax FA 77/1.8 Limited - Analysis.)

Last edited by stevebrot; 06-28-2009 at 02:41 PM.
06-28-2009, 03:35 PM   #4
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I haven't tried the FA 77mm Ltd but I have both the A* 85mm and FA* 85mm. I did a comparison of the two lenses a couple months back that you should be able to find. Basically I decided to keep the FA* 85mm. It is very sharp wide open, and also at all apertures. The bokeh it produces is amazing and it is very resistant to chromatic aberration/purple fringing. It is essentially the perfect portrait lens as far as I'm concerned. The only real negative, and it's a small one compared to the otherwise great performance, is that it can flare fairly badly wide opent under certain conditions. This is easily avoidable though.

I doubt the 77mm Ltd could be any better IQ wise so if size and money aren't big concerns I'd go with the FA* 85mm. The small size of the 77mm Ltd would be nice though, and it is definitely a stellar performer from what I've seen.

06-28-2009, 03:52 PM   #5
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I've owned the 77mm Ltd and shot with the 2 85mm's (although they weren't mine) The A*85 is the best of the 3 but only a hair better than the FA*85mm and the 77mm is very close to that. IMO the only real disavantage of the 77mm over the 85's is a little PF on digital in certain high contrast scenes. But not bad enough that you couldn't correct it easily.

So the question is, do you want to spend double to get less than a 1% difference in IQ/rendering etc. If you are a Pro, I'd say yes (maybe), if not get the 77mm and use the money saved toward a 31mm or 43 or...
06-28-2009, 03:52 PM   #6
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QuoteOriginally posted by Psynema Quote
I'm sure this has been brought up before, but the search yielded no results for me

To anyone who's tried on or the other

How much better is the 85 1.4 limited (the mid 90s grey "teacup hood") vs. the 77 1.8 limited?

I know both are great, .4 stop difference etc etc.

But is the 77 close enough or is it worth gunning/saving for the 85 and hittin' ebay?
I think it is actually a 3/4 stop. And the 77mm is much much cheaper than the 84 limited. I guess since you are looking at both, why not try the 55mm f/1.4?
06-28-2009, 07:02 PM   #7
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Even if they cost the same, I might prefer the FA77 based on its size and usability. This despite the fact that the 85mm lenses have slightly nicer bokeh. But it's very slight, only really noticeable in direct comparison.
06-28-2009, 11:39 PM   #8
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Thanks for the info.

77mm still is available in stores, so I guess that's the way to go - cheaper and you can get it new with a return/warranty, etc .

As per 1.4 lenses as mentioned, I had on my wish list the Asahi SMC 1.4 50mm...usually not even $100 on ebay, so doubt there's a better deal than that...is there LOL?

06-29-2009, 12:21 AM   #9
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QuoteOriginally posted by stevebrot Quote
Not wanting to hijack the thread, but that is an interesting comment. I have been shooting film since the late 60s and have never seen PF (Purple Fringing) with any lens on negative film or slides. CA yes, PF no.

Steve

(P.S. I have not experienced objectionable PF with my 77 Limited, but then again, perhaps I am too easy to please. I have only seen it on one test shot where I was intentionally trying to generate PF. The best I could do was to create a very mild case. Here is the link to Photozone's tests of the FA 77 that include a discussion of CA and PF with this lens: Pentax FA 77/1.8 Limited - Analysis.)
I'm new to this but I did read an article with examples pointing out the purple fringing and it does look like a consistent mini problem if you're not careful.
06-29-2009, 08:23 AM   #10
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I have borrowed and used a close friend's 77 and have witness PF on some high contrast shots.

Here in Singapore, it's bright sunny day nearly everyday of the year! Still, PF is an issue on only 2-3% of all the shots I have taken with it

For it's price, size and optical performance, it's an amazing lens

I'm diligently saving up for one of my own
06-29-2009, 08:32 AM   #11
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QuoteOriginally posted by Psynema Quote
I'm new to this but I did read an article with examples pointing out the purple fringing and it does look like a consistent mini problem if you're not careful.
This is quite true, though I don't know if the 77 is worse than most other lenses. Unfortunately, most of my glass is "vintage", so I don't have a lot of modern stuff to compare to. Of the lenses in my signature, the Zenitar 16 is the worst PF offender and there is some PF with all of the remainder. I just consider it to be one part of the whole digital experience. Fortunately, most PF is only really visible at 100% and not an issue at most viewing/printing resolutions.

Steve
06-29-2009, 09:13 AM   #12
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QuoteOriginally posted by stevebrot Quote
Fortunately, most PF is only really visible at 100% and not an issue at most viewing/printing resolutions.
Yeah. Quite a lot of the lenses I have, including the FA77, will show PF. I don't sweat it, though. If need be it's easy to tone it down in PP. This is one "defect" that really doesn't hinder my photography.
06-29-2009, 09:28 AM   #13
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Seems like 77 is good enough, but man, it's half the price, which is still a sizeable chunk to save towards the 85mm...

Can't wait to try video on both of these as well.

Mark ii video + 85mm L 1.2 is SURREAL AS HELL, but suffers in video from lack of IS, which I won't have to worry about on the pentax. Also, the DOF on that was so shallow at times it looked like blue screen, so maybe the Pentax tones it down with the smaller sensor.
07-01-2009, 12:38 PM   #14
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Just picked up a 77 Ltd, and it's a nice little lens. Good weight and solid feel to it, also like the built in hood. Going to go out and take some shots and see this thing in action!
07-01-2009, 01:19 PM   #15
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The 77mm is a fantastic all rounder. The FA*85 is a great lens, but it is a dedicated portrait/short range lens. It does not handle distance shots well.

I have both and if I had to let one go it would be the 85.
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