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05-08-2007, 10:49 AM   #1
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Takumar 85 1.8 or 1.9 - Decent?

Wanted to get peoples thoughts on the above lens which will be used exclusively for indoor shots with no flash allowed at:

1. Middle/High school gym basketball/volleyball games
2. On-stage dance performances in dark room, but the stage/performers are relatively well lit.

What is an acceptable price range for one of the above?

Do lenses generally hold their value? If so, should I consider purchasing a newer one with AF?

Thanks for the advice.

05-08-2007, 01:14 PM   #2
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I have the 85/1.9 SMC Tak, I posted a review in the reviews section. Its a great lens, without a doubt. Wide open it can be a little soft, but it sharpens up quickly. For indoor sports use I would be cautious: narrow DOF is tricky, and the focus throw on this lens is quite long which would make it difficult to track sports where the focal distance changes a lot. It might not be an issue from the sidelines, but if you're shooting head on it might get tricky. If you have good MF technique, it may not be an issue at all.

Good luck finding an 85/1.8 though, they're rare. I got my 85/1.9 SMC (much rarer than the Super-Takumar version) for a little over $200. Demand and thus prices on these have stayed up due to their high image quality, relative low price and useful focal length.
05-08-2007, 01:16 PM   #3
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I just purchased a Takumar 85mm 1.9 to use with my *ist DL2. It's not in perfect condition, but it is very serviceable. And quite sharp.

I paid Canadian $245 (USD $211) for it on eBay. The 1.8's and 1.9's have been going for insane prices, lately -- as high as USD$300 for the 1.9 and USD$500 for the 1.8. These lenses are good, but they are not worth that much when a brand new autofocus lens isn't much more (for example, the Sigma 70mm/2.8 at $440 has been well-reviewed, although it is more that a full stop darker).

It's hard to focus the Takumar 85mm using the focus screen that comes with the *ist DL2. I am considering the purchase of a third-party focus screen that include a split-prism focusing aid.

The DL2 also has trouble metering with this lens -- it chronically underexposes. Adding +1.5 EV takes care of that problem, however.

If you can get one for USD$200 or less, jump at it. Otherwise, save for a new lens.

Last edited by Jim Royal; 05-08-2007 at 01:21 PM.
05-08-2007, 01:22 PM   #4
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I don't have any experience with the 85/1.9 but I do own a K85/1.8 which should be the same optically as the screwmount version. It is a great lens - ok wide open but sharp by f2.8. I have heard that the 85/1.9 is softer wide open than the 85/1.8 (this might be why the 1.8 version goes for considerably more ducats). That being said if you are shooting sporting events I would probably pass on any lens that requires stop down metering and manual focus (unless you are REALLY fast). An autofocus lens will likely net you many more keepers as far as action shots are concerned - a fast tele-zoom would probably be the most logical lens for what you want to do.

05-08-2007, 02:32 PM   #5
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Thanks for replies - new question

Thanks for the replies!

Okay, so it appears that one of these old ones can be had for around $200.. I'm fine with that. Not sure what you mean by "soft"... can you explain?


From those that have been avid fans of SLR for a decade or more... should I perhaps just buck up and buy the 77MM 1.8? What kind of value do lenses retain? If I could drop this on Ebay 3 years from now for $200 I would be fine paying $600 today. But, if it's worth $50 in 3 years... that's a bit to stomach.

Is the 77 capable of decent auto focusing?

I do need to stay with a lens f less than 2 due to the poor lighting conditions I'll be shooting in.


Thanks.
05-08-2007, 04:33 PM   #6
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QuoteOriginally posted by varnco Quote

Okay, so it appears that one of these old ones can be had for around $200.. I'm fine with that. Not sure what you mean by "soft"... can you explain?
You probably will be able to get the 85/1.9 for $200 or less - I would definately figure on spending $300+ on the 85/1.8. "Soft" is a nother way of saying "not sharp" so if you are shooting low light and will be using the lens wide open I would avoid any lens that is "soft" wide open.

QuoteOriginally posted by varnco Quote
should I perhaps just buck up and buy the 77MM 1.8? What kind of value do lenses retain? If I could drop this on Ebay 3 years from now for $200 I would be fine paying $600 today. But, if it's worth $50 in 3 years... that's a bit to stomach.

Is the 77 capable of decent auto focusing?



Thanks.
Unless something catastrophic happens to the Pentax company and they stop making cameras, I would think you would easily be able to sell the 77mm for more than $200 a couple years down the line. It is a great lens - Unless it will be breaking your bank account I would definately recommend the 77 over the older 85mm lenses for your situation (BTW - my 77 is sharper than my 85/1.8 wide open). I have never had a problem with the autofocus speed on the 77, but some have complained that it is a little slow (compared to the 70mm)...It is definately faster than a MF 85mm though

The question now becomes one of focal length - is 77mm gonna be long enough for what you want to do?
05-08-2007, 05:25 PM   #7
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I have the Tamron - 28-75 f2.8 XR Di LD ASP IF MACRO coming this week (I hope - it has been shipped) for some of the same scenarios you mention. My daughter is in the school musical - plus we have graduation indoors and a wedding comming up - I am hoping this lens meets my need - it was recommended by others here. I also purchased a used 50mm f1.7 that works great in low light but will be short for plays.

The last play most of my shots were too dark , mind you I was using my Sigma 70-300mm the lenght was great but the fstop was an issue. If you can get close enough 70 - 80mm may be enough.

Check out this thread https://www.pentaxforums.com/forums/pentax-slr-lens-discussion/6224-low-light...ience-fix.html some good tips for shooting plays and such.

Good Luck
05-08-2007, 05:28 PM   #8
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Thanks for the info.

I bought the K100 so I could take GOOD pictures of my kids doing kid stuff. They just picked stuff to do where there's the least amount of light (could've picked soccer, baseball, or football, but NOOOO....)

I guess I'll guess the 77mm now, since it has the $100 rebate going on it.

Now, the 77 turns into a bigger lens (about a 105) due to the 1.5 factor, right?

05-08-2007, 05:29 PM   #9
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I have the 85/1.8 screwmount and it is sharp, at least in the center, even wide open. However, the depth of field at 1.8 is very limited, and this may account for some reports of softness wide open in this and other lenses of comparable focal length and maximum aperture. Compare the sharpness of the dragon with that of the man in the attached image, ist DS, ISO 1600, 1/45th, 85/1.8 at 1.8. Street lights at night, RAW file, ACR defaults , no post-processing except minor adjustment of white balance.

Last edited by normant; 07-04-2007 at 07:24 PM.
05-08-2007, 05:43 PM   #10
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QuoteOriginally posted by DAP Quote
You probably will be able to get the 85/1.9 for $200 or less - I would definately figure on spending $300+ on the 85/1.8. "Soft" is a nother way of saying "not sharp" so if you are shooting low light and will be using the lens wide open I would avoid any lens that is "soft" wide open.
To be fair, most lenses are 'soft' (or at least softer) wide open, and one would be hard pressed to create a lineup with only lenses that were razor sharp at full aperture.

Below f2 you're not going to have the sharpest photos in the world. If you spend more on the limited, you'll get more resolving power, but IMHO shooting wide open it will still be 'softer' than stopped down, and effect of an open aperture coupled with tough focusing conditions and narrow DOF means it 'aint gonna be easy.
05-08-2007, 06:43 PM   #11
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Hi varnco

One thing you will need to watch out is its reported slowness in AF due to its metal body. Maybe DA70/2.4 or FA135/2.8 (if not too long for your purpose) might be better.

The Field of View (FoV) of the 77mm on a digital body is like 115mm on 35mm. The focal length doesn't change, only the FoV.

cheers
Kenny

QuoteOriginally posted by varnco Quote
Thanks for the info.

I bought the K100 so I could take GOOD pictures of my kids doing kid stuff. They just picked stuff to do where there's the least amount of light (could've picked soccer, baseball, or football, but NOOOO....)

I guess I'll guess the 77mm now, since it has the $100 rebate going on it.

Now, the 77 turns into a bigger lens (about a 105) due to the 1.5 factor, right?
05-08-2007, 09:41 PM   #12
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QuoteQuote:
One thing you will need to watch out is its reported slowness in AF due to its metal body. Maybe DA70/2.4 or FA135/2.8 (if not too long for your purpose) might be better.
I'm afraid I won't be able to get enough light in, to have a 250+ speed,even at 1600, which is why I'm 'focusing' on a 1.8-ish.

I think the 70 will be too short. I'm already a bit concerned about the 77 vs 85
05-08-2007, 11:14 PM   #13
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Okay, now I'm totally confused.

I don't think that the 77mm is going to be long enough for what I need. I didn't realize it was the field of view that increased and not the length .

Looks like something in the 100MM might be more of what I need?
05-09-2007, 12:27 AM   #14
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The length doesn’t change, neither does its weight
But what you get on the picture is the same as if you multiply the length with 1.5 and used an ordinary 35mm camera.
So a 77mm lens on camera with a 1.5 crop factor will catch the same frame as a 115mm on a 35 mm film camera.
05-09-2007, 11:35 AM   #15
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One more question - Teleconverter?

Okay,

Say I go with the 77MM 1.7, and use a 1.4x teleconverter... what happens to my f? Does it go to about a 2? 2.5?

Thanks.
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