Forgot Password
Pentax Camera Forums Home
 

Reply
Show Printable Version Search this Thread
08-04-2009, 01:58 AM   #1
Site Supporter
Site Supporter
Steve Beswick's Avatar

Join Date: Apr 2009
Location: Ontario, California
Photos: Gallery
Posts: 1,584
85mm prices

Why are prime lenses in the neighborhood of 85mm so much more expensive than say a 50mm or a 135mm?

08-04-2009, 02:05 AM   #2
Veteran Member
Asahiflex's Avatar

Join Date: Jan 2008
Location: Netherlands
Photos: Gallery
Posts: 2,754
QuoteOriginally posted by Steve Beswick Quote
Why are prime lenses in the neighborhood of 85mm so much more expensive than say a 50mm or a 135mm?
A manufacturer sells way less 85mm lenses than 50mm or 135mm lenses (at least it was like this in the past). Also a fast 85mm lens uses more glass than a 50mm or 135mm lens, and the price of a lens largely depends on the amount of glass used (glass elements are the most expensive parts of a lens). On top of this Collectors want to pay more for good glass in the 75-85mm region, basically anything that is regarded a fast portrait lens.

I think that if one is selling fast glass there are numerous Chinese users/collectors who want to buy it. At least that's my impression when I sell my lenses.
08-04-2009, 07:49 AM   #3
Veteran Member
Nesster's Avatar

Join Date: Oct 2006
Location: NJ USA
Photos: Gallery
Posts: 13,047
In the case of Pentax and Takumar - the 85mm is considered to possess special magic, i.e. be one of the top lenses, period. Combine that with their relative rarity...
08-04-2009, 08:16 AM   #4
Pentaxian
Wheatfield's Avatar

Join Date: Apr 2008
Location: The wheatfields of Canada
Posts: 10,188
QuoteOriginally posted by Steve Beswick Quote
Why are prime lenses in the neighborhood of 85mm so much more expensive than say a 50mm or a 135mm?
Comparative rarity of the 85s.
Any rare lens will command a premium price regardless of quality.
Take, for example, the A*135/1.8. It's very rare, very expensive if you can find one, and almost useless until stopped down to the point you may as well have bought a much cheaper 135/2.8.
The price is held up by it's scarcity.

08-04-2009, 08:24 AM   #5
Administrator
Site Webmaster
Adam's Avatar

Join Date: Sep 2006
Location: Arizona
Photos: Gallery | Albums
Posts: 43,661
QuoteOriginally posted by Nesster Quote
In the case of Pentax and Takumar - the 85mm is considered to possess special magic, i.e. be one of the top lenses, period. Combine that with their relative rarity...
Yes, the FA* version is definitely the best prime Pentax ever made! And I have proof

Adam
PentaxForums.com Webmaster (Site Usage Guide | Site Help | My Photography)



PentaxForums.com's high server and development costs are user-supported. You can help cover those costs by donating. Or, buy your photo gear from our affiliates, Adorama, B&H Photo, or Topaz Labs, and get FREE Marketplace access - click here to see how! Trusted Pentax retailers:

08-04-2009, 08:30 AM   #6
Loyal Site Supporter
Loyal Site Supporter
SteveM's Avatar

Join Date: Jan 2009
Location: Vancouver Island, BC, Canada
Photos: Gallery
Posts: 3,295
As Nesster indicated, the 85s are touted as one of the best lenses ever made (by any manufacturer). I have a couple and wasn't so sure about my first one as it took a little to get used to using it, but they do deliver a punch to my pictures and have grown to be my favorite lenses.

85mm is quite close (equates to ~125mm on you dslr) so I would make sure you are fine with that focal length. Re the price.....if you look around long enough, they are cheaper than many new lenses....and I find them to be more rewarding.
08-04-2009, 11:32 AM   #7
Site Supporter
Site Supporter
gofour3's Avatar

Join Date: Oct 2008
Location: Vancouver, Canada
Posts: 5,379
The 85mm focal length on a film camera is like a “super standard” lens with a maximum aperture the same as a 50mm lens. (Example a K85/1.8 and a K55/1.8)

Pentax however marketed the 85mm as a telephoto, ideal for portraiture. (An 85mm is not much of “telephoto” lens, as it would not be your fist choice to shoot wildlife from a distance)

As a result the 85mm was more of a specialty lens and also had a higher MSRP due to the faster speed and special optics. Most non professionals SLR consumers would have opted for a 135mm, which is a decent telephoto focal length on a film camera and can also be used as a portrait lens.

Sales of the 85mm would also be much lower than the 135mm, so they are more expensive today on the used market.
08-04-2009, 09:11 PM   #8
K-9
Veteran Member
K-9's Avatar

Join Date: May 2009
Location: USA
Photos: Albums
Posts: 1,969
QuoteOriginally posted by Adam Quote
Yes, the FA* version is definitely the best prime Pentax ever made! And I have proof
I'll second that.

08-04-2009, 10:38 PM   #9
Site Supporter
Site Supporter
stevebrot's Avatar

Join Date: Mar 2007
Location: Vancouver (USA)
Photos: Gallery | Albums
Posts: 27,663
QuoteOriginally posted by gofour3 Quote
The 85mm focal length on a film camera is like a “super standard” lens with a maximum aperture the same as a 50mm lens. (Example a K85/1.8 and a K55/1.8)

Pentax however marketed the 85mm as a telephoto, ideal for portraiture. (An 85mm is not much of “telephoto” lens, as it would not be your fist choice to shoot wildlife from a distance)

As a result the 85mm was more of a specialty lens and also had a higher MSRP due to the faster speed and special optics. Most non professionals SLR consumers would have opted for a 135mm, which is a decent telephoto focal length on a film camera and can also be used as a portrait lens.

Sales of the 85mm would also be much lower than the 135mm, so they are more expensive today on the used market.
Interestingly, I recently stretched the limits a bit with my Jupiter-9 85/2 and used it along with my Vivitar 135/2.8 for a couple of wakeboarding shots on film. As you note, the 135 gave the extra reach that made the difference for that subject. I was surprised, though, that the J-9 actually did a fairly credible job of delivering the traditional telephoto perspective and focus isolation. I can see that it might be useful for all kinds of subjects where you want the cropped perspective of a tele but are hindered by a close working space and/or need a more compact package with low light capability. Things that come to mind are small to medium stage productions and music venues, basketball, racketball, entertainment clubs, and such when shooting film.

On APS-C, an 85 suddenly becomes a fast medium tele, great for all kinds of subjects in all kinds of light. Woo! Hoo!

Steve

(Here are the wakeboarding shots if anyone is interested...)
08-05-2009, 06:22 AM   #10
Veteran Member
Nesster's Avatar

Join Date: Oct 2006
Location: NJ USA
Photos: Gallery
Posts: 13,047
In a 1975 US mail order ad, this in the SPF / ESII era of SMC lenses:

85/1.8 $143
105/2.8 $107
135/2.5 $127

The 17, 20, and 24mm Taks were more expensive, the 35/2 was about the same price as the 85.
08-05-2009, 08:39 AM   #11
Veteran Member
Mechan1k's Avatar

Join Date: Jun 2007
Location: Sydney, Australia
Posts: 2,891
I love my Super Takumar 85mm f/1.9 (Thanks yet again Jay).
08-05-2009, 09:34 AM   #12
Site Supporter
Site Supporter
stevebrot's Avatar

Join Date: Mar 2007
Location: Vancouver (USA)
Photos: Gallery | Albums
Posts: 27,663
QuoteOriginally posted by Nesster Quote
In a 1975 US mail order ad, this in the SPF / ESII era of SMC lenses:

85/1.8 $143
105/2.8 $107
135/2.5 $127

The 17, 20, and 24mm Taks were more expensive, the 35/2 was about the same price as the 85.
Thanks for the reminder of the relative pricing when many of these lenses were new. In case anyone thinks this stuff was cheap, the U.S. minimum wage in 1975 was $2.10/hr. I had a job that paid $3.25 and thought I was the king of the earth!

Steve

(And no, I had no money for Super-Taks...A one lens guy, that I was...Making up for lost time now...)
08-05-2009, 09:44 AM   #13
Pentaxian
Lowell Goudge's Avatar

Join Date: Jan 2007
Location: Toronto
Photos: Gallery | Albums
Posts: 15,400
something is missing here.

people talk about the 85 being a less produced lens therefore cost (and selling price would be higher) as it appears to be today on the used market, but others have posted that the 85mm were the same price as the 35mm F2.

35mm F2 lenses are cheap and easy to find at any time on E-bay, but not so for the 85.

what's right.

BTW, I gave up and bought the vivitar 85mm F1.4 great portrait lens. worth the value compared to a used Tak or even K mount 85
08-05-2009, 09:58 AM   #14
Banned




Join Date: Oct 2007
Location: Savannah, U.S./Baguio City, P.H.
Posts: 5,979
QuoteQuote:
something is missing here.

people talk about the 85 being a less produced lens therefore cost (and selling price would be higher) as it appears to be today on the used market, but others have posted that the 85mm were the same price as the 35mm F2.

35mm F2 lenses are cheap and easy to find at any time on E-bay, but not so for the 85.

what's right.
well in Pentax land the 35/3.5 was the most common, far more so than the 35/2. also, 35mm was a much more common lens choice amongst amateur photographers as well as photojournalists. just because they may have been priced nearly the same doesnt mean they were bought in the same numbers. I really doubt the 85 was anywhere near as popular as the 35 at that time. of course I could be wrong since I wasn't born until '84.
08-05-2009, 10:11 AM   #15
Site Supporter
Site Supporter
stevebrot's Avatar

Join Date: Mar 2007
Location: Vancouver (USA)
Photos: Gallery | Albums
Posts: 27,663
QuoteOriginally posted by Lowell Goudge Quote
something is missing here.

people talk about the 85 being a less produced lens therefore cost (and selling price would be higher) as it appears to be today on the used market, but others have posted that the 85mm were the same price as the 35mm F2.

35mm F2 lenses are cheap and easy to find at any time on E-bay, but not so for the 85.

what's right.

BTW, I gave up and bought the vivitar 85mm F1.4 great portrait lens. worth the value compared to a used Tak or even K mount 85
Price new is no indication of number sold or current availability/desirability. A good analogy would be a 1965-66 Ford Mustang vs. a Jaguar XKE. Back in the day, Mustangs were inexpensive and common as crows. The Jags...expensive and exclusive. Now...both are expensive and exclusive...

The analogy is rather poor in that my memory is that the 85mm focal length was not that popular or desirable except as a dedicated portrait lens. The classic kit, assuming you had money for lenses, was 28mm or 35mm on the wide end, a 50mm normal, and a 135mm telephoto. Lenses were expensive and most people would buy a 135mm (often matched with a 2x TC) because it had more reach than the 85mm but could still be used for portraits. The 85mm, regardless of quality, was perceived as poor value.

Steve
Reply

Bookmarks
  • Submit Thread to Facebook Facebook
  • Submit Thread to Twitter Twitter
  • Submit Thread to Digg Digg
Tags - Make this thread easier to find by adding keywords to it!
85mm, k-mount, pentax lens, slr lens
Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search


Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Rokinon 85mm f/1.4 vs SMC Pentax-M 85mm F2, which one to choose? YJD Pentax SLR Lens Discussion 110 09-09-2012 11:11 PM
Rumored SAMSUNG 85mm 1.4 could be a 85mm FA rebrand omega leader Pentax News and Rumors 19 09-07-2009 03:05 PM



All times are GMT -7. The time now is 04:38 PM. | See also: NikonForums.com, CanonForums.com part of our network of photo forums!
  • Red (Default)
  • Green
  • Gray
  • Dark
  • Dark Yellow
  • Dark Blue
  • Old Red
  • Old Green
  • Old Gray
  • Dial-Up Style
Hello! It's great to see you back on the forum! Have you considered joining the community?
register
Creating a FREE ACCOUNT takes under a minute, removes ads, and lets you post! [Dismiss]
Top