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09-15-2009, 08:29 PM   #1
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Where the heck can I get a long, wide-aperture lens?

I've decided I need/want a lens that has a thinner possible DOF than my Asahi 50mm F1.4 can give me. I'd prefer if it was as tack sharp wide open as my Asahi is, but I'm willing to sacrifice if I have to. I'm willing to spend some decent cash to get this kind of lens.

I know of two options so far:
1. One of those 50mm F1.2s
2. The 77 F1.8 (The 70mm f2.4 is not an option - the DOF won't be as thin)

But what else is there? I'm looking for the shallowest possible DOF I can get for a Pentax camera. What are some obscure/obvious lens choices which I have not thought of?

Any ideas?

Isn't there an oldschool 135 F2 that can be adapted to Kmount? I forget.

09-15-2009, 08:44 PM   #2
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There are some old 135mm f1.8 lenses made for M42 mount (I know vivitar made one...and somem other rebranded versions I think), easily adaptable to k-mount (but full manual aperture). I'm not sure that they are the sharpest wide open...but not sure if you care about that or not.

You could also check out the 300mm f2.8 made by Tamron for the Adaptall mount, for which you can buy a k-mount version, even ka-mount I believe. Tamron made 2 versions of the lens, and they show up every now and again on eBay. Check the link below and clink on "SP Adaptall-2 Lenses" on the left to see some lenses.

Adaptall-2.com

Pentax made an FA version 300/2.8, but you'd have to pony up a few grand to get one of those.

A 200/2.8 (available in the current DA* version) will give you a pretty small DOF, I think smaller than 50/1.4 for the same subject magnification.
09-15-2009, 08:59 PM   #3
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Helios 40 85mm f1.5, Carl Zeiss Biotar 75mm f1.5, Carl Zeiss ZF Planar T* 85mm F1.4
09-15-2009, 09:02 PM   #4
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Good thought arpaagent - there are actually two Tamron 300mm f/2.8's at KEH right now - the "bargain" condition one is listed for $645 (that's without the adaptall-2 mount adapter you'd need - another $30-$100 depending on which model you get). You sometimes see 'em for less on ebay, but I'd rather buy a BGN one from KEH than take my chances on ebay...

Question for the OP is whether a long (and heavy) telephoto will suit your needs, or would something more compact like an 85mm f/1.4 be more suitable.

09-16-2009, 09:40 AM   #5
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I suppose I'll change my mind a bit and say that I don't want to go much higher than 135mm. What I'm looking for is a portrait lens.

I've just rediscovered the Pentax 85mm F1.4, and it looks like a fantastic option. The $800 price is hard to swallow, but it's manageable.

But I've also just come across a whole slew of knockoffs that go for $350 instead! The reviews seem good too! The most common variant is the one made by Vivitar, but apparently, this lens is also available under the names Polar, Bower, Rokinon, Phoenix, and Samyang. Should I go for a knockoff? They seem like excellent quality lenses. If so, which knockoff should I go for? Should I stick with the legendary A*85mm F1.4 Pentax instead?

I don't know!
09-16-2009, 09:53 AM   #6
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QuoteOriginally posted by I've just rediscovered [URL="https://www.pentaxforums.com/lensreviews/showproduct.php?product=124":
the Pentax 85mm F1.4[/URL], and it looks like a fantastic option. The $800 price is hard to swallow, but it's manageable.
At $800, if you could find one, I'd consider it a bargain. Theres one on ebay in mint condition for $1800
09-16-2009, 10:50 AM   #7
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As you'll see if you browse the many threads here, people who have these "cheap" new 85/1.4's do generally love them. Are the Pentax "*" versions beterr? Almost certainly (although there is always an element of subjectivity). $500 better? $1500 better? Only you can decide that. But there are penty of sample images here on this forum to help you decide.

BTW, note there is an A* as well as an FA*. I'd assume it's the A* being seen under $1000 and the FA* that is usually closer to $2000.

Last edited by Marc Sabatella; 09-16-2009 at 06:54 PM.
09-16-2009, 11:48 AM   #8
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Dubious Drewski,

If you can live with manual everything (including manual stop-down metering), and you're not married to Pentax brand, check out Nikkor lenses, in particular pre-AI lenses. They can be mounted on a Pentax DSLR (NOT Pentax film SLR) without adapter (so are less inconvenient than Takumar lenses). They oftentimes go for cheap because Nikon DSLR shooters have "better" options.

I'm personally using a 135mm f/2.8 and a 85mm f/1.8. They may not have the thin DOF you're after. But you get the idea.

I'm still kicking myself for recently "losing" a 55mm f/1.2.

09-16-2009, 12:02 PM   #9
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QuoteOriginally posted by Marc Sabatella Quote
As you'll see if you browse the many threads here, people who have these "cheap" new 85/1.4's do generally love them. Are the Pentax "*" versions beterr? Almost certainly (although there is always an element of subjectivity). $500 better? $1500 better? Only you can decide that. But there are penty of sample images here on this forum to help you decide.
IMHO the sample images scream DO NOT BUY ME. Each and every one looks flat, lifeless and dull as dishwater. It's a rare case where yeah, I can see the difference between a $400 and a $1200 lens on a web sized image.
09-16-2009, 12:14 PM   #10
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QuoteOriginally posted by Alfisti Quote
IMHO the sample images scream DO NOT BUY ME. Each and every one looks flat, lifeless and dull as dishwater. It's a rare case where yeah, I can see the difference between a $400 and a $1200 lens on a web sized image.
Maybe they just need a little bit of pushed constrast and saturation in PP. I'm sure that a "good" photographer who has the * lenses will do so, because they know what looks good and how to achieve a "popping" photo using PP. Of course, I'm sure you'll still get more "pop" out of the * lenses with the same settings. But in this digital world where PP is just sliding a slider, it may not make a huge difference.

I may be wrong on this one...not sure.
09-16-2009, 01:46 PM   #11
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What about a Carl Zeiss 85mm f/1.4 Planar T* ?

I'm not sure where you'd get one of those though, but they do it in a Pentax mount (manual focus I believe).

Welcome to Carl Zeiss Camera Lenses

Edit: I see someone mentioned that already.

Additionally, the Pentax DA * 200mm f/2.8 gets very good reviews, very good resolution figures right from f/2.8. Couple that with SDM and weather sealing and I think you've got a great lens.
09-16-2009, 02:51 PM   #12
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QuoteOriginally posted by Marc Sabatella Quote
BTW, note there is an A* as well as an FA*. I'd assuming it's the A* being seen under $1000 and the FA* that is usually closer to $2000.
The A* actually usually goes for around $1200-1300, while the FA* goes for more like $1100-1200. At least here and in auctions on ebay.

I would recommend either of the Pentax 85mm f1.4 lenses. They're both great. There's also the Pentax A* 135mm f1.8, but it usually goes for close to $2000.
09-16-2009, 03:22 PM   #13
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QuoteOriginally posted by Marc Sabatella Quote
As you'll see if you browse the many threads here, people who have these "cheap" new 85/1.4's do generally love them. Are the Pentax "*" versions beterr? Almost certainly (although there is always an element of subjectivity). $500 better? $1500 better? Only you can decide that. But there are penty of sample images here on this forum to help you decide.

BTW, note there is an A* as well as an FA*. I'd assuming it's the A* being seen under $1000 and the FA* that is usually closer to $2000.
Marc

Well said.

I love my vivitar 85 f1.4, I can say two things about it. It is very good, but it does have a little CA if you look for it. Can't say better than pentax lenses or not, because if I had a pentax lens I would not have bought the vivitar.

I am not sure when I hear the real negative comments about it whether they are more aimed at the photographer and not the lens. the complaints are really that the photo's shown "don't pop" or they are something that any other lens could have taken.

We really need a good side by side, of same subjects, but here is the point.

I bought my 85 to play with, and I have a lot of fun with it. If I start to do some serious portraits, where I need better quality wide open, or, let's say at F2.8 or faster, then I will look at something better, BUT, what I can say, is that at F2.8 this lens is much sharper than my Tamron XR Di 28-75 F2.8 wide open, and that lens is rated best in class for IQ.
09-16-2009, 05:44 PM   #14
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Tamron 90mm SP f/2.5 Adaptall-2! Spec wise it may not sound like it would have razor thin DOF, but I've found with experience that it's quite tight.

I haven't shot too many images wide open, but here's a sample at f/4 for Pete's sake:

09-16-2009, 06:20 PM   #15
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QuoteOriginally posted by virgilr Quote
Tamron 90mm SP f/2.5 Adaptall-2! Spec wise it may not sound like it would have razor thin DOF, but I've found with experience that it's quite tight.

I haven't shot too many images wide open, but here's a sample at f/4 for Pete's sake:
IMG
Ah, but the reason for the very shallow DOF is how closely the lens is focused - at portrait distances, something like the 85mm 1.4 will have considerably shallower DOF... However, having the SP AF 90mm f/2.8 version of that lens, I will agree that it's a fantastic portrait lens!

Check out this calculator to see how DOF is influenced by focus distance (or other variables).
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