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09-26-2009, 04:25 AM   #1
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A poinless exercise: trying several fast portrait teles

This is NOT a test: I was gathering ideas for the ultimate test of portrait lenses and as I was snapping away I tried to photograph the same subjects. Everything was handheld and wide open. The focus point may be off, metering may be bad. No conclusions whatsoever can be made based on the series below

Shot with my old Pentax *ist DS, in Av mode, auto WB, only converted from RAW to JPEG without further adjustments. Resized and sharpened with Absolute Sharpening.

OK, one conclusion that the A* 85/1.4 is a bit of a letdown. Way too much CA in my opinion, even stopped down.

1st subject:

2nd subject:

3rd subject:

09-26-2009, 04:29 AM   #2
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Nice little test.
Though here IMO the A* 85 is great.
I don't mind taking it from your hands...
09-26-2009, 05:10 AM   #3
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Nice! I just made a request for a fast 85mm lens here:
so this is very interesting to me. The 85mm f/2 sure looks like a gem! But to me there is no doubt that the 77mm is the winner here. I guess that shouldn't come as a surprise
09-26-2009, 06:14 AM   #4
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Dude! You've got some magnificent lenses there!

09-26-2009, 06:28 AM   #5
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Is it my imagination or is everything slighly underexposed...maybe .5 to 1 stop?

I'm happy w/ my 77Ltd :-)
09-26-2009, 06:42 AM   #6
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Thanks for sharing your test results. Very interesting comparison. I was curious if they were all shot wide open or at the same aperture? Thanks.
09-26-2009, 06:47 AM   #7
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Thanks for comparison!

Man, 85\2 is *TEH* lens for the money. Awesome.
09-26-2009, 06:56 AM   #8
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Nice test.

Except for the Komura and Meyer, which both seem a bit soft, I think they all perform great. My guess is that in real use, the difference in exposure and steadiness will make more difference for IQ than lens used, at the size of these images.

It would have been interesting throwing a new Samyang/Vivitar into your test and see how they would compare.

09-26-2009, 07:00 AM   #9
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May be I am not seeing what the OP saw but I thought the Pentax-A* did quite well. Of course, the 77 seemed to stay true to its reputation as usual.
09-26-2009, 07:21 AM   #10
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This test illustrates well why I don't buy or use old lenses... very poor contrast. Old lens coatings simply cannot make it, whatever the reputation of the lens.
09-26-2009, 10:21 AM   #11
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Contrast adjustment is easy on the computer

Peter, it's funny how you can tell the Zeiss fans from the Pentax fans with the replies on MFL Like I said over there, the 77Ltd and Tak 85/1.9 win it for me. The out of focus rendering of the Pancolar is just a tad better than the 77...although it seems the 77 is a bit sharper and has more detail.
09-26-2009, 10:52 AM   #12
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QuoteOriginally posted by ryan s Quote
Contrast adjustment is easy on the computer
Yeah, that's what I was thinking as well.
09-26-2009, 11:07 AM   #13
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Imho, I think the A*85 produces the most pleasing photos, followed closely by the FA 77. I prefer the Tak 85 f/1.9 over the 85 f/1.8 which aren't far behind the first two. Finally the M 85 f/2.0 surprised me with how well it does and competes very well with the best.

It would have been interesting to see the Helios 40-2 85 f/1.5 in there as well.
09-26-2009, 11:37 AM   #14
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Thanks for the interesting responses! It seems that there's never a lens that appeals to everyone's taste. It's fun to see (for me) that many choose the FA77 Limited over the other lenses, although it's not my own favorite. I do agree, however, that between the 85mm f/1.8 SMC Takumar and the 85mm f/1.9 Super-Takumar, the Super is preferred by almost 100% of the viewers (including myself).

Strangely, the A* does not appeal to me anymore. I know it's ultra sharp, but the CA is a big letdown for me considering the price tag of the lens. For instance the Pancolar does not show CA at all.

Tomorrow is my son's 2nd birthday. Today a few friends came over, and that was a great opportunity to take some portraits.






09-26-2009, 11:38 AM   #15
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QuoteOriginally posted by ryan s Quote
Contrast adjustment is easy on the computer
Although I do agree with you the lens does make a difference.
However I'm more worried about colour, and bokeh than contrast.

from the looks of those pic's I'm still interested in the 77mm, and I wouldn't mind a A* 85/1.4 as well.

Asahiflex, is there any chance you'll be doing the same test with a film camera soon?
It might be interesting seeing what those lenses would do on full frame. I wouldn't be suprised if the A* 85/1.4 shines in that test.

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