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08-18-2012, 08:19 PM   #1
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Pentax A 135 F/2.8

Here's a lens you don't hear about much. I just got a good copy and have been using it for 2 days, on both a K10D and K-7.
It's razor-sharp when you get the focus right, and the skin tones are absolutely perfect. Colors are vivid and accurate without being overly-saturated. Bokeh is smooth, with slightly hexagonal highlights when stopped down, but not distracting. I believe the M 85mm and M 100 f/2.8 have somewhat rounder and smoother highlights, but the 135's aren't bad, either.
The focus action is smooth and a bit long, so it's easy to nail the right spot without rolling past it. My version didn't require any camera focus adjustment and aside from a slight exposure compensation (about 1/3 stop too bright on the K10D), works perfectly.
Overall, a very good, easy-handling and sharp short manual focus tele!
Ron

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08-19-2012, 09:04 AM   #2
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Thx for you post...

i can buy this one in future for $200... perfect condition.. but i see photos, imho it is not as sharp as can, is it? have you photo with close range? - portrait for example? maybe it will be beter... a had chinon 80-200/3,5 or what and it was better on close focus than as long distance lens...
08-19-2012, 12:14 PM   #3
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Sharper?

Hello Bricamry,
I haven't taken any portraits yet, but here's a couple more examples of the young guitar player; First, this is the original framing, straight from the camera, with a bit of contrast added; This was taken with a Pentax K-7, the A 135mm at f/5.6, 1/160s, ISO 100, RAW.
Next, a 100% crop from a similar shot. I believe the setting are the same.
All taken about 3-4 meters from the stage, in direct sunlight, no filters and using the built-in hood.
Seems pretty sharp to me!
By the way, $200.00 US is a great deal for this lens in good condition. I paid $260.00 and was glad to get it for that price.
You could probably get a sharper lens, for example a 100mm Macro, but it would be hard to find for that price.
Ron
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08-19-2012, 01:25 PM   #4
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Hi, rbefly,
I see... not bad maybe it is explosure, what i dont like, but if I am thinking about it, it is not bad...
bad is purple firing @ 2,8 ... :/
bokeh isn't best, i think, so sharp, not smoothy enought...
I havent this lens in my hands but if i will, i can... dont think if is 100/2,8 macro better choice.. yes expensive... :/
imho if you havent extremly high demands, this lens can be fine...

price is not bad, of course

time will point, how i'll have. now i have F 100-300/4,5-5,6 for $25 !!!

...yes, that lens seems as good alternative, but i am worried from purple firing and angular bokeh...

tell me... how is handling? and front element dont rotage, right?

Good light, PK

08-19-2012, 05:22 PM   #5
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Another Choice?

Hi Bricamry,
The handling of the A 135mm is excellent, smooth focusing with a slightly long "Throw" or revolution. In other words it isn't so short a movement that you go past the point of best focus.
The front element and filter ring don't rotate when focusing, a very handy feature for polarizing filters!
But if the bokeh is too sharp-edged, I have another recommendation for you; the M 100mm f/2.8. It is small, light and very sharp, maybe sharper than the 135mm (I haven't had the 135 too long). It has beautiful bokeh, the airy circles and smooth transition into out-of-focus areas. Now, being an "M", it doesn't have auto-aperture, when stopped down you must use the green button.
But they sell for about $100-$150 here in the US, so, less expensive than the 135mm.
For portrait work, you can't go wrong with either lens. Personally, I like the M 85mm f/2.0 for portraits, best bokeh, sharp I.Q. and smooth operation. A full stop faster than either the 100mm or 135mm. But probably the most expensive and hard-to-find!
Hope this helps!
Ron
08-19-2012, 11:34 PM   #6
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not bad

Hi, Ron,

seems good... long throw and donť rotaging front element... extends when focusing?

now i saw some pictures taken with it and it was perfect... ( here http://goo.gl/daaxR )


that lens can be good choice, for that money... of course, better will be A100/2,8 macro (i must have A setting), but it is more times expensive...
bad is, that is no so sharp wide open- because i love rounded bokeh, it is naice, i think
but good think is able to stop down to F32 - mainly for detection dust on sensor...

I am nosy, how it looks with extension tubes

if you are happy with it i wish it to you! )

Regards, PK
08-20-2012, 03:20 AM   #7
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More 135mm

Hello PK,
I'm happy with the A 135mm so far, but I do need to try it at different settings and different weather conditions.
The lens does extend when focusing, it extends 22mm at close focus. The minimum focusing distance is 1.2m, so it wouldn't be good for macro.
The aperture goes to f/32, but I've only tried f/2.8 to f/5.6.
I've never tried it with extension tubes, I have a Vivitar 90mm f/2.5 Macro (Bokina) and a Pentax 100mm f/4.0 Macro, so don't need it for close-up work. Personally I believe it's better to have a dedicated macro lens, if you intend to shoot macro seriously.
That photo you linked is very good, it shows the close detail and smooth bokeh at portrait distance. The hexagons only seem to appear when there are bright highlights in the background.
You might look at the lens reviews here on the forum, there are many other viewpoints and examples of the lenses we've talked about.
Generally the "A" lenses cost more (about twice the cost) than the "M". But you get auto-aperture and recorded aperture. Plus, no green button!
Once you go to the "F" and "FA" lenses, again the cost goes up, but now you have auto-focus, most program modes and (usually) lighter weight. Probably better coatings, too, but I'm pretty satisfied with the M and A coatings for flare-resistance. I always use a lens hood, so that helps. The A 135mm has a built-in hood.
So, the more features, the greater the cost (usually). Each person must decide which compromise is most important!
Good Luck!
Ron

08-20-2012, 12:09 PM   #8
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there already is a thread for the A135-2.8

https://www.pentaxforums.com/forums/lens-sample-photo-archive/162184-pentax-s...m-f-2-8-a.html
08-20-2012, 12:39 PM   #9
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not bad ) if i will need tele, i will choice this, i think
08-27-2012, 03:53 AM   #10
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More 135's

Here's a few more photos with the A 135mm f/2.8;
Ron
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08-30-2012, 05:59 AM   #11
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Hello.

I posted here https://www.dropbox.com/sh/2v52tt84ekh4qzm/Wf18fJU4mN/big some samples of smc-a 135mm/2.8 with apperture 2.8, 4 and 8. There are also samples of Revuenon, which I find strongly sharper when wide open.
09-03-2012, 12:05 AM   #12
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After last field test I found this lens is better than it optical resolution wide open. It is very useful, has nice color and bokeh. I added some samples, I don't know is it ok to add samples to not self post.

1 - little cropped
3 - wrong WB setting, but effect is quite nice
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04-20-2013, 04:51 PM   #13
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04-24-2013, 11:27 AM   #14
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very thanks guys! ) for that price will be fine have this lens, but i think, that dfa100macro will be perfect, but price and focus hunt... irf i will not buy dfa, i will buy FA 135... because i need autofocus

regards, pk
05-10-2013, 10:03 PM   #15
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I love this lens, it is so versatile.
Maybe I'm just lucky with a good copy?
Had it for about a year.

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