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View Poll Results: Which lens should advance to the next round?
FA* 85mm F1.4 6269.66%
A* 85mm F1.4 2730.34%
Voters: 89. You may not vote on this poll

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10-22-2014, 10:47 PM   #1
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Lens Tournament: FA* 85mm F1.4 vs A* 85mm F1.4

Ladies and gentlemen, welcome to the knockout round of the Greatest Pentax Lens Tournament! The rules are simple: Two lenses enter. You must choose one. The winner moves to Knockout Round Two. The loser is gone. Check out the bracket here, which is based on the user nomination results.

In this short telephoto knockout match, the SMC Pentax-FA* 85mm F1.4 faces the SMC Pentax-A* 85mm F1.4

Make your choice by voting in the poll above. You will need to log in or register if you don't yet have a forum account.
Feel free to argue, persuade, and generally carry on after that. Voting will be open for exactly 24 hours.

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10-22-2014, 11:29 PM   #2
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Don't forget these really are different lenses optically, although they're both great and they share many traits.


The FA* actually has more of a portrait design, where the background goes out of focus relatively rapidly past the focus plane. It turns out this also works well for sports images, which really are "action portraits" when you get down to it. In practice I find this lens is extremely versatile - about equal in versatility to the DA*50-135, despite the lack of zoom. IQ is very good starting at f/1.6, and even wide open most of the time.

The A* is a more conventional "general purpose" design. This sounds like it would make it a better overall lens, but after owning the FA*85 I don't think so anymore. The A*85 is excellent, but it wasn't the right choice for me.



When I first compared the images from these two lenses - before making a purchase - I thought maybe the A* was slightly better. But I really believed I needed AF. After I bought the FA*85, it turned out I needed the AF much more than I realized I would. Even if you think the A* has slightly better IQ (and I'm no longer sure it does), the AF makes the FA* usable in many more situations (some of them unexpected, like the aforementioned sports photography). Thus the FA*85 is the better lens. It's genuinely the best lens in this bracket of the contest, and possibly the best Pentax lens ever.


If you don't believe me, just look at Adam's avatar! He tries to downplay it, but he knows when something's good as gold!

Last edited by DSims; 10-22-2014 at 11:43 PM.
10-23-2014, 03:46 AM   #3
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That FA is every pentaxians dream and the lens (stragely since discontinued) Pentax like to use for demo of new cameras. I really wonder why they don't make it anymore?
10-23-2014, 05:03 AM   #4
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QuoteOriginally posted by VisualDarkness Quote
That FA is every pentaxians dream and the lens (stragely since discontinued) Pentax like to use for demo of new cameras. I really wonder why they don't make it anymore?
I sold my FA* 85mm lens. It is the only Pentax lens I sold cause I wasn't happy with it. It is really optimized for closer focusing distances. The A* lens, and the 77 Limited, have both fixed rear elements meaning that they both perform superbly also at infinity.

10-23-2014, 07:06 AM   #5
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I love my FA*. It definitely lives up to its legendary status
10-23-2014, 10:47 AM   #6
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Exquisite portrait lens, not meant for infinity shooting.
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