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06-24-2018, 04:33 AM   #1
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Pentax 77 Ltd vs Samyang 135mm F2 for K1 (Portraits)

Hi folks,

Am planning to buy a good lens primarily for portraiture which gives good isolation from background and creamy bokeh. I do have Pentax 100mm WR macro lens but when I take pictures of a family from few meters, I still could not produce a thin depth of field where in the grass which is in same focal plane alone is sharp and the rest all blurry. I do wonder when I see those kind of pictures from online posts and am not sure if it can be produced only by the telephoto lens such as 200mm etc. I appreciate any advise before I take a decision of buying any of those and its even harder decision since I already own 100mm macro

06-24-2018, 05:15 AM - 1 Like   #2
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The 100mm macro is perfectly fine. If you're looking for paid work then you can justify a faster lens.

Between the FA and the 135, the Samyang has a thinner DOF and is from my experience much sharper. You'll have to step back to get your subjects to fill the frame properly.

The FA77 is good for its bokeh but I doubt you'll get your preferred kind of isolation with it. One way to get that result is by increasing the distance between your subjects and the background.

The FA85/1.4 will be better than the FA77 for its bokeh if that's a possibility for you. But as I said, you're looking for something that's not really worth it unless its paid work.
06-24-2018, 05:29 AM   #3
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The first review in the lens review section seems to answer your question. Written by a person in your exact situation. A lot of people have been giving rave reviews to this lens and they seem to like the bokeh a lot. I know it is on my wish list.
06-24-2018, 06:09 AM   #4
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How confident are you ate manually focusing, I have both lenses, I got the Samyang 135mm F2.0 when i have the Pentax K-3, on the APS-C body i could use it to catch-in-focus dead on for almost every shot, so good that I could use it for sports. However when I got the K-1 the same lenses CIF results dropped by 50%, It turns out the APS-C AF module doesn't see all the outer rays coming from the lens (for obvious reasons) so they rays the module got focused near perfectly to a point offering no spherical aberrations which could cause early triggering of the AF system (I'd like to take more time to explain this but I just don't have that time) So it turns out with the K-1 if you focus in one direction the Catch-In-Focus will trigger early, setting the global AF adjust to -10 will improve this, however focusing in the other direction the Catch-In-Focus will trigger spot on and there is no need to set the AF adjust to -10. Anyhow, if you use LV, are good at manual focus or have a very good eye through the OVF then why not get the absolutely wonderful Samyang/Rokinon 135mm F2.0, it is stunningly sharp. The 77Ltd is another wonderful lens, more aberrations, not as sharp wide open, has more character and is more convenient. Lots to think about!

06-24-2018, 07:11 AM   #5
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@ HarisF1, I agree. Am doing photography as an hobby and not for any paid work.

@gaweidert, are you referring to the comments section in the 77mm ltd lens review?
@MightyMike, I have not used any manual lenses before and am trying with the current lenses that i have (100mm 2.8 WR macro & Sigma 35mm 1.4 ART). Having said that, am still in learning phase
06-24-2018, 10:08 AM   #6
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QuoteOriginally posted by matroxication Quote
@ HarisF1, I agree. Am doing photography as an hobby and not for any paid work.

@gaweidert, are you referring to the comments section in the 77mm ltd lens review?
@MightyMike, I have not used any manual lenses before and am trying with the current lenses that i have (100mm 2.8 WR macro & Sigma 35mm 1.4 ART). Having said that, am still in learning phase
Whatever you do I hope you come to enjoy MF lenses, it opens a whole new world of possibilities!
06-24-2018, 11:19 AM   #7
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QuoteOriginally posted by matroxication Quote
@ HarisF1, I agree. Am doing photography as an hobby and not for any paid work.

@gaweidert, are you referring to the comments section in the 77mm ltd lens review?
@MightyMike, I have not used any manual lenses before and am trying with the current lenses that i have (100mm 2.8 WR macro & Sigma 35mm 1.4 ART). Having said that, am still in learning phase
I am referring the lens reviews of the 135 f2 lens. It seems to have a great reputation. It is on my wish list. I already have the Rokinon (Samyang) 20mm and 100 mm macro lenses.


I got my first SLR in 1970. My first autofocus lens was in 2012. I still struggle a bit with all the autofocus combinations. Sometimes it is just easier to use manual focus to get the job done.
06-24-2018, 12:56 PM   #8
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QuoteOriginally posted by matroxication Quote
am trying with the current lenses that i have (100mm 2.8 WR macro & Sigma 35mm 1.4 ART). Having said that, am still in learning phase
You should be able to achieve the desired effect with the 35mm, shooting at f1.4. Do you have any examples of photos you've taken?

If you look at online software like this you might get an idea:

DOF simulator - Camera depth of field calculator with visual background blur and bokeh simulation.

06-24-2018, 01:16 PM - 2 Likes   #9
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Hi Matroxication,

The general principle is that you use the longest lens, as close to the subject, far way from the background and with the widest aperture as possible.

Group shots are problematic.

You can't step back to fit them in as normal, you will need to pose them with their heads close together (this is how engagement photography works). The head of the third person is best above or below the other two, not beside.

The photo can easily be unsatisfactory, because the ears or noses of the subjects may be out of focus, and indeed the eyes of all but one person, depending on how meticulous the pose is. Dropping the aperture to f4 or even f5.6 would be necessary, and this now defeats the purpose of the exercise.

You just shrug your shoulders and forget trying to blur a nearby background, you rotate everyone to get a background further away that you hope isn't bright and distracting.

06-24-2018, 01:25 PM   #10
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It is all about distance and format. Get close with long focal and there you have it. Or...get 4x5" and use 150mm normal focal length for the format and get smooth bokeh @ 10 meter distance. Intrepid 4x5" setup is cheap these days.
06-24-2018, 02:25 PM - 1 Like   #11
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QuoteOriginally posted by matroxication Quote
I have not used any manual lenses before
A fast 135mm like the Samyang on a full-frame camera will be a hard place to start learning about MF. DOF will be razor thin wide-open. Like tip of the nose in focus but eyes out of focus narrow DOF. The field of view may also not be convenient for group portraits in sometimes confined places. That Samyang may also be too un-flatteringly sharp for a portrait lens.

FA 77 has the advantage of AF, narrower field of view, plus some optical design features that help it work well as a portrait lens.
06-24-2018, 04:42 PM   #12
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QuoteOriginally posted by MightyMike Quote
How confident are you ate manually focusing, I have both lenses, I got the Samyang 135mm F2.0 when i have the Pentax K-3, on the APS-C body i could use it to catch-in-focus dead on for almost every shot, so good that I could use it for sports. However when I got the K-1 the same lenses CIF results dropped by 50%, It turns out the APS-C AF module doesn't see all the outer rays coming from the lens (for obvious reasons) so they rays the module got focused near perfectly to a point offering no spherical aberrations which could cause early triggering of the AF system (I'd like to take more time to explain this but I just don't have that time) So it turns out with the K-1 if you focus in one direction the Catch-In-Focus will trigger early, setting the global AF adjust to -10 will improve this, however focusing in the other direction the Catch-In-Focus will trigger spot on and there is no need to set the AF adjust to -10. Anyhow, if you use LV, are good at manual focus or have a very good eye through the OVF then why not get the absolutely wonderful Samyang/Rokinon 135mm F2.0, it is stunningly sharp. The 77Ltd is another wonderful lens, more aberrations, not as sharp wide open, has more character and is more convenient. Lots to think about!

Interesting. Have you noticed the same phenomenon when using CIF on the K-1 in crop mode?
06-24-2018, 05:10 PM   #13
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QuoteOriginally posted by krazykat Quote
Interesting. Have you noticed the same phenomenon when using CIF on the K-1 in crop mode?
Yes, had that been the solution I'd be using it every time, you see crop mode only crops the final output and does nothing to the optical path to the AF module or from the lens, had they put a physical barrier in the way of the mirror only allowing the crop image circle through then it should behave as the APS-C cameras.
06-24-2018, 05:44 PM - 1 Like   #14
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The FA77 is great for portraits. I have all 3 Limiteds and use the FA43 for portraits too.
06-24-2018, 08:14 PM - 1 Like   #15
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The FA 77 is a joy to use, great for portrait, just point it at someone and have a great result (i'm not kidding) ! The 135mm f2 on the other hand is a beast : big, heavy, sharp (super sharp, it's as sharp as the Zeiss 135mm f2 !) and it's manual focus. For the paper thin depth of field, it's really really hard to get it right, for portrait it's the eye, you have the 100mm f2 then you can try manual focus that lens when shooting people for a day, and then imagine you will have to manual focus everyday with the 135mm/2. If you can live with that, then 135mm f2 is considered the best portrait lens at that price range. Personally i will choose the FA77 anytime because it's light, sharp, great color, sweet bokeh and auto-focus (i love AF ) and it's the greatest lens voted on PentaxForum

Last edited by redcat; 06-24-2018 at 09:00 PM.
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