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12-31-2022, 05:24 PM   #1
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Using HD Pentax-D FA* 85mm F1.4 SDM AW with a Pentax K3 III Camera Body

I am looking for evidence that the HD D-FA* 85mm F1.4 SDM AW is the best portrait lens available for my K3 III body. Can anyone inform me one way or the other? For me, the best evidence is a photo taken with the 85 on a K3 III body.
Happy New Year to everyone who contributes to this worthwhile site. I have learned a lot here. Thank you!

Cheers,
Loyd

12-31-2022, 05:32 PM - 2 Likes   #2
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It works great for pet portraits.
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12-31-2022, 06:10 PM - 9 Likes   #3
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The focal length on crop is on the long side for portraits (about 130mm full frame equivalent), but if that works for you, the rendering is sublime. Although I have two crop bodies (including the K-3 Mark III), I think I have only used my DFA* 85/1.4 on the K-1 Mark II. If you want an idea of how good it is wide open, click on these and pixel peep in Flickr:







If you want a general purpose, zero compromise portrait length lens for your K-3 Mark III, I would lean towards the DFA* 50/1.4. It's about the same field of view as the FA 77/1.8 Limited on full frame, but its wide open rendering is a cut above: very much in the same league as the DFA* 85/1.4

Last edited by Sandy Hancock; 12-31-2022 at 07:27 PM. Reason: typos
12-31-2022, 07:23 PM - 1 Like   #4
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DFA 50 and 85 1/4 SDM it the sharpest modern Pentax lenses . i have both , 85 mostly paired with k3 iii . unbelievable sharp even wide open both .

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01-01-2023, 12:57 AM   #5
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I prefer the DFA*50 on K3iii for portraits. The 85 is rather long on apsc for the portraits I take. The 85 is a wonderful lens, but I use it on K1. K3 with the 50 is a perfect combo, the 85 is quite large on K3.
The DA*55 failed for me on K5 and K3 (not iii) due to focus issues. In theory it is the dedicated portrait lens for apsc.
01-01-2023, 12:09 PM   #6
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Thank you for your replies and examples. Sandy's photos--like those of Medex--have got me wondering whether I should buy a full frame K1 camera rather than an expensive lens!

On the other hand, perhaps I should do more research on the DFA*50. Because I already own many lenses in the "50" range, I gravitated toward the new version of the 77mm. But the slow focus speed in low light nudged me towards the very expensive 85.

Interestingly, most of you appear to prefer the 85 for outdoor portraits. I am looking for something that will excel indoors. My "go-to" lens for indoor work is still the SMC Pentax DA* 1:2.8 16-50mm ED AL (IF) SDM. Sadly, the autofocus mechanism broke, so I rely entirely on manual focus. I also own a lot of "old" glass in the "50" range, including screw mount Takumars, but I have not really learned how to utilize these older lenses indoors or out! Currently, I have my K5 set up for the screw mount lenses. I have tried the older K-Mounts on both the K3 and the K3 III. My favourite old glass lens to date is the SMC Pentax-A zoom 1:3.5 35-105mm, but I prefer to use it outdoors.

My main outdoor lens mounted to the K3 III at the moment is the MASSIVE HD Pentax-D FA 1:4.5 - 5.6 150 - 450mm in combination with the HD DA 1.4x rear converter. In comparison, zapp, the 85 would feel light as a feather!

Do any of you have examples of indoor shots taken with the 85 mounted on the K3 III? The shots can be of anything, really. Sandy has some amazing shots of knives, but I assume these were taken using the K1.

I really love everyone's photos, particularly the ones that include an EXIF.

Happy New Year,
Loyd
01-01-2023, 12:45 PM - 2 Likes   #7
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This was shot on the K1 with the DFA*85/1.4 at f/5 using full studio lighting.



This was shot at f/1.4, again with full studio lighting. As you can see, f/1.4 is fun, but getting the focus correct is a challenge.



I can't supply you with anything shot on the smaller format, sorry. I think the lens would be great on the K3III as a portrait lens providing you are OK with the increased working distance. The shots I have here were less than 3 meters from camera to subject. To get something similar from the K3III you would need to increase the distance to ~5 meters. I'm happy shooting portraits from that distance and the longer focal length will make backgrounds easier to manage.
The DFA* 85/1.4 is a masterclass in lens design. My opinion is that it is the best lens out there for portraiture from any manufacturer.


Last edited by Wheatfield; 01-01-2023 at 12:53 PM.
01-01-2023, 02:19 PM - 2 Likes   #8
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QuoteOriginally posted by Mccsiz Quote
I am looking for something that will excel indoors.
Unless you have a *large* studio, I really think 85mm will prove a bit long for all but head and shoulder portraits.

The DFA* 50/1.4 will do the job nicely, while maintaining a nice connection between you and your models. If you need a wider option, the Sigma 35/1.4 Art has similar optical qualities.
01-01-2023, 03:48 PM - 2 Likes   #9
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QuoteOriginally posted by Sandy Hancock Quote
Unless you have a *large* studio, I really think 85mm will prove a bit long for all but head and shoulder portraits.

The DFA* 50/1.4 will do the job nicely, while maintaining a nice connection between you and your models. If you need a wider option, the Sigma 35/1.4 Art has similar optical qualities.
^^^^^^this^^^^^^^
To do a full length of a 6' tall person, the camera would need to be over 20' from the subject, and that would be an exceptionally tight crop.

This was shot with the DA70 Ltd, so quite a bit shorter than 85mm, but was shot on the APS-C format. The model was quite tall, I recall she was 5' 10" or thereabouts.
I was across the hall and in another room to get enough distance, probably I was back at least 15 feet. She didn't have room to stand in that alcove.



This was shot with the 77mm Ltd, this time in a studio setting, again on the APS-C format. The model was quite a bit shorter, IIRC, she was around 5'5" tall, and I was back somewhere around 20'.



I think the first image would have been a problem for an 85mm focal length due to space restrictions, but the second would have been quite doable simple because I had a large room to shoot in.
Keep this in mind when choosing equipment to purchase. It would be a terrible shame to spend big coin on a DFA*85/1.4 and then not be able to use it the way you want because your room isn't big enough.
I no longer have access to a large shooting room, so even with the K1 I'm not able to use my 85mm for full length portraits unless I'm doing them outdoors.
01-01-2023, 03:58 PM - 1 Like   #10
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QuoteOriginally posted by Sandy Hancock Quote
I think I have only used my DFA* 85/1.4 on the K-1 Mark II. If you want an idea of how good it is wide open, click on these and pixel peep in Flickr:

The image quality illustrated by your samples is just ... insane, Sandy, and I don't use that word lightly. Not to mention, although that is what ultimately gives meaning to the whole endeavour, that those are simply great people shots. You have a great way of bringing out people's natural beauty, I must say. Your trained eye for gorgeous ambient certainly helps you in that regard, but you also manage to make your models feel tangibly at ease when you capture them. Not always an easy task with family & friends.

Last edited by Madaboutpix; 01-01-2023 at 04:10 PM. Reason: Nuance.
01-01-2023, 05:31 PM - 1 Like   #11
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QuoteOriginally posted by Madaboutpix Quote
The image quality illustrated by your samples is just ... insane, Sandy, and I don't use that word lightly. Not to mention, although that is what ultimately gives meaning to the whole endeavour, that those are simply great people shots. You have a great way of bringing out people's natural beauty, I must say. Your trained eye for gorgeous ambient certainly helps you in that regard, but you also manage to make your models feel tangibly at ease when you capture them. Not always an easy task with family & friends.
You are too kind!

Having a wide choice of attractive relatives and a nice garden certainly helps. These are just casual snaps taken in natural light at a family gathering; perhaps the wine helped the models relax

But, giving credit where it's due, the the DFA*85 (and the DFA*50, for that matter) are simply outstanding lenses. There is literally no need to stop them down unless you want more depth of field or a slower shutter speed. I adore my FA Limiteds, but they are not in the same league. In fact, I would argue they are playing a different game.
01-01-2023, 06:45 PM   #12
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QuoteOriginally posted by Sandy Hancock Quote
Unless you have a *large* studio, I really think 85mm will prove a bit long for all but head and shoulder portraits.

The DFA* 50/1.4 will do the job nicely, while maintaining a nice connection between you and your models. If you need a wider option, the Sigma 35/1.4 Art has similar optical qualities.
Sandy, I totally understand what you mean by keeping a connection. But lately, I have found myself taking spontaneous photos, more like a journalist. This is why I am attracted to the 85: it is very quick to focus, but less "in your face." The 50 is ideal for intimacy, but how does it perform at a greater distance from the subject?

Wheatfield, thank you for your measurements. The 85/K 1 combo is simply stunning.

Given that I am using a K3 III, tmlawes' and Nixxo's photos are probably closer to "spontaneous" than those taken in studios. Does this sound reasonable? Should I find some spontaneous images taken by a DFA 50* and compare them to these?

Cheers,
Loyd
01-01-2023, 07:56 PM   #13
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QuoteOriginally posted by Sandy Hancock Quote
You are too kind!

Having a wide choice of attractive relatives and a nice garden certainly helps. These are just casual snaps taken in natural light at a family gathering; perhaps the wine helped the models relax

But, giving credit where it's due, the the DFA*85 (and the DFA*50, for that matter) are simply outstanding lenses. There is literally no need to stop them down unless you want more depth of field or a slower shutter speed. I adore my FA Limiteds, but they are not in the same league. In fact, I would argue they are playing a different game.
OK. Blown away. These are casual? I thought I was looking at wedding photos. That being said, these are taken full frame.

Cheers,
Loyd
01-02-2023, 12:07 AM   #14
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QuoteOriginally posted by Mccsiz Quote
Sandy, I totally understand what you mean by keeping a connection. But lately, I have found myself taking spontaneous photos, more like a journalist. This is why I am attracted to the 85: it is very quick to focus, but less "in your face." The 50 is ideal for intimacy, but how does it perform at a greater distance from the subject?

Wheatfield, thank you for your measurements. The 85/K 1 combo is simply stunning.

Given that I am using a K3 III, tmlawes' and Nixxo's photos are probably closer to "spontaneous" than those taken in studios. Does this sound reasonable? Should I find some spontaneous images taken by a DFA 50* and compare them to these?

Cheers,
Loyd
those sample for dfa 50 pair with KP and K3 iii , the lens is razor sharp even wide open , exactly same as 85 1/4 . fast and very accurate autofocus . right know my dfa 50 stick to k1 ii , and 85 mostly with k3 iii . both lenses are superb .
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01-07-2023, 10:41 AM - 1 Like   #15
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Thank you for your replies. Even though I wanted the 85 quite badly, I have accepted the limitations of my K3 III and followed Sandy's advice. I should have my new HD Pentax D FA* 50mm F1.4 SDM AW some time next week. If anyone has any pointers about how to adapt this lens to my K3 iii crop camera, I would appreciate it.

Cheers,
Loyd
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