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07-15-2016, 08:09 PM   #1
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FA 45-85mm Thoughts

Hi,
I am tired of wait for Pentax to release the updated normal zoom on the roadmap.

Can anybody comment on the quality of the FA45-85 on the long end of the zoom range?

I understand that it's quite good at 45-55mm but as an "always with me" lens I was hoping that I could get similar performance from it at 85 as I do with my FA 80-160. I always stop down to at least f8-f11 for landscape work.

Any thoughts?

Scott

PS: if Pentax does not want people to sell up and move to Hasselblad mirrorless, they had better start filling out the 645 lineup with newer performing lenses. Add to that the Hassy lenses are cheaper and most likely better output quality, Pentax has a contender. Let's not forget Fuji coming along as well.


Last edited by 2351HD; 07-15-2016 at 08:19 PM.
07-15-2016, 08:59 PM   #2
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You can pick up a used one from reputable Japanese resellers for about $450 USD and try it out with little penalty. My copy works just fine on my 645N and when I rent a 645Z.
07-15-2016, 10:56 PM   #3
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QuoteOriginally posted by 2351HD Quote
that the Hassy lenses are cheaper and most likely better output quality
But the current CFi & CFE lenses all have prontor leaf shutters which require maintenance every 20,000 firings or so... and have a sync speed limit of 1/500th. As far as i'm aware leaf shutters don't work properly with HSS the way FP shutters do.
07-15-2016, 11:19 PM   #4
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QuoteOriginally posted by Digitalis Quote
But the current CFi & CFE lenses all have prontor leaf shutters which require maintenance every 20,000 firings or so... and have a sync speed limit of 1/500th. As far as i'm aware leaf shutters don't work properly with HSS the way FP shutters do.
The new lenses all have the upgraded shutter unit rated for 1/2000sec shutter sync and 1,000,000 actuations. I believe that the XCD lenses are the same.

07-15-2016, 11:51 PM   #5
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From my experience, FA45-85 is something better than FA80-160 in their common range, resolutionwise.
This zoom is actually very good for all round photography.
I consider selling mines, since i think seriously leaving P645 system, beeing happy with K-1 and 67II.
And yes, getting also desperate to see Ricoh putting interesting new lenses on the market too.
07-16-2016, 12:09 AM   #6
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I hesitate to advise on lens issues since everyone seems to have different criteria. I personally value reasonable sharpness, low distortion, and low vignetting

From my perspective though the 45-85 is one of the best zoom values that I have ever been able to find in any format. The primary downside to me would be the weight but it is surprisingly well balanced on the camera. In fact, it is well balance enough that it can be very easy to forget the weight when you are in the zone.

It has also made the transition from my 645Nii to my 645D with no hiccups at all that I can tell. I would have to rent a 645Z to provide any input with that camera but at this point I am very well satisfied. Likewise, while it is a very good lens on the wide end, I like it even better on the long end. It comes very close to being a better 75 than the FA 75/2.8 is.

When out and about there are three lenses I rarely leave behind for any reason. The FA 35, the FA 45-85 and the FA 150. I keep drooling over the 25mm but at the current prices I definitely do not feel undergunned enough right now to go that far into debt.

Hope this helps.
07-16-2016, 12:40 AM   #7
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Pioneer, it's funny you say the 3 lens combo of 35, 45-85 and 150.

I find the 150 to be better than the 80-160 at that length, plus I find myself using the 28-45 more between 35-45mm rather than at its widest.

I was considering that exact kit of the new DFA 35, FA 45-85 and my existing FA 150. When I use the 28-45 at its widest, I usually need it to go wider. I wish they would have re-made the 25 into a 24mm f/4
07-16-2016, 06:31 AM   #8
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QuoteOriginally posted by 2351HD Quote
Hi,
I am tired of wait for Pentax to release the updated normal zoom on the roadmap.

Can anybody comment on the quality of the FA45-85 on the long end of the zoom range?

I understand that it's quite good at 45-55mm but as an "always with me" lens I was hoping that I could get similar performance from it at 85 as I do with my FA 80-160. I always stop down to at least f8-f11 for landscape work.

Any thoughts?

Scott

PS: if Pentax does not want people to sell up and move to Hasselblad mirrorless, they had better start filling out the 645 lineup with newer performing lenses. Add to that the Hassy lenses are cheaper and most likely better output quality, Pentax has a contender. Let's not forget Fuji coming along as well.
I purchased my FA45-85 before the 645Z was released. It is sharper than the A35mm and not far behind the FA120mm. I have been very pleased with the zoom. Its actually the sharpest zoom I have ever owned. You are right.. pentax better hurry up and push some new lenses down the line.. They are being way too slow.. the camera has been out for 2 yrs now.. With some interesting competition now in the domain. :-)

07-16-2016, 10:26 AM   #9
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The 45-85 for the 645 and the 55-100 for the 67 have the same design type, although modified for a slightly different focal length. It makes sense that the 45-85 is sharp, given the 55-100 is proven. They could have both been designed by the same designer. One does not always see this sharing of design between the two formats though.
07-16-2016, 11:16 AM   #10
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That is quite interesting desertscape. I was not aware that the two lenses shared a common design. I have been considering moving to the larger negative but am completely in the dark relative to good lens choices for the 6x7 negative. Thanks for your observation.
07-16-2016, 11:17 AM   #11
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QuoteOriginally posted by 2351HD Quote
Hi,
I am tired of wait for Pentax to release the updated normal zoom on the roadmap.

Can anybody comment on the quality of the FA45-85 on the long end of the zoom range?

I understand that it's quite good at 45-55mm but as an "always with me" lens I was hoping that I could get similar performance from it at 85 as I do with my FA 80-160. I always stop down to at least f8-f11 for landscape work.

Any thoughts?

Scott

PS: if Pentax does not want people to sell up and move to Hasselblad mirrorless, they had better start filling out the 645 lineup with newer performing lenses. Add to that the Hassy lenses are cheaper and most likely better output quality, Pentax has a contender. Let's not forget Fuji coming along as well.
I have one in a very good shape. I never bought any 645 bodies so I have only tried it on my K3 and now on my K1. It is very sharp even wide open.

It looks like I am not going to go into the 645 format anytime soon so I am going to list it for sale. I just have not gotten around to it. I wish you were closer to me. We could have worked out a deal. My asking will be lower than the Japanese sellers. US shipping is reasonable. I have sold lenses to Canada as well and they were relatively reasonable too. I am not sure about Australia.
07-17-2016, 03:14 AM   #12
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With complete respect for the other experiences posted above, I feel that the 45-85 does reasonably well from 45-65 (sharp enough, but not stellar and with a certain 'nervous' quality to how it draws detail on the 645D/Z) - but rapidly becomes less than ideal from 65 up. Certainly not poor at any focal length, but not worthy of the 645Z (and thus rather dated) even at its best lengths. YMMV of course.
07-17-2016, 10:13 AM   #13
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QuoteOriginally posted by Pioneer Quote
but am completely in the dark relative to good lens choices for the 6x7 negative.
This forum has lots of reviews on the 67 lenses, so that's a good resource if considering moving up to 67. https://www.pentaxforums.com/lensreviews/
07-23-2016, 02:28 PM   #14
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QuoteOriginally posted by Ed Hurst Quote
With complete respect for the other experiences posted above, I feel that the 45-85 does reasonably well from 45-65 (sharp enough, but not stellar and with a certain 'nervous' quality to how it draws detail on the 645D/Z) - but rapidly becomes less than ideal from 65 up. Certainly not poor at any focal length, but not worthy of the 645Z (and thus rather dated) even at its best lengths. YMMV of course.
I think that's the conclusion that Dave (D&A) made in his huge lens review on Get DPI forums.

Problem is that everybody's version of sharp is completely different.
07-23-2016, 03:26 PM   #15
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OP rather questionning FA80-160 comparison, than absolute IQ.
We do not have alternatives but the not so good and slower 55-110/5.6 near that 45-80 range.
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