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SMC Pentax-F 85mm F2.8 Soft

Reviews Views Date of last review
6 46,308 Thu April 16, 2020
Recommended By Average Price Average User Rating
100% of reviewers $240.00 9.20
SMC Pentax-F 85mm F2.8 Soft

SMC Pentax-F 85mm F2.8 Soft
SMC Pentax-F 85mm F2.8 Soft
SMC Pentax-F 85mm F2.8 Soft
SMC Pentax-F 85mm F2.8 Soft
SMC Pentax-F 85mm F2.8 Soft

This is a soft focus lens. The degree of softness is controlled with the aperture ring. The effect is most pronounced at F2.8. The center is less soft than the edges. The effect is most pronounced in the range F2.8 to F5.6.

From F2.8 to F6.7 the aperture closes down manually to the value set with the aperture ring. Av exposure mode can be used from F2.8 to F5.6. At F6.7 the exposure mode switches to M even if set to Av and an exposure error occurs.

When the aperture ring is turned further toward F32 the aperture blades remain at F6.7 and the lens doesn't stop down to the set value until the exposure is made or the optical preview is engaged. In this range (F6.7 to F22) "green button" stop down metering in M exposure mode is the way to work with a Pentax DSLR. A Pentax film SLR with aperture simulator will also work in Av mode in this range.

SMC Pentax-F 85mm F2.8 Soft
©, sharable with attribution
Image Format
Full-frame / 35mm film
Lens Mount
Pentax K
Aperture Ring
Yes (no A setting)
Automatic/Manual, 9 blades
5 elements, 4 groups
Mount Variant
Check camera compatibility
Max. Aperture
Min. Aperture
AF (screwdrive)
Min. Focus
50 cm
Max. Magnification
Filter Size
52 mm
Internal Focus
Field of View (Diag. / Horiz.)

APS-C: 19 ° / 16 °
Full frame: 29 ° / 24 °
Lens Cap
Weather Sealing
Other Features
Soft Focus
Diam x Length
66 x 60 mm (2.6 x 2.4 in.)
300 g (10.6 oz.)
Production Years
1989 to 1995
Engraved Name
smc PENTAX-F 1:2.8 85mm SOFT
Product Code
User reviews
Level of soft focus is adjustable with the aperture ring.
Aperture operation: Manual (F2.8-6.7), Automatic (F6.7-F32).
Screwdrive AutofocusAperture RingFull-Frame SupportDiscontinued
Price History:

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Sort Reviews by: Date | Author | Rating | Recommendation | Likes (Descending) Showing Reviews 1-6 of 6
New Member

Registered: August, 2019
Posts: 18

1 user found this helpful
Lens Review Date: April 16, 2020 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: N/A | Rating: N/A 







Junior Member

Registered: January, 2018
Posts: 46
Lens Review Date: February 9, 2019 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $100.00 | Rating: 9 

Pros: lack of vignetting, image quality with some reservation, brightness
Cons: take some getting used to
Sharpness: 9    Bokeh: 10    Autofocus: 8    Handling: 8    Value: 10    Camera Used: K-1   

I found a copy of this lens with some fungus and haze and cleaned it myself. (This explains the relatively low price I paid). Not seeing any full frame review in the database yet, wanted to add a quick one.

I am very positively surprised by the image quality this lens is capable of producing. I did not yet have much opportunity to try out its full capabilities (and you can see my example image is nothing very special). However, it is clear that this lens is sharp when set for smaller apertures.

There are a couple of striking features with this lens:

(1) Almost complete absence of vignetting. I do a lot of my photography in snow and have little contrast in many of my images, and in those circumstances even the expensive DFA zooms exhibit noticeable vignetting. This makes PP of low-contrast images quite challenging. Of all the lenses I have, this F 85mm f/2.8 might well be the one with least vignetting, starting right from the wider apertures.

(2) the softness with wider apertures is very pleasant. Not a suprise per se, I am just happy to see it with my own eyes.

Definitely and interesting and high quality lens albeit with a limited usage area.

Loyal Site Supporter

Registered: October, 2012
Location: Medina, OH
Posts: 4,795
Lens Review Date: December 26, 2015 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $275.00 | Rating: 9 

Pros: Great for portraits and details at or beyond f 8.0
Cons: Really little use for the softiness below f 4.0

Since I am not skilled in Photo Shopping my work, this lens is great for portraits right out of the camera. I cannot, however, find much use for the level of softness that occurs at f 2.8 up to f 4.0. Stopped down in the 4.0 to 5.8 range, the lens produces portraits in a nice range of softness.

The lens is quite acceptably sharp when stopped down to f 8.0 and beyond. Since I have the 77 limited in this same focal length range, the performance of the lens at these f stop levels is not particularly useful to me, but worth noting for those who do tend to use this focal length.

I would classify this as a specialty lens, not one that is an essential for every photographer. It will be most useful to amateur photographers who specialize in portraiture. I say amateur, because most professionals will already be using post processing to achieve soft-look portraits. It is at least worth looking t by professionals, however, as it appears to me that the soft focus effect in-camera with this lens is better than what I have seen achieved in post.

Registered: February, 2010
Location: Eureka, CA
Posts: 4,172

4 users found this helpful
Lens Review Date: August 19, 2013 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $425.00 | Rating: 10 

Pros: Outstanding color rendition, beautiful rendering
Cons: None
Sharpness: 8    Aberrations: 10    Bokeh: 10    Autofocus: 7    Handling: 10    Value: 6    Camera Used: Pentax K-5   

Soft focus lenses seem to have had a brief vogue in the late eighties and nineties. Even then, they never sold in large numbers; and PP programs like Photoshop have nearly driven such glass out of the market altogether. I can't see Pentax ever making a lens like this again; which is a pity, as this is a lens capable of stunning things.

The soft focus effect tends to be geared to highlights, which are rendered with a subtle glow. Darker parts of the image are rendered more faithfully. You can dial in the intensity of the soft effect by setting the aperture. Wide open, the soft effect is too great for most photography. Around f4 images start to become useable; and around f5.6 most of the soft effect is gone.

I would describe this as an art lens. As such, it proves that, at least for aesthetic purposes, resolution tends to be over-rated. What you get with this lens is not super resolution, but rather an exquisite rendering and stunningly bright, vivid color. The fact that the lens is only useable from about f4 on is an advantage in close-up shooting, as it gives you comparable rendering of an ultra-fast lens with greater depth of field.

Some sample images:

At f4:

At f4.7:

Veteran Member

Registered: February, 2009
Location: United Kingdom
Posts: 925

2 users found this helpful
Lens Review Date: March 5, 2010 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $220.00 | Rating: 8 

Pros: Sharp when stopped down, nice build, despite being AF it has a nice MF feel
Cons: Stop down metering only, tends to underexpose on both my DS and K-7 (see text), Soft effect is too much f2.8-4 (IMHO)
Sharpness: 8    Bokeh: 7    Autofocus: 7    Handling: 6    Value: 7   

This is an interesting lens...

It's capable of great things but it has some handling issues:

- The aperture clicks onto the next setting very easily (might be my copy...)

- It underexposes a lot on the K-7 AND DS. I would estimate by about 1 to 1.5 stops. This I assume is due to the soft effect confusing the exposure system

- As the lens doesn't have an A setting on the aperture ring it's stop-down metering

- Soft effect is overpowering at f/2.8 and still a bit much at 4. This is admittedly more a personal taste thing though.

You can read about the lenses unusual operation here:

From f/5.6 the soft effect adds a nice glow to images and the lens sharpens up a lot. This isn't to say that it's soft at f/2.8 (so to speak) it's just that the soft effect masks detail so well that you can't really tell!

From f/8 soft effect is basically gone.

The lens is undoubtably a specialist lens but it's fun to use. It can make relatively normal shots look interesting. For example:

Exposure is an issue though. The soft effect can often (but not always) make an image appear underexposed. I therefore always try to 'overexpose' by at least half a stop more than I would normally for a given camera.

Highlights exhibit the greatest softness which when used well can lend an image a phenomenally ethereal appearence but skillful use is required to keep the soft effect under control.

In terms of post processing I always find it beneficial to boost contrast to bring out the detail. It's a sharp lens but looking at images whilst the detail is definately there they don't look sharp. This sounds obvious given that this is a 'soft' lens but it is a weird thing to look at images like that in a way - slightly contradictory.

I think ultimately this lens is a personal preference thing. The soft effect can look amazing but it's hard to control skillfully - when you achieve the perfect balance though images look wonderful in a very literal sense of the word.

Because of this rating the lens is hard. I think as an 85mm lens is an 8. However that only tells half of the story - it's a unique proposition and thus something you need to use to understand.
New Member

Registered: September, 2006
Location: Dallas, TX, USA
Posts: 21

1 user found this helpful
Lens Review Date: April 8, 2007 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $180.00 | Rating: 10 

Pros: Well constructed lens that takes wonderful portraits and is easy to use and control the amount of softness on any K mount SLR
Cons: Heavy and not fully automatic

With this lens there is no need to fiddle with filters to achieve flattering portraits. You can easily control the amount of softness by setting the aperture.

With fully automated SLRs, there is a restriction of the settings to use, e.g., I have to enable lens aperture setting and can only use some modes on my K10D.

Larry in Dallas
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