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SMC Pentax-FA* 85mm F1.4 [IF] Review RSS Feed

SMC Pentax-FA* 85mm F1.4 [IF]

Sharpness 
 10.0
Aberrations 
 9.2
Bokeh 
 9.8
Autofocus 
 9.4
Handling 
 9.6
Value 
 9.6
Reviews Views Date of last review
29 145,530 Tue August 28, 2018
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Recommended By Average Price Average User Rating
97% of reviewers $1,103.83 9.75
SMC Pentax-FA* 85mm F1.4 [IF]

SMC Pentax-FA* 85mm F1.4 [IF]
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SMC Pentax-FA* 85mm F1.4 [IF]
supersize
SMC Pentax-FA* 85mm F1.4 [IF]
supersize

Description:
The Pentax FA* 85mm has a different optical design than its A* counterpart and it also incorporates internal focusing (IF).

Three versions of this lens exist:
S/N 301xxxx: old-style hood and no silver ring above and in-line with the aperture ring
S/N 302xxxx/303xxxx: old style hood, silver ring above and in-line with the aperture ring
S/N 307xxxx: new style hood, silver ring above and in-line with the aperture ring (see photo).

Like for all other FA* lenses you switch between autofocus and manual focus by pushing the focusing forwards (autofocus) or pulling it towards the camera (manual focus).

SMC Pentax-FA* 85mm F1.4 [IF]
© www.pentaxforums.com, sharable with attribution
Image Format
Full-frame / 35mm film
Lens Mount
Pentax K
Aperture Ring
Yes (A setting)
Diaphragm
Automatic, 9 blades
Optics
8 elements, 7 groups
Mount Variant
KAF
Check camera compatibility
Max. Aperture
F1.4
Min. Aperture
F22
Focusing
AF (screwdrive)
Quick-shift
No
Min. Focus
85 cm
Max. Magnification
0.11x
Filter Size
67 mm
Internal Focus
Yes
Field of View (Diag. / Horiz.)

APS-C: 19 ° / 16 °
Full frame: 29 ° / 24 °
Hood
Dedicated metal. Two different hood designs over the lifespan of this lens
Case
S120-150
Lens Cap
Coating
SMC
Weather Sealing
No
Other Features
Diam x Length
79 x 70 mm (3.1 x 2.8 in.)
Weight
550 g (19.4 oz.)
Production Years
1992 to 2004
Engraved Name
smc PENTAX-FA* 1:1.4 85mm -IF-
Product Code
23080
Reviews
User reviews
Variants

Three versions of this lens exist:
S/N 301xxxx: old-style hood and no silver ring above and in-line with the aperture ring.
S/N 302xxxx/303xxxx: old style hood, silver ring above and in-line with the aperture ring.
S/N 307xxxx: new style hood, silver ring above and in-line with the aperture ring.

Features:
Screwdrive AutofocusInternal FocusingAperture RingAutomatic ApertureFull-Frame SupportDiscontinued
Sample Photos: View Sample Photos
Price History:



Add Review of SMC Pentax-FA* 85mm F1.4 [IF]
Author:
Sort Reviews by: Date | Author | Rating | Recommendation | Likes (Descending) Showing Reviews 1-15 of 29
New Member

Registered: August, 2018
Posts: 21
Lens Review Date: August 28, 2018 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $900.00 | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: The legend. Incredible build quality.
Cons: Nothing !
Sharpness: 10    Aberrations: 8    Bokeh: 10    Autofocus: 8    Handling: 10    Value: 10    New or Used: Used    Camera Used: K-x   

My K-x camera has found its limits with this lens. A lot of difficulty for the focus.
But when it works, it's incredible.








   
Junior Member

Registered: March, 2015
Posts: 41

1 user found this helpful
Lens Review Date: April 18, 2018 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: N/A | Rating: N/A 

 
Pros: it is a razor!
Cons: price
Sharpness: 10    Aberrations: 10    Bokeh: 10    Autofocus: 10    Handling: 10    Value: 8    New or Used: Used    Camera Used: k30   

I've bought this lens a couple of years ago and when I have a look to the pictures I have done I always dazzle!
I got at the same time the M82 f2, the A*85 1.4 and the FA*85 1.4. I have to say the difference between the three is so small that you cannot notice it if you print to A4 size.
Raccomenaded.
   
Veteran Member

Registered: November, 2010
Location: New Berlin, WI
Posts: 519

2 users found this helpful
Lens Review Date: March 23, 2015 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $1,000.00 | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: Fantastic IQ (dreamy bokeh, sharp, rich colors)
Cons: Big, heavy, loud focus, CA (from film era)
Sharpness: 10    Aberrations: 7    Bokeh: 10    Autofocus: 9    Handling: 9    Value: 9    New or Used: Used    Camera Used: K-3   

The FA*85 F1.4 is a heavy lens with a very large hood and a fragile silver finish, definitely not the most practical lens for field photography. It's also prone to chromatic aberration, especially from F1.4 to F2.2. However this is a very special portrait lens. It delivers very sharp images, like other premium lenses, but that bokeh... is a thing of beauty, the best I've ever seen. Very dreamy.
It renders very rich and warm colors too.
Pentax definitely prioritized the IQ for portrait work with this lens, and it's a film era (discontinued) lens so I forgive the chromatic aberration, silver finish and bulkiness and only judge in terms of IQ for portrait: FANTASTIC!


   
Veteran Member

Registered: March, 2013
Location: Bletchley, Buckinghamshire, UK
Posts: 340

1 user found this helpful
Lens Review Date: March 23, 2015 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $900.00 | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: Unmatched IQ and sharpness, focus speed, bokeh to die for
Cons: Cost, rarity, weight, hood marks easily
Sharpness: 10    Aberrations: 9    Bokeh: 10    Autofocus: 10    Handling: 10    Value: 10    New or Used: Used    Camera Used: K-3   

I can only echo what others have said about this magnificent lens. The FA*85mm is simply the finest piece of Pentax glass I have ever owned.
Rendering and colour are simply superb. I also own the FA 77mm Ltd (i've had three copies in fact). Although a great lens in it's own right, the 77mm doesn't compare to this lens for sharpness and quality of bokeh. It is simply the king of Pentax lenses for portraiture in my eyes. The transition from in focus to bokeh is just creamy smooth. Stopped down just a little it is absolutely razor sharp.

The only downsides to the FA*85mm that I can see are rarity/cost and weight.

As a result I tend to take the 77mm Ltd out more often for family trips etc. It is far smaller and lighter. Easier to replace too, if anything unfortunate happened. The FA*85mm is just a very special lens and I count myself very lucky to own a good copy.
   
New Member

Registered: March, 2015
Location: Paris
Posts: 2

1 user found this helpful
Lens Review Date: March 22, 2015 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $1,000.00 | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: The better one
Cons: no SDM
Sharpness: 10    Aberrations: 10    Bokeh: 10    Autofocus: 10    Handling: 10    Value: 10    New or Used: Used    Camera Used: K20D   

For me the best Lens pentax have made
   
Pentaxian

Registered: July, 2010
Location: singapore
Posts: 467
Lens Review Date: October 17, 2014 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: N/A | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: sharp , excellent subject isolation, great colours
Cons: large size
Sharpness: 10    Aberrations: 10    Bokeh: 10    Autofocus: 10    Handling: 10    Value: 10    New or Used: New    Camera Used: Pentax K5   

IMGP9829 by maverick_h, on Flickr


Excellent lens for protraits. Great subject isolation, and i simply love the bokeh.

Let the picture speaks for this excellent lens.
   
New Member

Registered: May, 2013
Posts: 2

1 user found this helpful
Lens Review Date: April 17, 2014 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $1,350.00 | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: Excellent color rendition and sharpness
Cons: none
Sharpness: 10    Aberrations: 10    Autofocus: 9    Handling: 10    Value: 10    New or Used: Used    Camera Used: Pentax K30   

I bought this lens based on some of the previous reviews. Just like a similar review I was hesitant that I would regret my purchase based on the price. I normally buy lenses on ebay that are worth less than my camera. This lens cost more than double of what I paid for my K30.

I don't regret my purchase and this is the best lens that I own and admire.

Here are some samples;

https://www.flickr.com/photos/96803215@N05/13883882855/

https://www.flickr.com/photos/96803215@N05/13883866705/

https://www.flickr.com/photos/96803215@N05/13883840735/

I hope you enjoy.
   
Senior Member

Registered: February, 2011
Posts: 274

1 user found this helpful
Lens Review Date: March 1, 2013 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $1,400.00 | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: excellent portrait lens, short focus distance, sharp, nice bokeh
Cons: hard to focus at long distance
Sharpness: 10    Aberrations: 9    Bokeh: 10    Autofocus: 9    Handling: 10    Value: 9    New or Used: Used    Camera Used: K5   

Many reviews in this section have discussed many aspects that I wished to tell. I would say the lens performs very well in term of sharpness, bokeh, and "clean" image. The focus is good for short distance; however it is always struggling for long distance objects. Here is some pictures that I took in Oct. 2012 on my K-5

@f/2.8

HIEP5578 copy by ngnhuhiep, on Flickr


@f/1.8

HIEP5580 copy by ngnhuhiep, on Flickr

@f/2.2

HIEP5588 copy by ngnhuhiep, on Flickr

And more recently, at a garden in PA, NJ


HIEP7372 by ngnhuhiep, on Flickr


HIEP7337 by ngnhuhiep, on Flickr

f/1.4

HIEP7389_edited-1 by ngnhuhiep, on Flickr
   
Pentaxian

Registered: January, 2007
Location: Warsaw
Posts: 338

2 users found this helpful
Lens Review Date: November 30, 2012 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $1,400.00 | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: bokeh, sharpness
Cons: quite big with hood
Sharpness: 10    Aberrations: 10    Bokeh: 10    Autofocus: 10    Handling: 9    Value: 10    New or Used: Used    Camera Used: K20D, K5   

Best portrait lens I had. My Leica 90/2 is a little similar in nature. Fantastic sharpness, great color reproduction, amazing bokeh.

Hood is great but very well fitted and durable.

These two shots are at f1.4.





Few more shots
   
Senior Member

Registered: November, 2011
Posts: 106

2 users found this helpful
Lens Review Date: March 17, 2012 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: N/A | Rating: 9 

 
Pros: Sharp, contrast 3d effect
Cons: autofocus @ infinite
Sharpness: 10    Aberrations: 9    Bokeh: 10    Autofocus: 8    Handling: 8    Value: 9    New or Used: Used    Camera Used: K5   

for a smile on your face at every shot, I recommend this lenses.
different apertures:

original
http://farm8.staticflickr.com/7208/6990730613_500f8e6a73_o.jpg
   
New Member

Registered: May, 2010
Posts: 5

1 user found this helpful
Lens Review Date: February 10, 2012 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $1,500.00 | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: Looks great on a K5 Silver, best value for the quality, fantastic output, fast
Cons: Cost
Sharpness: 10    Aberrations: 10    Bokeh: 10    Autofocus: 10    Handling: 10    Value: 10    New or Used: Used    Camera Used: Pentax K5   

This is my most used lens for shooting indoor or low light sporting events. 95% of my photography activity is indoors and requires shooting at shutter speeds > 1/1000.

Bottom line, I dont even fool around with other lens because this bad boy leaves all others in the dust. I only wish that I had discovered this guy before investing in all of the other suboptimal glass
   
Pentaxian

Registered: January, 2009
Posts: 9,457

2 users found this helpful
Lens Review Date: January 6, 2012 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $1,088.00 | Rating: 9 

 
Pros: Fast focus, Sharp
Cons: CA wide open, not wheaterseald, not f1.2
Sharpness: 10    Aberrations: 7    Bokeh: 8    Autofocus: 9    Handling: 10    Value: 10    New or Used: Used   

This is my most used lens. It is a wonderfull thing when on my K-5 Silver.


Negative on it is Chromatic Aberations when used wide open (around the arms). On the other hand, it can be forgiven with the right subject.


It is great for portrait. At close range or at longer range for full body.


Great for low light scenes like concert to make the picture like you want them.


Or for that perfect shot in good light.


I would like this lens to be DA* with wheatersealing and quickshift. Maybe even as a f1.2 version.

Here is one picture at full resolution and good lightning to see how good this lens is:
https://dl.dropbox.com/u/20195454/_S5W6189.jpg
   
Senior Member

Registered: May, 2011
Location: Hanoi
Posts: 199

3 users found this helpful
Lens Review Date: January 5, 2012 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $1,600.00 | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: fast focus, metal build
Cons: diameter 67mm is quite small
Sharpness: 10    Aberrations: 10    Bokeh: 10    Autofocus: 10    Handling: 10    Value: 10    New or Used: New   

This is my treasure, so proud to own this lens. speed of focus so amazing, very fast and accurate. The build like a solid metal also the hood made by metal


K5 + FA* 85mm at f1.4


Ms. Yun, on Flickr


HANU, on Flickr


HANU on Flickr


HANU, on Flickr


The spring is coming!, on Flickr


The spring is coming!, on Flickr


The spring is coming!, on Flickr


The spring is coming!, on Flickr


The spring is coming!, on Flickr

   
Pentaxian

Registered: December, 2007
Location: Vancouver, BC
Posts: 940

6 users found this helpful
Lens Review Date: July 8, 2011 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $900.00 | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: Too numerous to list...
Cons: size, perhaps...but the results are just stunning...
Sharpness: 10    Aberrations: 9    Bokeh: 10    Autofocus: 7    Handling: 7   

I'll let the pictures speak for themselves:












Cheers,
Cameron
   
Pentaxian

Registered: April, 2011
Location: Brisbane. Australia
Posts: 1,346
Lens Review Date: April 16, 2011 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $1,650.00 | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: Sharp, contrast, bokeh unparrelled,
Cons: cannot not think of 1 thing, would love an updated SDM version.
Sharpness: 10    Aberrations: 9    Bokeh: 10    Autofocus: 10    Handling: 10    Value: 9    New or Used: New   

Had this lens before Digital, always my best lens, Outstanding contrast, beautiful colour, sharp as a pin. Never had a complaint, was my standard lens on my old 35mm film body, has been a classic favorite ever since moving to digital. If you get the chance, shoot with this chunk of glass, truely a masterpiece. And now the added ability to shoot HD video with the K-7 though this lens is breathtaking.


Taken in 2005 in Barcelona with the 85. at f10/160th ISO 400 -0.3EV

Add Review of SMC Pentax-FA* 85mm F1.4 [IF]



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