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SMC Pentax 85mm F1.8

Reviews Views Date of last review
21 104,693 Tue August 28, 2018
Recommended By Average Price Average User Rating
100% of reviewers $341.53 9.65
SMC Pentax 85mm F1.8

SMC Pentax 85mm F1.8
SMC Pentax 85mm F1.8

This is the fastest 85mm lens in the M/K series.

SMC Pentax 85mm F1.8
©, sharable with attribution
Image Format
Full-frame / 35mm film
Lens Mount
Pentax K
Aperture Ring
Yes (no A setting)
Automatic, 8 blades
6 elements, 6 groups
Mount Variant
Check camera compatibility
Max. Aperture
Min. Aperture
Min. Focus
85 cm
Max. Magnification
Filter Size
52 mm
Internal Focus
Field of View (Diag. / Horiz.)

APS-C: 19 ° / 16 °
Full frame: 29 ° / 24 °
Dedicated hard case
Lens Cap
Plastic clip-on
Weather Sealing
Other Features
Diam x Length
64 x 56 mm
331 g
Production Years
1975 to 1977
Engraved Name
SMC PENTAX 1:1.8/85
Product Code
User reviews
Manual FocusAperture RingFull-Frame SupportDiscontinued
Price History:

Add Review of SMC Pentax 85mm F1.8
Sort Reviews by: Date | Author | Rating | Recommendation | Likes (Descending) Showing Reviews 1-15 of 21
New Member

Registered: August, 2018
Posts: 15
Lens Review Date: August 28, 2018 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $500.00 | Rating: 9 

Pros: incredible simplicity
Cons: ...very difficult to take a photo quickly with this manuel lense
Sharpness: 10    Aberrations: 9    Bokeh: 9    Handling: 4    Value: 9    Camera Used: K-x   

What a shame ! This lense is incredible, better thant the FA 85mm F/1.4 for me, because it's very short, and F/1.8 is sufficient for the bokeh.
But take a photo with a K lense take a long time, it's all manual for exposition, speed etc.
Impossible for sport action.

Zero chromatic aberation, that why it's better thant the FA 85mm F/1.4 for me.
All metal built.

If Pentax has to make a D-FA 85mm lense, they shoult take the optical formula of this lense.
For me, the new D-FA 50mm F/1.4 is too big, to heavy.
And I'm afraid Pentax is making the same mistake for the conception of the new D-FAZ 85mm.

.. I sold it to pay my new FA 85mm F/1.4...
Senior Member

Registered: April, 2013
Location: St. Louis, MO
Posts: 114
Lens Review Date: October 18, 2016 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $300.00 | Rating: 10 

Pros: sharp, gorgeous, smooth, bokeh, handling, color, contrast
Cons: none
Sharpness: 10    Aberrations: 9    Bokeh: 10    Handling: 10    Value: 10    Camera Used: K-01 and Fuji X-E1   

I feel very lucky to have stumbled across this lens at a local camera shop in the used cabinet. It's just fantastic, everything people say it is. Beautifully sharp and in a warm, realistic way, not too clinical or edgy-sharp. The color and contrast factor is top-notch Pentax. The feel and focus throw is wonderful, they really tapered the focus range so that you can easily focus manually and fine tune with great precision. It's nice and compact, very fast. It's a real gem, one of the best. Wide open with high-contrast edges it can get a little purple fringing, but that's not a real issue. It resolves subtle shades of foliage wonderfully. It's very clean and coma-free across the image. What a beauty!
New Member

Registered: May, 2016
Posts: 11
Lens Review Date: May 31, 2016 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: N/A | Rating: 10 

Pros: sharpness, bokeh, colour differentiation
Cons: no A, no AF
Sharpness: 10    Aberrations: 9    Bokeh: 10    Handling: 7    Value: 10    Camera Used: anything between K2 and K-3   

Not much to add here... one of the greatest Pentax lenses ever.
Perfect sharpness, bokeh, colour differentiation and rendition.
Much, much better than the M 2/85 which I owned before and much easier and safer to use than that huge A 1,4/85 which I sold off after two weeks Due to its AF the FA 1,4/85 might have a point though.
On the K-3 the 1,8/85 is one of my favourites for video shooting. AF is not needed, instead you are thrilled by the large, smooth, super-silent focus ring... Leave the aperture wide open and play with the minimal DOF. You get razor-sharp, movie-like pictures with a stunningly creamy background.
Senior Member

Registered: June, 2015
Posts: 235
Lens Review Date: September 13, 2015 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $10.00 | Rating: 10 

Pros: Sharp, Nice focus ring, MF, fast, built like a tank
Cons: None
Sharpness: 9    Aberrations: 10    Handling: 10    Value: 10    Camera Used: K-5   

Now this is byfar one of the sharpest lenses in the telephoto range if not the sharpest that I have used and is probably the cheapest (my paid price) one of my kit. Bought it for $10 from a guy selling a K2 and had no idea what it was. The bokeh is beautiful and I swear it out resolves my K-5's sensor at f5.6. The focus throw is nice and long allowing easier focus and its nice f1.8 aperture is quick for nice night stuff. Overall beauty of a lens and for the price I paid its probably the best bang for my buck. Just an amazing lens!
Forum Member

Registered: December, 2012
Location: Warsaw
Posts: 73

1 user found this helpful
Lens Review Date: April 23, 2015 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: N/A | Rating: 10 

Pros: Compact, speed, bokeh, perfect portrait FL, color rendering,..... and the sharpness outresolving 16MP K5 sensor
Cons: Very rare. Not cheap, but worth the price.
Sharpness: 10    Aberrations: 10    Bokeh: 10    Handling: 10    Value: 10    Camera Used: K5, LX   

Top class lens.
Formidable portrait glass.
Produces breathtaking portraits. With "velvety clearness".....

One of the best classic 85's without modern high-tech glass inside.
It has a S-M-C Takumar 85mm f/1,8 optical construction so has much the same top performance.
According to BDimitrov produced for very short time: 1975-1977.
I found very interesting article about 85mm lenses race:
New Member

Registered: September, 2014
Posts: 1
Lens Review Date: October 17, 2014 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $380.00 | Rating: 10 

Pros: small size, bokeh, colour rendering, sharpness
Cons: none
Sharpness: 9    Aberrations: 10    Bokeh: 10    Handling: 10    Value: 9    Camera Used: K30, Super A   

Fantastic lens, little soft at f1,8, sharp at f2,8-4, razor sharp at f4-8.
Great bokeh, rendering..

New Member

Registered: May, 2013
Location: Jakarta
Posts: 2
Lens Review Date: May 11, 2014 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $200.00 | Rating: N/A 

Pros: super sharp, low CA, built quality, 3D rendering
Cons: heavy, rare, price
Sharpness: 10    Aberrations: 10    Bokeh: 10    Handling: 9    Value: 7    Camera Used: K5, ME Super, A7, A6000   

fantastic portrait lens! this is my first 85mm lens, really like this lens, has beautiful 3D rendering especially in FF
i'm the lucky one to have this rare lens
Site Supporter

Registered: October, 2013
Location: NW Indiana
Posts: 19
Lens Review Date: October 21, 2013 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: N/A | Rating: 10 

Pros: All around great lens.
Sharpness: 10    Aberrations: 9    Bokeh: 9    Handling: 10    Value: 10    Camera Used: K-x K-30   

This is a great lens, I love the colors it produces.
Site Supporter

Registered: July, 2012
Posts: 887

6 users found this helpful
Lens Review Date: April 11, 2013 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $428.00 | Rating: 10 

Pros: Sharp, great color rendering, smooth bokeh
Cons: Not the easiest lens to produce the best results
Sharpness: 10    Aberrations: 9    Bokeh: 10    Handling: 9    Value: 9    Camera Used: K20D   

The K85mm f1.8 is a beautifully engineered film-era portrait lens. It was very highly rated in the film and early digital days. It produces sharp images, excellent color rendition and smooth bokeh, and doesn’t suffer from the kind of purple fringing produced by the FA77mm.

Today, however, it’s not so universally admired/valued, perhaps because of the quality of new competitors. And from f5.6 onwards, of course, it can be hard to tell the difference on aps-c cameras between this lens and a new budget zoom at 85mm. So if you want one of these rare and relatively expensive MF lenses, be sure to have a good reason for taking photos at or around f1.8, and be prepared to work hard on metering, focusing, composition etc. for the best results, which are stunning – it’s not the most forgiving lens.

The lens is not unreasonably soft wide open; instead it produces slightly creamy skin tones. As others have written, this effect can be extremely attractive for portraits, and adds to that artistic 3D effect.

If you’re on a tight budget and looking for a great value MF Pentax lens for portraits on cropped sensors, you may want to look at the K 55mm f1.8. If money is no object, the Pentax starred 85mm 1.4s are probably a better option.

Nevertheless, the K85mm is an exceptional lens and a 10/10 for its type; I’d rate the M85mm, which I’ve also used, a 9/10. It’s a worthy, lower cost MF alternative to the FA77mm and it is much more portable than newer 85mm 1.4s. It would probably have a more legendary status (like its Takumar M42 predecessor) with more top reviews, if it wasn’t so rare, or used on a FF camera to show off the advantages of its focal length, extremely narrow/artistic DOF possibilities and optical qualities, especially where other lenses' purple fringing problems can become more pronounced.

Edit: I couldn't find a lot of photos to judge this lens's capabilities when I was thinking about buying one, so for others here are two @f1.8 and a few others:

Junior Member

Registered: August, 2012
Posts: 46
Lens Review Date: April 7, 2013 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: N/A | Rating: 10 

Pros: Great rendering, excellent for portraits
Cons: Manual focus, manual aperture
Sharpness: 9    Aberrations: 9    Bokeh: 10    Handling: 9    Value: 9    Camera Used: K-01, LX, *ist DL   

This is without a doubt one of the best lenses Pentax has ever made. Hard to beat as a portrait lens, either on film or digital cameras. Sharp, beautiful colors and bokeh. Well built, like the K and M series usually were.
Veteran Member

Registered: June, 2010
Posts: 737
Lens Review Date: March 22, 2012 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $395.00 | Rating: 10 

Pros: Bokeh, Colours, Sharpness, Focusing Ring, Build
Cons: Marginal Green CA, Expensive
Sharpness: 10    Aberrations: 9    Bokeh: 10    Handling: 10    Value: 8    Camera Used: k-5   

This is THE's like FA77 without purple fringing. In fact I prefer this lens to FA77. It's a pretty compact lens, although not a match for FA77 nor DA70. Build-wise it is superb, solid with wide focusing ring which turns approx 270 degrees from closest focus to infinity. Wide open it is bit soft, but sharp stopped down to f2.8. In comparison it outperformed DA70 by a small margin, even in the corners.
K85 show bit of bokeh chromatic aberation, but it is subtle and not a problem stopped down. So far I couldn't make this lens to exhibit any purple fringing. Bokeh is very smooth, to my eyes identical or better than with FA77. On K-5 body the exposure via green button is spot on, lens fits the camera very well ergonomically too. A pity this design didn't evolve into AF lens.

Edit: I did some comparison landscape photos with K85 and FA77 and here are my findings:
1. Aparently K85 is better tuned for infinity photography
2. K85 has overall more neutral colour tone and renders deeper, more saturated blue than FA77, FA77 has more warmer colour tone
3. FA77 is sharper at f1.8, but from f2 there's not really a noticeable difference in sharpness between the two
4. to me K85 has a superior and smoother bokeh
Inactive Account

Registered: January, 2008
Location: Sørumsand, Norway
Posts: 59
Lens Review Date: June 2, 2011 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $250.00 | Rating: 8 

Pros: Bokeh, sharp wide open, just beautiful to hold :)
Cons: Manual focusing

Bought a mint lens a year ago, I think it was hardly used at all. I like the image quality, especially full open with the small dof and the out of focus rendering.

But, it is manual focusing, and full open I find it hard to achieve perfect focus when objects are moving a bit. So I had to buy the 77mm F1.8 to not miss the moments. I still like to use this lens now and then, because it's such a gem.

It is good, but with the lack of autofocus I find it hard to give more than 8.

(Non working link removed)
Veteran Member

Registered: November, 2006
Location: Singapore
Posts: 3,202
Lens Review Date: August 18, 2010 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $560.00 | Rating: 9 

Pros: Small and compact, a great performer
Cons: A bit hard to find, not cheap

I don't know how come most guys here got the lens ssooo cheap? Whenever I saw it, it's expensive! But comparing w/ A*85/1.4, it's still cheaper. Between these two, actually I like to carry the K85 more 'cause it's a lot smaller and lighter.
New Member

Registered: January, 2009
Location: Champagne Ardennes, France
Posts: 6
Lens Review Date: October 26, 2009 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $180.00 | Rating: 10 

Pros: Fast, Nice Bokeh an color rendering, compact size
Cons: difficult to find
Sharpness: 9    Aberrations: 10    Bokeh: 10    Handling: 10    Value: 9   

It 's a sharp lens that offers good color rendering, bokeh and pleasant handling. Nice for portrait or fine details or to get 3D style picture. It's a 10 (for this price you can't find better).

Test photos :

Site Supporter

Registered: October, 2008
Location: Vancouver, Canada
Posts: 5,837

1 user found this helpful
Lens Review Date: August 7, 2009 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $780.00 | Rating: 10 

Pros: Speed , quality, soft-focus area.
Cons: Not really a telephoto lens.
Camera Used: K Series film bodies (K1000, KM, KX, K2, K2DMD)   

The K85/1.8 is one of three K series portrait/telephotos released in 1975, the others being the K105/2.8 & K120/2.8. The K85/1.8 actually weighs more than the K105/2.8, which is due to the extra lens element. (6 compared to 5)

The K85/1.8 was designed to produce a soft-focus effect in the areas just beyond the DOF, so it is ideal for portraiture and close-ups of other objects. This soft-focus area is very appealing and is unique. You will have fun playing around with the DOF.

The K85/1.8 is also incredibly fast and I have used it for night city scapes. The K85/1.8 is part of my new “night kit” along with my K28/2 and K50/1.2.

The K85/1.8 is sharp for a lens of this focal length and is decent wide open. Though I have only used it wide open at night. It’s also much sharper than the M85/2 version.

The K85/1.8 shares the same 52mm filter thread lens hood with the K105/2.8 and the K100/4 Macro & Bellows lenses. I highly recommend getting one.

The K85/1.8 is more of a specialty fast portrait lens than a telephoto. But it is brilliant at what it is designed for and is a must have in any collection.

Note my review is based on using the K85/1.8 on a film camera only. Also the price I paid is on the high side, as it was mint- and came with the original lens case and hood.

Sample shots taken with the K85/1.8. Photos are medium resolution scans from original slides or negatives.

Camera: K2 Film: Fuji Velvia 100 ISO: 100

Camera: K2 Film: Ilford HP5 Plus ISO: 400

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