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SMC Pentax-M 85mm F2 Review RSS Feed

SMC Pentax-M 85mm F2

Reviews Views Date of last review
46 241,805 Tue March 16, 2021
Recommended By Average Price Average User Rating
98% of reviewers $234.62 9.26
SMC Pentax-M 85mm F2

SMC Pentax-M 85mm F2
SMC Pentax-M 85mm F2
SMC Pentax-M 85mm F2

This compact portrait lens was succeeded by faster versions in the A and FA series.

SMC Pentax-M 85mm F2
©, sharable with attribution
Image Format
Full-frame / 35mm film
Lens Mount
Pentax K
Aperture Ring
Yes (no A setting)
Automatic, 6 blades
5 elements, 4 groups
Mount Variant
Check camera compatibility
Max. Aperture
Min. Aperture
Min. Focus
85 cm
Max. Magnification
Filter Size
49 mm
Internal Focus
Field of View (Diag. / Horiz.)

APS-C: 19 ° / 16 °
Full frame: 29 ° / 24 °
PH-R49 and clip-on hood
for 85mm/100mm lenses
Dedicated hard case
Lens Cap
Plastic clip-on
Weather Sealing
Other Features
Diam x Length
63 x 46 mm
251 g
Production Years
1977 to 1984
Engraved Name
smc PENTAX-M 1:2 85mm
Product Code
User reviews
Manual FocusAperture RingFull-Frame SupportDiscontinued
Price History:

Add Review of SMC Pentax-M 85mm F2
Sort Reviews by: Date | Author | Rating | Recommendation | Likes (Descending) Showing Reviews 1-15 of 46
New Member

Registered: April, 2017
Posts: 12

4 users found this helpful
Review Date: March 16, 2021 Recommended | Price: $180.00 | Rating: 9 

Pros: sharpness, bokeh, lightness
Cons: chromatic aberrations/halo at full aperture
Sharpness: 9    Aberrations: 7    Bokeh: 9    Handling: 9    Value: 10    Camera Used: K50, Fujifilm XT-20   

There is something very pleasant in this lens, so that I was tempted to give an overall score of 10, I really like it. But a few issues prevent me from doing so, especially the blue haze in high contrast areas, but the 9 is well deserved, especially for the excellent bokeh.

I have tested this lens (against the Sonnar 85/2.8) here:

It is worth to see were it excels and where it has some weak spot. A longer focus throw, a shorter min focus distance may be something you want.
Softness at f/2 may prove useful for portraits, it is not necessarily a con.

Good reading!
Senior Member

Registered: July, 2020
Posts: 122

3 users found this helpful
Review Date: September 3, 2020 Recommended | Price: $336.00 | Rating: 10 

Pros: really sharp; compact; great handling
Cons: none seriously
Sharpness: 10    Aberrations: 10    Bokeh: 10    Handling: 10    Value: 9    Camera Used: K10D, K-3 II, K-1 II   

One of my sharpest lenses, for sure. I got a superb copy off eBay from Japan. This is a delightful lens to use, and it looks great. The focusing ring is typically good of the M- and A-series K-mount lenses; its width occupies about a quarter of the length of the lens barrel, and it rotates about 250 degrees (i.e., not quite 3/4 of a full turn) from infinity counterclockwise (as seen from behind the camera) to its closest focus -- and this allows for easy, precise focusing. The aperture ring is excellent; it is reasonably thick and not set right against the camera/mount, so it is easy to move from any point 360 degrees around the camera barrel, and it has a nice feel to the movement between f/-stops. Just a really functionally good lens to use for manual focusing.

I get really good, sharp star images from time exposures with a clock drive at night. Photos of flowers with bees shows good sharpness, color, contrast, and bokeh. The lens seems pretty sharp from f/2 onwards. I got this lens to fill a void in my primes collection between 50mm and 105mm, and this one is a real keeper. I have the original clip-on round hood that goes with the lens from Pentax, and it works fine. I notice that the hood has "SMC PENTAX 1:2 85mm" and "1:2.8-4 100mm" on the side, but the lens itself has "smc PENTAX-M 1:2 85mm" engraved between the filter thread and the objective lens. I'd like to have paid a little less, but with used lenses I'm not content for going with anything less than "mint" condition, and I'm very content and I realize that I may have gotten a good deal. These days I don't do much in the way of "portraits", but this lens would be really good for that purpose.

Again, I bought this lens after reading the reviews here (and of other 85-mm lenses in the Pentax line-up), and I'm writing reviews of all my lenses in appreciation for all the help that I've gotten from the Pentax Forum reviewers; I have yet to have any regrets buying a Pentax lens after reading these reviews -- they are invaluable to the Pentax community. The price that I paid is listed and includes (as with all my reviews) shipping and the state taxes levied by eBay.

photos with the lens on my camera, with the dedicated clip-on lens hood:

New Member

Registered: May, 2020
Posts: 1

1 user found this helpful
Review Date: August 31, 2020 Recommended | Price: $550.00 | Rating: 10 

Pros: Very sharp wide open, cinematic colors, gorgeous bokeh
Cons: a little bit of chromatic abberation at F2
Sharpness: 10    Aberrations: 8    Bokeh: 10    Handling: 10    Value: 10    Camera Used: Pentax K1000 and Canon 5D Mark II   

Incredible lens, one that I've always wanted to try. I have this along with my Pentax SMC M 50mm f1.2 which is also another bokeh monster but much less useable then this 85mm due to its heavy abberations wide open. The 85mm F2 is very useable wide open, and extremely good micro contrast as another user said. Price for these have gone up due to rarity and collectability and just overall exquisite build quality. Definitely one i'm keeping in my collection, the 50mm f1.2 may get sold to be honest.
Senior Member

Registered: June, 2013
Location: Utrecht
Posts: 190

5 users found this helpful
Review Date: June 15, 2019 Recommended | Price: $180.00 | Rating: 9 

Pros: Compact, very nice build quality, excellent performance
Cons: Blue-ish halos wide open in out of focus highlights
Sharpness: 9    Aberrations: 7    Bokeh: 10    Handling: 10    Value: 10   

This lens has the same look & feel like the M-50 F1.4, a very compact relative havy piece of metal filled with nicely coated optical glass, it's just a little bit bigger than the 50 is. Wide open spot on it already is decent sharp with a small DOF. As mentioned here before, at F2.0 in harsh areas that are not in focus you can see even in your viewfinder the blue / purple halos at the highlights. One stop down these almost disappear, the best results are delivered between F4 - 5.6. You get pixel sharp contrasty pictures with enough out of focus to deliver that 3D view. This lens often is mentionned inferior to its K-sibling, but it is so sharp on 36 MP I hardly can believe that.

Arnold Stark published an interesting article about the 77-85 Pentax lenses:

Wide open on K1ii:

Extreme crop:

Pictures shot between F4 - F5.6, only levels adjusted in post...

New Member

Registered: January, 2019
Posts: 18

1 user found this helpful
Review Date: April 27, 2019 Recommended | Rating: 9 

Pros: sharp, bokeh, color rendering, small, light
Cons: none
Sharpness: 9    Aberrations: 8    Bokeh: 9    Handling: 10    Value: 9    Camera Used: Pentax LX, MX   

This is another telephoto lens (in addition to Pentax K 200mm f2.5) that I always had with my bag when I traveled to Europe and the Himalayas in the 1980s. When I bought my first Pentax camera with a normal lens (MX with M 50mm f1.7), the seller recommended the Pentax M-series 85mm f2 as the second lens. She was a Pentax photographer and praised the lens as the market's best portrait lens. At that moment I had no money to buy this praised lens and went almost a year before I found it used for a good price.
It was a really worthwhile lens and it quickly became known as an excellent portrait lens among photographers in 1980s. In fact, when I put it on sale later, it was sold in less than an hour. That lens was to me the perfect portrait lens. Perhaps, it wasnt the sharpest lens at full aperture, but its color rendering was great and I think that much better than Canon and Nikon lenses at that time. I shot mostly at aperture 2.8 or 4 for portraits, and results were perfect.
Though it is a manual lens, lens handling is quick and easy. It is a light and rather small lens. When I walked in the countryside, I often had a normal or wide-angle lens in the camera, but Pentax's light and small lenses were able to change in a matter of seconds, and Pentax's 85mm was instantly switched to the camera when approaching suitable subjects.
Id love to buy this lens back, but so far I have not bought it, because it's hard to find it at a reasonable price, even though it's more than 40 years old lens. Instead, I was fortunate enough to buy a Pentax A* 85mm f1.4 that was released a few years later in 1984.
Forum Member

Registered: February, 2016
Location: Moab, Utah
Posts: 90

3 users found this helpful
Review Date: June 28, 2017 Recommended | Price: $375.00 | Rating: 10 

Pros: Color punch, Fine Contrast, Bokeh, Sharpness, non-radioactive in that order
Cons: 6 aperture blades, blue-ish tinge at long exposures
Sharpness: 10    Aberrations: 8    Bokeh: 10    Handling: 10    Value: 9    Camera Used: Sony Alpha bodies   

Colors and contrast are supreme with this lens. Bokeh is "luxuriously swirled," but not too much and it's still perceivably sharp even wide open. It gets very sharp at 2.8. There are sharper 85mm's, but this one has fine contrast which gives that "pop" one might expect from a low element count prime lens. The size is very small and compact. Perfect M series build quality. This matches well with the M series 135mm f.5, for they're both way too small for how good they are.

The only drawback to this lens I can tell is that on long exposures and moreso when the aperture is opened up it seems, it leans blue. At least on my Sony's. As a trade-off, my night blues are gorgeous with this lens. Works well if going for a teal-orange graded image. It benefits from a hood, especially when wide open where I get a loss of contrast in some situations without one. As a bonus, this lens is not radioactive like the Super-Takumar 1.9. I example images in my video for anyone interested.
New Member

Registered: February, 2016
Location: lake constance
Posts: 1

1 user found this helpful
Review Date: December 21, 2016 Recommended | Price: $150.00 | Rating: 10 

Pros: extremly sharp-without artifacts, small, build quality extremely high
Cons: none, out of production
Sharpness: 10    Aberrations: 10    Bokeh: 10    Handling: 10    Value: 10    Camera Used: Pentax MX, Sony A7   

This is a great lens for portrait - but especially for theatre and stage photography.
An enormous sharpness gives you the opportunity for image section, so, that you are able to replace a heavier zoom. Manual focus is on top of mechanical possibilities. I cannot remember,
that any of my several Nikon lenses has a comaparable build quality like the M lenses of Pentax. For me they are the top of lenses. Ive bought all my M lenses in used condition. Some where stronger used, my M85mm 2 was nearly new. All of them have the same proper function in stops and focussing. After 30 or more years you can work with them, like on the first day after production.
Junior Member

Registered: March, 2015
Posts: 41

2 users found this helpful
Review Date: September 28, 2016 Recommended | Price: $200.00 | Rating: 10 

Pros: Very sharp, small, fast
Cons: None
Sharpness: 10    Aberrations: 8    Bokeh: 8    Handling: 10    Value: 10    Camera Used: k30   

I had at the same time the A*85 1.4, the FA* 85 1.4 and this lens. I have done a couple of test with the tripod with all of them and I have to see it is very closed to the other two (if you ask me the best is the A* but is it absolutely smaller and lighter and cheaper than the other two!!

So, if you have a budget of about 200 dollars think seriuolsly about this lens!
Senior Member

Registered: April, 2015
Location: Lower Saxony
Posts: 181

3 users found this helpful
Review Date: September 20, 2016 Recommended | Price: $200.00 | Rating: 9 

Pros: smooth bokeh, compact, sharp - but not too much
Cons: -
Sharpness: 9    Aberrations: 9    Bokeh: 10    Handling: 9    Value: 9    Camera Used: K-30   

down scaled out of camera jpg, K-30, f/2.0:

(click into to enlarge original out of camera jpg)
New Member

Registered: January, 2013
Posts: 23

2 users found this helpful
Review Date: January 1, 2016 Recommended | Price: $140.00 | Rating: 10 

Pros: Everything, especially price
Cons: None
Sharpness: 9    Aberrations: 10    Bokeh: 10    Handling: 9    Value: 10    Camera Used: Pentax K5 iis   

Unbelivable value vs price. I couldn't expect more
Loyal Site Supportaxian

Registered: September, 2013
Location: Texas
Posts: 503

3 users found this helpful
Review Date: March 24, 2015 Recommended | Price: $260.00 | Rating: 9 

Pros: Size, Sharpness.
Cons: No aperture automation.

Sharpness: Sharp enough wide open; Very sharp from f4-11. In some respects the wide open sharpness is ideal for portraiture because it's not so sharp (like the 85/1.8 can be at F2.8) that it's still forgiving to your subject if they have blemishes.

Abberations: Moderate Purple CA when wide open that is so broad that it's almost more like halation. Only a problem in certain conditions, and it's pretty much under control at 2.8. Not a big issue to me.

Better than most lenses. Blur quality is quite smooth, and the optical formula favors blurring the background before the foreground when each is equidistant from the subject plane. This is ideal for subject isolation in typical shooting conditions. Could use more aperture blades, but the smoothness of the blur means that the hexagons are not as obtrusive as in many other lenses with 6 blades.

Handling: Excellent. Waaaaay smaller than the preceding 85mm 1.8's. The convenience factor is very high for this lens due to its size. Time and again, this has found itself in the bag due to size.

Color Rendering. Very good. Typical M series - slightly towards blue but not obtrusively so.

Value: Not cheap, but you get pleasing performance for the price.

On Full Frame: Special mention here - this lens is fine on APS-C like a K-01, but it's notably better on digital Full Frame where it really performs well and can turn the bokeh to beautiful creamy mush. Unlike some other reviewers, my copy is acceptably sharp in the corners on FF. Not super, but just fine for intended use.

Overall: The sweet spot for me is f2.8 with close subject. The strengths of this lens are it's size and portrait performance. I like it quite well. Lens hood recommended.
Veteran Member

Registered: July, 2010
Location: singapore
Posts: 467

3 users found this helpful
Review Date: October 17, 2014 Recommended | Rating: 9 

Pros: small, sharp when wide open , nice colours
Cons: negligible to mention
Sharpness: 9    Aberrations: 7    Bokeh: 9    Handling: 9    Value: 10    Camera Used: Sony A7   

DSC02525 by maverick_h, on Flickr

DSC02327 by maverick_h, on Flickr

Much has been said about this lens. I simply love it and it travels with me whenever i am overseas. Portable. does not take up much space. Loves the colour it renders. Probably I am lucky to have a sharp copy.

I rather let the picture speaks for itself.
Veteran Member

Registered: November, 2008
Location: Melbourne, Australia
Posts: 594
Review Date: May 25, 2014 Recommended | Price: $320.00 | Rating: 9 

Pros: Small, F2, lightweight
Cons: None
Sharpness: 9    Aberrations: 9    Bokeh: 9    Handling: 8    Value: 7    Camera Used: K5   

I bought this for the F2 and it's relatively small size and weight. On APS-C I'm not a big fan of 50mm and prefer 70+ mm for my portraits.

Unfortunately any of the old 85mm lenses are not cheap so you basically pay premium for these lenses. While an F1.4 would be nice they are pricey and heavy.

Anyway, I've tested on a K5 and I'm happy. For my intended use as a portrait lens this is definitely usable at F2. If I had to stop down the utility would have been somewhat diminished.

This now competes with the Rokinon/Samyang/Bower 85mm F1.4 but they are significantly heavier hence why I purchased this light weight SMC-M 85mm F2.

I'm going to be happy using this lens although sadly from a Pentaxian point of view not on a Pentax but on a Fujifilm X-E1.

I can definitely recommend this lens but if you are happy to carry more weight the Samyang may offer better value (cheaper and faster).

The most obvious con for me is the long focus throw. I'm gonna have to get in the habit of prefocussing a bit.
New Member

Registered: March, 2010
Posts: 1

3 users found this helpful
Review Date: April 14, 2014 Recommended | Price: $260.00 | Rating: 10 

Pros: sharpness compact
Cons: NA
Sharpness: 10    Aberrations: 9    Bokeh: 10    Handling: 10    Value: 10    Camera Used: pentax kx   

I enjoy the manual focus. after purchasing a DA 70 2.4, I want a more quick lens , I bought this one from a local fellow. It's very compact just like all pentax lens. The color render and boken is wondferful for me.
New Member

Registered: May, 2012
Posts: 14

1 user found this helpful
Review Date: September 17, 2013 Recommended | Price: $180.00 | Rating: 10 

Pros: compact, sharpness
Cons: lacks of contrast at full aperture
Sharpness: 10    Aberrations: 8    Bokeh: 9    Handling: 10    Value: 10    Camera Used: K-5   

I was searching for the perfect portrait lens. I bought a Samyang 85mm wich gave me full satisfaction but was a bit bulky. One day I bumped into this lens. Small, lightweight and sharp! I sold the Samyang and kept this one.

Very sharp, this lens is perfect for portrait. I can just complain about the lack of contrast at f2 (something that you can fix in PS) and that it could be faster. Otherwise, this is the perfect lens to take with you when travelling. It doesn't match my FA 77mm or the almighty A 85mm 1.4 but for the price is really a steal.
Add Review of SMC Pentax-M 85mm F2

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