Forgot Password
Pentax Camera Forums Home

Pentax Lens Review Database » Film Era Pentax K-Mount Lenses » M Prime Lenses
SMC Pentax-M 85mm F2 Review RSS Feed

SMC Pentax-M 85mm F2

Reviews Views Date of last review
43 197,845 Sat June 15, 2019
Recommended By Average Price Average User Rating
98% of reviewers $223.97 9.21
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 43
Senior Member

Registered: January, 2011
Posts: 258

10 users found this helpful
Lens Review Date: March 19, 2011 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $285.00 | Rating: 9 

Pros: very sharp from 2.0, very small and light, fantastic build quality, great contrast and colors, from 2.8 it is amazing
Cons: the biggest problem is the blue(yes blue, not purple) fryings at 2.0, I would like it a little lighter 1.8 for example, the bokeh is too hard and not touching and it is an M(no auto metering), only 6 blades
Sharpness: 10    Aberrations: 9    Bokeh: 9    Handling: 10    Value: 8    Camera Used: K200D   

F4.0 with tripod and bracketing, then HDR combining



100% crops on F2.0

comparison between Jupiter 9, Helios 40 and M 85 wide opened

as you can see it is not a perfect lens but it has some good qualities.

The bad thing is that if a pentaxian wants 70-85mm lens he must pay more then the others and pay for M lens. Other companies have 85s with AF for about 400$ with 1.8 apertures.

As a conclusion I can say that the lens is very nice for the money and I like it more then other old lenses for this kind of money.

Well after a long time using this lens, I'm starting to like it more!

About sharpness .
It is the sharpest lens I have ever tested in it's sweet spot (F2.8-11).
If you know it's strong sides it can be quite great!





Veteran Member

Registered: February, 2009
Location: Temecula
Posts: 3,675

4 users found this helpful
Lens Review Date: April 2, 2010 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $250.00 | Rating: 9 

Pros: Sharp - beautiful rendering - nice bokeh - smooth focusing ring - compact
Cons: Blue fringing can get quite bad - A bit slow (F/2) - No "A" setting (obviously) - no AF (again obviously)
Sharpness: 8    Aberrations: 6    Bokeh: 8    Handling: 9    Value: 9   

Well, like many before me, I purchased this lens because of Jshermans photo's
He really seems to be able to get the most out of any lens, which becomes quite costly to us *normal* people

I call this lens the poor man's 77mm ltd.... its qualities are incredible. Every shot I take with it looks great and has the *pop* you get with much more expensive lenses. Its bokeh is very pleasing in most cases, and its sharpness is unreal wideopen. It is extraordinarily small and compact for such a lens meaning it goes with me everywhere. F/2 is not the fastest by any means but is not slow either. My negatives are all me nitpicking since I really can't find anything wrong with it Anyways im not good at talking so I'll let the lens talk for itself:

Just to show how sharp the m 85mm is I give you massive crops from the K200d (10mp)......

Here you can clearly see my blinds and window....
^wideopen or F/2.8
No sharpening done, just some minor medieval PF removal...

I believe I am the guy in the white shirt.... Idk I took that shot a while ago

AND one more of the above girl

Here you can clearly make out several people...

and one more of a plant at F/2

check here for more
Forum Member

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

3 users found this helpful
Lens Review Date: June 28, 2017 I can recommend this lens: Yes | 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.
Site Supporter

Registered: April, 2015
Location: Lower Saxony
Posts: 168

3 users found this helpful
Lens Review Date: September 20, 2016 I can recommend this lens: Yes | 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: March, 2010
Posts: 1

3 users found this helpful
Lens Review Date: April 14, 2014 I can recommend this lens: Yes | 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.

3 users found this helpful
Lens Review Date: July 7, 2008 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $177.00 | Rating: 9 

Pros: aperture, length, weight, sharpness, bokeh and of course the focus ring
Cons: none

I bought this lens based on the three previous reviews on this page.
How anyone could give this masterpiece a 5/10 is a mystery. Its a clear 9,
because I dont know if I have found the perfect lens yet...

I found that out this is a very sharp lens. Much sharper than I ever
hoped for. Super sharpness comes already from f/2.8+. A perfect portrait length
at 127,5mm on my K10D. I certainly dont think its wrong to compare the 85mm
f/2 to the legendary 77mm f/1.8 ltd. I am also a lucky owner of a 43mm f/1.9 ltd
and their sharpness is equally good.

The size and weight is favorable. It also comes with 49mm in filter size and those
filters are the really cheap ones. So give it some good protection and it will last
another 30 years.

And last but not to forget, awww...the focus perfectly smooth it is.

Conclusion: If you come across one at a reasonable price, then buy it.
Veteran Member

Registered: December, 2007
Posts: 8,241

3 users found this helpful
Lens Review Date: February 22, 2008 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $295.00 | Rating: 10 

Pros: Sharp at f2.8+, beautiful colors, bokeh, contrast
Cons: none

(The first review - a '5' - is one of the reasons I don't hold the averaged ratings here as gospel - someone's opinion of a given lens can simply be drastically wrong, which is the case with that review.)

This is one of the best lenses I've ever used, period. I own the 77mm limited, and this lens compares favorably, and in fact shows less CA than the 77 in most CA-likely situations.

It has incredible resolution, sharpness, nice contrast, and creates that special 3-d feel that needs to be witnessed to fully understand.

It's fairly small and light, so it's very easy for shake-free handheld shots. It's solid, very well crafted.

I've almost sold mine several times, but have never been able to pull the trigger - it's just too much of a gem to let go. I'd sell my 77 before I'd sell this lens.

Junior Member

Registered: March, 2015
Posts: 41

2 users found this helpful
Lens Review Date: September 28, 2016 I can recommend this lens: Yes | 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!
New Member

Registered: January, 2013
Posts: 23

2 users found this helpful
Lens Review Date: January 1, 2016 I can recommend this lens: Yes | 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: 491

2 users found this helpful
Lens Review Date: March 24, 2015 I can recommend this lens: Yes | 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.

Registered: July, 2010
Location: singapore
Posts: 467

2 users found this helpful
Lens Review Date: October 17, 2014 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: N/A | 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: August, 2007
Location: Baguio City, Philippines
Posts: 350

2 users found this helpful
Lens Review Date: November 4, 2011 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $81.00 | Rating: 9 

Pros: Sharp, Small, Fast
Cons: prone to Blue Fringing at wide open in high contrast
Sharpness: 10    Aberrations: 7    Bokeh: 9    Handling: 10    Value: 10   

When I saw this lens at first, I thought it was only a 50mm lens, but when I took a look at it closer, I'm surprised that it's a 85mm lens. Maybe if it's a f/1.4 or f/1.8 lens, it would be huge. Anyway, when I bought this 2nd hand lens, it was dirty, and was previously opened and cleaned but not properly because there are a lot of smears on all the lenses inside. So, I have to disassemble the lens and clean it properly. It's a good thing that the previous owner didn't scratched the lenses inside and out.
Anyway, back to the lens review, it's amazingly sharp at its widest aperture which is f/2. I find the sharpest aperture of this lens is at f/4.
This lens is small as those 50mms and has small filter diameter which is 49mm, so you don't need to spend a lot of cash for large diameter UV or MC UV filters and polarizers.
The only cons I see from this wonderful lens is a prone to Blue Fringing at wide open. I don't have problems with fringing when using it for news photos, but when I use it on weddings and portraits with high contrast, it would be a bit of problem, but fortunately we have Photoshop to eliminate those fringing.

Here's a look of the SMC Pentax M 85mm 1:2 on a Pentax K-7 with (third party) grip:

Here's a side by side with the SMC Pentax M 50mm 1:1.4:

Here's a sample portrait at f/2 (no editing done, just re-sizing):

*200% crop:

And here's a sample using the 85mm for landscape, using its sharpest aperture which is f/4:

* 200% crop:

***These two sample photographs were taken using Pentax K-7.
Junior Member

Registered: June, 2010
Location: Pennsylvania
Posts: 44

2 users found this helpful
Lens Review Date: September 10, 2011 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: N/A | Rating: 9 

Pros: Great handling; compact size; sharp
Cons: Relatively rare, so I paid too much
Sharpness: 9    Aberrations: 9    Bokeh: 9    Handling: 10    Value: 4   

Like many other people, I've had a lot of fun using a fast 50 with my DSLR. I like the Field of View and how it works for portraiture. So, I wanted a fast lens with a similar field of view (as 50mm on a DSLR) for my Pentax MX and K1000.

Let me just get this out of the way first: I got impatient after waiting over a year for one of these to just land in my lap for a bargain; it just wasn't going to happen. So I placed an order for it at one of the popular online used gear sites, paid too much, but at least finally got one.

That said, I'm glad I got it!

Having read other reviewers claims that this lens isn't sharp, one of the first things I did when it arrived was throw it on my DSLR and pixel peep the heck out of it at various distances and apertures. All I can say is, those that are saying it's not sharp either have bad copies, are using it wrong, or have some really unrealistic expectations. Is it as sharp as my 100 Macro lens (for another SLR system)? Not quite. But it's plenty sharp, certainly comparable to my 50mm SMC primes. More than good enough for my purposes. I pledge never to pixel-peep the thing again, as it's fine.

Image quality is very good. Contrast is good; like most lenses it gets better as you stop down. Bokeh is nice and smooth. It doesn't obliterate backgrounds the way a f/1.4 85mm lens would, but remember f/2 still has shallower DOF than a 50mm lens does at 1.4. I can't complain about aberrations. I haven't aimed it at the sun or anything, but flare hasn't been a problem.

I love how the lens handles. Pentax was definitely onto something with the SMC-M series: this lens is barely any bigger than my SMC-M 50mm f/1.4. (A little longer, definitely heavier, but still very compact.) What a great pairing with the MX. Sometimes I wish it was just a bit faster (even just f/1.8) but then with a bigger front lens element, there's no way they'd have been able to have kept the 49mm filter threads common with the rest of the M system. As it is, the front element is just about as big as you could cram inside of the 49mm thread! It's an acceptable trade-off for my usage.

Build quality is typical of SMC-M lenses. Smooth, perfectly damped manual focusing. Feels like it was precision-milled out of a single chunk of metal.

This lens, plus a 24mm lens, are my go-to pair for wandering around the city with my MX.

If you like the FOV that 85mm offers and you're willing to pay the price these go for, I think it's worth it. If you see one for cheap, grab it!
Site Supporter

Registered: January, 2010
Location: Adelaide
Posts: 13

2 users found this helpful
Lens Review Date: December 24, 2010 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $220.00 | Rating: 9 

Pros: sharpness, colour, clarity, bokeh
Cons: dicky lens hood

I find this prime the best of my set (14mm, 28mm, 50mm, 200mm) by far. I can't seem to want to use the other primes, I even prefer this lens over my 50mm f1.4.

Intended to be portrait lens, but with the APS-C sensor on the DSLR, it makes a super low range (~130mm) zoom.

Detected a little CA and softness when wide open. Not sure if I'd ever bother using at f2. At smaller apertures it is crystal clear, stunning!

If you see one, grab it. You'll not be disappointed. Someone rated this lens a 5 out of 10, maybe it was faulty.
New Member

Registered: December, 2010
Location: St. Paul, MN
Posts: 7

2 users found this helpful
Lens Review Date: December 11, 2010 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $80.00 | Rating: 10 

Pros: Sharpness, bokeh, build, size, f/2
Cons: Blue/purple fringing
Sharpness: 10    Aberrations: 10    Bokeh: 9    Handling: 10    Value: 10   

I picked this up, several decades ago, used, in a tiny photo shop in Phitsanulok, Thailand, used and filthy, for $80 US. I couldn't pass it up. It instantly became (after I cleaned it up) my second most-used lens (after my SMC PENTAX-A 20mm f/2.8).

Sharp, sharp, sharp (there seem to be a few bad copies out there; but the only lens (before the DA series now) that competed with it on sharpness is my SMC PENTAX-A 50mm f/1.2.) I love the IQ, generally, especially with Kodachrome 64. I would still be using it for portraits with my K-X's if I hadn't bought the DA 70mm f/2.4 Limited, which does blow this one away.

The lens is tiny for it's speed and focal length (I also loved how every M-Series lens, from 20mm through 135mm f/3.5, used a 49mm filter: That was good lens series design!). And therefore perfect for portraits and candids. The subject never knew how that little tiny lens pulled them right in (the 70mm f/2.4 Limited does this even better on the APS-C sensor). Very flattering lens for portraits.

I really love this lens and I will never sell it.

Purchased USED
Add Review of SMC Pentax-M 85mm F2

All times are GMT -7. The time now is 06:00 PM. | See also:, part of our network of photo forums!
  • Red (Default)
  • Green
  • Gray
  • Dark
  • Dark Yellow
  • Dark Blue
  • Old Red
  • Old Green
  • Old Gray
  • Dial-Up Style
Hello! It's great to see you back on the forum! Have you considered joining the community?
Creating a FREE ACCOUNT takes under a minute, removes ads, and lets you post! [Dismiss]