Two Brothers and a Cousin - the A* 85/1.4, FA 77, and FA* 85/1.4

Started Jan 3, 2006 | Discussions thread
Dave Senior Member • Posts: 1,609
Pentax Fa 85mm f1.4..History and More!

Hi Fred and All,

With regard to your comments indicating that the FA 85 f1.4 may have been designed primarily (but not exclusively) for portrait work..that is exactly correct and I can assure you that was Pentax's intent,with absolute certainty (long story).

Approx. 9 years ago to almost the day (June 1999) I made my observations and tests comments to Fred and others regarding the performance characteristics of FA 85mm f1.4 and many of the lenses in discussion here within this thread. This was original mentioned on the Pentax Discuss Group (PDML).

I'll first mention some recent comments of mine and in the next post I'll copy and paste my original comments made in goes...

You mentioned (as indicated in your paragraph below) that the design introduced a bit of intentional "back focusi".....on the introduced a bit of "front focusing", which put the the subject at the rear of the zone of focus (depth of field) so that just behind the portrait subject, a beautiful soft background would be apparent, which in turn contributed to this lens's desirable bokeh.

All of what I described above was apparent from f1.4 to approx. f4.0 at portrait range distance and when one approached f4.0, front focusing would not be so apparent, especially as the depth of field became larger due to stopping down. As expected, subjects at great distances were rather soft till approx. f4 whereby they began to sharpen up nicely. The A* 85mm f1.4 did not exhibit these (the FA 85mm f1.4) unique characteristics and as such it was a sharper more general purpose all around performing lens...much like both it's close siblings..the 77 f1.8 limited as well as the superb MF 85mm f1.8 lens....which in some respects is much like the 77mm limited.

Fred...thanks for your observations and informative contributions...always valuable!


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