FA77 Ltd vs FA85 F1.4 vs SMC-A 85 F1.4

Started Apr 20, 2010 | Discussions
pundit Senior Member • Posts: 1,477
FA77 Ltd vs FA85 F1.4 vs SMC-A 85 F1.4

I'm looking for anyone that has owned at least two of the above lenses that is able to comment on their characteristics in relation to each other and specifically in relation to portraiture.

I have the FA77 which I love but would like to hear what people think about the others in comparison.

For example wide open sharpness, color, bokeh etc.

Also does anyone here have any comments on the Canon 85mm F1.4 'L' Series especially how it compares with the above? - TIA

FA77 Ltd...

Vaards Senior Member • Posts: 1,328
Re: FA77 Ltd vs FA85 F1.4 vs SMC-A 85 F1.4

Buy by yourself and compare!

Because these 85mm lenses have fixed price nowadays, something like 1100$ - 1300$.

Said so - I have these. But can't answer your question. Even more - all these questions creates strong will to say bad things against questioner. The same stupid approach like - which camera is better - ixsus or stylus? These lenses are subjective things - I can only suggest what type of wife you need!

pundit wrote:

I'm looking for anyone that has owned at least two of the above lenses that is able to comment on their characteristics in relation to each other and specifically in relation to portraiture.

I have the FA77 which I love but would like to hear what people think about the others in comparison.

For example wide open sharpness, color, bokeh etc.

Also does anyone here have any comments on the Canon 85mm F1.4 'L' Series especially how it compares with the above? - TIA

FA77 Ltd...

OP pundit Senior Member • Posts: 1,477
Re: FA77 Ltd vs FA85 F1.4 vs SMC-A 85 F1.4

Okay no problem.
I'll just drop around $4k and let you know what I think.

Yes it is subjective, I'm quite aware of that.
Ask three people the same question and expect to get 'four' different answers.

But a dozen similar 'subjective' responses may at least suggest a 'trend' and be of some assistance.

Regarding the Canon 85mm I meant to say the F1.2 version but after looking at several sample shots wide open the DOF is so razor thin that it would be very hit & miss affair.

These Pentax 85mm lenses are not easily found.
I don't know of anyone local who has one I can try out.
If I did I wouldn't be asking asinine 'subjective' questions.

Vaards wrote:

Buy by yourself and compare!

Because these 85mm lenses have fixed price nowadays, something like 1100$ - 1300$.

Said so - I have these. But can't answer your question. Even more - all these questions creates strong will to say bad things against questioner. The same stupid approach like - which camera is better - ixsus or stylus? These lenses are subjective things - I can only suggest what type of wife you need!

KSV Veteran Member • Posts: 3,351
Most strange answer indeed

Vaards wrote:

Buy by yourself and compare!
I can only suggest what type of wife you need!

OP asked for an opinion - no more no less. You may have one opinion and I may have other - he reads them and form his own. Cannot get your aggression. Perhaps it is because you have neither - 77, 85 or wife.

I like 77 very much and like to see how it stands against 85s as well, but getting 85 not really that easy.

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Vaards Senior Member • Posts: 1,328
Re: FA77 Ltd vs FA85 F1.4 vs SMC-A 85 F1.4

Okay, you persuaded me

I din't compered these two side by side. I didn't measurbated these against charts, brick walls and so on.

Fa 85 has way better bokeh than 77mm. A 85mm (do not have anymore this lens) somehow had not so creamy and blurred - but due to autofocus lack I almost never used it.

Fa 85 is almost unusable at f1.4 due to our lowely brand named Pentax and it's inability to make working autofocus system. it might be okay for portraits (at 1.4) and close distances, but if you want to take pic of girl at full height, when she is walking, staying in some avenue to have excellent perspective and bokeh - 80-90% of pics will be out of focus.

Fa 77mm is way better for this, although it has harsh and unpleasant bokeh at distance like these (model 5 - 8 meters and background 50 meters away).

It is particulary sad fact, because 85mm/1.2 on fulframe canon makes these shots almoust perfectly at 1.2. And I saw these shots side by side with myself from 5d mark II, 1ds III, 1d III and so on. That lens 85mm1.2 is quite popular.

What else? Fa 85mm have terrible aberrations wide open. fa 77mm is way better.

Fa 85 is harder to carry. It almoust always stays at home, but 77mm almost always stays with me.

Although when I am going with some blondes to make some glamour shots - I always take Fa 85mm with me.

My wife hates Fa 85mm on digital. Although she really likes it with Mz6. Found one pic for you to understand bokeh things with lens: http://www.trekearth.com/viewphotos.php?l=3&p=908973

What else?

I can't decide which one is better. FA 85 makes all the time out of cous, CA pics, but when stars are right, then time by time some accidental shot comes out excellent!

pundit wrote:
Okay no problem.
I'll just drop around $4k and let you know what I think.

Yes it is subjective, I'm quite aware of that.
Ask three people the same question and expect to get 'four' different answers.

But a dozen similar 'subjective' responses may at least suggest a 'trend' and be of some assistance.

Regarding the Canon 85mm I meant to say the F1.2 version but after looking at several sample shots wide open the DOF is so razor thin that it would be very hit & miss affair.

These Pentax 85mm lenses are not easily found.
I don't know of anyone local who has one I can try out.
If I did I wouldn't be asking asinine 'subjective' questions.

Vaards wrote:

Buy by yourself and compare!

Because these 85mm lenses have fixed price nowadays, something like 1100$ - 1300$.

Said so - I have these. But can't answer your question. Even more - all these questions creates strong will to say bad things against questioner. The same stupid approach like - which camera is better - ixsus or stylus? These lenses are subjective things - I can only suggest what type of wife you need!

Vaards Senior Member • Posts: 1,328
Go home and sleep out drunkenness ;-) (nt)

(nt)

sung nee Contributing Member • Posts: 931
I have FA77 Ltd and FA85 F1.4

Bought the 85 before there was a 77.

Below is my own personal feelings towards them, so I will not answer to any challenges.

They're both incredibly good lenses. However, the 85 is an older design and is much more prone to flare than the 77.

The 85 came with a monstrous lens hood. I didn't know why Pentax gave me such a big lens hood until one day I made an "agains the sun" shot wide open, without the lens hood. I ruined an exhibition-grade shot. I then knew why the hood was so big and deep.

However, with the hood on, the 85 is sharper than the 77.

Over the years I had made two master-grade shots with the 85; many exhibition-grade shots with the 77, but no master-grades.

I am thinking of selling the 85, because it is too sharp and not popular with female subjects. Since they are both supposed to be portrait lenses and I shoot ladies most of the time, the 85 is not of much use.

BTW, neither master-grade shots were of women. And they were both made on a film body.

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OP pundit Senior Member • Posts: 1,477
Re: Okay, you persuaded me

Thank you.

I already looked at the shots in your profile gallery but they were all FA77 pictures.

I figured the bokeh maybe smoother on the 85's as while the FA77 can appear pretty smooth sometimes it can also get a little ugly if the background is busy.

I did consider purchasing a Canon 5DMkII sometime ago along with a 'L' Series 85mm F1.2 USM II but I already had fairly substantial commitment to Pentax glass and bought a K-7.

As I am now specialising in portraiture I will hire a 5D MkII with an 85mm F1.2 in order to see how I like it.

A creamy smooth bokeh is one of my key wishes.

Vaards wrote:
Okay, you persuaded me

I din't compered these two side by side. I didn't measurbated these against charts, brick walls and so on.

Fa 85 has way better bokeh than 77mm. A 85mm (do not have anymore this lens) somehow had not so creamy and blurred - but due to autofocus lack I almost never used it.

Fa 85 is almost unusable at f1.4 due to our lowely brand named Pentax and it's inability to make working autofocus system. it might be okay for portraits (at 1.4) and close distances, but if you want to take pic of girl at full height, when she is walking, staying in some avenue to have excellent perspective and bokeh - 80-90% of pics will be out of focus.

Fa 77mm is way better for this, although it has harsh and unpleasant bokeh at distance like these (model 5 - 8 meters and background 50 meters away).

It is particulary sad fact, because 85mm/1.2 on fulframe canon makes these shots almoust perfectly at 1.2. And I saw these shots side by side with myself from 5d mark II, 1ds III, 1d III and so on. That lens 85mm1.2 is quite popular.

What else? Fa 85mm have terrible aberrations wide open. fa 77mm is way better.

Fa 85 is harder to carry. It almoust always stays at home, but 77mm almost always stays with me.

Although when I am going with some blondes to make some glamour shots - I always take Fa 85mm with me.

My wife hates Fa 85mm on digital. Although she really likes it with Mz6. Found one pic for you to understand bokeh things with lens: http://www.trekearth.com/viewphotos.php?l=3&p=908973

What else?

I can't decide which one is better. FA 85 makes all the time out of cous, CA pics, but when stars are right, then time by time some accidental shot comes out excellent!

pundit wrote:
Okay no problem.
I'll just drop around $4k and let you know what I think.

Yes it is subjective, I'm quite aware of that.
Ask three people the same question and expect to get 'four' different answers.

But a dozen similar 'subjective' responses may at least suggest a 'trend' and be of some assistance.

Regarding the Canon 85mm I meant to say the F1.2 version but after looking at several sample shots wide open the DOF is so razor thin that it would be very hit & miss affair.

These Pentax 85mm lenses are not easily found.
I don't know of anyone local who has one I can try out.
If I did I wouldn't be asking asinine 'subjective' questions.

Vaards wrote:

Buy by yourself and compare!

Because these 85mm lenses have fixed price nowadays, something like 1100$ - 1300$.

Said so - I have these. But can't answer your question. Even more - all these questions creates strong will to say bad things against questioner. The same stupid approach like - which camera is better - ixsus or stylus? These lenses are subjective things - I can only suggest what type of wife you need!

OP pundit Senior Member • Posts: 1,477
Re: sung nee

Thanks.

I have no complaints about the lack of sharpness with the FA77 but if you say the FA85 is even sharper I can understand the problem with photographing any females over the age of... 16!

Do you have any opinion of the bokeh of both lenses?

sung nee wrote:

Bought the 85 before there was a 77.

Below is my own personal feelings towards them, so I will not answer to any challenges.

They're both incredibly good lenses. However, the 85 is an older design and is much more prone to flare than the 77.

The 85 came with a monstrous lens hood. I didn't know why Pentax gave me such a big lens hood until one day I made an "agains the sun" shot wide open, without the lens hood. I ruined an exhibition-grade shot. I then knew why the hood was so big and deep.

However, with the hood on, the 85 is sharper than the 77.

Over the years I had made two master-grade shots with the 85; many exhibition-grade shots with the 77, but no master-grades.

I am thinking of selling the 85, because it is too sharp and not popular with female subjects. Since they are both supposed to be portrait lenses and I shoot ladies most of the time, the 85 is not of much use.

BTW, neither master-grade shots were of women. And they were both made on a film body.

OP pundit Senior Member • Posts: 1,477
Re: Most strange answer indeed

Well I was a little surprised myself but as Vaards has since acquiesced and given me his 'subjective' opinion I'll forgive his initial somewhat 'feisty' response.

KSV wrote:

Vaards wrote:

Buy by yourself and compare!
I can only suggest what type of wife you need!

OP asked for an opinion - no more no less. You may have one opinion and I may have other - he reads them and form his own. Cannot get your aggression. Perhaps it is because you have neither - 77, 85 or wife.

I like 77 very much and like to see how it stands against 85s as well, but getting 85 not really that easy.

Leuf Senior Member • Posts: 1,131
Wait for the Sigma

I think since we're expecting the new Sigma 85/1.4 in a month or two would be worth waiting to see what the IQ ends up being from it before buying an 85 now.

OP pundit Senior Member • Posts: 1,477
Re: comparison pics here --->
distudio Veteran Member • Posts: 3,914
Re: I have FA77 Ltd and FA85 F1.4

sung nee wrote:

They're both incredibly good lenses. However, the 85 is an older design and is much more prone to flare than the 77.

The 85 came with a monstrous lens hood. I didn't know why Pentax gave me such a big lens hood until one day I made an "agains the sun" shot wide open, without the lens hood. I ruined an exhibition-grade shot. I then knew why the hood was so big and deep.

Interesting, I'm ruining shots all the time due to my flare prone 77LTD, and that's after an internal clean, I find my A85/1.4 more flare resistant.

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Rob

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sung nee Contributing Member • Posts: 931
Re: I have FA77 Ltd and FA85 F1.4

Interesting, I'm ruining shots all the time due to my flare prone 77LTD, and that's after an internal clean, I find my A85/1.4 more flare resistant.

I will defer to your observation then, because I bought the 77 after the 85 experience and so I have the hood on the 77 all the time. So I don't have any experience of the flare from a hoodless 77.

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sung nee Contributing Member • Posts: 931
Re: sung nee

I have no complaints about the lack of sharpness with the FA77

Actually the FA77 is very sharp already. It's just that the 85 is even sharper.

Do you have any opinion of the bokeh of both lenses?

I'm sorry but I don't really mind bokeh much, one way or the other. It is not an issue for me.

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Leica D-Lux 6 Leica V-Lux 4 Leica X Vario Fujifilm FinePix F200EXR Fujifilm FinePix HS10 +24 more
OP pundit Senior Member • Posts: 1,477
Re: sung nee

If the 85 is even sharper I can see while many women would be uneasy!

sung nee wrote:

I have no complaints about the lack of sharpness with the FA77

Actually the FA77 is very sharp already. It's just that the 85 is even sharper.

Do you have any opinion of the bokeh of both lenses?

I'm sorry but I don't really mind bokeh much, one way or the other. It is not an issue for me.

photogerald Senior Member • Posts: 1,798
Re: FA77 Ltd vs FA85 F1.4 vs SMC-A 85 F1.4

pundit wrote:

I'm looking for anyone that has owned at least two of the above lenses that is able to comment on their characteristics in relation to each other and specifically in relation to portraiture.

...

Also does anyone here have any comments on the Canon 85mm F1.4 'L' Series especially how it compares with the above? - TIA

16-9.net tested the A*85/1.4 against the Canon 85L/1.2 MkII on a 400D ( http://www.16-9.net/lens_tests/pentax85/index.html ). They found a big difference in the corners at close subject distances and at wide apertures (the center was slightly in favour of the Canon). This is what they had to say:

"That is an immensely impressive capture by the Pentax SMC A – wide open, against the Canon half a stop down. You'll have to excuse me while I go a bit purple here, becuase that is the sharpest 'corner' I ever seen any lens produce at this aperture (f1.4). Just stunning."

"All over again we see better contrast, resolution and colour in the corners of a 400D frame from the Pentax. The SMC A* just makes the Canon look bad, any honestly it isn't: I've not tested anything the 85L didn't embarrass at wide apertures, but it has truly met its match in the shape of the A* f1.4."

However, the A*85 has more CA wide-open.

OP pundit Senior Member • Posts: 1,477
Re: photogerald

Thanks.

The SMC-A* 85 1.4 is lens I would like to spend some time with but alas is nowhere to be found here in Australia.

photogerald wrote:

pundit wrote:

I'm looking for anyone that has owned at least two of the above lenses that is able to comment on their characteristics in relation to each other and specifically in relation to portraiture.

...

Also does anyone here have any comments on the Canon 85mm F1.4 'L' Series especially how it compares with the above? - TIA

16-9.net tested the A*85/1.4 against the Canon 85L/1.2 MkII on a 400D ( http://www.16-9.net/lens_tests/pentax85/index.html ). They found a big difference in the corners at close subject distances and at wide apertures (the center was slightly in favour of the Canon). This is what they had to say:

"That is an immensely impressive capture by the Pentax SMC A – wide open, against the Canon half a stop down. You'll have to excuse me while I go a bit purple here, becuase that is the sharpest 'corner' I ever seen any lens produce at this aperture (f1.4). Just stunning."

"All over again we see better contrast, resolution and colour in the corners of a 400D frame from the Pentax. The SMC A* just makes the Canon look bad, any honestly it isn't: I've not tested anything the 85L didn't embarrass at wide apertures, but it has truly met its match in the shape of the A* f1.4."

However, the A*85 has more CA wide-open.

distudio Veteran Member • Posts: 3,914
Re: photogerald

pundit wrote:

Thanks.

The SMC-A* 85 1.4 is lens I would like to spend some time with but alas is nowhere to be found here in Australia.

Not true, I keep mine in my photo kit

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Rob

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