K-01: Samyang 85mm f/1.4 or Tamron Adaptall-2 90mm f/2.5?

Started Feb 12, 2013 | Discussions
Kyogle
Kyogle Contributing Member • Posts: 566
K-01: Samyang 85mm f/1.4 or Tamron Adaptall-2 90mm f/2.5?

Now that I have K-01 fitted with CarrySpeed LCD Viewfinder (thanks to Ron for suggesting it!) and because I'm  beginning to get the hang of focus peaking I am thinking of trying  the K-01 with either the  Samyang 85mm f/1.4  or Tamron Adaptall-2 SP 90mm f/2.5 lenses. My targets will be portraits of my grandchildren and subject isolation generally.

I'd like to hear your thoughts on which of these lenses you'd choose.

Many thanks.

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David, an Australian living in the Highlands of Scotland a few months each year.

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Unexpresivecanvas Senior Member • Posts: 1,158
Re: K-01: Samyang 85mm f/1.4 or Tamron Adaptall-2 90mm f/2.5?

I had the adaptall-2 for some time and got tired of the missing opportunities due to manual focus, as well as it gave me a purple spot in the centre of the pictures.

For this focal length my advise is try to get the current Tamron 90mm f/2.8. It's a very good lens, with 1:1 macro capability. With discount you can get it close to $400, which is about $100 more than the Samyang.

The Samyang is an excellent lens, and it is perfect for portraits when the subject doesn't move too much. It doesn't do macro.

These samples are with the new Tamron:



JNR
JNR Senior Member • Posts: 2,809
Re: K-01: Samyang 85mm f/1.4 or Tamron Adaptall-2 90mm f/2.5?

This isn't a fair comparison, as the technology is pretty far along since the Tamron. The Adaptall-2 system isn't going to give you the precision of an integrated unit in the first place. Finally, the Tamron coatings in those days were a bit weak compared to better OEM competition. Then there is the whole matter of losing the better part of two stops which will reduce the precision of your focus peaking.

Samyang low light shots - first is K-01, second is K20D

Lucinda Williams - 85 f/2

Joe Cocker (a dog) 85 f/2.2

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JNR
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Kyogle
OP Kyogle Contributing Member • Posts: 566
Re: K-01: Samyang 85mm f/1.4 or Tamron Adaptall-2 90mm f/2.5?

Thank you Unexpresivecanvas for your suggestion and fine photos to back it up. I hadn't thought of an AF lens because I have been focusing my thoughts (excuse the pun) on trying focus peaking with MF lenses. I want the eyes to be 100% sharp and that's not something I have managed to achieve very often using AF. I'm not interested in 1:1 macro.

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David, an Australian living in the Highlands of Scotland a few months each year.

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Kyogle
OP Kyogle Contributing Member • Posts: 566
Re: K-01: Samyang 85mm f/1.4 or Tamron Adaptall-2 90mm f/2.5?

JNR wrote:

This isn't a fair comparison, as the technology is pretty far along since the Tamron. The Adaptall-2 system isn't going to give you the precision of an integrated unit in the first place. Finally, the Tamron coatings in those days were a bit weak compared to better OEM competition. Then there is the whole matter of losing the better part of two stops which will reduce the precision of your focus peaking.

Samyang low light shots - first is K-01, second is K20D

Lucinda Williams - 85 f/2

Joe Cocker (a dog) 85 f/2.2

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JNR
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Thank you for your reply and the fine photos taken with the Samyang lens.

Before you mentioned it I hadn't thought of improvements in lens coatings over recent years but have just now looked at photos by both the Tamron and Samyang on Flickriver. The Samyang images do appear to be better overall and to my eye have more contrast.

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David, an Australian living in the Highlands of Scotland a few months each year.

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Unexpresivecanvas Senior Member • Posts: 1,158
Re: K-01: Samyang 85mm f/1.4 or Tamron Adaptall-2 90mm f/2.5?

Hi Kyogle,

Thanks for the comments re: pics.

Still you can use the new Tamron in manual mode, by turning the AF off. The advantage is that the AF will be there when the need calls.

But if you insist in a fully manual focus, for me the Samyang is the way to go. Why?

a) it is a more modern lens.

b) I experienced the purple spot with the old Tamron adaptall.

c) Adaptall adapters can be finicky some times and you need to be lucky to find a good copy of the adapter still working in perfect condition.

d) for portraits in aps-c (K-01) 85mm is  a better focal distance than 90mm.  But both are great focal lenghts for portraits in FF

e) Samyang can be shot wider than the Tamron, so you can isolate more  the subject from the background.

KentG Veteran Member • Posts: 4,465
Re: K-01: Samyang 85mm f/1.4 or Tamron Adaptall-2 90mm f/2.5?

So what you really want is family photos, not "portraits" in the real sense. The original use of 75-90mm lenses as portrait lenses was for studio work to get the correct aspect for head and neck shots where the nose and other facial features would not be outsize due to FOV issues. And fast F ratios to control the focus points and keep the background out of focus. But that was with FF film cameras. That requires the subject not to move so the focus does not shift. In your case I guess you won't be able to control the "subject" that well. You will have to open up the DOF to account for that and that will not isolate the subject as well. For that I would use a fast focusing AF setup because if the subject moves as much as 1-3 inches forward or back you are going to have trouble getting the shot in focus with a manual setup. This is a problem most baby photographers have. And one reason why I won't do it either. If it was me doing it, I hate to say it, but I would switch to my Canon system to do that and use something like the EF-S 17-55/2.8. That will lock focus about 2x as fast as my Pentax cameras (*ist D, K10D, K20D, K-01).

Other way is to use catch-in-focus with a fast manual lens, set the aperture as open as you can, then move yourself forward or back to hit the focus point. If you put it on a tripod it will be hard to get the shots with a manual lens. I shot with manual lenses for 17 years before I bought my first AF camera (Canon EOS 620). I shot everything from wildlife to motorsports. For moving subjects you had to pick a spot to focus on that the subject had to go thru, because unless they stopped you could not get focus manually most of the time before they moved. Unless you set a very large DOF, which would not be what you want. I still have a lot of manual lenses even though I have sold most of my Tamron AD-2 lenses within the last year or two, because I find they are really only good for static subjects most of the time. Takes some real practice to be able to move the focus ring on a manual lens just enough to catch something that is moving on you.

You can always shoot an AF lens manually but there is no way to get a manual lens to AF when you can't follow fast enough. That is just my perspective at 65 YO with 45+ years of photo experience (and a brother who is a pro).

Kent Gittings

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JNR
JNR Senior Member • Posts: 2,809
Re: K-01: Samyang 85mm f/1.4 or Tamron Adaptall-2 90mm f/2.5?

By the way, I don't argue that all lenses from the Adaptall era are going to suffer from mediocre coatings or poor contrast - anyone who knows about the A-85 f/1.4 understands old gems are out there. Still, most of third-party lenses of that era just weren't in the upper class of optics. A lot has changed over the decades, making third-party lenses overall more competitive.

The Samyang has a few weaknesses - namely a bit of stop-down focus shift and loca at the widest apertures (nearly inevitable at this length and speed - except for the absolute best optics). On the up side, the bokeh is very good (especially at wider settings where you most often use the lens), and the lens actually can be put on bellows or extension tubes and perform amazing well; probably the best non-macro lens I have ever used with extension.

Poisonous Buck Moth

To give you an idea of magnification, the textured surface is painted adobe granules.

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Kyogle
OP Kyogle Contributing Member • Posts: 566
Re: K-01: Samyang 85mm f/1.4 or Tamron Adaptall-2 90mm f/2.5?
  

Unexpresivecanvas wrote:

Hi Kyogle,

Thanks for the comments re: pics.

Still you can use the new Tamron in manual mode, by turning the AF off. The advantage is that the AF will be there when the need calls.

But if you insist in a fully manual focus, for me the Samyang is the way to go. Why?

a) it is a more modern lens.

b) I experienced the purple spot with the old Tamron adaptall.

c) Adaptall adapters can be finicky some times and you need to be lucky to find a good copy of the adapter still working in perfect condition.

d) for portraits in aps-c (K-01) 85mm is a better focal distance than 90mm. But both are great focal lenghts for portraits in FF

e) Samyang can be shot wider than the Tamron, so you can isolate more the subject from the background.

Hi Unexpresivecanvas

You have made excellent points. I'm no longer interested in getting a  Tamron Adaptall-2 SP 90 and have cancelled an Auctionsniper bid I had on an upcoming 52BB model on eBay. Thank you again for your help.

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David, an Australian living in the Highlands of Scotland a few months each year.

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DrewE Senior Member • Posts: 2,053
Re: K-01: Samyang 85mm f/1.4 or Tamron Adaptall-2 90mm f/2.5?

If you get the PK Adaptall-2 mount for the Tamron lens, the Samyang (or rebadged variant) will be much more convenient to use, since it allows all the exposure modes to be used, P-TTL flash operation, etc.

If you manage to get a PK-A Adaptall-2 mount, that advantage disappears; but the A variant of the Adaptall-2 mounts is comparatively rare and possibly difficult to find.  (Or so I believe I've read.)

You will probably find that 85mm or so is rather long for your intended sorts of shots, perhaps uncomfortably so.

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--DrewE

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henning kraggerud Regular Member • Posts: 384
Re: K-01: Samyang 85mm f/1.4 or Tamron Adaptall-2 90mm f/2.5?

Kyogle wrote:

Now that I have K-01 fitted with CarrySpeed LCD Viewfinder (thanks to Ron for suggesting it!) and because I'm beginning to get the hang of focus peaking I am thinking of trying the K-01 with either the Samyang 85mm f/1.4 or Tamron Adaptall-2 SP 90mm f/2.5 lenses. My targets will be portraits of my grandchildren and subject isolation generally.

I'd like to hear your thoughts on which of these lenses you'd choose.

Many thanks.

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David, an Australian living in the Highlands of Scotland a few months each year.

Samyang is good but very heavy with K01, If you like manual focus and lighter I would check out Voigtlander in PK mount, i think it is only f 3.5 but supposedly very good and should match k01 much better. with a  bit more money I recommend Pentax limited 77mm,very good to manually focus. Maybe the Da limited 70mm?

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lowlight macro ir

James O'Neill Veteran Member • Posts: 4,391
Re: K-01: Samyang 85mm f/1.4 or Tamron Adaptall-2 90mm f/2.5?

Kyogle wrote:

Now that I have K-01 fitted with CarrySpeed LCD Viewfinder (thanks to Ron for suggesting it!) and because I'm beginning to get the hang of focus peaking I am thinking of trying the K-01 with either the Samyang 85mm f/1.4 or Tamron Adaptall-2 SP 90mm f/2.5 lenses. My targets will be portraits of my grandchildren and subject isolation generally.

I'd like to hear your thoughts on which of these lenses you'd choose.

I've got the Tamron. Actually I've got 2 because one developed the strange "spot" at certain appertures. c.f. UnresponsiveCanvas . It's a very good optical formula.

I like it, and because I can still focus manually I take it to concerts where its speed at just the right focal length (for APS-C) works well. Someone questioned the coatings on a lens as old as this but I don't see any flare spots from stage lights.

It was a great portrait lens for film, but you have to stand back a bit too far for my liking to use it on APS-C and depending on the age of your grandchildren and the setting for pictures, painstaking focus setting may not be the ideal.

The Tamron can be found fairly cheaply, but expect it to have the wrong mount on it, you may have to buy a lens you don't want to get a PKA mount (or a PK - but get the A if you can), and then sell the wrong lens/mount combo.  If you're looking for MF lenses for portraits I'd suggest looking for a A-50mm (there are quite a Pentax 50s on ebay with starting prices in the small change range.

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EArenz
EArenz Contributing Member • Posts: 608
Re: K-01: Samyang 85mm f/1.4 or Tamron Adaptall-2 90mm f/2.5?

I've got the Tamron. Actually I've got 2 because one developed the strange "spot" at certain appertures. c.f. UnresponsiveCanvas . It's a very good optical formula.

I've had a number of the various incarnations of the Tamron SP 90mm Macro AD-2 (at least 7 copies).  So far none have had the purple spot?  If I may hazard a guess, was it the first generation (model 52B with 49mm filter size)?  If so, the front element is right at the end of the lens and a lens hood is advised.  On the next generation (model 52BB, 55mm filter size), the front element was recessed a bit more.  I still use a lens hood.  The other model I have is the 72B which is also 55mm filter size, goes to 1:1 and because of the larger body needed to allow it to reach 1:1, the front lens element is deeply recessed.  It also comes with a lens hood for extra measure.

I like it, and because I can still focus manually I take it to concerts where its speed at just the right focal length (for APS-C) works well. Someone questioned the coatings on a lens as old as this but I don't see any flare spots from stage lights.

No flare problems here either.

It was a great portrait lens for film, but you have to stand back a bit too far for my liking to use it on APS-C and depending on the age of your grandchildren and the setting for pictures, painstaking focus setting may not be the ideal.

As I understand it this lens was designed with a dual purpose:  to be a bit soft at f2.5/2.8 in the manner that works well for portraits.  Many people love this characteristic and 90mm was a great FF portrait FL.  Stop down from f2.8 and it becomes very sharp quickly.  So a dual purpose lens.  Not much macro is shot at f2.5/2.8.  See the Adaptall-2 link at the bottom of the post for resolution charts and commentary.

The Tamron can be found fairly cheaply, but expect it to have the wrong mount on it, you may have to buy a lens you don't want to get a PKA mount (or a PK - but get the A if you can), and then sell the wrong lens/mount combo.

These mounts used to go for more money but recently have seen them on eBay now and then in the $50 dollar range.  Having the P/KA mount allows you to also use all the other ADII lenses.  The 90mm SP is a very good lens.  Don't lets someone who had a bad or damaged copy put you off.  There are few lenses in this focal range that are of 90mm SP quality for anywhere near the cost. Interesting link to info on many Adaptall -2 lenses including the 90mm SP:

Adaptall-2 lenses

Tamron 90mm SP

Ed

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JNR
JNR Senior Member • Posts: 2,809
Re: K-01: Samyang 85mm f/1.4 or Tamron Adaptall-2 90mm f/2.5?

KentG wrote:

So what you really want is family photos, not "portraits" in the real sense. The original use of 75-90mm lenses as portrait lenses was for studio work to get the correct aspect for head and neck shots where the nose and other facial features would not be outsize due to FOV issues. And fast F ratios to control the focus points and keep the background out of focus. But that was with FF film cameras. That requires the subject not to move so the focus does not shift. In your case I guess you won't be able to control the "subject" that well. You will have to open up the DOF to account for that and that will not isolate the subject as well. For that I would use a fast focusing AF setup because if the subject moves as much as 1-3 inches forward or back you are going to have trouble getting the shot in focus with a manual setup. This is a problem most baby photographers have. And one reason why I won't do it either. If it was me doing it, I hate to say it, but I would switch to my Canon system to do that and use something like the EF-S 17-55/2.8. That will lock focus about 2x as fast as my Pentax cameras (*ist D, K10D, K20D, K-01).

Other way is to use catch-in-focus with a fast manual lens, set the aperture as open as you can, then move yourself forward or back to hit the focus point. If you put it on a tripod it will be hard to get the shots with a manual lens. I shot with manual lenses for 17 years before I bought my first AF camera (Canon EOS 620). I shot everything from wildlife to motorsports. For moving subjects you had to pick a spot to focus on that the subject had to go thru, because unless they stopped you could not get focus manually most of the time before they moved. Unless you set a very large DOF, which would not be what you want. I still have a lot of manual lenses even though I have sold most of my Tamron AD-2 lenses within the last year or two, because I find they are really only good for static subjects most of the time. Takes some real practice to be able to move the focus ring on a manual lens just enough to catch something that is moving on you.

You can always shoot an AF lens manually but there is no way to get a manual lens to AF when you can't follow fast enough. That is just my perspective at 65 YO with 45+ years of photo experience (and a brother who is a pro).

Kent Gittings

These are very good points in the context of the goals of the OP. I would pull out my old Canon, and shoot with the Tamron 28-75/2.8. Of course, if you have to go with the Pentax system, the same Tamron is a good, economical choice available in PK; best when stopped down just a bit.

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JNR
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il_alexk Senior Member • Posts: 2,326
Why not Jupiter-9 at a fraction of the price?

It's a Russian made replica of Carl Zeiss sonnar 85/2 and it is a truly amazing piece of glass:

http://www.flickr.com/search/?q=jupiter+9&s=int

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Cheers,
Alex

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leopold Forum Pro • Posts: 14,083
Re: K-01: Samyang 85mm f/1.4 or Tamron Adaptall-2 90mm f/2.5?

I did owned a Tamron SP90mm/2.5 Macro that i bought new when i was shooting slide films. It's  a great lens but when i switched to Digital in 2006 i found that it was prone to sensor flare. So you might be better with a modern lens with better coatings.

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Kyogle
OP Kyogle Contributing Member • Posts: 566
I have made bad decisions in my time ...

Thanks to all who responded I believe I have been saved from another bad decision.

After carefully considering your recommendations I've decided that I should abandon my idea of buying a Samyang 85mm for photographing my grandchildren. They are quite young (9 and 7) and really are only still when asleep or transfixed on a TV program. I now realise I'd be better off with an AF lens (somewhere in the 55-70mm range) that I can use as MF if the occasion allows.

I once owned DA70mm and unfortunately I sold it. I regret that decision now. I also once owned a Voigtlander 58mm f/1.4 but sold it because I had trouble nailing accurate focus with K-10D. Maybe if I'd kept it I could be using it successfully on K-01 with focus peaking.

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Unexpresivecanvas Senior Member • Posts: 1,158
Re: I have made bad decisions in my time ...

Hi Kyogle,

I think I understand where you are coming from. Using primes and focal fixed lenses definitely gives a different flavor to your pictures. Why don't you rent or buy the Pentax FA 1.4 50mm? It will give the equivalent of 75mm which is a good focal distance for portraits and it can be used on both manual and AF. Shot wide open allow you to get a nice bokeh and isolate the subjects from the background.

I believe as a previous poster mentioned, that current zooms offer a valid and good alternative to primes.

Now, if you have the DA 18-135mm WR or the 55-300mm DAL, you already have a good lens that can do good portraits if used adequately. Any focal distance, going wide open, will allow you to capture good portraits. Only thing is they start a f3.5, which means you may have to use high ISO for indoors.

Here are some shots taken with the 55-300mm.

I am of the idea that we have to try several approaches and   the zooms may give you the answers you are looking for.

Nicols Contributing Member • Posts: 789
Re: K-01: Samyang 85mm f/1.4 or Tamron Adaptall-2 90mm f/2.5?

I've had a number of the various incarnations of the Tamron SP 90mm Macro AD-2 (at least 7 copies). So far none have had the purple spot? If I may hazard a guess, was it the first generation (model 52B with 49mm filter size)? If so, the front element is right at the end of the lens and a lens hood is advised. On the next generation (model 52BB, 55mm filter size), the front element was recessed a bit more.

I have the 52BB. I have used it a lot, until buying recently a Pentax F 100/2,8. I havn't ever seen a purple spot. Shooting against the sky and increasing contrast a brighter spot appears in the centre of the image, maybe some reflection between some lens and the sensor. In normal photos I have never seen it, so it is not really relevant. It is a great lens, a bit prone to flare when shooting close to the sun, but very good quality for macros and useful for weddings and similar events where you have some distance to people.

I bought the Pentax F macro because the diafragm didn't work well any more (it's translation mecanism disengaged inside the lens; I opened it, and fixed it, but I havn't achieved a precise adjustment of the aperture, and it won't close further then f16). Furthermore, to have direct 1:1 macro is great).

Cheers - Klaus

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