affordable fast 85mm?


thomastherhymer

Link Posted 31/03/2007 - 14:53
I do some gig photography, often in very low light. The only lens I have that is actually fast enough much of the time is the 50mm 1.4 - and thats at 1600 iso.

I am a musician myself and amuse myself at gigs and festivals by photographing the other musicians.

I have a ist DS a M 50mm f1.4 and a generic (super paragon) f2.8 135mm and a 70-210mm zoom f2.8-4

so i have a bit of a gap right in the very useful 80mm sort of range.

I have seen the FA* 85mm f1.4 and the newer 77mm and they look very nice but way too expensive for now. Also can't find anyone actually selling the 85mm at any price.

so I'm wondering if I have any options in the 70-100mm range at f2 or faster that might be affordable.

the lens would mostly be used wide open or close to it.

any suggestions?

Arthur Dent

Link Posted 31/03/2007 - 15:42
There is an M 85mm f/2 lens that might show up used from time to time, it won't be that expensive.
42

thomastherhymer

Link Posted 31/03/2007 - 16:35
thanks! that sounds good!

I havent seen one on ebay.

where should I look?

what would be a fair price?

I have googled it but its slim pickings, all I found so far was overpriced or already sold I think....

Arthur Dent wrote:
There is an M 85mm f/2 lens that might show up used from time to time, it won't be that expensive.

bretbysteve

Link Posted 31/03/2007 - 17:37
Hi Thomas,

I buy and sell older manual focus gear including Pentax K for a hobby. You have a choice of two more affordable lenses. The later pentax SMC-M 85mm f2 lens and the fairly scarce SMC-K 85mm f1.8 lens.

They both appear on ebay, though the pentax DSLR users have been buying them up like wild fire in the last two years and they appear much less frequently than they did only 3 years ago.

You have four ways to find one. Set up a 'favourite search' on ebay so that when one appears then ebay email you. You could also keep regularly checking dealers websites who are well known for stocking used Pentax K gear. You can attend camera fairs where I have found the M 85/2 in the past. You could also do google searches for them, I have found used lenses for sale this way.

You can expect to pay approx 100-180 GBP for the M 85/2 depending on condition and approx 150-300 for the K 85/1.8.

cheers Steve.M.

Pwynnej

Link Posted 01/04/2007 - 09:58
85mm f1.4 - as rare as rocking horse poo and expensive new and second hand..

I managed to get a hook on one several years ago, gorgeous, gorgeous lens..

If you can't find one at the moment, what about a 1.4 teleconverter or the Pentax 1.7 adapter? Might not be ideal and as the lens you already have is an M-series, you won't lose out on facilities.......

George Lazarette

Link Posted 01/04/2007 - 10:19
Pwynnej wrote:
85mm f1.4 - as rare as rocking horse poo and expensive new and second hand..

I managed to get a hook on one several years ago, gorgeous, gorgeous lens..

If you can't find one at the moment, what about a 1.4 teleconverter or the Pentax 1.7 adapter? Might not be ideal and as the lens you already have is an M-series, you won't lose out on facilities.......

That's not a bad idea. Get a 1:1.2 50mm, marry it up to the 1.7 convertor, and for under 250 you'll have a dream 50mm plus a 1:2 85mm with AF.

G
Keywords: Charming, polite, and generally agreeable.

thomastherhymer

Link Posted 01/04/2007 - 11:58
I do have a 2x converter, but its just 4 element and degrades the quality a bit much, also 100mm 2.8 is not really fast enough...

any suggestions about what converter to buy? and where?

the 1.7x AF converter sounds like a really good idea, but seems to be rare. is it in production again now? also still may be on the slow side (f2.4 with my 1.4 50mm)

i don't think i'd be buyng a f1.2 50mm since they are pricey and i have a 1.4.

frankly my benchmark for quality and value here is my girlfriends canon (yes I said the C word )EF USM 85mm f1.8 which is a really nice lens for 280 or so. seems like pentax don't really have a competitive offering in that area. the 77mm is way more expensive. the 85mm f1.4 is way way more expensive and unavailable, and all the other options are old gear or kludges of some variety. (not that i'm opposed to that but old gear should be a cheaper option!)

now i'd rather not spend that much, but thats my benchmark, so when we talk about spending 250 for a sort of compromise solution I start to wonder...

maybe a quality but cheap 1.4x converter would be the most cost effective solution? any suggestions about what to look for?

or - what about M42 lenses, takumar and jupiter 85mmm are around on ebay... opinions?

bretbysteve

Link Posted 01/04/2007 - 16:28
Hi Thomas,

A few observations:

You say you want to use this fast lens wide open or near to wide open..bear in mind this is at the lenses worst apertures quality wise...so adding a converter which further degrades quality is a very bad idea..

...and cheap converters are VERY bad indeed. If you want to use your lens wide open and get anything like decent quality then you have no choice but to buy a good prime lens. If you want to approach the quality of your girlfriends Canon 85mm lens then you can forget any converter idea or any Jupiter lens.

"maybe a quality but cheap 1.4x converter would be the most cost effective solution? ....this will not give anything like the results from the Canon lens you mention either I am afraid. And do not forget..QUALITY and CHEAP never go together.

If you start scratching around for cheap compromise solutions all you will end up with are cheap compromise photos. I would suggest the only way you will get near the Canon 85mm without breaking the bank is to wait patiently for a Pentax 85mm f2 or f1.8 to show up..

cheers Steve.

thomastherhymer

Link Posted 01/04/2007 - 16:38
I take your points!

I think there are 1.4x 7 element converters around for not all that much money. I would not expect a converter to approach the quality of the canon 85, but then it would be a fairly cheap interim option

from what i've seen and heard on the net the Pentax M SMC f2 85mm is really very soft wide open, so not sure I want that either! the 1.8 or various takumar lenses seem to be much better.

M42 Takumar 85mm 1.9 ?? theres one or two of those about. but then i need a adapter...


bretbysteve wrote:
Hi Thomas,

A few observations:

You say you want to use this fast lens wide open or near to wide open..bear in mind this is at the lenses worst apertures quality wise...so adding a converter which further degrades quality is a very bad idea..

...and cheap converters are VERY bad indeed. If you want to use your lens wide open and get anything like decent quality then you have no choice but to buy a good prime lens. If you want to approach the quality of your girlfriends Canon 85mm lens then you can forget any converter idea or any Jupiter lens.

"maybe a quality but cheap 1.4x converter would be the most cost effective solution? ....this will not give anything like the results from the Canon lens you mention either I am afraid. And do not forget..QUALITY and CHEAP never go together.

If you start scratching around for cheap compromise solutions all you will end up with are cheap compromise photos. I would suggest the only way you will get near the Canon 85mm without breaking the bank is to wait patiently for a Pentax 85mm f2 or f1.8 to show up..

cheers Steve.

bretbysteve

Link Posted 01/04/2007 - 16:39
Hi Thomas,

I do not know what country you are in, but an SMC-M 85/2 has just been listed on evil bay dot co dot uk...

cheers Steve.

George Lazarette

Link Posted 01/04/2007 - 18:48
Bear in mind, Thomas, that if you buy a good lens second-hand on Ebay, you are likely to be able to sell it again later for much the same money.

So the fact that it costs a bit more isn't really a major consideration. Most people can beg or borrow the 350 -400 that a second-hand 77mm will cost, and you'll also have the satisfaction of owning one of the world's best lenses.

That's what I would do (if I didn't already have a second-hand 77mm bought on Ebay!).

G
Keywords: Charming, polite, and generally agreeable.

Pwynnej

Link Posted 01/04/2007 - 20:28
bretbysteve wrote:

And do not forget..QUALITY and CHEAP never go together.


Sorry to stamp on that comment, but to give you an example, a cheap 50mm f1.7 Vivitar lens is reckoned to be as good as more expensive Nikkors...

So CHEAP doesn't always mean NAFF.....

On the other hand, schmucks who spend 1000+ on L-series glass don't always realise that although the lenses contain expensive glass there are much cheaper alternatives that are optically superior....or comparable

So EXPENSIVE doesn't always mean QUALITY.. (I hope this DOES NOT apply to the forthcoming DA* lenses which I covet).....

Backtracking on my previous suggestion though, getting a good prime 85mm is better than sticking on a teleconverter... you do have to pay a price...I did own one at one time, but happier spending my money to get a good lens....

Reuben0

Link Posted 01/04/2007 - 21:08
I would recommend the Jupiter-9 85/2. It's a bit soft at f2.0, but very sharp from f2.8 onwards and has terrific bokeh, probably due to its 15 rounded aperture blades (yes 15!). It's actually a copy of an old Zeiss design and compares very favourably with the K85/1.8, which I also have and it's miles better than the M85/2 which I sold on a long time ago.

[It's also worth noting that any of the above lenses blow away the much lauded DA 50-200 at 85mm].

You can get them on EvilBay very cheaply. I bought a new "old-stock" one from a bloke in Russia for 35. It's worth getting a multi-coated one rather than the more common single-coated ones though.

HTH,
Reuben0

thomastherhymer

Link Posted 01/04/2007 - 21:45
I would be tempted by the jupiter 9 but i hear the quality varies quite a bit?

also I'd need a m42 to K adapter, and would have stop down metering only (which isnt such a big deal if only using wide open)

I will probably bid on the M 85mm f2 , but not expecting to get it as its just not worth as much to me as it will probably sell for...

I may end up just waiting until i can justify tying up a lot more money in photo gear....

Reuben0

Link Posted 01/04/2007 - 22:26
thomastherhymer wrote:
I would be tempted by the jupiter 9 but i hear the quality varies quite a bit?

I've heard that too, but I have two of them (one multi-coated and one single-coated and different ages) and they're both good.

thomastherhymer wrote:

also I'd need a m42 to K adapter, and would have stop down metering only (which isnt such a big deal if only using wide open)

Yes, but screw-mount lenses are actually easier to use than M's and K's, as you can just leave the camera in Av and it meters with whatever aperture you've set on the lens.

Cheers,
reuben0
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