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An Opteka 85mm F1.4 Review

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cruzerpics View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Quote cruzerpics Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 31 December 2009 at 16:58
Originally posted by Samsonov Samsonov wrote:


"This lens is best used with a Sony Alpha 500/550 that has MF Check Live View.... etc"

Did you or anybody else tried that combo? I am thinking of buying A550 specifically to use with Samyang (and other) MF lenses, using the MF check LV feature.

However...

I think you made a mistake, as ONLY A550 has this feature, A500, at least on paper, does not.



I think you are misinformed the a500 definitely has MF live I've been using it for the last 2 months and it works great. I must admit working with longer focal lengths hand held can be challenge as the image can get quite jittery but a monopod or tripod makes the job much easier.
 



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Post Options Post Options   Quote brettania Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 31 December 2009 at 17:01
Thanks for this Albert -- I have added a link to it in the entry for the Samyang version.

Edited by brettania - 31 December 2009 at 17:02
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Post Options Post Options   Quote albnok Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 31 December 2009 at 22:48

And now, for more from the Opteka 85mm F1.4!


I also took the opportunity to compare it to the Sony Carl Zeiss Planar T* 85mm F1.4 ZA - something I may not want to do in fear of finding my lens inferior. Fortunately, it wasn't the case... strongly. Here's the Opteka 85mm F1.4 focused to 1 meter, its minimum focusing distance.


The Zeiss 85mm F1.4, however, magnifies a lot more because:

1) it can focus to 85cm close
2) it has external focus

Internal focus lenses tend to widen the angle of view, thus causing lesser magnification.

For example, the Sony 135mm F2.8/T4.5 Smooth Transition Focus lens focuses to 87cm close, giving a 1:4x maximum magnification. It is an external focus lens.

The Sony Carl Zeiss Sonnar T* 135mm F1.8 ZA can focus to 72cm close... so logically, it should be able to get closer and get a better magnification, right? However, as it is internal focus, its angle of view widens at close range, and so it gets the same 1:4x maximum magnification as the STF!

So, there are benefits to external focus lenses.


Size-wise they are quite similiar. Both use 72mm filter threads.


The Zeiss hood can literally eat the Opteka hood!


And how about a portrait comparison? Opteka 85mm F1.4 at F1.4 1/100s ISO800.


Here's the same thing from the Zeiss at the same settings.

Honestly, at a glance, the overall contrast looks very similiar! Also, the Opteka is very capable of picking up ambient colors the way the Zeiss does. Please pardon that the Opteka has a slightly different focus plane.


It is only when you start pixel-peeping that you see why the Zeiss costs 4 times the price... this is a 100% crop from the Opteka. It is pretty sharp wide open!


However, this is a 100% crop from the Zeiss! The keyword here is microcontrast - it has far more contrasty details.

I would say that after this exercise, I understood what the Zeiss microcontrast thing was all about. The Opteka is really 80% of the Zeiss, for 25% the price!

Edited by albnok - 31 December 2009 at 22:49
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Post Options Post Options   Quote albnok Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 31 December 2009 at 22:49

I also tried the Opteka on the Sony Alpha 550 - this used MF Check Live View. Works great even at 7x zoom (14x zoom is a bit too shaky for a 85mm lens.)


Accuracy even at no zoom using MF Check LV was pretty good!


However, when I tried to use the Quick AF Live View mode, manual-focusing using the LCD, it just seemed to be off all the time. However I could notice a slight sharpening happening in Quick AF Live View mode.


Finally, don't fear the 1 meter minimum focusing distance - you can dismount the lens and turn it the other way around. You can even control the aperture using the aperture ring!


It gives about 70mm for a 36mm-wide sensor, or 1:1.94x maximum magnification.

In other news, there might be a Samyang 35mm F1.4:

http://www.lenstip.com/index.php?art=122

I would buy that no questions asked! Knowing the obscene quality of the Samyang 85mm F1.4 you can bet the 35mm is going to be a winner. Since it is a full-frame wide-angle it should have a better MFD than the Sigma 30mm F1.4's mediocre 40cm. (The Sigma looks nice on FF despite the vignetting!)
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Post Options Post Options   Quote albnok Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 31 December 2009 at 22:55
jumphigh: You get to see DOF as you turn the aperture ring. Of course if you have the stock viewfinder you only see the effect of F3.2 or thereabouts and setting the lens to F1.4 you'd see shallower DOF in the picture than in the viewfinder.

SteadyShot will not work without a chip.

brettania: Thanks!
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Post Options Post Options   Quote Exminolta Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 03 January 2010 at 03:50
I know this sound a bit off topic. Anyone here thinks if it is possible to add Af confirmation chip on back of this 85mm lens? May be glue it or change the mount to M42 to MA with chip attached?
 



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Post Options Post Options   Quote jumphigh Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 03 January 2010 at 04:10
Go here.
http://www.flickr.com/photos/bengt-re/4005775044/
I thought it's a bit useless. I mean you would still spend time learning how to MF with it. And say you master it, you will compose then look to the bottom left to wait for the green light to show up and stop flashing then look backup and double check your focus then check your composition again? Won't it be faster and accurate if you adept to MF? Maybe even with the help of a Type M scree. It's safer and your lens retains value better and you become a better photographer.
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Post Options Post Options   Quote albnok Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 03 January 2010 at 07:45
jumphigh: Although I am personally used to using the screen to MF (and I never looked at the focus confirm when I my M42 chipped adapter was working) I would still buy a chipped adapter. Why?

- Aperture Priority auto-exposure
- better or less buggy flash exposure
- ability to use Intelligent Preview (for testing WB and exposure)

The lens would have more value with a chip definitely.
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Post Options Post Options   Quote jumphigh Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 03 January 2010 at 08:00
oh darn, I love Intelligent Preview...
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Post Options Post Options   Quote Exminolta Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 20 January 2010 at 18:41
Hello everyone;

When I saw this review, I went and got myself one. For the price of 249.00 USD is not bad. Unfortunately, focusing is hard. Therefor I improvised. I replace the mount with those M42 to AF with chip sold on Ebay.



With this I can easily get focus confirmation on the view finder



The hard part was that getting the right amount of distance from the sensor because the one they sold is very thin, plus with that the issue of infinity focusing problems may occur, and it did.
Here as you can see I made myself some spacer using aluminium foil. Then I added other stuff from cardboard to plastic lids cut to size.






The color of this lens is very nice and warm. However it woould not register at F1.4 instead it only register at F1.7. This must be a problem with the chip but when I replaced the with another one, It shows the same thing. I also managed to fix the infinity problem by finding and adding the right spacer thickness.

Some samples shots taken tight after.

At F2.8 it shines



At F1.4 a fraction is only in focus but still nice IMO


F2.8 again



2.8



Cropped



Outdoors, sorry the apeture number but mostly at F1.4 and F2.8

1.4




2.8






Mounted on My A700











Edited by Exminolta - 20 January 2010 at 18:43
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Kaolinchemist View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Quote Kaolinchemist Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 20 January 2010 at 22:03
It looks like Pete Ganzel needs to get to work and machine an adapter that is the correct width and sell it to us so we don't have to do the spacer part!

Very nice description of your DIY project thanks for sharing and Pete tell us when the adapters will be for sale.
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Post Options Post Options   Quote Exminolta Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 20 January 2010 at 22:59
Actually, I was having difficulty focusing infinity. To make things right I brought out the caliper and measured the distance. I found out that having the spacer is making things worse. So I removed them but I shaved the plastic part- where the mount is attached. And believe me or not it worked. Infinity was achieved. I'll post an update on that later.
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Post Options Post Options   Quote dca1213 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 20 January 2010 at 23:49
So help me understand this, when shooting with this lens are you basically shooting in what used to be referred to as stopped down metering mode?

You focus with the lens wide open and then stop down to the desired f stop and set the shutter speed for the correct exposure?
Dennis
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Post Options Post Options   Quote LetoAtreidesII Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 21 January 2010 at 00:02
dca1213: That would be correct. With a chipped adapter on it you can use A mode so the shutter speed is chosen automatically.
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