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  1. #1
    Michel Hardy-Vallée's Avatar
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    Price of 85mm primes?

    Can anyone illuminate me as to why the lenses of 85mm focal length reach such extravagant prices nowadays? I was checking prices around, and for the Takumars in M42 mounts, the 85 reach at least twice the price of 105 ones. Is it just a question of rarity or were they already expensive to produce?
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  2. #2
    David Brown's Avatar
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    I've noticed the same thing. It's why I don't have one.

    And, I don't know why, either. Possibly it's the same reason a 50mm f/1.4 costs more than a 50mm f/1.8. The 85s generally are faster than the longer lenses.

    I do, however, own the 105 Takumar.

  3. #3
    Michel Hardy-Vallée's Avatar
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    I found some old Pentax ads and the spotties with 50mm f1.8 (55mm?) was the mid-range model, while the ones with f1.4 were more expensive (same body). I have quite a problem figuring out why Pentax would make two nearly-identical products with comparable prices. I suspect the lens designs were different, but it smells like booby-trap.

    I was looking at the 85mm because I was wondering if it was worthy to shop for a shorter telephoto than 135mm for portraits. I have a f2.8 Asanuma 135mm, so that gives me quite a useful narrow DOF, but I wonder if it's worth the slightly shorter focal length. Perhaps weight would be a good reason to get another Tak...
    Using film since before it was hip.


    "One of the most singular characters of the hyposulphites, is the property their solutions possess of dissolving muriate of silver and retaining it in considerable quantity in permanent solution" — Sir John Frederick William Herschel, "On the Hyposulphurous Acid and its Compounds." The Edinburgh Philosophical Journal, Vol. 1 (8 Jan. 1819): 8-29. p. 11

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  4. #4
    Anupam Basu's Avatar
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    I would guess a 105/1.8 or 1.4 would be very expensive. so it's not only the length but the speed that you need to consider as well. It gets very costly to produce fast telephotos.

  5. #5

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    I have 85 and 105's and I do use both. The biggest difference I notice is the working distance (rather than the perspective noticed in the pictures taken with either). A 135 would require that extra bit of working distance again. Ok if you've got the space, a problem if you don't!

  6. #6
    Charles Webb's Avatar
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    For what it is worth, I use the 105 as my normal lense. What it delivers to my negative is almost exactly as I see my subject with my naked eyes.
    Don't know if this works for others. The 105 mm has been my choice for many years on several brands of 35mm cameras. I have never found a use for a 135mm as it is either too long or too short, and I hate the DOF.

    Charlie..........................

  7. #7

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    The absolute best deal in 85 is with the zeiss lenses, you can get a good 85 1.4 for about 400$ or a 2.8 for $200. Many people say it (1.4) is the finest lens in their lineup.
    art is about managing compromise

  8. #8
    Uncle Bill's Avatar
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    I am keeping my eye out for 85 primes after getting a Jupiter 9 for my Kiev. I would love to get a non AI 85/2 Nikkor but they are thin on the ground and not cheap, same goes for an OM 85.

    Bill
    "Life moves pretty fast, if you don't stop and look around once and a while, you might just miss it."
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  9. #9
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    I know that in the Canon line ups, some lenses are more fashionable than others - and quite often that has a great effect on going prices. Sometimes this "fashion" is justified, some times it seems to be but a whim. Although in the FD line up, the 85mm is quite inexpensive - while the EOS moun lenses are comparatively pricey. Perhaps the adaptability to digital uses plays a role here as well - it is a huge market.
    I assume that in other manufacturers line ups, there is a lot of that going on as well. That and generally the 85's are the last tele you can get in near standard lens speeds without having to harvest one's body organs... After that, the price of admission sky-rockets or the lenses are much slower.

  10. #10
    benjiboy's Avatar
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    I'm mainly interested in portraits, and I have both 85 and 100mm prime lenses Michel , I bought the 100mm first because I thought at the time that as well as a portrait lens it would also be a useful medium telephoto, which proved to be true except in my very small studio, as Nige says, I had problems with the working distance to get far enough back to get a head to waist shot for example.
    Once I tried the 85mm f1.8 I found the way that it rendered perspective to be perfect for portraits, this type of optic is usually designed to give it's best performance at the wider apertures which lets you throw the background out of focus and still have sharpness in your sitter. The price of 85s I think is partly rarity, but also because of economy of scale, in that they probably sell a hell of a lot more100mm lenses and even more 135mm which makes them cheaper.

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