And now, for more from the Opteka 85mm F1.4! Felicia shot at F1.4 at 807 Studio.

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!

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:


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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