The Bower High-Speed 85mm f/1.4 Portrait Lens Pentax is a special effort in the independent lens manufacturer world, being a popular focal length for serious portraiture combined with an extra large f/1.4 maximum aperture. Most independent manufacturer lenses are either zooms or very short or long focal length fixed lenses. This lens is appropriate for Pentax “full frame” film cameras in addition to their current 15 x 22mm “APS-C” style digital SLR cameras, and presents no limitations to the camera operation beyond the manual focusing-it is for all practical purposes a “KA” style mount, and communicates the lens’ aperture to the camera body. This lens is precision manufactured in South Korea.
With a 35mm equivalent focal length of ~127mm and that f/1.4 aperture, the “Bower High-Speed 85mm” f/1.4 Portrait Lens Pentax opens up photographic opportunities you’ll never get with your zoom. Capture close portraits of singers on dark stages with only spotlights on their faces, and those background lights will be soft cascades of low-contrast coloring. With the big f/1.4 opening, you’ll have enough light to stop subject motion. Or try it in brighter conditions at fast shutter speeds and low ISOs to make great shots of people in front of blooming trees, with background flowers almost looking like paintings. It isn’t easy nailing manual focus at f/1.4-2.0 (nor for that matter is it easy for an AF system), but you’ll get better with practice, and soon be making many snaps that stand out in a crowd.
The Bower High-Speed 85mm f/1.4 Portrait Lens Pentax, which can be purchased from Foto Discount World, was truly created with large-aperture shooting in mind. Though a fine performer with plenty of contrast and resolution at f/5.6-f/11 apertures, it is at its best shooting between f/1.4-2.8, where it presents a high-peak-resolution focus point surrounded by lower resolution/contrast out-of-focus areas. Rather than just sharpness all around, for many pictures it is this stark drop off in resolution and contrast that effectively draws a viewer’s eye towards a subject.
- Internal focusing means that lens length remains constant during focusing (lens front also does not rotate)
- Bright f/1.4 aperture
- Aspherical lens element provides high quality images
- Fully multicoated optics
- Ideal portrait lens
- Low weight relative to many 85mm f/1.4 lenses
- Smooth helicoid manual focus action