A while back a friend posted a review of a rare Pentax Lens: the SMC 85mm f1.8, manual focus, manual setting of the aperture on the lens ring. Old School. This is a lens I had long coveted to complete my desired set of manual focus glass. I asked him to have the first shot at it when he decided to sell, and when he got ready he sent it to me. He is a bad man.
Anyway, I decided to take a few test shots under semi controlled lighting and see what I could see. Not being sure that I can afford to buy it, not that he is not asking a very reasonable price, I like to test these kinds of things out.
First I wanted to see how near out of focus rendering was. Having bought my wife some flowers shortly before that I thought it would make a good opportunity to test it.
f1.8 wide open, yes I focused on a dead flower, I liked the texture and contrast to help me see sharpness. It is fairly sharp when not stopped down.
f2.8 things are definitely getting better but there is less isolation of the subject, but perfectly acceptable for a portrait setting, if you can nail the focus.
f5.6, this would likely be my street shooting aperture, reasonable DOF at less than closest focus and as sharp as the lens gets.
f8, definitely sharp but not nearly the isolation of the subject. Overall I think the out of focus blur or "bokeh" is really quite good, as is this lenses reputation.
This is on my full set of extension tubes and either f8 or 11, Reasonably close focus and decently sharp. But not as sharp as my DFA 100mm f2.8 WR Macro.
After fiddling with the 85 it was time to get serious about the flowers with the aforementioned macro lens. I love the light in my entryway for shooting flowers, soft but not too soft.
The red was tough to get right but I think I did OK without totally overcooking the shadows when I brought them up.
Focusing on just the edge of a flowers petal is really hard with your lens at f2.8 and fairly close focus. I may not have gotten it exactly right, but it still ain't bad.