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A high-end ‘star’ 85mm f/1.4 lens is coming to the Pentax K-mount this year

Full-frame Pentax users will soon have access to a high-end, bright 85mm prime lens. The upcoming HD Pentax-D FA* 85mm f/1.4 SDM AW expands Pentax’s young ‘Star’ series lenses with a focal length that’s increasingly popular for portraits. Parent company Ricoh announced the lens’ development on March 23.

The FA* 85mm lens follows the 50mm prime from the same series, a lens that Ricoh says is among the most popular for the entire Pentax full-frame camera system. The Star series, with an actual * in the name, is a high-end K-mount series. Pentax says the series is designed to create the best possible image quality, with a focus on sharpness and wide apertures. Designed for Pentax’s weather-sealed DSLRs, the Star series lenses also focus on a durable design.

The lens will also house a brand new supersonic direct-drive motor (SDM) that’s designed for quick autofocus.While the lens is still under development, Ricoh still shared a peek at some of the specifications, including an f/1.4 to f/16 aperture and nine aperture blades for rounded bokeh. Focusing up to 2.8 feet away from the lens, the 85mm has a .12x maximum magnification.

On the exterior, the lens will be among the company’s all-weather models. That includes dust and moisture seals.

If the lens follows suit with the Pentax HD FA* 50mm f/1.4 SDM, the lens could be one of the best options for Pentax K-mount shooters. Launched in 2018, the 50mm delivered impressive images and fast autofocus. Build quality and weather sealing were also high points. When we tested the 50mm two years ago, the biggest downsides were just the lens’ massive size — common on f/1.4 optics — and the higher price point.

As a lens that’s just under development, some of those details could change, while other details, like price, have yet to be announced. Ricoh expects the lens to officially launch toward the end of 2020.

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