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Bower 85mm f/1.4 Manual Focus Telephoto Lens for Sony/Minolta

B&H # BO8514M MFR # SLY85S
Bower 85mm f/1.4 Manual Focus Telephoto Lens for Sony/Minolta

Bower 85mm f/1.4 Manual Focus Telephoto Lens for Sony/Minolta Top View

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You Pay: $269.00

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The Bower 85mm f/1.4 Manual Focus Lens 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 precision manufactured in South Korea.

This lens mounts to any Sony (or Minolta Maxxum) camera and works on both "full frame" cameras like the DSLR-A900 as well as the "APS-C" style digital SLR cameras, but the aperture is neither communicated to nor controlled by the camera body.  As such, you can use the lens in "M" manual exposure mode or "A" aperture-priority mode only, and in both cases you will physically move the aperture ring to the aperture of your choice and it will stay at that aperture even before the exposure.

With a 35mm equivalent focal length of ~127mm and that f/1.4 aperture, this Bower 85mm lens 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.

This lens 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.

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
Internal focusing means that lens length remains constant during focusing (lens front also does not rotate)
Made in South Korea
Focal Length 85mm
Aperture Maximum: f/1.4
Minimum: f/22
Camera Mount Type Nikon F
Format Compatibility Nikon FX/35mm Film
Nikon DX
Angle of View 28.3°
APS-C Picture Angle: 19.1°
Minimum Focus Distance 3.28' (1 m)
Magnification Not Specified By Manufacturer
Maximum Reproduction Ratio Not Specified By Manufacturer
Elements/Groups 9/7
Diaphragm Blades Not Specified By Manufacturer
Image Stabilization No
Autofocus No
Tripod Collar No
Filter Thread 72 mm
Dimensions (DxL) Approx. 3.0 x 3.75" (76.20 x 95.25 mm)
Weight 1.15 lb (.52 kg)
Bower 85mm f/1.4 Manual Focus Telephoto Lens for Sony/Minolta
  • Front & Rear Lens Caps
  • Lens Hood
  • Lens Pouch
  • 1-Year Warranty

    by PowerReviews
    Bower85mm f/1.4 Manual Focus Telephoto Lens for Sony/Minolta

    (based on 3 reviews)

    Ratings Distribution

    • 5 Stars



    • 4 Stars



    • 3 Stars



    • 2 Stars



    • 1 Stars




    of respondents would recommend this to a friend.



        Best Uses

        • Portraits (3)

        Reviewed by 3 customers

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        Very nice gear

        By John123

        from Hamilton, ON

        About Me Hobbyist/Enthusiast

        Verified Buyer


        • Durable
        • F14


        • Difficult To Use

        Best Uses

        • Portraits
        • Studio

        Comments about Bower 85mm f/1.4 Manual Focus Telephoto Lens for Sony/Minolta:

        Very nice piece of glass. It is hard to use even on the A77. However, the pictures taken look pro.

        • Was this a gift?:
        • No

        Share this review

        (1 of 1 customers found this review helpful)


        great lens, plenty bright

        By LG

        from pennsylvania

        About Me Semi-Professional

        Verified Reviewer


        • Easy To Use
        • Reliable


          Best Uses

          • Everyday use
          • Landscape Photography
          • Portraits

          Comments about Bower 85mm f/1.4 Manual Focus Telephoto Lens for Sony/Minolta:

          Dollar for dollar this lens seems to be great. As soon as you get past the fact that it is a manual focus, your world[or you pictures] will brighten around you. This lens may not level up to a Zeiss, but is plenty sharp at f/1.4 , and is a charm at f. 2.8 and up. This lens is more than is expected from a relatively in-expensive lens, and I would recommend this to anyone looking for an inexpensive, bright prime.

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          (2 of 2 customers found this review helpful)


          Great wide open, but painfully manual

          By ProfHankD

          from Lexington, KY

          About Me Semi-Professional

          Verified Reviewer


          • Internal focus
          • IQ wide open


          • Completely manual
          • Not very close focus

          Best Uses

          • Low light performances
          • Portraits
          • Studio

          Comments about Bower 85mm f/1.4 Manual Focus Telephoto Lens for Sony/Minolta:

          This lens gives the best wide-open performance of any f/1.4 (or similar) lens I've ever used: good sharpness, outstanding bokeh, no nasty artifacts whatsoever. Stopped down past f/2.8, it doesn't get much better, which makes it inferior to many other lenses by f/5.6 or so... but that's clearly not the intended use.

          Manual focus with very shallow DOF is difficult, and there's no electronics, so you don't get focus confirm or SSS, and only M mode will work on most Sony bodies. Install a split/microprism focus screen in your body if you're serious about this lens... even then, you will need to be careful and probably will miss focus sometimes.

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          Filters & Filter Kits

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          Filter Holders

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          XUME - 72mm Lens Adapter and Filter Holder Starter Kit
          • You Pay: $51.95

          Hoods & Covers

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          Vello - 72mm Snap-on Tulip Lens Hood (Version II)
          • You Pay: $14.95

          Cases & Wraps

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          Pearstone - Onyx 20 Lens Case
          • You Pay: $11.99

          Lens Mount Caps

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          Sensei - 72mm Center Pinch Snap-On Lens Cap
          • You Pay: $3.95

          Extension Tubes

          Vello - Auto Extension Tube Set for Sony Alpha
          • You Pay: $79.95
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