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07-13-2010, 01:17 PM   #1
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newbie question

New to the forum as well as photography. Recently purchased a pentax kx with the 18-55mm and 55-300mm lenses. Have been taking tons of pictures, mostly of my daughter and am feeling that a different lens would be more appropriate for my needs, Im thinking of a portrait lens. Because I just got the camera I dont want to spend to much more money on a lens. Does anyone have a suggestion on a lens taht would be more appropriate for my needs on a limited budget, no more than $300. Willing to by used.
Thanks.

07-13-2010, 02:39 PM   #2
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Welcome to the forum.
Firstly, stick to posting in the Beginners Q&A corner for those questions you have early on in your photographic journey.
The simplest solution to your requirements is the Pentax FA 50 f/1.4 lens - for a fast, autofocus lens it's the best value for you. It should be no more than $300, but if you're not too fussed about autofocus, there are a number of manual focus lenses, even on this forum's marketplace, that you could get to fit the bill, like the Pentax A 50 f/1.7 or other third party options in the 50mm range.

All the best in that.
07-13-2010, 03:15 PM   #3
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I believe you need to hone your skills. That 18-55 is perfectly capable of great portrait images, just look around this forum. One of the key elements to any image is lighting. Let me repeat, lighting. There are simple tricks to re-direct the light from the built in flash or you can get a reasonably priced add on flash which can be positioned to bounce the light eliminating harsh effects.
07-13-2010, 03:19 PM   #4
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Without knowing *why* you feel a different lens would be better, it's impossible to advise.

07-13-2010, 04:27 PM   #5
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I agree with Marc, that you should know why you want this. If you're looking to control depth of field better than the kit lens, or shoot in lower light without a flash, the FA 50/1.4 is a decent inexpensive option with autofocus capabilities. Autofocus may be even more important if you're trying to catch a little one as they run about. If not, and you're willing to manually focus, there's some cheaper ways to try fast portrait glass.

I love the DA* 55/1.4 but it's probably outside your budget.


Are you here in the Salt Lake area?

Last edited by Clinton; 07-13-2010 at 04:37 PM.
07-13-2010, 05:07 PM   #6
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In regards to why, I prefer candid, close up shots. I feel that the 18-55mm lens has me right next to the subject Im shooting, taking away the spontaneity of the shot. I also feel that with the 55-300mm lens, I am always wanting less aperture then the lens will allow.
Thanks for all your advice.
07-13-2010, 05:13 PM   #7
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I still consider myself quite the "newbie", and had the same quest to get good family pictures. The FA 50 1.4 was the first lens I purchased after the kit lens and the 55-300. and I concur with others that it is a good choice.

Because it is much faster, l get the pictures I want indoors without a flash, with lots of keepers of pets and my grandson (not the easiest subject).

My first three lens purchases are my go to lenses for family events. I have since fallen in love with vintage lenses, but don't use them when there is fast family action.

Unfortunately I haven't conquered uploading photos yet, so I am not able to post any photos for you.
07-13-2010, 06:06 PM   #8
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QuoteOriginally posted by utahdl Quote
In regards to why, I prefer candid, close up shots. I feel that the 18-55mm lens has me right next to the subject Im shooting, taking away the spontaneity of the shot. I also feel that with the 55-300mm lens, I am always wanting less aperture then the lens will allow.
Thanks for all your advice.
The 70 or 77 prime will give you the extra reach and large aperture.

The Tamron 28-75 f2.8 is a very sharp zoom and would give you some flexibility.

They are more than $300, even used, though.


Last edited by SpecialK; 07-14-2010 at 02:58 PM.
07-13-2010, 06:34 PM   #9
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QuoteOriginally posted by utahdl Quote
In regards to why, I prefer candid, close up shots. I feel that the 18-55mm lens has me right next to the subject Im shooting, taking away the spontaneity of the shot. I also feel that with the 55-300mm lens, I am always wanting less aperture then the lens will allow.
Thanks for all your advice.
Based on what you're talking about, I'd take a long hard look at the Samyang 85/1.4 and the Sigma 85/1.4.

I'd also take a look at the DA* 50-135/2.8, but that's going to be a bunch more money.
07-13-2010, 06:36 PM   #10
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it all depends...is the subject stationary most of the time and if moving, how good are you at manual focusing?

because your budget is possible to get very fast manual lens.
07-13-2010, 07:49 PM   #11
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QuoteOriginally posted by utahdl Quote
I also feel that with the 55-300mm lens, I am always wanting less aperture then the lens will allow.
Best options I know for portraits in the price range you are talking about woul be the Pentax M85/2 and M100/2.8 (both older manual lenses) and the Samyang-made 85/1.4 (sold under about a dozen different names on Ebay; if it's an 85/1.4 being sold brand new for under $500, that's the right one). Stretch the budget to $400 and you can get the DA70.
07-14-2010, 03:06 AM   #12
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The DA70 is an amazing lens for portraits. The FA77 is probably even better (I own the 70 but not the 77).
07-14-2010, 01:47 PM   #13
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Just to throw another option in there, since there's lots of talk of more expensive lenses: the Tamron 90mm f/2.8 macro is fantastic for portraits, and turns out to be an excellent 1:1 macro lens.
07-14-2010, 02:06 PM   #14
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Da70

I'm going to throw out another vote for the DA70. It's pretty fast although not quite in the realm of the 1.4 or 1.8s. And as someone pointed out, they can be had for close to $400 if you are patient. (Once you get a DA70 you'll find yourself wanting the DA 40 and DA 21 etc. They are fun little lenses).

For me, the 85 is tough to use inside my house because my rooms are just not quite big enough (and I'm in what I think is a pretty nice house). Also, I don't think you'll find an autofocus 85mm you can afford. :-(

Good luck and report back!
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07-14-2010, 05:38 PM   #15
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Didn't take long for people to piddle all over the OP's $300 Max budget.

I do believe the 85mm f1.4 suggestion to be a good one. Another good suggestion was the Pentax A 50mm f1.7, better would be the f1.4 version of that lens.

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