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08-12-2010, 09:56 PM   #31
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QuoteOriginally posted by RioRico Quote
Why limit the list to Pentax? Let's see, besides the cheap Helios 58/2 and the not-so-cheap FA50/1.4, I can recommend:

* Mir-1 37/2.8 (M42)
* Yashinon-DX 50/1.7 (M42)
* Meyer Oreston 50/1.8 (M42)
* Argus-Chinon 55/1.7 (M42)
* Nikkor 85/2 (NI modded)
* Jupiter-9 85/2 (M39)
* Vivitar-Komine 90/2.8 macro (M42)
* Meyer Trioplan 100/2.8 (M42)
* Focal and Sears 135/2.8 (KA)
* Jupiter-11 135/4 (M39)
* Jupiter-21M 200/4 (M42)

But that J-21M is a bit heavy at 950g.

OK everybody, whip out your laundry lists. Be sure to mention if you want starch.
Well, ummmm, I have the Sears 135 lens. :-)
Where are yuou or can you pick up these others?

08-13-2010, 01:38 AM   #32
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QuoteOriginally posted by jboyde Quote
QuoteOriginally posted by RioRico:
Why limit the list to Pentax? Let's see, besides the cheap Helios 58/2 and the not-so-cheap FA50/1.4, I can recommend:
...
Well, ummmm, I have the Sears 135 lens. :-)
Where are yuou or can you pick up these others?
I'm on the far side of the continent from your 10-20, and those are a few of my lenses. A very abbreviated brag list, which (if taken to extremes) would include my DA10-17 fisheye and Rubinar 1000/10 mirror as portrait lenses too, the latter for photographing attendees at a Mafiya funeral from a (hopefully) safe distance.

Actually, I have a favorite portrait lens. Well, not a portrait lens so much as a portrait camera. It's an old Canon ss80u P&S with a 38-80 zoom, the FOV about the same as 25-55mm on APS-C. Yes, it's a 135 film camera. Cost me all of US$1 at a rummage sale. Works fine. The optics are just cheap enough to give portraits 'character'.
08-13-2010, 02:20 AM   #33
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QuoteOriginally posted by Goslett Quote
I'm sure there's already a thread like this but I can't find it. Looking for a lens for an upcoming book of portraits I'm doing, looking for some recommendations.
Manual or auto?
08-13-2010, 11:55 AM   #34
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Has anyone mentioned the SMCP-FA 100mm f2.8 Macro? It's great for a really tight portrait shots.

08-13-2010, 12:11 PM   #35
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Is the DA 70mm fast enough for indoor shooting without a flash?
08-13-2010, 12:44 PM   #36
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Sure, depending on how much light there is, how high you are comfortable setting your ISO, how steady the camera will be, and how much /quickly your subject is moving. For the most part, larger apertures mean shallower DOF, which can be great effect but doens't make for easier photography in general. If you are shooting portraits - the subject of this thread - your subejct is still, you're on a tripod, and you provide your own light usually, so you wouldn't necessarily even need f/2.4 unelss you only *want* half the face in focus. But for more casual candids, f/2.4 at ISO 1600usually gives you fast enough shutter speeds for handheld photography.
08-13-2010, 12:47 PM   #37
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QuoteOriginally posted by JohnBee Quote
QuoteOriginally posted by Goslett:
I'm sure there's already a thread like this but I can't find it. Looking for a lens for an upcoming book of portraits I'm doing, looking for some recommendations.
Manual or auto?
Manual or auto? Long or short? Costly or cheap? Fast or slow? Sharp or soft? Color or B&W? Clumsy or easy? Imposing or discreet? Straight or distorted? Posed or spontaneous? Ambient or artificial light? So many decision points...

A 50mm lens on an APS-C sensor will fill the frame with head shots at 3-4 feet, full-body shots at 10-12 feet. With an 85mm, those become 5-7 feet (head) and 17-20 feet (body). With a 35mm, those become 2-3 feet (too close?) and 5-7 feet (body). This isn't theoretical; I just now put those lenses on my K20D and paced the distances.

The right focal length depends on your comfort zone, distance-wise. If you and your subjects are comfortable at around 6 feet, use a 35mm for bodies and an 85mm for heads. If the comfort zone is thicker, use a 50-55mm for everything. Fast manual 50's and 55's are still incredibly cheap; my recent Yashinon-DX 50/1.7 and Chinon 55/1.7 cost less than US$15, shipped, combined, total.

For controlled settings, like lit studio spaces, auto-focus and -aperture are irrelevant. Fast lenses can take you from soft to sharp by stopping-down. Slow lenses start sharp and stay there. (Try an Industar 50/3.5 or a Macro-Takumar 50/4, eh?) Old old MF and LF lenses (on bellows) can give unique renderings. Fast AF zooms give flexibility. So many options...
08-13-2010, 01:12 PM   #38
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Guess I'm asking the wrong thing, I'm not doing portraits but "Candids". When I'm hanging out with friends (often indoors) I want to be able to take photos of them. When we rent a music studio and play in dim light, I need to be able to snag my camera and shoot a photo, without using the flash. The flash ruins everything in the Pentax line-up, because it makes everyone look sleepy, so it's not even an option.

I would prefer the lens to be relatively compact, which is why I'm thinking about the DA limited line up, but I guess my biggest concern is how fast does it really need to be to shoot indoors, without flash assistance, and which focal length is most versatile?

I'm thinking about the 35, 40, and 70 DA Limiteds right now, and hoping for input.

FA 31 and FA 77 are also options, since I enjoy shooting film very much, but I feel like maybe they're too big and heavy for what I'd like to be my new traveling prime. I'm getting sick of carrying the DA* 16-50 around...

08-13-2010, 01:29 PM   #39
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The 31 is "kind of" big & heavy, but the 77 really isn't.

Anyhow, my comments above still stand. At 70mm and f/2.4, you don't get more than half the face in focus as it is. So shooting anything larger aperture than that is asking for a lot of missed focus unless your subject is perfectly still and you have to time to slow down and exercise control which eye gets to be in focus. Not saying there isn't value in doing that, but most of the time that's not what people have in mind when they speak of "candids". You're better off staying at f/2.4 (actually, I usually shoot for f/2.8) and ISO 1600, or a little higher if necessary to get a fast enough shutter speed. Usually that will do fine. I rarely use my DA70 for candids because it's too long if I'm really interacting with the people - the DA40 is perfect for candids. But the DA70 actually does work pretty well for shooting one's fellow musicians, like this shot I took of the bassist on a gig where I was on piano (taken at f/2.8):



But in normal social situations, it's the DA40 I turn to most. and sometimes even the DA15 if I don't mind getting their faces a bit. Yes, the DA15 is only f/4, but you hardly need fast shutter speeds at that focal length).

DA40:



DA15:

08-13-2010, 01:33 PM   #40
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FA ltds too big? You'd be hard pressed to find fast primes of their quality any smaller or lighter.
Consider the FA 43 vs the FA 50 in this regard. Any smaller and it'd have to be the DA 40.
So the DA lds are great, though the FA ltds are just as excellent - I've done away with my own 16-50 in favour of the 31 to be the lens permanently mounted on my camera, switching to either of the FA ltds when needed.

In comparing the FA 77 and the DA 70, whilst f/1.8 is not all that much faster than f/2.4, it may make a difference in those indoor low-light settings. Same story comparing the FA 43 and the DA 40...
08-13-2010, 02:05 PM   #41
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QuoteOriginally posted by Hannican Quote

I would prefer the lens to be relatively compact, which is why I'm thinking about the DA limited line up...
...
FA 31 and FA 77 are also options, since I enjoy shooting film very much, but I feel like maybe they're too big and heavy for what I'd like to be my new traveling prime. I'm getting sick of carrying the DA* 16-50 around...
I really don't see how the size of the lens is a problem at all in any you've mention or anyone else. It sounds like a dSLR is not for you. They don't make them anymore but you can find a used Fujifilm Finepix F31d point-n-shoot camera that does extremely well in low light for its class and you'll never complain about "large" again.
08-13-2010, 02:20 PM   #42
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Well... the issue is that I need a lens I can use for handy-dandy candid stuff, where I can also strap on my Vivitar S1 Macro when I need to get some real work done, or blast away with the DA 16-50 when I'm out backpacking.

I use a dSLR because of it's versatility. Each lens serves its purpose in my line-up, with the DA 50-135 being the only exception, since it's larger than I feel like carrying anywhere, and too intimidating to be bringing around to parties and such. It's given me some great shots of my cat and I got some amazing sand dune photos from Death Valley with it, but I don't want to lug it around if I can use something else.

That Fujifilm looks pretty expensive ($300+ on Amazon), and I don't particularly want to leave the Pentax line-up, or I'd grab one. What I'm trying to do is to make sure that I get the most out of my next camera/lens purchase, rather than grabbing another piece of gear that's the biggest, bestest, baddest, and most expensive-ist (which is what I did before), but doesn't work for me.

Thanks for the advice everyone! I'm leaning toward that DA 40 now... the pancake sounds interesting =)

Last edited by Hannican; 08-13-2010 at 02:46 PM.
08-13-2010, 09:24 PM   #43
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I vote for the FA35.
08-13-2010, 09:25 PM   #44
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QuoteOriginally posted by tuco Quote
Has anyone mentioned the SMCP-FA 100mm f2.8 Macro? It's great for a really tight portrait shots.
It's a great lens but I would prefer a 70mm or lower for indoors.
08-13-2010, 10:03 PM   #45
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QuoteOriginally posted by Pentaxor Quote
It's a great lens but I would prefer a 70mm or lower for indoors.
It's a pretty heavy lens too (all metal). But you can focus close with it for those face shots.
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