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08-05-2010, 05:54 AM   #1
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Best Portrait Lens?

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.

08-05-2010, 06:19 AM   #2
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IMO, here are the best two portrait lenses from Pentax:

SMC Pentax-FA 77mm F1.8 Limited
SMC Pentax-FA* 85mm F1.4 [IF]

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08-05-2010, 06:38 AM   #3
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Ah true, they are both beautiful. I tad much for me though, being a humble university student and all
08-05-2010, 06:52 AM   #4
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50's are good for portraits if you're on a budget. Generally inexpensive, fast and unimposing. The FA 50 1.4 is a great little lens, and it goes for about $275 in the marketplace here on the forum. New is another matter--prices just got jacked up on these.

If you're into manual focus, maybe have a look at this thread:

Also consider the Voigtlander Nokton 58mm/1.4. Beautiful images and really nice manual focus feel.

08-05-2010, 07:02 AM   #5
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Any of the 50s are good. Some are a bit better than others.
If you are shooting digital, the 70LTD is very good, and is easier to find than the 85s and less expensive than the 77.
Honestly, between the 70 and 77, I don't see enough difference to have a preference between one or the other.
08-05-2010, 07:08 AM   #6
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Ah yeah. The good thing is because I'm just shooting my friends, I can always reshoot them. That 58mm look gorgeous! Great recommendation. Anyone selling shoot me a pm
08-05-2010, 07:22 AM   #7
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Good luck finding someone willing to sell their Nokton 58 on this forum. It's a very well regarded lens and comes up for sale very infrequently. Fortunately for you though, If you like the feel of an excellent manual focus lens you would likely be very impressed with the Pentax M 50/1.7, or the Pentax A 50/1.7. Both of these lenses are quite spectacular and can be had for around $50.00 and are easily obtainable.

If the DA70 or FA77 aren't in your budget I would certainly recommend the FA50/1.4 to you. It really is a superb lens and even with the current prices it really is a steal still. It's rendering is simply beautiful and it's focal length is great for working with people.

I hope this info helps...


08-05-2010, 07:24 AM   #8
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Yah, I seem to be between a 50mm 1.4 and an 1.7. I'm also looking at a Helios 58mm f/2
08-05-2010, 07:34 AM   #9
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You can also get a Samyang 85 f1,4 (or similar: Polar, Vivitar...) for a decent price.
08-05-2010, 07:39 AM - 1 Like   #10
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QuoteOriginally posted by Goslett Quote
Yah, I seem to be between a 50mm 1.4 and an 1.7. I'm also looking at a Helios 58mm f/2
A lot of the Helioses are presets, but they have a lot of personality.

I wouldn't use one for standard quality portraits, but more for the funky stuff, because of their funky bokeh.
08-05-2010, 07:58 AM   #11
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QuoteOriginally posted by Goslett Quote
Yah, I seem to be between a 50mm 1.4 and an 1.7. I'm also looking at a Helios 58mm f/2
I love my Helios 44M, but am not sure that I would use it for portraits over my Pentax-A or M 50/1.7 lenses. The issue is not the bokeh, it is the general clumsiness of shooting with a fully manual aperture on an adapted M42 lens. This is particularly true considering that stiff controls are a virtual hallmark of most FSU lenses.

So for bottom-feeding in the fast 50 category for portraits, I would recommend the Pentax-M 50/1.7 as the value leader.


(Try as I might, I don't get the weird bokeh with my Helios. Perhaps I should try busier backgrounds?)
08-05-2010, 11:47 AM   #12
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I've been using a manual focus SMC Pentax-A 50mm f1.2 for portraits for the past 10 years, and as a do-everything lens on my K1000. With a split-image viewfinder, you can take candle-light pictures! If you get it all right, the results, especially for portraits, are amazing. The feel is also great.
There are negatives though. It's hard to focus on a digital body. With practice and a patient subject, it's doable. In a tight portrait at f1.2, the eyes are in focus, the eye lashes are not, so i stop down a little, to f1.8 or 2.
All this considered, I love my f1.2, but with an APS-C sensor digital AF camera, I'd recommend a bright AF lens!
08-05-2010, 11:54 AM   #13
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I like the F 50 f/1.7. Great optics and reasonable price.
08-05-2010, 12:00 PM   #14
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I have the following and they all work great as portrait lenses:

DA 70mm f/2.4
K 85m f/1.8
Rokinon 85mm f/1.4
Helios 44k 58mm f/2
Sigma 24-60mm f/2.8
The Pentax FA 50mm was great, but I sold it.

Hope this helps

Last edited by StephenMerola; 08-05-2010 at 12:01 PM. Reason: typo
08-05-2010, 12:09 PM   #15
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Whats about the fine F/FA135?


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