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10-22-2010, 10:20 AM   #16
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So ,as I am researching I am finding that the Limited primes are great. How much of a difference is there between a prime that is a "limited" and one that is not? I want a quality even if that means I can only get one lens for now and have to save up to buy another later.
I understand that one lens isn't going to do everything I want, but I would like a good starting point.
Currently, I have a Pentax k200D with the kit lens 18-55mm zoom.
I don't think I will have a problem getting close to my subject. It will be moslty posed portraits.

10-22-2010, 11:10 AM   #17
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Limited primes, primarily, are built a lot better. They're all metal-and-glass construction... no polycarbonate. And the optics represent the best that Pentax offers. In your case, with the kit lens, a DA 70mm f/2.4 Limited would be an excellent start... a bit over $500. But, again, the least-expensive DA Limited is the 40mm f/2.8 pancake. Very small, very sharp, very fast auto-focus. $339.

If you want a faster, cheaper lens that will still be very useful, there's the old FA 50mm f/1.4. Plastic construction, but the lens has hundreds of thousands of fans. And it's $359.
10-22-2010, 11:25 AM   #18
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Thanks Biro! I will continue my research
10-22-2010, 08:45 PM   #19
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Any lens can be a portrait lens. It just depends on what you want to show. Some use really wide (14-21mm) primes for full-body shots showing the environmental context. If I was shooting a Mafiya funeral, I'd use my 1000mm mirror from a safe distance, like around two blocks away. Maybe with a teleconverter on it. Back when my job involved shooting (un)official portraits, I preferred an 80mm f/3.5 prime on almost any format camera, for just the right amount of roundness. Longer lenses tend to flatten the features a bit.

For some portraits, you may want a wide-open soft look, with an f/1.2-1.7 aperture. (Zooms that fast don't exist.) For others, like warriors with craggy faces, f/8 and high contrast shows off every hard-won scar. Like I say, it all depends on how you want it to look. It also depends on how comfortable you and your subjects are at various distances. Sometimes you want to be close with a 40mm; other times, you'll want to be back further with a 135-150mm. Or a couple blocks away...

If you're not going for the wide-open soft look, a zoom (not super-fast) somewhere in the 50-150mm range should be good. But if you're shooting under controlled conditions, YOU DON'T NEED AUTOFOCUS! And it needn't be new. My old manual Tokina RMC 35-135 cost me all of US$9, and it's pretty damn sharp and renders features nicely. I just won a Tamron 28-200 zoom (AF) for US$50 on eBay. I'm anxious to see how *that* baby works on faces, you betcha!

Just some ideas. You might wander through a library and read a few books on portraiture, see how others have done it. Good luck!

10-22-2010, 09:22 PM   #20
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My suggestion is to look at as many images from your 'short list' lenses. I recently had to choose between 15mm ltd and 21mm ltd. On paper, the 21mm was the logical choice. I bought the 15mm based on the sample images in here and on flickr. The pictures taken with a particular lens will sway your decision (this applies more to primes than it does to zooms).

My vote is always for the ltd primes. Once you handle the camera with a tiny little lens vs the chunker zoom you will have your answer. Of course if size doesn't matter to you (then you are lying ) then get anything you like..
10-22-2010, 09:31 PM   #21
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Wider angle lenses tend to render people's faces in an unflattering way but this is racially dependant factor. Zoom lenses with their tendency for having higher than normal amounts of distortion in comparison to primes is why I prefer to use primes for portraiture not to mention the fact that Prime lenses typically have much wider apertures than zoom lenses do f/1.0 vs f/2.8.
10-22-2010, 10:25 PM   #22
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Tamron 28-75 is a very nice lens (I happen to own a copy ) or the 40mm ltd (I don't own it but I like what I hear )

10-23-2010, 01:41 PM   #23
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Thanks for all the feedback! I think I have decided on the 40mm f2.8 limited. Now, I just have to find one at a good price. Any suggestions?

10-23-2010, 01:59 PM   #24
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I would suggest to try and find what focal lengths you like using for portraits. For example, for me, it's 58mm indoors and 135mm outdoors. Indoors, I need light (I don't use flash), so f/1.4 is a must. Outdoors, light is not as much of a problem, so I can use a zoom at 135mm or a prime.

Also, for portraits, you usually want to blur the background, to separate the subject from it. This requires thin depth of field, which can be achieved either with a faster lens or with a longer lens.

The 40/2.8 is shortish and slowish - I think it's a good walkaround lens, but wouldn't be my choice if what I want to do with it is portraits. Look at the Pentax 55/1.4 or at the 50/1.4 instead. The difference between 1.4 and 2.8 is two stops, meaning that 1.4 lets 4 times more light than 2.8, which in turn means that your shutter speed can be 4 times faster - that matters a lot if you shoot candid portraits. Other choices for fast AF lenses are Sigma 50/1.4 and Sigma 85/1.4.

If you're open to manual focus, then there are tons of additional options, some extremely affordable.

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