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11-16-2010, 11:03 AM   #1
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Portrait Lens...

Hi,

Quick question!

I'm starting to do portrait photography quite seriously but i'm lacking a 'genuine' portrait lens! What i mean is a lens somewhere between the 50-100mm range. At the minute I have a siggy 10-20 (which as much as I like it, i'm debating selling), a DA 40mm and a siggy 100mm macro. I've been using the 40mm and the 100 for the portraits with good results but found myself wanting a middle distance.

So to cut a long story short - I want/like/need some better glass but have no real preference. I'm guessing the options are the 70mm limited, 77 limited (prob too expensive) and the DA 55 (borderline too expensive )

I'm leaning towards the 70mm but i'm a little scared it might not be fast enough (I'm shadowing a wedding photographer with an eye for that maybe long term)

Any help would be appreciated!

Mark

11-16-2010, 11:16 AM   #2
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In my opinion, 2.4 will be "fast enough" because, DOF is plenty thin at that aperture and the 70 is very sharp wide open... unlike most faster lenses. I believe it is the pancake design that leads to the slower-max aperture, but sharp from wide open characteristics. However, it would be good to ask the person you are shadowing about how a 2.4 lens handles. I know a few wedding photographers who shoot with f 2.8 zoom lenses and have no problems. I think that with a camera body that gives clean ISO 800, f2.4/2.8 isn't as big a deal as it once was.
11-16-2010, 11:37 AM   #3
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Ill throw a couple of curve balls here.

If you don't mind manual focus, and or doing manual flash as opposed to P-TTL what about getting a 50mmF1.4 and an 85mm either F1.8 or 1.9.

You could even go for a vivitar/samyang/bower/proOptic 85F1.4 in KA mount so your flash will work.
11-16-2010, 11:47 AM   #4
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is it practical doing weddings on manual focus?

11-16-2010, 12:00 PM   #5
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I think the 85mm manual focus suggestion is a wonderful idea for portrait studio work, but in a dynamic environment AF will help you get the shots that will make you money. Of course many people are very good at manual focusing, so skill is a huge factor there, but on my experience it is pretty hard to nail focus on a lens faster than 2.8 with modern camera's stock focus screens.

One other thing... would noisy AF be a problem? The DA 55 is dead silent and not disruptive, the DA 70 / 77 can be a little noisy (although faster to focus).
11-16-2010, 12:15 PM   #6
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Here's a monkeywrench for ya: Get an M42 adapter, buy cheap prines & find your ideal focal length that way. You might really like the Helios 44-2 (58mm f2).

OR how about the Tamron 28-75 f2.8 macro. You could buy one 2nd hand in the ,arketplace here, shoot that extensivley and see at what focal length you tend to shoot most. THEN, if you really a faster prime, you will have a bettter idea of where to start and then sell the Tammy. My Tammy rarely leaves my camera.
11-16-2010, 02:37 PM   #7
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Some alternatives I hadn't really thought of! Unfortunately i just sold all my manual glass (or in the process of...) so it kinda puts a stop to that. I sold mainly because i was sick of green button metering on my k20, it's not the end of the world it's just another step.

The suggestion of an 'a' lens or equivalent is a good point - i hadn't even thought about that Are the samyangs etc expensive/worth it?

The silent motor of the 55 is the big plus for me regarding that lens, but i'm not sure on the price :S again, I have the 40mm and I can live with the AF noise on that cos it's so damn quick and not really too noisy unless you compare it to... well.. silence?

Unfortunately the chap i'm shadowing shoots Canon (he's cool with me bringing my own gear and borrowing a spare Canon body if i need etc) and he's all about zooms. He has a fast fifty then a wide and long 2.8 zoom - not sure he knows too much about Pentax pancakes.

Think i'll look into the cheaper 'a' glass or the 70mm limited - thanks for your input!

Mark
11-16-2010, 02:40 PM   #8
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I think the fact that he makes his lving with zooms and a fast 50 tells you that that's all you really need. Another option would be the FA 50 1.4 which is likely the cheapest option out of all of them, and that would give you the speed. Not really a long enough FL in my opinion, however.

11-16-2010, 04:28 PM   #9
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I think that a lot of the communications problems we have on this site here are age-based, meaning the same word means totally different things depending on your age and past experience.

I'm guessing (and mind you I'm just GUESSING) is that the younger photographers here (30 and younger), define "portrait" as any head or head and shoulders shot--regardless of whether it's your 5-year-old kid blowing out the candles on his birthday cake, or a bride and groom kissing each other behind their wedding cake.

For my generation (50 plus), portrait ONLY means a set-up shot, with the subject posing for the shot, not moving an inch at all, preferably sitting in a stool, and with set lighting conditions.

In other words, to me, a portrait is a set-up shot, taking the subject out of any active and busy background environment, and placing him/her in a certain environment for the prime purpose of taking the shots.

That's why for me, the words "zoom" and "portrait" never have anything to do with each other.

Last edited by Ira; 11-16-2010 at 06:42 PM.
11-16-2010, 04:46 PM   #10
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QuoteOriginally posted by greymda Quote
is it practical doing weddings on manual focus?
It's mandatory to do weddings with manual focus.
I'm also a wedding photographer who doesn't use zoom lenses at all.
So, I used fixed focal length lenses, and I focus them manually.
And I get the shots that sell.
11-16-2010, 06:28 PM   #11
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For the price it can be had now, the DA*55 is a great deal, I think.

The image quality is superb, especially for the portraits.

It is weather-proof.

It is fast at f1.4.

If anything AF can be slow and at times unreliable, I found (on my K20D). This shouldn't be a problem on a K-5, though.

Here's an example:

11-16-2010, 06:47 PM   #12
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QuoteOriginally posted by paperbag846 Quote
I think that with a camera body that gives clean ISO 800, f2.4/2.8 isn't as big a deal as it once was.
It's not the ultimate speed of the lens that matters for most shots. It's the sharpness of the lens when stopped down two or three stops, where most lenses are their sharpest. So this is where slow lenses really hurt you.

Also, if I was getting married again, having another wedding, and hiring another photographer, it would be in the contract that he goes no further than 400 ISO max.
11-16-2010, 09:54 PM   #13
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I'm curious as to what camera you are using. I assume it is film, and I assume it has a large split image viewfinder that would make manual focusing easy. I do not do weddings, never have, never will, so I'm sure my advice on this will be solid. ; )

This is the trouble with having needs that indicate using better lenses, and then maybe also kinda going to also do something else later. If your portrait lighting isn't demanding, then I'd think any 70-85 prime would do as long as it's sharp. If in the field (non-studio) with fewer lighting options or a more creative approach, the 77 would offer a little more leeway before it goes fuzzy. You may do just fine at weddings with the 77, but like your wedding shooter, you may have that in a zoom sandwich just to get your low light/sharpest shots (compared to zooms).

Having shot at gatherings indoors under dim lighting, I personally would gravitate toward manual focus so I can clearly see exactly what I'm trying for. It isn't any slower than getting your composition finalized. But that's just a personal preference. If you don't have a big, effective viewfinder or are the type who machine-guns shots like a popcorn popper (have fun in post-processing!) then you don't have much choice but AF. None of this helps you any, but I feel better.
11-16-2010, 10:00 PM   #14
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https://www.pentaxforums.com/forums/pentax-slr-lens-discussion/53611-whats-be...roduction.html
11-16-2010, 10:07 PM   #15
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if you got the money, the 77mm is great
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