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12-14-2010, 12:44 PM   #31
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The 50-135 rivals what the stellar 77 ltd can produce, but its focusing will be somewhat slower given the long focus throw, and as has been mentioned is much larger and heavier. But both are very good portrait lenses. Enjoy deciding!

12-14-2010, 12:48 PM   #32
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Another vote for the DA 70/2.4 an excellent portrait lens.

I supplement it with the DA* 16~50/2.8. AT 50mm it is a very good lens for portraits as well.

Tom G

Last edited by 8540tomg; 12-18-2010 at 05:14 AM. Reason: typo
12-14-2010, 01:00 PM   #33
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Tamron 28-75mm is one of the best portrait zooms.... You will appreciate the F2.8 value @ 75mm Quality is very good, just make sure as soon as you get one, test it and if having any problems send it to Tamron for calibration

I recently bought 50mm F1.7 SMC-F model. Keep checking craigslist or the market place, you might get one for < $200. This is a very sharp lens and is better than tamron in places where you can move around

Tamron can be had used for around $300-$360
Sigma 24-70mm seems a good option but the tamron is also more compact/ lightweight
12-14-2010, 01:18 PM   #34
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the 50-135 is on my want list, not as a [portrait lens but for events (other alternative is a 70-200 in my case)
it would be a fine addition to any kit
i recommended the wider option really because for most people a large percentage of their shooting falls in the 24-70 range and they are very good lenses for low prices (mine was less than $400 cdn), allowing perhaps a good manual focus a lens or two and still falling well below the 1000 price cap. an a 50 1.4 should be available for <150 and an A 35 f2.0 for close quarter is also a reasonable price lens if you can find one
M lenses you'll do even better being able to get the 100 macro or 100 2.8 for reasonable prices but with a little more difficulty in use

Sigma is a heavy bugger i'll admit, but it is a great lens
I haven't tried the tamron but also have not heard anything but positive reviews


Last edited by eddie1960; 12-14-2010 at 01:24 PM.
12-14-2010, 02:41 PM   #35
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I have a few of the lenses mentioned here; DA70, DA40, DA*50-135 and DA 55-300.

If I had to pick just one lens of those for portraits there's absolutely no doubt I'd pick the DA*50-135. It has stunning IQ with the flexibility of a zoom.
12-14-2010, 05:05 PM   #36
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QuoteOriginally posted by eddie1960 Quote
the 50-135 is on my want list, not as a [portrait lens but for events (other alternative is a 70-200 in my case)
it would be a fine addition to any kit
i recommended the wider option really because for most people a large percentage of their shooting falls in the 24-70 range and they are very good lenses for low prices (mine was less than $400 cdn), allowing perhaps a good manual focus a lens or two and still falling well below the 1000 price cap. an a 50 1.4 should be available for <150 and an A 35 f2.0 for close quarter is also a reasonable price lens if you can find one
M lenses you'll do even better being able to get the 100 macro or 100 2.8 for reasonable prices but with a little more difficulty in use

Sigma is a heavy bugger i'll admit, but it is a great lens
I haven't tried the tamron but also have not heard anything but positive reviews
Exactly, most of the indoor casual portraits need the range from atleast 30mm to 75mm. 20 to 30mm is useful in an event like birthdays where usually people corwd around cake but you still need to take pix of the birthday kid with the cake. Other than that most of the time 30mm to 70mm works fine for me
I believe 50-135mm/ 70mm to 200mm is more for stage based events or indoor sports events where physically you cannot go closer

My suggestion will be try an inexpensive zoom with a flash ( I know you hate it....) master those focal length, then you will learn which range you generally use or do it with an inexpensive prime lime DA-L35mm or SMC-F 50mm f1.7 (if you can get it cheap) or even SMC-F/FA 28mm f2.8
12-14-2010, 07:30 PM   #37
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Tamron 28-75 and a cheap manual focus 50mm/1.4 or 1.7 or 55/1.8

I suggest the zoom for an all-purpose lens which can do portraits just as well. I also advise you to get a manual focus lens that I mentioned for those occasions that you are not chasing your subjects.also, it's a good way of enhancing or practicing your manual focusing skills. you'll never know what you are missing with MF lenses which are great lenses and very affordable as well.

the 2 lens combo will you cost you around $400-$500. you dont need to spend that much to get what you are looking for.
12-15-2010, 07:52 PM   #38
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I think the wide range of suggestions shows that the terms "portrait" and "portrait lens" are rather loosely defined. I'll suggest that a snapshot that includes one or more humans is not necessarily a portrait. IMHO a portrait is a deliberate attempt to 'portray' some persona, to reveal some aspect of their character. And that persona need not be human, nor alive. A careful portrayal of an old building reveals more character than a snap of a passerby.

So I'll distinguish between portraiture, and people-shooting. But guess what? Almost any lens can be used for either purpose and more! It's not the lens that makes the portrait, but the photographer and their intention. We may find that certain setups of focal length, aperture, placement, lighting and environment, and communication, are most appropriate for whatever effects we wish to produce.

The best portrait lens is any lens you use to shoot portraits. The worst is any lens you DON'T use. Long, wide, hard, soft, in between, whatever. Great portraits have been shot with the DA18-55. Great portraits have been shot with Holgas and Brownies. Lousy portraits have been shot with US$2K lenses. The lens is the next-to-least important part of the shoot. Selah!

12-16-2010, 05:13 AM   #39
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Thanks so much for all the responses! The first thing I decided to do with all the suggestions, was to go to ebay and I found a 50mm manual lens....old school....got a great deal on it and I'm looking forward to getting it. It has a nice 1.7 aperture....since I was used to manual focus back in the day, it will be fun playing around with it. Then for the biggie, I leaning towards that prime 70mm since I already have 2 zooms. No matter what, it never gets boring! ;o)
12-16-2010, 06:26 AM   #40
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QuoteOriginally posted by twix23919 Quote
ok.....from the advice and some more research...I have found 3 lenses....if you could only buy one to add to the kit lenses, which would you choose? feel free to add why if you like..I love learning everything I can! You guys have been great!

Sigma 24-70mm f/2.8 IF EX DG HSM

Pentax Zoom Normal-Telephoto SMCP-DA* 50-135mm f/2.8 ED (IF) SDM

or....buy this prime to go w/the kit lenses:
Pentax Telephoto SMCP-FA 77mm f/1.8 Limited Series Autofocus Lens

FWIW, I shoot a lot of portraits. I own both the 70LTD and 77LTD as well as the 40LTD, DA*55, A*85/1.4 and M85/2, all of which fall into what one would consider portrait length lenses.
My go to lens is the DA70LTD. I certainly recommend it over the 77.
12-16-2010, 09:18 AM   #41
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QuoteOriginally posted by twix23919 Quote
Then for the biggie, I leaning towards that prime 70mm since I already have 2 zooms. No matter what, it never gets boring! ;o)
The DA 70 is a pretty good deal if you can find it used. It's really not that much slower than the FA 77 (1.8 vs. 2.4) and it is really great wide open for portraits. In my opinion, the perfect mixture of softness and sharpness for head shots.

A zoom would be more bang for the buck, really, but depending on your situation, working with a little prime like that would be incredibly useful IMHO.
12-16-2010, 10:38 AM   #42
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My choices would be: DA* 50-135 for maximum versatility, DA* 55 for maximum DOF control, or DA 70 Limited for best all-around opitcs. Choices, choices.
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