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02-21-2011, 02:24 PM   #1
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worth the extra cost?

I'm looking for a good all around lens that will mainly be used for portraits. I currently have a 50mm 1.7 Sears full manual lens that I'm using (I got it for free) and am decently happy with the results. The image quality isn't the best and being fully manual is somewhat cumbersome. I'm using a k-x and still have the kit 18-55mm lens for general usage, but it doesn't really cut it either.

My wife is due to have our first child in 4 weeks so I'm looking to add a new full auto lens to take pictures of him and family. My choices are between the new DA35 2.4 and the FA50 1.4. I can afford either, but with the baby on the way I'd like to spend as little as possible. I would be buying both lenses new so there's around $140 difference in price. I've read many good things about both lenses so I'm somewhat torn as to whether the extra money would really be worth it to get the 1.4 as I already have a 1.7 if I need to take really low light/shallow dof shots.

I'm not really sure what my exact question is since there's a lot going through my head about this. I'm really just looking for opinions from you guys to see if there's anything I haven't really considered.

02-21-2011, 02:36 PM   #2
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Do you find the 50mm FOV restrictive?

The 50 1.4 is not very usable under f2 unless you want a pretty blurry picture... at 1.4 the lens is sharp absolutely nowhere. It is killer sharp stopped down, but perhaps your 1.7 is as well. I sold mine because it was not worth the extra cost to me, over the results I get from my 50 1.7 or 55 1.8.

The 35 is pretty sharp at f2.4, but more importantly it gives you a better FOV for tight indoor spaces.
02-21-2011, 02:41 PM   #3
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The FA77 is a good choice for portraiture- the other FLs are too short for that, generally speaking.

Perhaps something similar but more affortable from the manual lineup, like an M85 F2, would be right for you?

Adam
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02-21-2011, 02:42 PM   #4
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I really don't know the question your asking but the difference between 1.7 and1.4 is very little in terms of just that point not worth the upgrade. In terms of auto over a manual lens you will have an easier time with the fa over the sears. As for the da35 vs fa50. The fa50 is definitely a really good lens compared to the da35 2.4. The da35 holds it's own but fa50 as better image quality. I would suggest the tamron 17-50 f2.8. I believe that is the one. Good iq and fast for a zoom should fill most of your needs but pricing is a bit more but it covers both lenses.

02-21-2011, 02:56 PM   #5
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You are having your first baby in 4 weeks so these are pictures that will be treasured and looked back at for decades, so IMHO any lens you buy is absolutely "worth the extra cost".

Any of these limiteds would be suitable; FA31, DA40, FA43, DA70, FA77 (although this is getting a bit long perhaps) along with the DA*55. I personally wouldn't buy the DAL35 or the FA50 as there are better options in this range, options that are dearer but actually the cost of ownership is not bad considering how they retain their value (especially the FA's).

Think also about buying an external flash if you don't already have one.

Last edited by twitch; 02-21-2011 at 03:21 PM.
02-21-2011, 03:05 PM   #6
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You receive some good comments. i agree with twitch that your first baby will be a memorable experience for your wide and yourself, and you want a really good lens to keep these memories.

I wonder however if you need a 'true' portrait lens (50-70mm). A rather wider lens may allow you to shoot mum and the baby together: 30-40mm.

The FA31mm should be definitely on your list: a superb IQ, wide enough, large parture to shoot without flash. The only con is the price, but you may consider it as an investment. You may change camera in 1-2 years, but your new lens will be in use for the next 10 years.

Foof for thoughts....
02-21-2011, 04:29 PM   #7
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QuoteOriginally posted by twitch Quote
You are having your first baby in 4 weeks so these are pictures that will be treasured and looked back at for decades, so IMHO any lens you buy is absolutely "worth the extra cost".

Any of these limiteds would be suitable; FA31, DA40, FA43, DA70, FA77 (although this is getting a bit long perhaps) along with the DA*55. I personally wouldn't buy the DAL35 or the FA50 as there are better options in this range, options that are dearer but actually the cost of ownership is not bad considering how they retain their value (especially the FA's).

Think also about buying an external flash if you don't already have one.
Agreed! I used the FA50 for most of the shots, when we had a baby on my K10 and K20. It gives more working distance, as a camera with all the noise - and basically the big black box in front of the father's face - seemed intimidating for a newborn.

Later, when the kid started to explore his surroundings (crawling and then on his feet), the FA50 was even better, because I could keep my distance while taking images, without interfering with his explorations.

I also, sometimes, used the FA85, but hardly ever shorter fls, like the FA35.

One word about quality: The FA50 is a marvellous lens and you will be hard pressed to find any better fast fifty. It is sharp fully open, though the contrast goes down. That, by the way, gives a slight softness to the image (enhanced by the shallow depth of field), which is often seen as being desirable for portraits. Using a matchiung lens hood will increase contrast, by the way.

Ben
02-21-2011, 06:34 PM   #8
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I'm not so sure you will be doing formal portraits on a small newborn :-) I'd go with the DA 35 which offers a normal viewpoint that should be OK indoors, and it's relatively cheap with good IQ.

02-21-2011, 07:25 PM   #9
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save your money. get the DA35/2.4. you'll be fine with it.
02-21-2011, 07:35 PM   #10
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QuoteOriginally posted by Pentaxor Quote
save your money. get the DA35/2.4. you'll be fine with it.
I agree.
02-22-2011, 01:22 AM   #11
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I'd vote for the FA50/1.4, absolutely wizard for evocative images wide open and sharp shots when stopped down. I'd also suggest looking for a used F35-70. It's slightly slower, but that's OK with your Kx. And it's quite agile, and sharp, and just in the right focal range for intimate shots. Those two are my preferred AF lenses for indoor situations. The F35-70 is often found on eBay on a Pentax SF-1 body, quite cheap. My SF-1 + F35-70 pair cost me US$23 (shipped) a very few months ago. Happy parenthood!
02-22-2011, 05:57 AM   #12
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You have lots of experience with a 50mm lens. Do you often wish it were wider?

Some of us like tight shots & some prefer wider - I'm in the tight shot camp and don't like to crowd a subject - which do you prefer? Let experience be your guide.

I think that 35mm is right on the edge of giving too much perspective distortion at least for my tastes. Here's a great study on perspective distortion at various focal lengths:


The study photos were taken with a full frame camera. Stephen Easterwood http://www.stepheneastwood.com/tutorials/Tutorials_Lens_Perspective.htm adjusted the distance to the subject to keep the same framing. I like the longer lens results best.

Dave

PS perspective is about distance to the subject. If you would frame head shots in your viewfinder like those shown above with no cropping, your 35mm shot would look like Easterwood's 50mm shot because of the Pentax' crop factor.

PPS to cover the range of interest I suggest considering the Tamron 28-75:2.8; your K-x's high ISO performance may be good enough for the loss of speed compared to the 50:1.4 (two stops.)

Last edited by newarts; 02-22-2011 at 06:28 AM.
02-22-2011, 07:56 AM   #13
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I think that I'll have to cry. Question asked about lenses in the range of approx $200-$400 and the advice given includes the most expensive primes (FA31Ltd, FA77Ltd) in the Pentax lineup.

I know lenses last a long time and the two that I mentioned are the creme-de-la-creme but with a baby coming I think there are better ways to spend the money.

Problem with the 50mm./1.4 is that the DOF is very shallow at f/1.4 so you might have plenty out-of-focus shots if you use it at f/1.4, especially when the baby starts moving a bit.

Personally I would go for a lens around 35mm, simply because of field of view. And you can always use the Sears if you have to.

Last edited by sterretje; 02-22-2011 at 10:45 AM.
02-22-2011, 08:07 AM   #14
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QuoteOriginally posted by sterretje Quote
I think that I'll have to cry. Question asked about lenses in the range of approx $200-$400 and the advice given includes the most expensive primes (FA31Ltd, FA77Ltd) in the Pentax lineup.
It's a common theme here... people ask "what lens" and a bunch jump directly to the premium stuff like a pack of salespeople.

I think the 35 would be good for mom + baby style shots, and the 50 would be better suited for baby shots. Since you already have a 50, the 35 looks like something to try, but a lot of this depends on the size of you living space. The 50 is a great lens, but it can be hard to compose indoors because of the focal length.

You will want a flash, too. You need to budget for that.
02-22-2011, 08:18 AM   #15
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Ditto get a flash and learn how to use it off camera. Your F50/1.7 will be fine. If you really want to get a new lens, get the 35.
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