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04-08-2011, 05:49 AM   #16
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Most people I take portraits of don't like sharp portraits. They prefer them soft and dreamy, with the exception of the eyes, the eyes have to be sharp.

04-08-2011, 05:58 AM   #17
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QuoteOriginally posted by selar Quote
Most people I take portraits of don't like sharp portraits. They prefer them soft and dreamy, with the exception of the eyes, the eyes have to be sharp.
if you want sharp eyes, you need a sharp lens, the rest is how you use it.
04-08-2011, 06:57 AM   #18
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QuoteOriginally posted by Emacs Quote
Quote Originally posted by paperbag846 Quote D FA Macro 100. Please, not again. It's macro, macro is not for portraits.
Really?
04-09-2011, 03:21 AM   #19
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Strangely enough the best portrait I have shot to date is with the Viv S1 Macrom wide open at f2.5. But I still had to spend time post processing to heal the blemishes. I hate PP, so I got the K85 f2.2 soft to see how that pans out.

04-09-2011, 04:06 AM - 1 Like   #20
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QuoteOriginally posted by slip Quote
In your opinion, what is a good used lens that would be the sharpest wide open (at least F2.8) low light/portraits... manual is good too!

any opinions welcome as long as it doesn't cause a divorce

cheers

I find portrait photography to have such a wide margin of focal lengths that its quite hard to define portrait shooting with just one lens.
And in some cases, only a zoom will do the job(see Pentax *50-135).

Aside from this, if you have the luxury of shooting with multiple bodies, I've found dedicating one unit for manual in a shoot to be very helpful. In which case I could recommend the following low cost alternatives:

Vivitar CF 28/2.8: f/2.8
The Vivitar CF 28mm 2.8 is an excellent portrait solution for getting-in close.




MIR-24/2: f/2
On a budget, I've found no substitute can keep-up with the MIR-24 35mm f/2 lens. With a wide open sharpness that rivals even the best of the modern lenses, it is definitely worth a considering in ones arsenal.


SMC-A 50/1.4 or 1.7: f/1./4
The SMC-A 50mm 1.4/1.7 are excellent wide open portrait solutions. Though you will likely have to hone your skills at focusing, there are no doubts as to their sharp colorful rendering.



HELIOS 44-2: f/2
For cult lenses, I don't think any lens has developed as wide a reputation as the infamous HELIOS-44 classics. From smooth to wild bokeh's these inexpensive gems will never cease to impress.






Jupiter-9: f/2
The Jupiter-9 is a star among stars in the 85mm portrait race. Though copies do vary(I tried 3 myself), the angels will sing when you get a good one! - With dreamy wide open pictures, warm colors and razor sharp performance, this lens is worth far more than its current value.




Jupiter-37AM: f/3.5
Once you shoot with a Jupiter-37, it becomes apparent that it has something special going for it. Vivid and exciting out of focus backgrounds are but one of the many characteristics of this amazing lens. What it lacks in speed, it gains in image quality. Don't let this one go by without giving it a try.



Tamron SP 35-80mm: 2.8
As an low cost exception to primes, I would definitely consider the Tamron SP 35-80mm. Meanly as this little beauty has it all. I once "accidentally" left my working lens pack at home on a trip and this little little guy was all I had. Needless to say... we got by just fine!



The Jupiter-37AM being the only exception to your 2.8 rule. However, it is so darned good that I thought it was worth squandering. Having said that, you can and will find many(many...) great 135mm 2.8 alternatives for portrait shooting and so I won't bother to list anymore. But as my good friend the wedding photographer once said.... "You can never have enough 135's"... "and 50's" and ... okay well, you get the point

Hope this helps...
JohnB

Last edited by JohnBee; 04-09-2011 at 09:35 AM.
04-09-2011, 04:22 AM   #21
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K85 f2.2 soft @ F2.8
04-09-2011, 06:27 AM   #22
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QuoteOriginally posted by Lowell Goudge Quote
In my opinion, if you want sharp, take the K135F2.5, if you want soft, take the K105F2.8
+1 especially the K135

NaCl(you usually can't go wrong agreeing with Lowell)H2O
04-09-2011, 09:36 AM   #23
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Quick update;

I inadvertently placed a Jup. 37A instead of a Jupiter-9 image and so I've corrected that.
The second Jupiter-9 image was taken today at f/2 (for demonstration purposes).

thx

04-09-2011, 09:44 AM   #24
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QuoteOriginally posted by Emacs Quote
Please, not again. It's macro, macro is not for portraits.
Macro lenses (esp the ones @100mm) work exceptionally well for head or head and torso portraits. They are long enough that you can stand back a bit and so you aren't in the face of your subject. Besides, they are all designed to be sharp wide open, they all have excellent bokeh (at least the tamron, sigma and pentax models do) and they all have nice pleasing flat focus plane.

NaCl(they aren't just for macros you know)H2O
04-09-2011, 11:26 AM   #25
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Hi guys and thanks so much for the great responses.
I forgot to mention that I have a M50 1.4. the wife has a smc50 1.4 and I also have a m135 3.5 and a sigma 17-70 2.8-4.5 which is very sharp at f8 but a bit too soft wide open
as far as the 135 goes, is it wise to also have the 135 2.8? will one stop make that much difference?
I also saw a m50 1.2 but not sure of the price.
btw, what is an MIR?
juniper?
helos?
how old/expensive are the tamron 35-80 2.8?
as far as wanting it to be sharp, I love low light photography as well as portraits. low f stop will also do well with indoor volleyball.
I think it is a better choice to soften a bit in photoshop then sharpening

cheers
04-10-2011, 12:14 AM   #26
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Some nice shots there JohnBee! You're also doing a good job of illustrating the wide range of possibilities regarding FL, perspective and DOF...
04-10-2011, 03:44 AM   #27
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Honestly I think there are quite a few lenses in the 50-100mm range that are sharp enough that you can't tell the difference in any practical way.

Relaxing your criteria from "sharpest" to "really sharp" then including things like bright color rendition, bokeh, flare resistance, etc will still result in a nice long list of alternatives.

The lenses mentioned so far are all reasonable candidates for what you seek. I'd add Pentax "A" type as a desire because that feature implies exposure and flash automation.

Of my lenses one that comes to mind for low light portraits is the Samyang 85:1.4 it is an A type lens and good wide open. Example; low light out-of-camera jpg, 100% crop to show detail, nice bokeh.
04-10-2011, 09:17 AM   #28
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I took these at a cafe.
SMC Takumar 85mm f1.8 wide open.
No added sharpness or anything else.
LR resized and converted to jpeg.





Last edited by aliasant; 04-10-2011 at 09:25 AM.
04-10-2011, 10:33 AM   #29
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QuoteOriginally posted by aliasant Quote
I took these at a cafe.
SMC Takumar 85mm f1.8 wide open.
No added sharpness or anything else.
LR resized and converted to jpeg.
An excellent lens!

Though I'd consider this to be on the rare and expensive side for a MF.
And with that in mind, I think the Samyang would likely make a better alternative(W/A contacts etc).

Btw, how do you find CA on this lens?
I never tried the SMC ver, but I once owned an AUTO Takumar version which I found to be rather poor outdoors in this way. Other than that, it did quite well in controlled lighting though Axial CA really seemed to be an issue with that copy.
04-10-2011, 10:43 AM   #30
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QuoteOriginally posted by JohnBee Quote
An excellent lens!

Though I'd consider this to be on the rare and expensive side for a MF.
And with that in mind, I think the Samyang would likely make a better alternative(W/A contacts etc).

Btw, how do you find CA on this lens?
I never tried the SMC ver, but I once owned an AUTO Takumar version which I found to be rather poor outdoors in this way. Other than that, it did quite well in controlled lighting though Axial CA really seemed to be an issue with that copy.
Thanks

The thread starter said he wanted something that works wide open and if so A contacts wont really do him any good.
This lens might be expensive but I got it rather cheap in a lot. I sold what I didnt want from that lot and got my invested money back + some

I havnt used it enough to see any CA. I got it just before I sent my K5 back for replacement.

This one is great outdoors. You can even shoot the sun
Very nice coatings and a very nice lens to work with.
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