Forgot Password
Pentax Camera Forums Home

Show Printable Version Search this Thread
04-07-2011, 04:15 PM   #1
Site Supporter
slip's Avatar

Join Date: Oct 2006
Location: 2 hours north of toronto ontario canada
Photos: Gallery | Albums
Posts: 3,533
Best used portrait lens wide open?

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


04-07-2011, 04:21 PM   #2
twitch's Avatar

Join Date: Nov 2009
Posts: 4,571
There are many many possibilities, but without knowing your budget and focal length preference (50 too short for instance?) all you'll get is a random listing of lenses.
04-07-2011, 05:31 PM   #3
Veteran Member
paperbag846's Avatar

Join Date: Jul 2010
Photos: Gallery
Posts: 2,396
If you want the sharpest at lower apertures I'd wager you can't do better than the FA 43.

If you want a longer focal length, DA 70, FA 77, or D FA Macro 100.
04-07-2011, 06:34 PM   #4
Site Supporter
BigDave's Avatar

Join Date: Sep 2010
Location: Hudson Valley, NY
Photos: Gallery | Albums
Posts: 1,628
If manual focus is OK, then a nice 50mm 1.7 or better (1.4, 1.2) should be good. You can pick these up all over the place for a song (especially the f1.7 lenses). On digital this becomes the equivalent of a 75mm, a nice focal length for portraits.

04-07-2011, 09:35 PM   #5
Veteran Member
RioRico's Avatar

Join Date: Jun 2008
Location: Limbo, California
Posts: 11,264
I have an M42 Sears-Tokina 55-135/3.5 that cost all of US$8 shipped, and is quite sharp wide open. If that's too cheap for you, a Super Takumar 55/1.8 might cost US$50, and its twin the ST 55/2 with the same optics but a slightly tighter aperture might go for US$15. A Helios-44 58/2 might cost US$35 and is pretty nifty. For easier usage but more money, the A50/1.7 is super-duper. For working further, almost any cheap 135/2.8 will be fine. For a small group, try a Vivitar-Komine CF-WA 28/2, probably well under US$50.

NOTE: You didn't specify what you mean by 'portrait'. Full body, 3/4, head & shoulders, facials / headshots, eyes only - what? Shooting close, medium, far - how? In-studio, in parks or back yards, on the street - where? I've shot portraits at 10mm and 1000mm. Different focal lengths are appropriate for different situations. 'Portrait' is a tactic, not a specification.
04-07-2011, 09:39 PM   #6
Emacs's Avatar

Join Date: Oct 2010
Location: Moscow
Posts: 1,221
QuoteOriginally posted by paperbag846 Quote
D FA Macro 100.
Please, not again. It's macro, macro is not for portraits.
04-07-2011, 09:48 PM   #7
Veteran Member
lguckert79's Avatar

Join Date: Jun 2010
Location: Pittsburgh, PA
Photos: Gallery | Albums
Posts: 588
this i have found to be false you can use a macro lens for portraits and they do work really good in my opinion but, in my suggestion i use a old pentax 50mm f2 A lens u can get them pretty cheap to from like 20-50 usd
04-07-2011, 10:09 PM   #8
Veteran Member
jaieger's Avatar

Join Date: Jul 2010
Photos: Gallery | Albums
Posts: 586
QuoteOriginally posted by Emacs Quote
Please, not again. It's macro, macro is not for portraits.
Simply because it is designated a macro lens doesn't mean it can't be used for portraits .

In fact, I've found that since it's designed with stopped-down bokeh in mind, and is as sharp as can be, it has a great combination of smooth bokeh and the detail retention attributed to macro lenses. Sure you won't get the dreamy look from, say, a Super-Tak 50 wide open, but not every portrait needs to have that. Plus it's nice to have the ability to have the detail if you want, and do some post on it if not, instead of wishing it weren't so soft.

EDIT: to the OP, I agree with paperbag - wide open and relatively budget friendly (compared to some other options), the FA43 is hard to beat for (center) sharpness wide open. Off-center is okay too, but once you get towards the edges it might not be as great until 2.5 or 2.8 (as the center). Other cheaper options are old manual/screwmount lenses, the Super-Tak 50/1.4 comes to mind (1.4 is soft unless exact-exact-exact-super-exact focus is nailed, also very sensitive to fringing I've found, whereas at f2 (still quite fast) is pretty sharp already). Or, maybe even the DA L 35mm f2.4, which if you're using wide open, has pretty nice bokeh (the fewer aperture blades don't come into play wide open), and is pretty damn sharp.

04-07-2011, 10:28 PM   #9
Veteran Member

Join Date: Feb 2010
Photos: Gallery | Albums
Posts: 971
For something cheap that get the job done, try a M 50mm f1.7

If you don't mind manual =]
04-07-2011, 10:31 PM   #10
Veteran Member
Pentaxor's Avatar

Join Date: May 2009
Location: Vancouver, B.C.
Photos: Gallery
Posts: 6,513
too many to mention.
04-07-2011, 11:09 PM   #11
Senior Member

Join Date: Oct 2009
Location: amsterdam
Posts: 130
A50/1.7 @2,4/2,8 is great.
Helios44 58/2.0 is special wide open.
K55/1,8 @4.0 is sharp all across the frame.
04-08-2011, 12:32 AM   #12
hoanpham's Avatar

Join Date: Nov 2009
Location: Strand
Photos: Gallery | Albums
Posts: 1,366
QuoteOriginally posted by Pentaxor Quote
too many to mention.
That's right ;-)

Wide open or equivalent stepped down?

The best oldies sharpness, colors and contrast are excellent at one click down.:
K50f1.2 step down one click to be f1.4, at portrait distance.
K85f1.8 step down one click to be f2.0, any distance

Portrait with bokeh and soft skin:
All primes, wide open
04-08-2011, 01:00 AM   #13
Veteran Member

Join Date: Jan 2010
Location: Southern England
Posts: 495
You need to be careful about DOF when talking about portraits. For instance, if you're thinking of a classical head-and-shoulders portrait, then you'll need to stop down to at least f8 in order to ensure most of your subject is in good focus (f8 would give you about 5 inches DOF).

On the other hand, for a head and upper body shot (taken either from twice the distance or with half the FL), you'll be OK with f2.

Incidentally, if you want the most realistic sense of perspective, you would need to be only 3-4 feet from your subject (choose the FL according to how much body you want to include; 50mm would be OK for a head-and-shoulders portrait).

For a greater camera-to-subject distance, you'll find the subject's features will appear somewhat flattened (depending on how far away you are).
04-08-2011, 03:38 AM   #14
Senior Member

Join Date: Aug 2007
Location: Ft. Myers Florida
Posts: 169
QuoteOriginally posted by BigDave Quote
If manual focus is OK, then a nice 50mm 1.7 or better (1.4, 1.2) should be good. You can pick these up all over the place for a song (especially the f1.7 lenses). On digital this becomes the equivalent of a 75mm, a nice focal length for portraits.
+1 and it sells for little $$$.
04-08-2011, 05:17 AM   #15
Lowell Goudge's Avatar

Join Date: Jan 2007
Location: Toronto
Photos: Gallery | Albums
Posts: 15,400
In my opinion, if you want sharp, take the K135F2.5, if you want soft, take the K105F2.8

  • Submit Thread to Facebook Facebook
  • Submit Thread to Twitter Twitter
  • Submit Thread to Digg Digg
Tags - Make this thread easier to find by adding keywords to it!
k-mount, lens, pentax lens, portrait lens, slr lens
Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search

Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Nature Some wide open Tulips JeffJS Post Your Photos! 6 04-18-2010 07:37 AM
Landscape Wide Open Garden rustynail925 Post Your Photos! 2 03-09-2010 08:22 AM
77/1.8 wide open... igor Post Your Photos! 14 08-17-2009 05:36 AM
F- 50mm 1.7 Wide Open bwield Post Your Photos! 2 07-08-2009 12:46 PM
Pet portrait w/ 77mm wide open ltdstar Post Your Photos! 1 06-27-2009 03:00 AM

All times are GMT -7. The time now is 03:11 AM. | See also:, part of our network of photo forums!
  • Red (Default)
  • Green
  • Gray
  • Dark
  • Dark Yellow
  • Dark Blue
  • Old Red
  • Old Green
  • Old Gray
  • Dial-Up Style
Hello! It's great to see you back on the forum! Have you considered joining the community?
Creating a FREE ACCOUNT takes under a minute, removes ads, and lets you post! [Dismiss]