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04-26-2011, 09:57 AM   #1
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77mm f1.8 or Sigma 85mm f1.4 for outdoor portraits?

I'm stuck. Which lens would you prefer for portraits (individual, couples, and families) and why?

04-26-2011, 10:17 AM   #2
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Sigma 85mm f/1.4.

I like the longer reach.
I like HSM.
I like f/1.4.

The Sigma stopped down to F/2 is really sharp and has excellent bokeh.

If size was a concern I would buy the DA70mm.
04-26-2011, 10:31 AM   #3
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QuoteOriginally posted by crossover37 Quote
I'm stuck. Which lens would you prefer for portraits (individual, couples, and families) and why?
77Ltd
Because of better colours rendering, you can shot girls with any aperture (sigma became too contrast after f=2 and thus only suits men), it's tiny compared to huge sigma.
04-26-2011, 10:31 AM   #4
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I own the 77 but not the Sigma 85/1.4 but I guess that for outdoors you dont really need anything that fast.

04-26-2011, 10:38 AM - 1 Like   #5
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I wouldn't get any of them but that might be just me. I just think for APSC format that's tad long (I know, I know...120/135 is the longer end of the traditional film portrait range...). I prefer shorter lenses for that purpose, 43-50-55-58 and that would be my recommendation...

Anyway, it depends what is important for you. They are both really sharp, thay have both very good OOF (especially 1/2-1 stop down), Sigma seems to controll CAs better, Sigma is cheaper, Sigma is 2/3 of stop faster. Also, Sigma is 2-3x the size and definitely heavier, Sigma will not resell for as much as FA77 (just in case you realize you made mistake ), 77 has SMC (some say Sigma's new coatings are just as good but I have some doubts), 77 definitely has a lot of character in the way it renders, 77 isn't very fast to AF (I'd guess Sigma's HSM is faster), and 77 has inadequate hood to it's FOV on APSC.
In short:
It's either sharp, fast, large and heavy with fast AF
Or sharp, quite fast, small and lighter with slower AF

Luckilly choice is yours, I made mine (had and sold 77...)
04-26-2011, 11:03 AM   #6
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QuoteOriginally posted by axl Quote
I wouldn't get any of them but that might be just me. I just think for APSC format that's tad long (I know, I know...120/135 is the longer end of the traditional film portrait range...). I prefer shorter lenses for that purpose, 43-50-55-58 and that would be my recommendation...

Anyway, it depends what is important for you. They are both really sharp, thay have both very good OOF (especially 1/2-1 stop down), Sigma seems to controll CAs better, Sigma is cheaper, Sigma is 2/3 of stop faster. Also, Sigma is 2-3x the size and definitely heavier, Sigma will not resell for as much as FA77 (just in case you realize you made mistake ), 77 has SMC (some say Sigma's new coatings are just as good but I have some doubts), 77 definitely has a lot of character in the way it renders, 77 isn't very fast to AF (I'd guess Sigma's HSM is faster), and 77 has inadequate hood to it's FOV on APSC.
In short:
It's either sharp, fast, large and heavy with fast AF
Or sharp, quite fast, small and lighter with slower AF

Luckilly choice is yours, I made mine (had and sold 77...)
I would echo a lot of this, except that the 77 is actually cheaper here in the U.S. (even considering recent hike). But I do think that either is too long for family portraits, and possibly even couples. I use either 43 or 55 for those. Your working distance with a group and either of those lenses is going to be enough that focus errors or lack of sharpness could come into play. I have much respect for the Sigma, but for me the 77's character trumps all. Any brand user can produce the kind of portraits the Sigma will produce, the 77 is uniquely Pentax, and is highly desirable.
04-26-2011, 11:16 AM   #7
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77/85 would be fine for individuals, but if you also want couples and families, I would look at the DA * 55
04-26-2011, 11:21 AM - 1 Like   #8
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This picture is taken with Pentax FA*85mm/f1.4 so for a family portraits that would be a little long unless you have lots of room to go back.


I only croped out something on the left and rightside of the picture.

04-26-2011, 11:39 AM   #9
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QuoteOriginally posted by crossover37 Quote
I'm stuck. Which lens would you prefer for portraits (individual, couples, and families) and why?
At large apertures, if you have specks of light in the background, you'll get onion ring "disks" of confusion with the Sigma. You *may* find it very ugly. You'd get the same (or worse) with Sigma 50 f/1.4, which I've used. To a much less noticeable extent you'd get this effect with Canon 85L f/1.2L II and other lenses with (plastic?) aspherical elements. In the case of the Canon and even Pentax DA* 16-50, the disks of confusion look a bit like cross sections of trees... In any event, look around for sample pictures, if you care about this stuff.

Last edited by asdf; 04-26-2011 at 12:09 PM.
04-26-2011, 12:08 PM - 1 Like   #10
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Here are a couple with the 77 taken this past weekend.

04-26-2011, 01:33 PM   #11
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Almost any lens--and I do mean any--can be used for portraiture, if you know how to do it. Traditionally, the two lenses you are considering are at the upper end of the portraiture range. The Sigma is much larger and heavier, and, realistically, how often do you think you are going to use f1.4? I'm sure that it is quite sharp and well-made, but I have no idea how it renders. I do know, however, that the FA77 renders beautifully--sharp and clear, yet smooth.

Rob
04-26-2011, 03:16 PM   #12
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While I agree that 77 & 85 feel long for portraiture in general, I don't feel this way at all about outdoor portraiture. The idea being that outdoors, you have more room to work than most indoors setting. Of course, one reason why the 55-70 ranges tends to be more popular for portraits indoors isn't just the working distance itself, but rather the perspective that is created. But I generally *like* the perspective provided when using longer lenses at longer distances. Or at least, I don't *dislike* it, and I *do* like how backgrounds render using longer lenses at longer distances. I think the 85-120 range works pretty well for this purpose. If I were trying to pick an outdoor portrait lens and were OK with the cost and weight of the Sigma, I'd probably be choosing between that and the DA50-135, with one of the 100-ish macros also in consideration (I don't care if "they" say macro lenses shouldn't be used for portraits). But if you really feel like taking a lot of portraits with only one nostril in focus, the 85/1.4 would be the way to go, I guess.
04-26-2011, 10:00 PM   #13
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thanks everyone for the replies. It seems the Pentax 77mm f1.8 has some real "pixie dust" to it. I have a FA 50mm f1.4 now and I'm pretty pleased with it, I get pretty sharp images and I can boost the contrast in post so maybe I'll keep that and get the 77mm. I heard the 43mm f1.9 is amazing as well. Decisions decisions lol.
04-26-2011, 10:22 PM   #14
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For outdoors the DA70 is no slouch either, less PF than the FA77. I'm still skeptical about whether the FA77 is better than the DA70, I now own both and in my initial testing the DA70 holds up very very well vs. the FA77. If the FA77 has pixie dust, the DA70 has it too is my initial opinion. I'll be using the FA77 extensively over the next couple of weeks so my opinion may change though....
04-26-2011, 11:24 PM   #15
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QuoteOriginally posted by Marc Sabatella Quote
While I agree that 77 & 85 feel long for portraiture in general, I don't feel this way at all about outdoor portraiture. The idea being that outdoors, you have more room to work than most indoors setting. Of course, one reason why the 55-70 ranges tends to be more popular for portraits indoors isn't just the working distance itself, but rather the perspective that is created. But I generally *like* the perspective provided when using longer lenses at longer distances. Or at least, I don't *dislike* it, and I *do* like how backgrounds render using longer lenses at longer distances. I think the 85-120 range works pretty well for this purpose. If I were trying to pick an outdoor portrait lens and were OK with the cost and weight of the Sigma, I'd probably be choosing between that and the DA50-135, with one of the 100-ish macros also in consideration (I don't care if "they" say macro lenses shouldn't be used for portraits). But if you really feel like taking a lot of portraits with only one nostril in focus, the 85/1.4 would be the way to go, I guess.
+1 to this.
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