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06-01-2011, 05:56 AM   #16
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It depends on what you mean by 'portrait'. Formal sittings? Informal snaps? Headshots, H&S, 3/4?

My favorite general-purpose 'portrait' lens is an old M42 Sears-Tokina 55-135/3.5, used with catch-in-focus as needed. And it cost me US$8 shipped. My Jupiter-9 85/2 and Vivitar-Komine 90/2.8 macro are also good for headshots, although my favorite street-portrait lenses are longer and slower: Enna 100/4.5, Meyer 105/4.5. And the Super-Takumar 105/2.8 isn't bad.

In controlled settings, I like to use enlarger lenses on bellows. Various cheap 75-90mm f/2.8-4.5 EL's, won't reach infinity focus on my bellows, but infinity isn't needed for much portraiture. I also use some cheap projector lenses (no iris) of 60-65-75mm at f/1.6-2.8-3.5, sometimes on tubes for a fixed-focus of 1.5-2m. Different lenses for different effects.

If you want a fast lens for thin DOF, be aware that a cheap 135/2.8 is equivalent to a very expensive 58/1.2, and thinner than a costly 55/1.2, 77/1.8, 85/2, etc.

06-01-2011, 06:58 AM   #17
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QuoteOriginally posted by RioRico Quote
If you want a fast lens for thin DOF, be aware that a cheap 135/2.8 is equivalent to a very expensive 58/1.2, and thinner than a costly 55/1.2, 77/1.8, 85/2, etc.
Bearing in mind that the longer the focal length, the more limited you are to shooting with faster shutter speeds hand held, and from further away (makes a big difference indoors).
06-01-2011, 09:18 AM   #18
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QuoteOriginally posted by midori Quote
Another good cheap one is the M42 Super-Takumar 55mm f2 or f1.8. That's a decent portrait length too, and there is an auto-manual switch which is useful for mounting on a digital body.
I have the K mount version of this lens: Pentax K 55/f1.8

I see a lot of people recommending this lens in M42 and not K. Is there a reason for this? Is there a difference in quality or IQ? Perhaps single coating versus MC? My K is MC.
06-01-2011, 09:24 AM   #19
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QuoteOriginally posted by midori Quote
Sorry, I haven't had my coffee yet.

I guess that the 58mm Helios is slightly longer though

For portraits I personally would be happy with 55mm (IMNSVHO), but Axl's 85mm suggestion does fit the bill.
Oh I have a Helios 44-2 on order already from the Ukraine--just bought it yesterday for $40 including shipping

06-01-2011, 09:26 AM   #20
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QuoteOriginally posted by axl Quote
OP stated he already has K55/1.8 (excellent lens IMO) and 135/3.5 (presumably M) and is looking for something in between...
OP is a "she"

Last edited by geekette; 06-01-2011 at 09:41 AM.
06-01-2011, 09:36 AM   #21
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The Jupiter 85/2 is so tempting--I see so many good portraits taken with it! Should I get it in m39 or m42 format? I understand I can get an adapter for M39 to M42. Which version of the lens should I get?

The Pentax-M 100/2.8 and Tak 105/2.8 look good as well, thanks for the recommendations.

I don't really want a zoom lens except for my 18-55 kit lens and perhaps the 55-300 da later on. From what I've heard the 55-300 da is better than all other zoom lenses from f55 on up, with respect to IQ. And if I am gonna have a Zoom, I might as well have one that has auto-focus for shooting children, sports etc Maybe I should just get this 55-300 da and use it for everything above my 58mm helios lol. Save time, space, money and spend more time just taking pictures instead of trying to figure out what gear I need lol.

Last edited by geekette; 06-01-2011 at 09:57 AM.
06-01-2011, 12:25 PM   #22
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Well, the 55-300 is better than any similar zooms *at that price point or below*. But not being an f/2.8 zoom, it's not really suitable for portraits. The DA*50-135 is in another class.

But I think the Jupiter 9 and M100/2.8 are the obvious choices given your description of your needs and your budget. Unless you happen to get lucky and find an M85/2 for a good price; they typically go for more like $250-$300 these days, I think.

As for M39, you virtually never hear anyone talk about those, so I'd assume (naively) they aren't as good a choice for whatever reason.
06-01-2011, 12:57 PM   #23
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QuoteOriginally posted by geekette Quote
The Jupiter 85/2 is so tempting--I see so many good portraits taken with it! Should I get it in m39 or m42 format? I understand I can get an adapter for M39 to M42. Which version of the lens should I get?
Get the m42 version. The m39 version is for a Leica camera which has a different lens registry (distance from lens to sensor.) Then get a PK-m42 adapter (the kind without a big flange.) OOPs I was wrong about m39 being the Leica mount! See RioRico's post below: https://www.pentaxforums.com/forums/1527129-post28.html


Like this: Pentax M42 screw lens to PK K Adapter Infinity focus | eBay

I would remove the spring clip(by removing the little screw that holds the spring clip in place) from the adapter & screw it onto the lens; secure the adapter to the lens by screwing the little screw in 'til it engages the lens threads...that way you can remove the adapter in the future if necessary (or don't bother securing it at all).


Last edited by newarts; 06-01-2011 at 09:08 PM.
06-01-2011, 02:09 PM   #24
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That K55 is going to get you very close to the old-standard of portraiture (85mm).

I would imagine your major issue with the k55 is that it's only really sharp at f2.8, and the DOF control is less than ideal?

I would suggest that at your budget, money isn't really well spent. The 135 should give you plenty of DOF, and the K55 is a really good portrait lens... it's up there in my mind with some of the limiteds.

You say you want a focal length, but you don't really say why... what is it that your current lenses can't do?
06-01-2011, 03:24 PM   #25
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So which should I go for? Jupiter 85/2 or Tamron 90/2.5 . Would the Tamron 90/2.5 be the best choice since it is also a good macro lens? How would they compare for portraits?
06-01-2011, 05:20 PM   #26
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QuoteOriginally posted by geekette Quote
So which should I go for? Jupiter 85/2 or Tamron 90/2.5 . Would the Tamron 90/2.5 be the best choice since it is also a good macro lens? How would they compare for portraits?
Jupiter 85 - distinctive rendering (if you like some kind of a certain effect on your photos. Tamron 90 - macro, great detail. both are good for portraits. so it's up to what you would prefer.

if you ask which one I like better, I would choose the Tamron.
06-01-2011, 07:06 PM   #27
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It looks like you can get a older Tamron 90:2.5 macro 1:2 or a Jupiter 85:2 on ebay for about the same price (recent sales~135USD).

I can recommend the Tamron - I got an Adaptall II version for macros and it does an excellent job.

Other people have vouched for the Jupiter 85 and I have no reason to doubt them.

I don't find 85 or 90mm too short for interior head & shoulder portraits; for a 100mm lens you need to be about 2m away from someone for a head & shoulders shot - 1/2m wide (or high in portrait mode.) I doubt the slight difference in lens speed will matter to you.

I can tell you that the Tamron 90 with a good moderate strength close-up lens (like a Raynox DCR 150) added does great macro photography at 1:1.

Dave (Oldest of PF's Dave's in Iowa I bet.)

PS Focal.length ~ 25*(scene.distance/scene.width) or Scene.distance ~ Scene.width(focal.length/25mm)

Last edited by newarts; 06-01-2011 at 07:35 PM.
06-01-2011, 08:53 PM   #28
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Just to clear up a little about the Jupiter-9 in M39 screwmount: M39 is NOT the same as L39 / LTM / Leica register. M39 lenses DO have the same register as M42's and PK's. M39 lenses are typically listed as being for Zenit and Pentax SLRs. L39 lenses will be listed for FED and Leica rangefinders. And the L39 and M39 versions of the Jupiter-9 look different. If in doubt, ask the seller.

M39-M42 adapters are thin cheap rings. I once bought 10 for US$12 (shipped from Ukraine) and they are shoddy but serviceable. I later bought 10 for US$20 (shipped from China) that are much better made. M39-PK adapters also exist, about US$5 each (shipped from China) but these have thick flanges and do NOT allow infinity focus. The latter are best for mounting enlarger lenses (EL's) on PK bellows. Many European and some Japanese EL's are 39mm threadmount.

I glued a cheap M39-M42 ring onto my M39 Jupiter-9 and use a cheap M42-PK adapter to mount it on my K20D. Infinity focus is no problem. If I used the Jupiter mostly for portraits, I might leave a M39-PK adapter on it, because infinity would be irrelevant.
06-01-2011, 09:09 PM   #29
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QuoteOriginally posted by RioRico Quote
Just to clear up a little about the Jupiter-9 in M39 screwmount: M39 is NOT the same as L39 / LTM / Leica register. M39 lenses DO have the same register as M42's and PK's. M39 lenses are typically listed as being for Zenit and Pentax SLRs. L39 lenses will be listed for FED and Leica rangefinders. And the L39 and M39 versions of the Jupiter-9 look different. If in doubt, ask the seller.K20D.....
Thanks for correcting my error!
06-01-2011, 09:36 PM   #30
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