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05-31-2011, 11:41 PM   #1
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Affordable portrait lens recommendation please

I'd like a portrait lens that has f2.8 or faster.

I already have a nice K 55/1.8 . I want something that has a longer focal range than that and under 100mm I guess. I have a 135/3.5 as well. I have nothing inbetween 55 and 135 at the moment.

I want something that is under $150. It doesn't matter if it is totally manual like an M42, or if it is a M, K, A, F. It can be any make, pentax or third party.

I saw a Tamron 90mm f2.5 Adaptall-2 lens sell for $170 including shipping on ebay and was tempted to buy it.. it came with 2 mounts: K and Nikon AI. (those were the two I would of chosen anyways--he gave a list of adapters to choose from). But I'd really like some recommendations before I go buy something. It had nice reviews but there might be somethign better around the same cost or less?

Thanks.

06-01-2011, 12:03 AM   #2
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For your budget, you're looking at a manual focus lens such as the Tamron you saw. For that price, it's definitely worth it. The only other thought from me would be to find an A 70-210 or similar zoom. There are other options, but I'm not as savvy with the manual lenses as others here.

Do check the lens review database for more alternatives.
06-01-2011, 12:24 AM   #3
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I agree with Ash. Or some other macro lens like Tokina 90/2.5, Kiron 105/2.5 etc

They make nice portrait lenses and also great macro lenses.
06-01-2011, 12:27 AM   #4
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don't know how good the Vivitar Series 1 70-210mm (the good one version) is for portrait...might work for ya?

06-01-2011, 12:49 AM   #5
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For a crop camera, the Helios 44 is an almost perfect portrait lens. The field of view it gives is the equivalent of an 85mm lens on 35mm, which as you know is one of the favourite portrait lengths.

Get one in a Pentax K mount (they do exist) and you will have no problems - it will work like a K or M lens. Get one in M42 and you will have to do a simple aperture control pin modification unless you get an older preset model.

Tje only problem is the harsh bokeh, which can be soft enough in the right lighting contrast conditions, or when the subject/ background distance is high enough. Some people like the swirly bokeh.

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 find 50mm just a little too wide for good close-up portraits - further away, they are fine.
06-01-2011, 12:52 AM   #6
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I don't know how it's now but the rule used to be that = $ in terms of lens prices (I.e. 150GBP lens would be roughly 150USD).
If that's still the case then M85/2 is selling for around 150 these days, and would be my first recomendation...
06-01-2011, 12:58 AM   #7
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QuoteOriginally posted by midori Quote
For a crop camera, the Helios 44 is an almost perfect portrait lens. The field of view it gives is the equivalent of an 85mm lens on 35mm, which as you know is one of the favourite portrait lengths.

Get one in a Pentax K mount (they do exist) and you will have no problems - it will work like a K or M lens. Get one in M42 and you will have to do a simple aperture control pin modification unless you get an older preset model.

Tje only problem is the harsh bokeh, which can be soft enough in the right lighting contrast conditions, or when the subject/ background distance is high enough. Some people like the swirly bokeh.

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 find 50mm just a little too wide for good close-up portraits - further away, they are fine.
OP stated he already has K55/1.8 (excellent lens IMO) and 135/3.5 (presumably M) and is looking for something in between...
06-01-2011, 01:28 AM   #8
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Hi geekette - you're certainly doing a lot of posting and starting of new threads recently! Keeps us on our toes!

From what you're saying, I'm guessing that a lot of your portraits are tightly-framed head-and-shoulders shots, and you don't want to be getting too close to your subject (otherwise the 50 would be just right). So, you want what in the old (35mm film) days would have been called a portrait lens, i.e. about 75-105mm. Trouble is, these weren't made in huge quantities, unlike the 50s and 135s, so you may find it hard to find a cheap one.

Well, I reckon the Pentax M 75-150 f4 would fit your bill rather well - it has excellent IQ, and should be available cheaply. (It was a fairly popular lens in its day, so there should be a few to choose from, and it isn't particularly popular now because it's a manual-focus zoom.)

I know what you're going to say - it's not fast enough. Well, I must point out that, for a portrait as I described, you'll need to be at least down at f4 in order to get the necessary DOF - even if you manage to focus really accurately. (By the way, it's usually best to focus on the eyes, but you do need sufficient DOF to have sharp ears as well.)

Note that this applies only to the head-shots - you can operate at wider apertures if you include more of the body. Note also that, for a given subject size, DOF will depend only on aperture, and is independent of focal length.

Finally, assuming you want the benefits of SR, you'll need to provide the camera with info regarding the FL. Unless you operate at a fixed zoom setting, it's probably best to choose a compromise value, and the best value for this lens works out at 100mm. Whatever you do, don't set it to 150mm and operate at the wider end (you'll lose your SR if you do).

06-01-2011, 01:35 AM   #9
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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...
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.
06-01-2011, 01:35 AM   #10
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May I suggest a Super Multi Coated Takumar 135 F2.5?

It's old, lovely, heavy and screw mount and Manual Focus, but it has an image quality to it that is hard to describe. (I would say it is a fore-runner of Pixie dust, but someone will shout me down )

You should be able to pick it up for around the $150ish mark, but you will also need a M42 - K mount adapter.


Edit-
OOPS!, just realised I misread the OP's requirements for UNDER 100mm..... ignore me, its time for a beer ....
06-01-2011, 01:38 AM   #11
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QuoteOriginally posted by m42man Quote
I know what you're going to say - it's not fast enough. Well, I must point out that, for a portrait as I described, you'll need to be at least down at f4 in order to get the necessary DOF - even if you manage to focus really accurately. (By the way, it's usually best to focus on the eyes, but you do need sufficient DOF to have sharp ears as well.)
Some folks do like to shoot wide open, even at f2 or wider, and are happy with fuzzy ears, and even with just the one eye in focus. There are no firm and fixed rules.
06-01-2011, 01:39 AM   #12
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Maybe a Jupiter-9 85mm f/2. It can be had for your budget.
06-01-2011, 01:52 AM   #13
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Get Helios (58/2) or Jupiter (85/2), both within your budget and awesome lenses. I sold my Helios when I was moving to all AF lenses but still kept Jupiter.
06-01-2011, 02:50 AM   #14
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I've had Super-Takumar 105/2.8 - very nice for portraits. Very close in IQ to Jupiter 85/2.
06-01-2011, 03:58 AM   #15
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If 100mm is not to long for you the m100/2.8 and m100/4.0macro are options.
Subsequent using 55 and 100 K lenses is less anoying.
Otherwise go for the Jupiter 85/2 I'd say, perhaps in combination with the Helios 58/2.
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