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06-02-2011, 10:18 AM   #1
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If only ONE portrait lens, which one?

This question is an extention of my question I posted here a few days ago, but thought it could use a new thread.

If you could have only ONE portrait lens, what would it be? (obviously I know this is subjective, but I'd like to hear what and why)

Although I was set on a zoom lens before, I'm now considering either the FA77 or the DA*50-135. I had heard someone suggest somewhere once to use the lens in the search field in flickr to see examples. I'm not loving a lot of what I've found with the DA zoom, but it may just be because there are more options that there are more photos out there that don't suit my style. I'd really like to become a portrait photographer some day and possibly weddings too. Thanks for your input in advance!

06-02-2011, 10:38 AM   #2
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For me it's prime.
06-02-2011, 10:53 AM   #3
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I recommend starting by compiling photo's that you like (regardless of what length or vendor) Then the experienced folks here could point out lens offerings that could help you get whatever look you are after.
For me if I could choose only one, for everything, then I'd take the FA43 for it's flexibility - with that said I shoot mostly with the FA77 becuase I like it and I only switch to shorter focal lengths when the situation warrants a different perspective.
06-02-2011, 11:10 AM   #4
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QuoteOriginally posted by LenWick Quote
I recommend starting by compiling photo's that you like (regardless of what length or vendor) Then the experienced folks here could point out lens offerings that could help you get whatever look you are after.
For me if I could choose only one, for everything, then I'd take the FA43 for it's flexibility - with that said I shoot mostly with the FA77 becuase I like it and I only switch to shorter focal lengths when the situation warrants a different perspective.
Pentax thought that 77MM was the perfect portrait length on a FF film body which means that 50mm on and APS-C body would be similar.

Most other manufacturers thought that 85mm on a FF was the ideal length which is why Pentax produced the 55mm for the APS-C. Not really much difference between 50mm and 55mm.

The 43mm LTD does an excellent job with portraits on an APS-C as well. I used the Sigma 50mm f/1.4 for most people shots because I like to shoot at f/2 for people.

Really anything form 30mm to 85mm will work really well depending on your style.

06-02-2011, 11:16 AM   #5
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If only one then 50-135mm should be preferred (assuming that you know about SDM failures). From my experience, I often pickup my 70-200mm compared to 77mm just because it provided extra flexibility.
06-02-2011, 11:45 AM   #6
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QuoteOriginally posted by LenWick Quote
I recommend starting by compiling photo's that you like (regardless of what length or vendor) Then the experienced folks here could point out lens offerings that could help you get whatever look you are after.

Heather Gibb 2

Heather Gibb

Just about everything from Jasmine Star I love love love love....(there's no links to photos and I don't know how to post the pictures) Especially the ones where you can get the whole body in the frame and still have a ton of bokeh. I do already have a FA50 1.4 but to get a full body shot from this there isn't enough separation...er bokeh. It looks great to me for head shots or details... Do you think prime lenses make it difficult in a photoshoot? MOre moving...changing lenses etc. I need something to bulid my portfolio for now and can only afford one. I plan to start with portraits and then move to weddings after a while and think a zoom is probly a must for a wedding...but until then...hm

PS I use a K-x.

Last edited by mhaws; 06-02-2011 at 11:54 AM.
06-02-2011, 11:45 AM   #7
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if aperture speed is not an issue for you and something at f2.8 would do for you, then the Tamron 28-75 would be the best choice. if you need something faster, the best choices are either the Pentax DA*55/1.4 or Sigma 50/1.4.

btw, these are only preferential choices for the most ideal focal length.
06-02-2011, 11:55 AM   #8
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well it's not entirely true that 77mm on ff is equivalent to 50mm on crop......50mm is still 50mm, just cropped, so its angle of view is similar to 77. besides than - nothing in common

06-02-2011, 11:59 AM   #9
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My choice was the 77 ltd, but it all comes down to preference.
06-02-2011, 12:00 PM   #10
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Samyang 85mm
06-02-2011, 12:07 PM   #11
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For portraits, as opposed to fast-moving situations like weddings, I'd say the FA77, hands down. Examples at Flickriver. And here's one of mine with the FA77:

06-02-2011, 12:09 PM   #12
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QuoteOriginally posted by Todd Adamson Quote
For portraits, as opposed to fast-moving situations like weddings, I'd say the FA77, hands down. Examples at Flickriver. And here's one of mine with the FA77:
Great shot
06-02-2011, 12:12 PM   #13
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Voigtlander Nokton 58mm f1.4
06-02-2011, 12:17 PM   #14
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QuoteOriginally posted by alan_smithee_photos Quote
Voigtlander Nokton 58mm f1.4
That is also a phenomenal lens, if you don't mind manually focusing it. It's a joy to use, and more versatile than the FA77. Also much cheaper, though they have stopped making it....you'll likely have to buy it used.

But for pure portraits, if you have the working distance, I like the 77. Focal length is a personal thing, but I've found I like 100mm on full frame, and I prefer a little more distance from my subjects. So while 77 on APS-C is a little longer than perfect, 58 on APS-C is closer than I want, myself.
06-02-2011, 12:17 PM   #15
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A 50 f1.7
Why? Because that's the one I have (and love it)
But I'm considering the DA L 35 2.4 as my next portrait lens. Sometimes 50 is a bit tight for me.
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