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08-17-2011, 08:38 AM   #1
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What lens to get w/ K-5

I have been looking at the Rokinon/Vivitar/Samyang 85mm 1.4 for a while now and the level of sharpness is amazing (especially for the price). I'm going to be doing portraits as a concentration for my art portfolio this year, and alot of general photography for my breadth. I was wondering if I should get the Rokinon 85mm right away or get something better such as the sigma 50mm 1.4 or a pentax 70mm?

Maybe someone could suggest a portrait zoom as well? I will also be doing yearbook group photos, and may/ may not have a 50mm takumar to use.

Thanks!

08-17-2011, 09:13 AM   #2
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You could get the Tamron 28-75. You can get a good used copy for $300-350. It is a fantastic and versatile lens. I think i saw an FA 50 1.4 for less than 300 on the market also.
08-17-2011, 09:24 AM   #3
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It depends: On what you mean by 'portrait'; on whether you're shooting in controlled conditions, ie studio-type, or if you're shooting candids in the field / on the street; and at what distance.

* Groups: 50-70-85mm are MUCH too narrow; you'll want something more in the 14-21-28mm range. Or else you must be 'WAY far back.
* Individual portraits: 24-28mm for full-body; 35-45mm for 3/4 body; 50-70 for head+torso; 75-135-200 for headshots. I prefer around 80/3.5 for best roundness.
* Speed: Really really thin DOF is sexy and hard to control. With an 85/1.4 you'll get headshots with an eyeball in focus and everything else OOF -- is that your goal?
* Autofocus: In controlled conditions, AF (and even auto-aperture) aren't necessary. Especially if you're shooting for thin DOF -- precise manual focus is critical.

Back in the day, I constantly shot (un)official portraits on film in 135/FF, 135/HF (same size as APS-C), and 6x6/MF. And I found that the best rendition of features in all those formats was with lenses around 80/3.5. To separate subjects from backgrounds, I just made sure the BG was sufficiently distant and dim or diffuse.

You won't want to hear this, BUT... my favorite group-shot lenses are an M42 Lentar-Tokina 21/3.8 ($25) and Paragon-Cimko 24/2.8 (US$9); my fave 3/4-body zoom is an F35-70/3.5-4.5 (US$10); and my favorite general 'portrait' zoom is an M42 Sears-Tokina 55-135/3.5 (US$8), just superb. Yes, I also use Jupiter-9 and Nikkor 85/2's (they cost a bit more), but also an Industar-58 75/3.5 (US$21 shipped from Ukraine) enlarger lens (EL) on tubes with fixed-focus of about 1m. If you want SHARPNESS, an EL in the 60-110mm range just can't be beat; those longer than 80mm can also focus to infinity on most bellows.

A portrait trick for thin DOF: You can turn a slow kit lens into a portrait monster with a +1 dioptre close-up adapter; cost, under US$5 ($12 if you get the +1+2+4 set). Working distance shrinks to about 1m; DOF gets thin. Even better for headshots is a SuperTakumar or Petri CC or Mamiya-Sekor 55/1.8, all exceedingly sharp (and available for under US$50); plus the +1dpt for classic portrait effect.

Last edited by RioRico; 08-17-2011 at 09:32 AM.
08-17-2011, 10:30 AM   #4
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QuoteOriginally posted by kenafein Quote
You could get the Tamron 28-75. You can get a good used copy for $300-350. It is a fantastic and versatile lens. I think i saw an FA 50 1.4 for less than 300 on the market also.
Ditto the Tamron 28-75 for a portrait zoom...just be sure to test it carefully from a place w/ a good return policy.

I had a great condition FA50/1.4 on the marketplace with a lot of wishy-washy buyers (some guy even convinced me to haul it up to Toronto for him on a trip then lowballed me when I got up there....just not nice )...it's up on fleabay now and under $300. The FA50 is good for 3/4 and head/shoulder shots w/ the APS-C crop factor...works well for full length as well if you have enough space to back up...

08-17-2011, 10:42 AM   #5
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You can't go wrong witih DA limiteds. The DA40 + DA70 sounds like a good option for you. If you need something fast, since it looks like you don't need autofocus (based on Rokeinon lens suggested), you can pick up an A50/1.4 or 1.7 (about $150/$80 respectively). The 50s are sharp and inexpensive. The 85 looks like a good lens. I have a 90mm lens from Tamron I love, but it is just to long on APS-C for general photography. It will make wonderful head and shoulders portraits but takes lots of room just for that. If you don't know what focal lengths you like, I would suggest buying the k5 body and then some cheap used zooms (da 18-55 and maybe a longer fa series zoom) and then see what lengths you like; then buy the nice glass.
08-17-2011, 10:44 AM   #6
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I second the DA 40 and DA 70 recommendation. With those two you'll have two beautiful small lenses you can take anywhere and they both have great optics.
08-17-2011, 02:33 PM   #7
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QuoteOriginally posted by nick52 Quote
I have been looking at the Rokinon/Vivitar/Samyang 85mm 1.4 for a while now and the level of sharpness is amazing (especially for the price). I'm going to be doing portraits as a concentration for my art portfolio this year, and alot of general photography for my breadth. I was wondering if I should get the Rokinon 85mm right away or get something better such as the sigma 50mm 1.4 or a pentax 70mm?
You are interested by the Rokinon 85mm f1.4 and by a portrait lens. That lens will do the job very well, and you do not need to go elsewhere

Portrait lenses are usually within about 50-100mm focal length range. Fast lenses (low f's) are typically a good idea, especially to shoot in low light without flash: eg with children it is often best not to use the flash to have more natural portait.

There are off course many other portrait lenses as illustrated by the other posts. However your choice (Rokinon 85mm f1.4) is a good one: it ticks all the boxes... Make sure that you buy the version/brand with automatic aperture (A on the aperture ring).

I hope that the comment will assist.

Last edited by hcc; 08-17-2011 at 05:34 PM.
08-17-2011, 07:06 PM   #8
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Thanks everyone! The Tamron 28-75 looks extremely sexy, but I do not have the money for that yet. This is exactly why I was looking at the cheap 85mm and not the sigma(or pentax) expensive 85.

I think I might just take the time to save up for the Tamron!

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