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08-31-2011, 01:49 AM   #31
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Its really hard to point to any one lens as the best portrait lens.
The FA*80-200/2.8; 200/2.8, can be rated 'best' to me as well, but the working distance may be a bit too far.
FA77ltd and 43ltd are 'best' if there is a lack of working distance.
Some folks take into account the price paid for the lens, which confuses the answer even more.


If I have to pick from the ones I've used, then it would be the FA*85.
AF, fast aperture, sharp, fantastic bokeh, reasonable working distance, 'cheap' too considering its 2nd hand price vs new Canikon options.
There are others, including the K135; A135/1.8; A85/1.4; M85/2; etc, but they are MF.

08-31-2011, 10:20 AM   #32
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Too much choice - The unspoken beauty of the Pentax system

QuoteOriginally posted by pinholecam Quote
Its really hard to point to any one lens as the best portrait lens.
The FA*80-200/2.8; 200/2.8, can be rated 'best' to me as well, but the working distance may be a bit too far.
FA77ltd and 43ltd are 'best' if there is a lack of working distance.
Some folks take into account the price paid for the lens, which confuses the answer even more.


If I have to pick from the ones I've used, then it would be the FA*85.
AF, fast aperture, sharp, fantastic bokeh, reasonable working distance, 'cheap' too considering its 2nd hand price vs new Canikon options.
There are others, including the K135; A135/1.8; A85/1.4; M85/2; etc, but they are MF.
08-31-2011, 11:56 AM   #33
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Has anyone mentioned the FA* 28-70 f/2.8? A number of the reviews mention its utility as a portrait lens, and it's pretty versatile beyond portraits.
Pentax-FA* 28-70mm F2.8 AL Reviews - FA Zoom Lenses - Pentax Lens Reviews & Lens Database
08-31-2011, 12:34 PM   #34
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Well I have DA*55 and FA*85 and both are amazing in their own way.

08-31-2011, 02:11 PM   #35
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If French is not a problem, have a look at Test_85mm. It's an extensive comparison of seven portrait lenses, including FA* 85/1.4, A* 85/1.4, FA 77/1.8 Ltd, and DA* 50-135/2.8.
08-31-2011, 02:52 PM   #36
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As I get older

I'm liking my more and more my SMC Pentax-A* 135mm F1.8 for portrait work, I'm guessing that there is a style change in my photography over time and this is the cause.
09-01-2011, 03:59 AM   #37
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QuoteOriginally posted by ronpyke Quote
No, it won't quite make it... it won't on my Olympus gear either... I may try shopping a new M39-42 adapter... Thanks!
Are you using a genuine Pentax adapter? As far a the best portrait lens....I think lighting is more important than the lens...especially if the subject is a woman.
09-01-2011, 05:34 AM   #38
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QuoteOriginally posted by DirkG Quote
If French is not a problem, have a look at Test_85mm. It's an extensive comparison of seven portrait lenses, including FA* 85/1.4, A* 85/1.4, FA 77/1.8 Ltd, and DA* 50-135/2.8.
Their 77ltd looked bad. Must've been misfocused or a bad sample.

09-01-2011, 01:24 PM   #39
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QuoteOriginally posted by Spotmatic Quote
Are you using a genuine Pentax adapter? As far a the best portrait lens....I think lighting is more important than the lens...especially if the subject is a woman.
Yes, it is an original Pentax adapter, but, the M39 - M42 adapter may have a bit of a suspicious pedigree...
09-01-2011, 01:30 PM   #40
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QuoteOriginally posted by RioRico Quote
The best lens is the lens you use. The worst is the lens you don't use. The best portrait lens is whatever you are using for portraits -- depending on how you define 'portrait'. Portraiture is about portraying a persona, not just framing a face photographically.

And the lens is less important than *how* you use it, and where. I shoot 'portraits' at focal lengths between 10-500mm, at distances between 30cm-50m, depending. Shooting portraits at a Mafiya funeral, I'd use a 1000mm mirror from about 200m away, thanks!

Formal headshots: I prefer a Schneider Comporon 75/4.5 on extension, or a Jupiter-11 or Nikkor 85/2. For 3/4 body shots, FA50/1.4 or Petri CC 55/1.8. Context shots: Zenitar 16/2.8 or Kiron 24/2. For couples, the SuperTak 35/3.5. For just eyes, the SuperTak 135/3.5.

And for a general portrait-people zoom, an old M42 Sears-Tokina 55-135/3.5 can't be beat. But what's the best portrait lens ever? It's like when a medic asks me, "Are you allergic to any drugs?" My answer: I dunno, I haven't tried them all yet. Your mileage may vary.
Point well taken! I pass along this same message often myself... I was looking for opinions on Pentax lenses.

I quite like my Helios, but I also quite like my Carsen 135, f 3.2, a lens that can be had for a few bucks (Euros, Pounds, etc) and I have a Soligor 35mm that does stunning things in any kind of indirect light...

I haven't tried them all yet, but I'm doing my level best!
09-01-2011, 01:32 PM   #41
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The K-135mm has been mentioned many times as a great portrait lens. It's an astonishing lens in many way but I find it way too long for portraits - but that's partly a preference thing I guess
09-01-2011, 02:35 PM   #42
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QuoteOriginally posted by kerrowdown Quote
As I get older

I'm liking my more and more my SMC Pentax-A* 135mm F1.8 for portrait work, I'm guessing that there is a style change in my photography over time and this is the cause.
I'd love that lens. I've also been sorely tempted by this:

Porst 135mm 1.8 Ultra Fast Teleportrait lens Pentax K | eBay
09-01-2011, 02:39 PM   #43
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I lived with the 85mm and 100mm M series lenses side by side in my camera bag for a few months....the M 100mm won out. I think its a great lens.
09-01-2011, 04:10 PM   #44
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It would be nice to see some samples from what people think are "best portrait lenses".

Here's a few from an underdog - Helios, which to me goes to show how important the skill and the light are to making a good image:

http://oly43club.ru/forum/uploads/1187043965/gallery_6_20_16237.jpg

http://www.3dpanorama.ru/friends/3.jpg

http://album.foto.ru:8080/photos/or/187573/315130.jpg
09-01-2011, 05:47 PM   #45
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There are lots of examples already, particularly in this thread: Post your Prime Portraits - PentaxForums.com

... but also in the individual class of lens clubs and lens photo sample archives on the forum...
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