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10-25-2011, 12:12 AM   #16
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Theres nothing wrong with owning a handfull of primes, the trick is to only select 2 or 3 when you go out

10-25-2011, 01:12 AM   #17
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On APS, an 85 lens is rather long - 128mm, sort of like a shorter 135mm - great for outdoors, but hard to use in tight spaces.

For getting the 85mm field of view on FF, a 55mm or 58mm is just perfect - the DA* and Nokton (MF) should each be great.

A 40mm lens can work too for a bit wider framing, so the 43mm is not out of the race.

But really, why do you feel you need something else besides the 70mm? That is already a great lens. You could consider a zoom for a change and for convenience. Something like Tamron's 28-75/2.8 so you don't have to swap lenses for a trip.
10-25-2011, 04:07 AM   #18
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I own the DA 70 and the DA *55 and I prefer the 50 for most portrait situations. The 85mm length that is mentioned by several posters is way too long on APS-C. 40mm can work for more full body type shots.

I guess my vote would be for the 55. Good luck!
10-25-2011, 07:30 AM   #19
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I use 40mm, 55mm and 85mm for portraits and all three work on their own ways.

DA 40mm:



Basicly I can recommend all three of them.

10-25-2011, 11:39 PM   #20
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QuoteOriginally posted by Sperdynamite Quote
I'm looking at the 43mm, the 55mm, and the Zeiss 50mm. I'm not really sure what to go with. Price is not the deciding factor here as they're all more or less the same amount of money. They all cover full frame (the DA* does too so I hear). And they all have their reputations. The 43 is the shortest and I'm a little worried about close focusing distortion when shooting a portrait, but on film a 40ish lens is my preferred focal length. The 55mm is supposed to be an all around stellar lens, and the silent AF is cool for the weddings I shoot, plus I know it won't distort. The Zeiss is a little bit of a wild card here, it's got it's own look that I really like. It's got that smooth creamy tonality and is really nice portrait soft wide open, and tack sharp after 2.8...but since the K-5 is APS-C, when I was playing with it I had a hard time doing precise focusing.

I don't know what to do! I already have the 15, 31, and 70mm Limiteds. Once you get introduced to this level of quality it's hard to use anything else. I'm leaning toward the 43 or the Zeiss, but I wanted to get your thoughts. Help me out!
Any of the lenses you already have could be used for portraits.

I find the fixation on short telephotos as "portrait" lenses really bizarre. The head-and-shoulders-no-DOF thing is a silly fetish. Fuzzy noses are really nasty. Think in terms of appropriate DOF instead of minimum DOF.

Think about real people in real places instead of giant inflated heads like the Wizard of Oz. Check out the wonderful book "American Pictures" by Jeff Dunas.

Take a look at the stuff done by Leibovitz and Karsh. I'm not in to celebrity culture or theatrical posing, but you can see how they related to their subjects. Arnold Newman is worth a look too. These people weren't afraid to shoot sharp pictures.

Remember that you are making portraits of living people, not doing taxidermy.

Choose a lens at random and see what you can do with it.

Don't be a bokeh zombie.

Use your imagination.

Finally got that off my chest!

10-26-2011, 12:24 AM   #21
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I use varying focal lengths for portraits also - 31mm for full body work, 43mm for half-body shots and 77mm for head & shoulders - I find these focal lengths perfect for those applications. So 85mm won't be too long unless you want more than shoulders in the shot, and 43mm won't be too wide unless you're filling the face in the frame, and even then, it's impressed me in that situation e.g.:

10-26-2011, 12:45 AM   #22
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OP: You already have the focal for portrait. May be investing in lighting equipment?

I use mostly 77 or 85, but also 50, 55, 90, 100/105, 135.
Light is most important. I always use the sweet spot of the lens I shoot with and tricking with the light, placement of subject and background. Even cheap lens can do best. Faster glass can isolate subject better, but I can also ask the subject to move to a better shooting position, often just few feet away closer to window or other light source.
10-27-2011, 05:07 PM   #23
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da* 50-135

I love the DA* 50-135 for portraits. The ability to zoom is really desirable for candids, which is all I take -- whenever I use primes it seems I'm not at exactly the right distance for the spontaneous shot I want.

10-27-2011, 05:24 PM   #24
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I've used anything from 35mm to 200mm on APS-C for portraits, but more often than not, I go with one of my manual fast fifties, in this case the Super-Takumar 55/1.8.


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