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10-23-2011, 06:27 PM   #1
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Help Me Consider Some Portrait Lenses

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!

10-23-2011, 06:42 PM   #2
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For portraits something like the Sigma 85mm would be a natural choice:
Sigma 85mm F1.4 HSM - Review

IMO <= 55mm is too short for portraits, and sometimes it's nice to have the F1.4.

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10-23-2011, 07:09 PM   #3
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Ah I suppose I did overlook the Sigma offerings. I have the 70mm 2.4 though, and I'm looking for something a little shorter because I like to be a bit more pulled back. The 85 would be overlong on the K-5 for me.
10-23-2011, 11:10 PM   #4
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DA 70mm LTD.
My favorite lens for portrait.

If you want something shorter, DA55 would be the way to go.

10-23-2011, 11:37 PM   #5
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Well you have bit of a hole between 31mm and 70mm.

I have both the FA43 and DA*55, I can tell you right now the 55 is the better portrait lens of the two.
The FA43 is no slouch either, you really cant go wrong they are both great lenses, my personal fav is the FA77, but you already have that focal lenght covered by the da70.

Go with the 55 or 43.
10-24-2011, 12:40 AM   #6
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For potrait MF is the only way to nail focus exactly in my opinion,
so that would favor the Zeiss 50mm over the rest.
Or the Voigtländer 58mm.......
Depth of field preview might help focusing at say F2,8 by the way.
10-24-2011, 01:14 AM   #7
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QuoteOriginally posted by Sperdynamite Quote
I already have the 15, 31, and 70mm Limiteds.
I think you are well covered. The best way of shooting primes is to keep things simple and don't try to "plug" holes, or you might be better served with zooms. The gap between 31 & 70 is not that significant for portrait imho.
10-24-2011, 02:16 AM   #8

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I use the 43ltd the most for indoor portraits, but I live in a small place.

Outdoors, very few lenses can beat a FA*85/1.4 (or other 85/1.4) for the working distance and performance.

10-24-2011, 02:18 AM   #9
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DA*50-135 is an option too, but personally I like the sound of the 55 f1.4.
10-24-2011, 04:51 AM   #10
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You've already got the DA 70/2.4 so, speaking from experience, you have a really good portrait lens already.

It sounds like you want to experiment a little. If that is case the glass you suggested above should work well.

If you want to experiment in the Pentax line you might consider an A, K or M series 50/1.4 or the K 50/1.2. As you said price is not a factor the Pentax 85mm glass K 85/1.6 M 85/2, A 85/1.4, FA 85/1.4 etc. are all highly regarded. The FA 77/1.8 is no slouch although it is very close in focal length to your DA 70. Shot wide open these lenses provide some different out of focus looks you can't get with the DA 70 you already have.

In any case have fun.


Tom G

Last edited by 8540tomg; 10-24-2011 at 05:24 AM.
10-24-2011, 05:40 AM   #11
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The Pentax K 55mm f/1.8 is a great lens in this area too.
10-24-2011, 05:41 AM   #12
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Samyang 85/1.4! For the price, not much competition!
10-24-2011, 05:49 AM   #13
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given the OP thinks 85mm would be over long, maybe a 50mmF1.4.

I would like to know what types of shots he plans to do, and what shooting distance.

Let's consider what fits his needs
10-24-2011, 07:28 AM   #14
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Zut, I missed his 2nd post!

Well, there are also those 55/1.2 lenses (but better swap the focus screen for an EE-S with those manual lenses)...
10-24-2011, 11:12 PM   #15
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QuoteOriginally posted by wlachan Quote
I think you are well covered. The best way of shooting primes is to keep things simple and don't try to "plug" holes, or you might be better served with zooms. The gap between 31 & 70 is not that significant for portrait imho.
This. Wide - normal - portrait. Good kit. Maybe replace the 70 with a 5 is you PREFER it, but you don't need both. I think you are good where you are.

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