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12-25-2007, 11:18 PM   #1
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Help with selecting a portrait lens

Hey everybody, I am new to the forum and new to Pentax as an owner of a new K10D. It has been an interesting adjustment. I decided to upgrade from my dReb 300D. When I started looking, I was impressed with Pentax. This forum helped me make my decision. There seem to be a lot of nice and helpful people giving sound advice. Certainly different from other (makers) sites that I have been to in the past.

My question is in regards to a new portrait lens. I bought the K10D with the kit lens. It is nice but slow. I am considering the DA 70mm f/2.4 v. the 77mm f/1.8 limited. I am mostly taking photos of my kids/family indoors and outdoors. I like the IQ I have seen from both of these. The cost difference is not a hugh deal for me. I like the compact size of the 70mm and the speed and extra length of the 77mm. The build quality of both seem outstanding. (Did I see someone write that the limited lenses are handmade??)

With my Canon, I ended up buying lenses that were great but I didn't need. I eventually realized that I was most interested in portraits (natural light).

Lastly, there is the FA 50mm f/1.4. I have heard this is a great lens as well. But, I am concerned that focal length is too short for my needs. I was using a 100mm on my Canon which was too long and was considering an 85mm, when I decided to make the switch to Pentax. What do you all think?

Thank you in advance for your thoughts. I am glad to join your ranks.

Mark

12-26-2007, 12:41 AM   #2
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Well, basically you have made your homework quite well I would only add that DA70 has faster focusing than 77.
The decision is upto your liking. I think you can just browse the pictures taken with both lenses and decide based on your taste.

I prefered small size and faster focusing (which may be a great plus for kids ). Price was a factor for me as well.
12-26-2007, 12:46 AM   #3
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I guess any focal length from 31mm to 135mm could have been used for protraits depending on your style of photography etc.

Your choices are all fine as long as you know the pros and cons of the lens you are buying.

"Get to know your gear and then the subjects you are photographing with" was a friend's advice from years ago. It still rings in the ear as it is easy to say but hard to do.
12-26-2007, 02:24 AM   #4
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I chose the DA70 over the 77 due to the slightly smaller size, weight and the faster focusing speed. The 77 though has that cool metal build, better bokeh in some situations and slightly briighter.

They are both great lenses and you can't go wrong with either IMO...


Last edited by joele; 12-26-2007 at 02:36 AM.
12-26-2007, 03:18 AM   #5
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I would add, get the 50 as well as the 70/77. It is a very handy lens and a good focal length for do small group portraits or half/3 quarter length portraits. The price is low enough to consider.

In my rather small studio, I use a combination of the FA35, FA50, and FA77.
12-26-2007, 08:11 AM   #6
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instead of getting that expensive 77mm, why not try a Tamron 90mm f2.8 Di macro?

With that, you'd have a macro lens and portrait lens in one!
If you get it second hand, you might even have enough left to get the FA 50mm f1.4 aswell...

Tom
12-26-2007, 08:16 AM   #7
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because he already said that 100mm is too long for him and he wants a fast lens to shoot in natural light ...

I would buy the 77mm ...
12-26-2007, 08:21 AM   #8
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I started out the Limited trail with the 43mm - it's good for a bit of space around people, and has a decent perspective for closer work. Plus it's useful on a film body.

For my birthday I received the 70mm. It's a beautiful lens, you get a good head n shoulders across the room sort of thing, and good bokeh. Fast focus. I didn't think the aperture is too much of a limitation. I'd have been happy with the 77 as well, so I let the family choose.

I can't wait to try it on a film body, to see what the vignette effect is.

In between, I found a Tamron 90/2.5 of the Adaptall manual focus variety. It too is excellent for portraits, I agree with Tom, and you can keep getting closer and closer...

I did also end up with a SMC Takumar 50/1.4, and through extrapolation think the current 50 should be excellent as well.

Sorry can't be more helpful - these are all excellent lenses and each focal length has its benefits.

12-26-2007, 10:14 AM   #9
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QuoteOriginally posted by mer Quote
because he already said that 100mm is too long for him and he wants a fast lens to shoot in natural light ...

I would buy the 77mm ...
Last I checked 90 was less than a 100...maybe I should check again? I would at least consider the 90mm Tamron unless you have no interest in macros. It probably focuses very slowly as well which may not be so great for kids. I've seen a review that shows the 77mm lens to show some boarder softness wide open. Between the two you listed, I like the 70mm one.
12-26-2007, 10:26 AM   #10
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Hi Mark, welcome to the Forums. I was having the same debate about the 70vs77. I eventually went with the 77 for two reasons; it's a faster lens, and the construction is just so precise it is like a little jewel. Holding the two, it was easily obvious that the craftmanship of the 77 seems to be well above that of the 70. Both take great photos tho, and the 70 is less expensive. But I am not sorry with getting the 77.

NaCl(my little jewel)H2O
12-26-2007, 03:54 PM   #11
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Thanks everyone for your kind responses. I agree with NaClH20 the 77mm seems to be a real 'jewel.' I think I am leaning that way.

Another question though, if I use the 77 on the K10D do I use the aperture ring or is the aperture changed on the camera body? (I have never had a lens with an aperture ring...) Thanks again.
12-26-2007, 04:55 PM   #12
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By the way, do I remember correctly that Canon 35mm equivalent factor is 1.6 rather than 1.5?

If that's true, the 100mm on a Canon is a 160 equivalent, while on the Pentax 100 would be 150.

Keeping my math simple, the 90mm = 135mm equivalent, 70mm = 105mm equivalent, and so on. So swapping brands works in your favor.

The 77 works both ways - if you put it on 'A' on the lens, you control aperture via the camera.
12-26-2007, 04:55 PM   #13
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QuoteQuote:
Another question though, if I use the 77 on the K10D do I use the aperture ring or is the aperture changed on the camera body? (I have never had a lens with an aperture ring...) Thanks again.
You can use the ring if you want, or set it to the 'A' position and use it like any other lens.
12-26-2007, 04:56 PM   #14
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QuoteOriginally posted by Nesster Quote
By the way, do I remember correctly that Canon 35mm equivalent factor is 1.6 rather than 1.5?
That is correct..
12-26-2007, 08:31 PM   #15
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Well, as I'm a new convert to the Tamron 28-75, I'd say it would be a very good portrait lens as well. Plus, I've heard that moving kids sometimes require a zoom.

NaClH20, you appear to have both the Tammy and the FA77. Would this be an accurate assessment?

I realize the OP didn't state this lens, but I'll take the opportunity to plug it anyway!!

Todd
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