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03-23-2012, 08:04 AM   #1
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Need a new lense for portraits

I have read a lot of threads like this but it looks like everyone else already has an aray or lenses to complement their gear. I want to go with higher end glass and purchased the smc Pentax FA 50mm 1.4 and am running the K-5 and love it. I do indoor portraits moslty kids and family sessions outside I find I have to back up so much to get full or even 3/4 body shots. I am looking at the DA* line but want to be sure its the right lense for my work. Which lense would you recoment I expand to?
Thank you
Melanie

03-23-2012, 08:31 AM   #2
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If you have to step back, you need something wider. Only one in the DA* line is the DA16-50; you can also consider the Tamron and Sigma equivalents.

I think you must look at something between 28 and 35mm. I use a FA31Ltd for nearly everything, so also for the occasional full body portrait, but that's a bloody expensive lens. Maybe DA(L)35/2.4 or an older 28mm. Sigma 30mm might also be an option although they say it's not the sharpest at the corners/edges; Sigma users can comment better.

Last edited by sterretje; 03-26-2012 at 07:08 AM.
03-23-2012, 09:05 AM   #3
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For portraiture, I would recommend the Sigma 30mm f1.4. Probably not so great for walk around, as it is a little weak in corners/border, but it is still really good. The other lens to consider if you don't think you need quite so wide an aperture would be the DA 35 f2.4. Looks really nice. Obviously not quite as fast as the Sigma 30, but out of focus areas are smoother at similar apertures.

The king of the hill is the FA 31, but not everyone can afford it...
03-23-2012, 09:28 AM   #4
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For group and full-body shots, you need something in the range of the DA18-55 kit lens. If you're looking for DA* quality, then it's the DA*16-45 as sterretje suggested. Many here like the Tamron 17-50/2.8, which costs rather less. I can't comment on the Sigma equivalent.

One trick is to get a used DA18-55 kit lens and try it at various focal lengths, to see what works for you. If you find that you don't need the width of a 16-17-18mm lens, you could consider one of the many 28-70 or 28-80 autofocus lenses, the kit.lens replacements of the film era. For higher quality, think of the much-loved Tamron 28-75/2.8.

If you find that you only need to take a few steps back to get the view you want with your 50mm, you might consider a real deal: an old F35-70/3.5-4.5, sharp and agile, the smallest zoom Pentax ever made, sharp as a bagful of primes in its limited range. It can be found for around US$50. It's been called the "perfect backyard lens" for shooting kids and pets and flowers.

My recommendation: Buy or borrow an old DA18-55 kit lens. Try different focal lengths. See what you need. Good luck!

03-23-2012, 09:51 AM   #5
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As mentioned the main options are

FA 31mm f1.8
Sigma 30mm f1.4

or one of the many zooms which cover the range

Tamron 170-50mm f2.8
Sigma 17-50mm f2.8
Pentax 16-50mm f2.8
Pentax 16-45mm f4.0

Personally I would go with the Sigma 30mm f1.4, I love mine
03-25-2012, 09:56 PM   #6
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I have used the kit 18-55 and its ok I did recently try it out to check the 31mm slot to see the difference from my 50mm and I think this is the way I am going to go. I am not really scared off by the price, but if you have any reasons why I should consider leaving the pentax brand and trying the sigma or tamron (other than price) can you share them. I really want to make sure I am making the best decision because it is a huge investment. from what I have read so far the FA 31 ltd is "the bomb" but if there are any areas that it lacks please speak up...
Thank you again.
03-26-2012, 02:11 AM   #7
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For portraits I use the DA* 50-135mm. A delight !
03-27-2012, 11:16 AM   #8
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fs999 - why do you like this lens? what makes you choose this for portraits?

03-27-2012, 01:48 PM   #9
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QuoteOriginally posted by fs999 Quote
For portraits I use the DA* 50-135mm. A delight !
QuoteOriginally posted by mmeckel Quote
fs999 - why do you like this lens? what makes you choose this for portraits?
My dos centavos: That's a great people-shooting focal-length range, from full-body shots (at a slight distance) to tight headshots. My favorite people-shooting zoom is an old M42 Sears-Tokina 55-135/3.5 that cost me all of US$8 shipped. The combo of focal length and aperture allows good (but not extreme) DOF control. The DA*50-135/2.8 is its modern counterpart but costs 100x as much. Yow. Anyway, the DA* is reputedly very sharp, renders very nicely, and is a joy to use. You can't go wrong with it -- if you can afford it.
03-27-2012, 01:50 PM   #10
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QuoteOriginally posted by fs999 Quote
For portraits I use the DA* 50-135mm. A delight !
Tough to beat the 50~135, just a great lens!
03-28-2012, 03:59 AM   #11
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QuoteOriginally posted by RioRico Quote
If you find that you only need to take a few steps back to get the view you want with your 50mm, you might consider a real deal: an old F35-70/3.5-4.5, sharp and agile, the smallest zoom Pentax ever made, sharp as a bagful of primes in its limited range. It can be found for around US$50. It's been called the "perfect backyard lens" for shooting kids and pets and flowers
Hi Mmeckel, Welcome to the Forum!
I'll second Rico's suggestion for the F 35-70mm f/3.5-f/4.5. This is a great walk-around, standard focal length to short-tele zoom, handy for kids, active events and tighter portraits at the long end. Small, very sharp, light and blazingly fast AF, a decent close-focus (macro, sort of) function at the 70mm end. The 35mm end is just wide enough to capture full-body or group shots without the typical wide angle distortion.
These come up regularly on eBay for around $50.00 USD and have all the modern functions without the high price tag; AF, program and aperture priority, shutter priority. etc.
You can always get a wider or longer prime to supplement your focal length (range) if you feel the need. Meanwhile, this is the perfect in-between lens!
JMO,
Ron

Last edited by rbefly; 03-28-2012 at 04:09 AM.
03-28-2012, 04:07 AM - 1 Like   #12
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QuoteOriginally posted by fs999 Quote
For portraits I use the DA* 50-135mm. A delight !
Possibly (I don't have the lens) but OP finds that he/she has to step back too much with a 50mm prime, so a DA*50-135 is not going to solve that.
03-28-2012, 09:07 AM   #13
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Agreed, DA* 50-135, while an absolute gem of a lens, is quite long for indoor studio use. I'm eagerly waiting more news on the two "short" zooms that are supposed to be on the lens map for 2012/2013.

Even if a Limited zoom tops out at F4, that'd be more than needed for indoor studio work for anything more than than a head & shoulders shot for my needs...

QuoteOriginally posted by sterretje Quote
Possibly (I don't have the lens) but OP finds that he/she has to step back too much with a 50mm prime, so a DA*50-135 is not going to solve that.
03-28-2012, 09:37 AM   #14
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QuoteOriginally posted by sterretje Quote
Possibly (I don't have the lens) but OP finds that he/she has to step back too much with a 50mm prime, so a DA*50-135 is not going to solve that.
this is what I was thinking and wondering why it would be good for my situation... im thinking a zoom less than 50mm would be best I really want to go high quality and dont mind spending the big money IF is the right one. I love my prime 50 but just not wide enough and there isnt a DA* that overlaps the 50mm
Im leaning towards the 31Ltd but need to be sure there are no issues with my K-5 it a crop sensor thats phy I was leaning to the DA* its specalised to the crop pentax.
03-28-2012, 10:05 AM   #15
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QuoteOriginally posted by mmeckel Quote
im thinking a zoom less than 50mm would be best I really want to go high quality and dont mind spending the big money IF is the right one
Hard to beat the Tamron 28~75 2.8 for what you are looking for...
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