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02-02-2013, 11:50 AM   #1
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Prime lens - need help on what to get.

I have on order a K5 II with 18-135 WR lens.

My friend has asked me if I can do some shots of her daughter and friends for their prom. I want to get a nice good image quality prime that will not only be able to help me do this, but also be able to take low light shots and indoor shots.

I was set on getting the Sigma 30mm f1.4 but really not sure if that will be too short. I don't really want to I above 50mm either.

So looking for a good all round prime that will be used in a variety of situations. Of course I can get another when funds allow.

Budget is 300 and would prefer new.

Any help - don't want to get this purchase wrong.

02-02-2013, 12:11 PM   #2
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Sounds like the 40mm Limited is "just right", neither 30 nor 50 It's an excellent performer and pocket-size as well. Not quite as fast as you might like, but K-5 ISO can take care of that with raw images and some processing; I often shoot jpeg through 5000-6400 and little needs to be done. Its 9 aperture blades guarantee you nice images, in and out of focus.

You might be able to tell that I really like mine

iso4000, f/3.2 -family dog died recently so she got the focus point.
02-02-2013, 12:54 PM   #3
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The 40mm ltd or XS is a really sharp lens with good OoF rendering. The DA 35mm f2.4 might not be that great for portraits, its pretty wide and there is some distortion. But if you really want low light your best option is the FA 50mm or maybe even the DA 50mm f1.8. On the other hand, you should probably use a flash, even if its the onboard flash with a DIY diffuser. Usually for portraits people use 55-85mm, but if you want group shots you will need wider. Keep that 18-135mm handy, just in case.
02-02-2013, 01:12 PM   #4
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Maybe I should concentrate on quality over low light and get a flash too.

02-02-2013, 01:19 PM   #5
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That's what I was going to say. Use the 18-135 with external flash for your prom photos. Bounce or off-camera flash will provide more reliable results than a fast lens. Ambient light shooting is tough to get right, especially with more than one subject, due to shallow DOF, low shutter speeds and ISO grain.
02-02-2013, 01:21 PM   #6
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FA 50mm f1.4 is in price range. As is Sigma 50mm HSM.

IF I could shift some more stuff I could, just could get the 55mm SDM. Is it worth the money?

Will also get a flash, are pentax prices reasonable?
02-02-2013, 01:26 PM   #7
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I agree with jimr-pdx. The DA 40mm ltd has a very nice bokeh and is sharp with excellent color rendition. It's focus is very fast, probably the fastest AF of all Pentax lenses.
02-02-2013, 01:33 PM   #8
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Will check out the 40mm.

siamthai - I see you have the DA55 - worth the money?

Hmmmm.... thik the 55mm is a bit of a wish looking at prices!

02-02-2013, 02:12 PM   #9
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The 50-55mm lenses are good for head & torso portraits of one or two people. The DA*55 is sharper than the FA 50 below f2.8, not much difference at smaller apertures. The 28-35mm lenses give you more room for full length portraits or group photos and are a more versatile all-round focal length. Depends on what you like to shoot or need to do.

I like my DA 40mm Ltd a lot, but the punchy contrast suits landscape more than portrait, and the focal length is in-betweeny for formal portraits.
02-02-2013, 02:19 PM   #10
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Thanks audiobomber.

Really is tricky as cant afford two lenses, 55mm SDM is for certain too much,

So really looking at one of the following:

FA 50mm f1.4/f1.7
FA 35mm f2.0
DA 40mm Ltd
Sigma 30mm f1.4

35mm f2 interets me, not sure why!
02-02-2013, 02:34 PM   #11
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I really like the 50-55mm lenses for portrait. I have taken many of my favorite portrait shots on the spur of the moment with one of those focal lengths. But you should figure out which focal length works for you before buying. Set your 18-135 to one of the focal lengths you're interested and find a victim/test subject. You'll find that you need to stand at a certain distance away to get the subject in the frame, closer for headshots and farther for full body. See if that works for where you'd do the real shots, whether you and tthe subject are comfortable at that distance, etc. If you take some actual shots, you can see what the different focal lengths do to the background and facial features. You might be able to take the settings in test shots and work out what you'd use with a "real" lens, like opening up the aperture 3 stops to lower ISO 3 stops.
02-02-2013, 02:47 PM   #12
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Thanks for advise so far people. Gives me plenty to think about!!
02-02-2013, 02:54 PM   #13
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If you are not sure--and you can do manual focus--I suggest either the M 50mm f1.7 (or the A 50 f1.7). Excellent lens/easily obtained (e.g., KEH) can be had for $50 (about) and super sharp/low aberrations. For the scenario you mention it is likely a good choice. FA 50mm f1.7 is likely 4x's as much--so suggest go MF.
02-02-2013, 02:58 PM   #14
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QuoteOriginally posted by JayX2A Quote
Really is tricky as cant afford two lenses, 55mm SDM is for certain too much,

So really looking at one of the following:

FA 50mm f1.4/f1.7
FA 35mm f2.0
DA 40mm Ltd
Sigma 30mm f1.4

35mm f2 interets me, not sure why!
The FA 35mm f2 is one of the sharpest K-mount lenses and useable from wide open. The DA 35mm f2.4 has virtually the same IQ, just missing half a stop and metal mount. The DA 50mm f1.8 is also worth a look. You could start out with the inexpensive DA primes and not miss much.
02-02-2013, 02:59 PM   #15
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BTW since you mentioned 35mm f2. It is very nice--the 35mm and 50mm would be a good kit--then decide which to use when there--but the 35mm f/2 (suggest K) is likely $200. about. At that price you may want to consider FA 35 mm f/2 (I have not used--but get good reviews (about $300-350). The 35mmf/2 (K) is not however, super sharp for landscapes (IMO)--but a great street lens.
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