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02-19-2013, 06:57 PM   #1
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50mm 1.4 vs. 43mm 1.9 for portraits

Which lens would be better for portraits?

Thanks!!!

02-19-2013, 07:28 PM   #2
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Hi,

Both are excellent.

However, the lenses do have their own characteristic "look" or rendering - the FA 43 Ltd in particular having the distinctive FA Limited lens-family "look", which to my eyes is simply superb.

Compared to the FA50 1.4, I would describe it as having a unique 3D-effect. It also has an incredible level of clarity, fantastic colours in general (including skin tone), and handles micro-contrast supremely well, bar none.

The FA50 has a more straightforward "look" - which is perfectly fine, mind you. Also very sharp and clear, with simply delightful colours that are purely Pentax. In one sense it can be viewed as a more "accurate" or "faithful" lens than the FA43, in the sense that the FA43 definitely does enhance the picture, such that the result often looks better than in real-life. Whereas the FA50 can be counted upon to deliver an accurate capture, with excellent IQ to boot.

And if you require stronger background blur, the FA50 might suit you better since it can open up to f1.4. Personally, I seldom need 1.4, and find the f1.9 of the FA 43 Ltd more than adequate - but users differ.

Do note though, that 43mm or 50mm focal length results in one particular style of portrait photography, and you need to first ensure it's what you want. Many portrait photographers also use longer focal lengths, eg. 85mm, or 77mm in the case of the FA 77 1.8 Ltd (the sister of the FA 43), which is truly a portrait lens par excellence!
02-19-2013, 07:32 PM   #3
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Ok thanks!
02-19-2013, 07:39 PM   #4
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Forgot to mention about bokeh.

The FA50 can generate very smooth bokeh - what people would typically term as "creamy", I believe.

The FA43's bokeh is a little different - it can have a slight "graininess" to it. I don't mean roughness or uneveness or anything negative like that, and I'm not saying it's not smooth. It's just that it's different. Personally, I like this bokeh graininess very much - it definitely gives it character. It also provides a pleasant alternative to the typically smooth, buttery bokeh effect, which is popular.

02-19-2013, 08:43 PM   #5
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SMC Pentax -A 1:1.4 50 mm at f/4
https://www.box.com/s/vf8ny5z3gzowb8po2f13

SMC Pentax 1:2 55mm at f/3.2
https://www.box.com/s/vjjcvtg8n9cz26hcfis3

SMC Pentax -M 1:2 85mm at f/3.2
https://www.box.com/s/a09cwdyetc9juc5rfsok

The 85 mm is nice on the 35 mm slr but a bit long for aps-c
Longer lenses give better background isolation.
Actually I don't like the 85 mm's out of focus line on the edge of the settee just behind the dof.
and next time I should stop it down to maybe f/5.6 ?
02-19-2013, 09:07 PM   #6
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Here are a couple of photos taken with the 43mm F1.9 wide open.

The photo of the Buddha statue gives an indication of what the bokeh is like.

The photo of Yeshi la probably gives an indication of how sharp the lens is wide open when you are shooting from the hip (ie: event photography), rather than doing carefullt pre-prepared portrait work.
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02-19-2013, 11:47 PM   #7
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QuoteOriginally posted by Billk Quote
Here are a couple of photos taken with the 43mm F1.9 wide open.

The photo of the Buddha statue gives an indication of what the bokeh is like.

The photo of Yeshi la probably gives an indication of how sharp the lens is wide open when you are shooting from the hip (ie: event photography), rather than doing carefullt pre-prepared portrait work.
Nice pics! I have a newbie question. For the event picture, did you either: 1. Use center spot focus on the face then recompose, 2. Focus on the face and crop, 3. Just focused on the body, or 4. Change the spot focus to the side spot and take the shot?
02-20-2013, 12:02 AM   #8
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Hi Byakko.

I will have to check my Lightroom files on whether the pictures were cropped and, if so, by how much. I recall that I tried to fill the frame prettty much with the shot as taken in both cases but the photo of Yeshi la might have some cropping.

For both shots I used the selected focus point (one of 11 on a K7) closest to the subject's right eye when framed around about right in portrait orientation. That's what you mean by option 3 right?

I usually go for a focus point over the subject's closer eye. I usually don't go for the centre spot because I like getting as close to right for everything, including composition, when I do people shots.

Wildlife shots are a different ball game for me. I nearly always use the centre focus point, then crop for the composition I want. However, I do have a bunch of pelican shots where I basically treated them as people, because you can get up close and take your time over framing.

Hope this helps

02-20-2013, 01:29 AM   #9
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QuoteOriginally posted by Billk Quote
Hi Byakko.

I will have to check my Lightroom files on whether the pictures were cropped and, if so, by how much. I recall that I tried to fill the frame prettty much with the shot as taken in both cases but the photo of Yeshi la might have some cropping.

For both shots I used the selected focus point (one of 11 on a K7) closest to the subject's right eye when framed around about right in portrait orientation. That's what you mean by option 3 right?

I usually go for a focus point over the subject's closer eye. I usually don't go for the centre spot because I like getting as close to right for everything, including composition, when I do people shots.

Wildlife shots are a different ball game for me. I nearly always use the centre focus point, then crop for the composition I want. However, I do have a bunch of pelican shots where I basically treated them as people, because you can get up close and take your time over framing.

Hope this helps
Thanks Bilik!

I guess you did option 4: Change the spot focus to the side spot and take the shot. Since you chose a selected focus point on the eye and took the shot. If you focused on the body, then the body would be the one in focus, not the eyes.

Thank you for your answer! =D
02-20-2013, 03:04 AM   #10
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Have you considered the DA*55mm f1.4 - it's in the same sort of price range as the 43mm f1.9 Limited, but is more suited to portraits with beautiful Bokeh, ultra-thin Depth of Field and is Weather Resistant.
02-20-2013, 06:14 AM   #11
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I really like the feel of my F50 f1,7 for portraits, it's a no-nonsense, neutral output that delivers exactly as expected. If I compare it with my Da21 Limited, the latter is much worse for portraits, even though it shines in other situations. However, I sometime feel that the 50 is a bit (a tiny bit) too long with APS-C for portraits. The slightly wider FOV of a 43 could be better there, and from all reports it packs more punch, delivers more unique results.

I think if oney is no issue I would go for the 43, but if money was an issue I'd get a good, used 50.
02-20-2013, 08:41 AM   #12
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QuoteOriginally posted by Billk Quote
Here are a couple of photos taken with the 43mm F1.9 wide open.

The photo of the Buddha statue gives an indication of what the bokeh is like.

The photo of Yeshi la probably gives an indication of how sharp the lens is wide open when you are shooting from the hip (ie: event photography), rather than doing carefullt pre-prepared portrait work.

That portrait is amazing. Wow.
02-20-2013, 08:42 AM   #13
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QuoteOriginally posted by LennyBloke Quote
Have you considered the DA*55mm f1.4 - it's in the same sort of price range as the 43mm f1.9 Limited, but is more suited to portraits with beautiful Bokeh, ultra-thin Depth of Field and is Weather Resistant.
I'll look at it! Thanks!
02-20-2013, 09:40 AM   #14
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Looks like it's gonna be the 43 limited! Thanks!!!
02-20-2013, 10:01 AM   #15
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What made you pick those two? I don't have either, but I do know that if you don't mind manual focusing, you could save a bundle.

Helios 44-2 58mm f/2



Super-Takumar 1:1.4/50

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