Forgot Password
Pentax Camera Forums Home
 

Reply
Show Printable Version Search this Thread
08-01-2013, 10:58 AM   #1
Veteran Member
Bcrary3's Avatar

Join Date: Feb 2013
Location: Wisconsin
Photos: Gallery
Posts: 364
Can't decide on portrait lense.

I currently use a Ricoh Rikenon-P 50mm f/2.0 as my main portrait lense, but I don't like the manual focus all the time, and sometimes it just doesn't get close enough. I am looking at a few newer alternatives to this, assuming optically, they are better. I am looking at the Pentax 50 f/1.8, the FA 50mm, f/1.4, the DA* 55, Sigma 50mm f/1.4, the FA limited 43 & the FA limited 70. Which of these options would be the best optically for the money compared to what I got (that I paid like $20.00 for)
Thanks

08-01-2013, 11:28 AM   #2
Senior Member




Join Date: Aug 2012
Location: Doylestown, PA
Posts: 200
Wow. That covers about the whole gamut of price ranges (short of the $1000 limiteds).

If you've got $500+ to drop, find a camera shop in your area that will let you try out the various lenses (at least in store) and see what you think.

I've never used any of the lenses you're looking at, but here's my take on portrait lenses:

I used to shoot a lot of Canon, and my favorite portrait lens there was the Canon EF 50/1.8. It's an amazing lens. No offense to Pentax or Pentaxians, but the DA 50/1.8 isn't in the same class, and it costs a lot more. I suspect the Limiteds are a much better comparison in optical quality. (Obviously the cheap plastic Canon 50 has terrible build quality, I'm only talking about optics & photo results).

My second favorite portrait lens is an m42 Yashica 128/2.8. On a crop sensor it's a bit long, but it makes gorgeous pictures.
There are several other old screwmount primes I also like for portraits. A 50/1.4 is nice. I've also gotten good results from a 100/2.8. I've never laid hands on an 85/1.8, but I'd like to.
08-01-2013, 11:49 AM   #3
Emperor and Senpai
VoiceOfReason's Avatar

Join Date: Jun 2010
Location: Nashville, IN
Posts: 5,415
Grab a Pentax F 50 f/1.7. It's able to be had for 200 or less. It's sharp, has really creamy bokeh too, and is autofocus. In fact, the only issue I can think of with it is that it's kind of loud autofocusing.
08-01-2013, 11:52 AM   #4
Veteran Member
Bcrary3's Avatar

Join Date: Feb 2013
Location: Wisconsin
Photos: Gallery
Posts: 364
Original Poster
QuoteOriginally posted by thornburg Quote
Wow. That covers about the whole gamut of price ranges (short of the $1000 limiteds).

If you've got $500+ to drop, find a camera shop in your area that will let you try out the various lenses (at least in store) and see what you think.
Only one problem with that, there are no camera stores that are within a reasonable distance from me that I know of that carries Pentax products, that is why I am asking around here. And in all honesty I don't really have more than a few hundred dollars to spend on one, but I probably will anyway, or at least get in mind what I need to save up for. Haha

But thanks for your input though!

08-01-2013, 11:58 AM   #5
Loyal Site Supporter




Join Date: May 2011
Location: Richmond, Virginia USA
Photos: Gallery | Albums
Posts: 2,649
i agree with voice of reason...i have one and it's an excellent lens
08-01-2013, 12:19 PM   #6
Site Supporter
loco's Avatar

Join Date: Mar 2011
Location: Virginia
Photos: Gallery | Albums
Posts: 2,844
I use the FA 77 for portraits and it never disappoints. It's a little bit long, but if you have plenty of room to back up, not an issue. The autofocus is also very accurate, in my experience. The DA* 55 is also excellent, but the bokeh is not quite as nice at the largest apertures.

Last edited by loco; 08-01-2013 at 12:38 PM.
08-01-2013, 12:28 PM   #7
Pentaxian
Na Horuk's Avatar

Join Date: Feb 2012
Location: Slovenia, probably
Photos: Gallery | Albums
Posts: 10,861
Thats a big range. I would say that there are huge differences between those lenses.
The DA 50mm f1.8 will give you fast AF, full automation and better flare/ghosting control. Beyond that, it probably won't be very different from the lens you already have. Maybe a little sharper, maybe a little better contrasts, but generally very similar.
The DA* 55mm f1.4 is basically made for portraits. Fast, quiet focusing, the focal length and aperture for great subject isolation, renders skin tones very well. The FA ltd 77mm is also made for portraits, but more for film cameras. Though, it works on digital just as well. The DA ltd 70mm is basically the 77mm in a smaller, more modern package - it has quick shift, more modern rendering. Would also be great for portraits.
The 43mm is a little wider, so maybe its more for the type of portraits where you show most of the person. Legendary lens, great all-around.
All of these lenses should outperform your current lens - they have more modern coatings (better CA, ghosting and flare resistance), more automation (auto aperture, AF, some even have QS). By how much? Hard to say, beauty is subjective, portraits depend on light subject and makeup, not just lens. Its a thing of budget.
But lets say you buy the DA 50mm f1.8 for $200 - it probably won't be 10x as good as your current lens. But it will have other features, which might help you a lot.
08-01-2013, 12:37 PM   #8
Veteran Member
Docrwm's Avatar

Join Date: Sep 2010
Location: Somewhere in the Southern US
Photos: Gallery | Albums
Posts: 11,275
The new DA50/1.8 is on sale until October for $186, has modern coatings, is AF, and has very good IQ. It's the cheapest new option that does a good job in your focal length range. For portraits my preference would be, price aside, the DA70 Limited or one you did not mention - the Samyang 85/1.4 but its manual focus (although its a magnificent lens for portraits IMHO).

08-01-2013, 12:39 PM   #9
Pentaxian
Just1MoreDave's Avatar

Join Date: Feb 2007
Location: Aurora, CO
Photos: Gallery | Albums
Posts: 4,858
The requirements kind of put you in an (expensive) box. AF rules out a lot of cheap solutions right there, and an AF prime in typical portrait focal lengths is not going to be $20.

One suggestion that hasn't been made is the Tamron 28-75/2.8. Not a prime and not f1.4, but a lot of people like it for portraits. It's longer than 50mm and not that expensive. Background blur is not that hard at the longer end and f2.8.

If you really want to stay on a budget, stay with 50mm. I like the F50/1.7 too, recently the DA 50/1.8 became competitive on price, or get the FA 50/1.4. (Six, seven or eight aperture blades ) The image quality difference will not make or break an otherwise good portrait.
08-01-2013, 01:52 PM   #10
Senior Member




Join Date: Aug 2012
Location: Doylestown, PA
Posts: 200
QuoteOriginally posted by Docrwm Quote
the Samyang 85/1.4 but its manual focus (although its a magnificent lens for portraits IMHO).
Docrwm, do you have a lot of personal experience with this lens? I've wondered about it quite a bit. I've been considering this lens as a possible alternative to the 50/1.7.

I feel like it would be much better for posed work, but that the lack of AF might make it difficult to use in "live" situations. Does that match up with your experience? Also, how does it compare, IQ wise, with something like the 70 Ltd or 77 Ltd (if you have used those lenses)?
08-01-2013, 02:23 PM   #11
Veteran Member
Docrwm's Avatar

Join Date: Sep 2010
Location: Somewhere in the Southern US
Photos: Gallery | Albums
Posts: 11,275
QuoteOriginally posted by thornburg Quote
Docrwm, do you have a lot of personal experience with this lens? I've wondered about it quite a bit. I've been considering this lens as a possible alternative to the 50/1.7.

I feel like it would be much better for posed work, but that the lack of AF might make it difficult to use in "live" situations. Does that match up with your experience? Also, how does it compare, IQ wise, with something like the 70 Ltd or 77 Ltd (if you have used those lenses)?
I have often said that when I am lazy I use the DA70 Limited for portraits because of the AF but when I am willing to take the time and effort the 85/1.4 brings greater rewards. Your assessment is pretty accurate, for live action it can be a pain unless you pre-focus or use zones. But for posed photos its a terrific lens IMHO. Also, the 85/1.4 is HUGE compared to the DA70 limited, which can be a factor for long periods of use. Still, the best portraits of my children - without exception - are with my Vivitar branded Samyang 85/1.4.
08-02-2013, 07:23 AM   #12
Site Supporter
slip's Avatar

Join Date: Oct 2006
Location: 2 hours north of toronto ontario canada
Photos: Gallery | Albums
Posts: 3,532
I would not rule out the *50-135mm.

randy
08-02-2013, 07:43 AM   #13
Veteran Member




Join Date: Mar 2012
Photos: Gallery
Posts: 307
I too suffer from the same indecision. Not to hijack the thread, could I get an opinion on which of these portrait lens to let go?

A50 f/1.7
FA50 f/1.7
Voigtlander 58 f/1.4
Revuenon 55 f/1.2
FA77

I also have FA43 and 50-135 (but those are not on the chopping block
08-02-2013, 09:51 AM   #14
Pentaxian
Just1MoreDave's Avatar

Join Date: Feb 2007
Location: Aurora, CO
Photos: Gallery | Albums
Posts: 4,858
I would sell the Revuenon 55 f/1.2 and A50 f/1.7. The A and FA are the same formula so there's no need to have both. I used my Cosina 55/1.2 a little, then lost interest. It has a look wide open that I guess I don't like. If I had the Voigtlander I would never be inclined to use the Revuenon - just the extra 3mm and KA mount. An old thread compared the Pentax-A 50/1.2 to the Voigtlander very favorably.
08-02-2013, 10:13 AM   #15
Pentaxian




Join Date: Nov 2008
Location: Bangalore
Photos: Gallery
Posts: 2,450
Samyang 85/1.4 replaced my FA77 as a primary portrait lens. I also like FA31 and FA50 for portraits.
Reply

Bookmarks
  • Submit Thread to Facebook Facebook
  • Submit Thread to Twitter Twitter
  • Submit Thread to Digg Digg
Tags - Make this thread easier to find by adding keywords to it!
50mm, f/1.4, fa, k-mount, pentax lens, portrait, slr lens
Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search


Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Can't decide on K5 II mourya Pentax K-5 16 07-26-2013 02:43 AM
Can't decide on the optimal walk around lens Deepbyrne Pentax SLR Lens Discussion 34 11-21-2012 11:27 PM
Still can't decide on a 50mm 1.4 SaikouShadou Pentax SLR Lens Discussion 19 01-17-2012 01:40 AM
Can't decide on camera or lenses dndcdr Pentax Film SLR Discussion 2 11-07-2011 10:18 AM
Can't decide on which f/1.4 Ragnar Troubleshooting and Beginner Help 15 06-02-2011 08:28 PM



All times are GMT -7. The time now is 06:48 AM. | See also: NikonForums.com, CanonForums.com part of our network of photo forums!
  • Red (Default)
  • Green
  • Gray
  • Dark
  • Dark Yellow
  • Dark Blue
  • Old Red
  • Old Green
  • Old Gray
  • Dial-Up Style
Hello! It's great to see you back on the forum! Have you considered joining the community?
register
Creating a FREE ACCOUNT takes under a minute, removes ads, and lets you post! [Dismiss]
Top