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08-06-2013, 04:31 PM   #16
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I see. Yea in my own stubbornness i pulled out my camera and took two identical photos. One with the stock lens at 55mm, and the other with my takumar 55mm/1.8.. Surprise surprise, I basically got the same photo... I was expecting the takumar to be appreciably more "zoomed-in" on the subject...

I'm glad you said something, I truly was under the wrong impression. I need to re-investigate the topic of sensor crop and what it means.

08-06-2013, 04:37 PM   #17
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So what focal length do you want? You already have a "portrait" lens with your 50's. I use my FA 43 for my portrait lens but that's way out of your budget.
How about a used DA 21 on Ebay for $280? If that's the focal length you're looking for.......

Pentax SMC P Da 21 mm F 3 2 Limited Lens 0027075122161 | eBay
08-06-2013, 04:39 PM   #18

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To make it really clear:

Manufacturers may tell you a 50mm lens is specially designed for APS-C.
But in many cases it is possible they just renamed an existing FF lens.
50mm is 50mm, and there are just 2 things which may be different:

1) Re-designing for use with APS-C only enables to save some weight and size, as it now does not need to cover the same big sensor/film area.
2) They may also claim they re-arranged the optical path, so the light doesn't hit the sensor at weird angles. Sensors react on such angles different from what film does. But it is not easy to find out whether they really did much about that, or it's just marketing.
08-06-2013, 05:04 PM   #19
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Driline, I am starting to think a 35mm lens may be more useful to me.. Or something under 50 anyway... id like to keep the f-value down if possible. Any ideas?

Last edited by dmbaile2; 08-06-2013 at 05:09 PM.
08-06-2013, 05:08 PM   #20
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There is always a used tamron 28-75 f2.8 option I used one for most of the kid shots as they were growing up.

most of my kid shots now are 55-75 as I like to fill the frame with their beautiful faces. But when they were little I tended to shoot more full body stuff as they were doing something cute. So I understand your draw to the 28mm.

You also might look at a used FA-35 f2 or even the DA35 ff2.4 they can be had for $181 right now in the stats.

08-06-2013, 05:36 PM   #21
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The DA 35 2.4 is not too expensive. I have a 28,35 and a 50 that I use on both a film and a cropped sensor dslr. There are times that the 35 is just the right focal length. If 28 is too wide and 50 too tight the 35 is most likely the best in between focal length. If the 28 is also too tight look at the 21 (I have never used that one).
08-06-2013, 05:38 PM   #22
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I think the DA 35 f2.4, may be a good choice for me. The price is defiantly appealing, I wonder about low light thought.

When photographing people what aperture setting do you find that you use most? 2.4 may be about the lowest I would want to go anyway. It has been a while since i have taken pictures of people, but i remember strugling with keeping the whole face in focus when i was playing around with my f1.4 - f1.8 primes.

Last edited by dmbaile2; 08-06-2013 at 05:45 PM.
08-06-2013, 05:59 PM   #23

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The DA35/2.4 is a good value and a nice lens. Don't waste your money on the FA35/2, because (as you've guessed) you won't want to use it wider than f/2.4 anyway. They're the same lens (as you probably already know) with nice IQ, but it degrades significantly as you open up to f/2, making the DA version at f/2.4 ideal, and a great bargain too.

Save the rest of your money - someday you'll want a DA*55, DA70, FA77, or the like. in the meantime, pick up an M or A 100/2.8 (non-macro) to go with the DA35/2.4.

Personally I find I can get good portraits anywhere from 31 to 200mm - it just depends on what you're after. In some situations even going outside this range is effective.

08-06-2013, 06:05 PM   #24
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QuoteOriginally posted by dmbaile2 Quote
I'm glad you said something, I truly was under the wrong impression. I need to re-investigate the topic of sensor crop and what it means.
Glad it is all clear now

Da 35mm f/2.4 is very highly rated and not expensive. And unless you are going for a real artsy look f/1.4 is not that useful for portraits, IMHO. Any time I've tried it I get a perfectly focused nose. In studio with lights and back drop f/8 or even f/11 is best as there is no worry about isolating the background. I use DA*16-50 for a lot of portraits and groups but rarely at anything less than f/5.6.
08-07-2013, 06:37 AM   #25
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I want to reiterate the idea of something like the Tamron 28-75 f/2.8. They're about $300 used. Occasionally can be had for less.

It gives you both wider and more telephoto options than the 35/2.4, while only ever so slightly slower.

That's assuming you'll only buy one lens. I don't actually have a Tamron 28-75/2.8 because I'm a super cheapskate, and haven't managed to get a great deal on one yet, but I've definitely got my eye out.

If you can pick up a pair of lenses, you might consider the 35/2.4 and something longer.

For pictures of my kids, I mostly use a 50/1.7 indoors, and a 70-210/4 outdoors (sorry, this isn't Pentax gear, but the Pentax equivalents would work just as well). The 50mm focal length is definitely long for indoors on APS-C, but my only other "fast" autofocus lens is a 28/2.8, which I find too wide for some uses. I am starting to try it more, though, and my opinion may swing that way.

I also get VERY nice portraits of them using manual primes, such as the Asahi 55/1.8 and various 135/2.8 screw mount lenses.

Last edited by thornburg; 08-07-2013 at 07:24 AM. Reason: grammar
08-07-2013, 07:03 AM   #26
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I can see the tameron lens being very useful, if only i could have everything.

I'm not sure why, but something about primes really get my attention. Im constantly grabbing for my old primes and i think having a modern one with autofocus would increase the number of good shots I take home at the end of the day...

I also have a Pentax-FA 80-320mm f4.5 that i would probably take to the park for long shots and background isolation. Its not the greatest lens in the world but at this point i have to make due with what i have. I do tend to use it a lot and get satisfactory results so maybe I like it more than i think I do....

08-07-2013, 07:19 AM   #27
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I use my 35 mm 2.4 lens a lot indoors when my subject is not moving. It's not Super durable lens, all plastic, but it's really sharp.

But when taking shots of my kids Bday parties indoors or just of them playing with the dogs etc... I still like the 18 - 50 range that my Tamron gives me.
08-07-2013, 07:34 AM   #28
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What camera do you have?

Have you thought about getting a sightly slower lens and a decent shoe mount flash?

It doesn't have to be a Pentax flash to give you good results on a Pentax camera.

I recently started using an old Nikon SB-26 flash on my Pentax cameras, and it helps a lot in low light and in situations where I want fill flash.

As long as it has an auto mode where you can set f-stop, ISO, and focal length, it should work.

The on-camera flash is trash compared to a decent hot shoe flash.
08-07-2013, 07:50 AM   #29
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I have a Pentax K-r and and old vivitar flash that I was using for macro work. Fastest shutter the camera will oporate the flash at is like 160-180 shutter, I cant remember. I have the flash suppressed with a homemade diffuser, its not really a convenient flash system to be honest.

I like fast lenses primarily for focal depth manipulation.
08-07-2013, 08:34 AM   #30
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The 3 lenses I use most for portraits are:

1) Pentax A 50mm / f1.7
2) Pentax A 35-105mm / f3.5
3) Pentax DAL 55-300mm / f4-5.8

The thing I've learned is that a longer lens doesn't need to be traditionally "fast" to be a good portrait lens, because a tele lens has a narrower depth of field than a wider focal length lens of the same maximum aperture. In fact, I use my Pentax 35-105 & 55-300 lenses most of the time for portraits. Here's a couple from the 55-300:

Both were shot at f: 5.6 to f:8, but still have good subject isolation, since I took them around 100-150mm. This distance also allows you enough space from the subject to not be in the way of the light.

I occasionally use the 50mm / 1.7 lens for low-light portraits, but I usually prefer a bit longer focal length. And also, while narrow depth of field is nice, people's faces aren't flat. I don't think I've ever shot a portrait at faster than f: 2.8. Too narrow a depth of field and part of the face is likely to be out of focus, which usually isn't a good thing.

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