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09-25-2013, 08:18 AM   #1
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Budget full body portrait lens

I own a K-5 and am primarily a landscape guy. I have the 15 and 70 limited and an old manual 28/3.5. I was talked into shooting some models for a costume designer. The shoot will be outside using natural lighting. Shots will range from 3/4 body shots to full body shots. From all the forum reading, the consensus seems that my 70 would be too long for that and puts me at a large distance from the model.

An ideal range appears to be 35-50mm. I am on a budget so something $250 and under. Maybe in the future if I decide to get more into it, I would spring for a nicer lens. I would prefer AF but would definately consider MF since these are adult models. Primes or zooms will both be considered.

Can someone give me some options?

Thanks!

09-25-2013, 08:24 AM   #2
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Can't go wrong with a fast 50mm. Low distortion, good colors, sharp (often sharper than you want for portraits!)

If you can do manual focus, you can get A Series 50mm f/1.4s for $100 or so. (You still get auto aperture/auto exposure with these on digital!)

I haven't looked in a while, but the AF Versions would fit your budget (I think about $150 for the 1.7, maybe $250 for the 1.4) KEH and the forums are s good bet.

Personally, I like something slightly longer than 50mm, and have been using an old Russian 58mm for a ton of shooting lately. It's pretty close to what an 85mm would be on full frame, which is kind of standard 3/4 length portrait lens. Still trying to scoop up a 55mm 1.8, too, as I've seen some pretty magical work done with them. Both of these options wouldn't be quite as sharp as the more modern lenses, and would require an adapter. With some fiddling Av mode will work fine with the M42 lenses, though.

Last edited by fretlessdavis; 09-25-2013 at 08:31 AM.
09-25-2013, 08:37 AM   #3
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DA 50/1.8 is less than $200 new.
09-25-2013, 08:48 AM   #4
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Tamron or sigma 17-50 or DA16-50 would be my choice. YouŽll be moving a lot..

09-25-2013, 09:08 AM   #5
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QuoteOriginally posted by fretlessdavis Quote
have been using an old Russian 58mm for a ton of shooting lately.
Are you talking about the Helios 44? That's a $30 lens! I have a lot of fun with mine, too. That would actually be an interesting choice for model photography. It's dead sharp in the center even wide open (f/2.0), but mush in the corners. And some versions swirl...

For more conventional choices, I think any version of the 50 f/1.7 would be your best budget choice.
09-25-2013, 09:11 AM   #6
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Get a used FA 50mm 1.4 or a new DA 50mm 1.8.

09-25-2013, 09:20 AM   #7
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QuoteOriginally posted by scratchpaddy Quote
Are you talking about the Helios 44? That's a $30 lens! I have a lot of fun with mine, too. That would actually be an interesting choice for model photography. It's dead sharp in the center even wide open (f/2.0), but mush in the corners. And some versions swirl...

For more conventional choices, I think any version of the 50 f/1.7 would be your best budget choice.
I think it must have been that. It was a 58mm f/2 with an octagon for an iris. At 5.6 it's very sharp in the center and almost all the way to the corners, and Bokeh was AMAZING. Mine wasn't swirly, just nice soft backgrounds. It really didn't have any distortion either (that I could see on digital, that is... it was always soft in the corners on good film). At f/2 it was a bit like having a soft filter and was a bit odd, but I shot it at 2.8 quite a bit. It's my favorite lens for taking shots of my GF, as it really brings out the subtle red in her hair, but never made her complexion red. It brought out colors that were great in almost every situation, but not quite as saturated as the old SMC Takumars I have. I always had to do a custom white balance with it, and it needs a step more of warming filters at all times (leave an 81A on it at all times!).

For $30, you'll get either some really interesting/great/weird shots. Grab one anyway! I'll try to dig up some portraits I've done with it. From what I here, they vary quite a bit, so YMMV.

EDIT: "Must have been" because it has turned up missing this past week.... =(
09-25-2013, 09:25 AM   #8
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If it's a prime you want in the range of 35-50mm, the clear choices are the DA 35 AL, DA 40 XS and DA 50 1.8, all of which fit your budget. If a zoom will work, I'd get a used F 35-70 or maybe the DA 16-45 or even the DA 18-55.

For 3/4 body and full body shots, I'd be more inclined to use a focal length closer to 35mm or less rather than 50.

09-25-2013, 09:37 AM   #9
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QuoteOriginally posted by pdo Quote
Get a used FA 50mm 1.4 or a new DA 50mm 1.8.
+1

Those would both do the trick.
09-25-2013, 09:45 AM   #10
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I find 50mm to be too long for full length "portraits" on a cropped body, but it's just about right on film. So maybe a DA 35 f/2.4 or, if you can find one an FA 35 f/2.
09-25-2013, 09:49 AM   #11
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If you're shooting outdoors, and don't need the speed, something like an FA28-70/4 is a pretty nice & affordable lens. A bit soft wide-open, but this could work to your advantage on portraits. SMC Pentax-FA 28-70mm F4 AL Reviews - FA Zoom Lenses - Pentax Lens Reviews & Lens Database
09-25-2013, 09:58 AM   #12
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A50/1.4
09-25-2013, 09:59 AM   #13
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Samyang 35/1.4 or 24/1.4
09-25-2013, 10:51 AM   #14
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I've found the FA31 works well for full-body, so you should use your 28/3.5, or get the DA35/2.4 (both of which are good lenses I've had in the past).
09-25-2013, 10:59 AM   #15
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DA 40mm XS. Fast AF, very sharp, practically no distortion. Wide open its not perfect (purple fringing due to sharpness), but its a great all roud lens with nice enough bokeh. It might be a little too sharp (unforgivingly) for close up portraits, but for 3/4 body it should be great. And it doesnt cost too much. You can get the ltd if you have the budget - it has QS and a more convenient filter thread

Edit: Or your 28mm, if it is up to the task. The DA 35mm f2.4 might not be the best choice because it has some distortion, which can make people in portraits look a little rounder than they are (though, it might be okay for full body portraits, never tried it for that)
Of course, you can take full body portraits at almost every focal length, just depends on how much space you have and the angle of light
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