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10-01-2013, 10:41 PM   #16
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QuoteOriginally posted by Doundounba Quote
Come now, on APS-C, 31mm is equivalent to almost 50mm FOV on full frame... surely distortion's not that bad? Shooting further away also tends to flatten features, IMHO. Looking at this sample page, the (full frame) focal length I personally prefer is... 50mm. That's the classic portrait focal length, is it not? That translates to ~33mm on APS-C, does it not? Plus, can't cameras like the K-5 correct lens distortion? Both lenses seem like they would make fine portrait tools to me...

No, 50mm is not classic 35mm portrait focal length. That would be 85-105mm.

10-01-2013, 11:54 PM   #17
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Hi there,

You should grab your kit lens and then go ahead and shoot (people/portraits/whatever suits you). Afterwards check the most used focals... go grab which focal is nearer...
I think if you like classic portraits then go for the 55 but if you prefer environmental portraits then 31 it is... never had those lenses, maybe never will (drool) but am loving both my S-M-C tak 50 1.4 and K 28 3.5 for portraits... 2 different yet amazing lenses and different uses as well...
10-02-2013, 03:13 AM   #18
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There is no fix lengths in my opinion...I mostly shoot portraits and street and my most used lens is M50/1.4 followed by Samyang 85/1.4.

I also use Sigma 30/1.4 and FA31 for the half body and street portraits where surrounding is important.

but now I need a change in style, so started using 19mm/f.28 with Sony nex and got some interesting portraits from it too.
10-02-2013, 04:41 AM   #19
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I recently acquired the FA77 and have been loving it for portraits so far. The DA70 is pretty good too but I definitely prefer the FA77.

10-02-2013, 05:55 AM   #20
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QuoteOriginally posted by subphylum Quote
The 31mm is a fantastic lens, but you may need to spend some more time with it. I do not run into any noticeable distortion with the lens, but I do have more CA. This is an issue i run into with all the FA limiteds. I do not have the 55mm 1.4, but i do not hear of many complaints in that department. The newer lenses might have newer coatings with help in this area. However, if you have a bit of time to spend in Lightroom this can easily be fixed. Also have you considered a 50mm 1.2?
Thanks, CA isn't cool, but if it's minor I could deal with it. I would *love* the 50mm 1.2 but thats outta my budget at the moment, and not available to rent I can get the 50mm 1.4 - but the 55mm had better reviews
10-02-2013, 06:02 AM   #21
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QuoteOriginally posted by Tanzer Quote
"Portrait" means different things to different people. Some shots are large group shots where you might have trouble fitting a lot of people into the frame. Others are individual head shots, or head-and-shoulders shots, where you need to isolate your subject. So I would base this decision on what type of portraits you really intend to take.

What others are saying about the distance is true. If you get too close to someone with a lens, their face will look distorted. On the other hand, there are diminishing returns, and once you are a sufficient working distance away from your subject(s), adding another 20 feet of distance isn't going to magically turn someone into a supermodel. And it forces you to shout louder.

In summary, you want to minimize distortion by keeping a satisfactory working distance, and isolate your subject from a distracting background by choosing a relatively long lens, or at least avoiding a wide angle lens.

I have both the 31 and the 55, and they are both awesome lenses. Without knowing more about how you intend to shoot, the safe bet would be the 55, because you are outdoors and presumably have room to move around. But just realize you might have to step back a bit to fit large groups in the shot.

Or, you could rent both, I suppose.
If only I could rent both, I'd be a happy camper for a week, but no lol.. gotta make one lens work for everyone who's bugging me for pictures, which is: a senior boy, a family of 5 (with a baby), a family of 4, and possibly some more individual people shots or couples. I know one lens is never ideal for all of those situations, but they will all be outside.
10-02-2013, 06:05 AM   #22
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QuoteOriginally posted by HoBykoYan Quote
Hi there,

You should grab your kit lens and then go ahead and shoot (people/portraits/whatever suits you). Afterwards check the most used focals... go grab which focal is nearer...
I think if you like classic portraits then go for the 55 but if you prefer environmental portraits then 31 it is... never had those lenses, maybe never will (drool) but am loving both my S-M-C tak 50 1.4 and K 28 3.5 for portraits... 2 different yet amazing lenses and different uses as well...
Very good idea, I will play around with it and see!
10-02-2013, 06:07 AM   #23
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31ltd would be ideal for full body and group portraits, 55, is more upper body. If you get any closer you get perspective distortion (as opposed to lens distortion). you can however step backwards and more of the scene in if there is room to do so!

10-02-2013, 06:10 AM   #24
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Let me tell you part of the reason I feel like I'm drawn to that 31mm. First, the reviews are wonderful. Second, one of the best photographers in our area does a lot of portraits with a wide angle lens (probably much wider than the 31mm because I see quite a bit of distortion in some of his images, but his photos are always so unique, he has great ideas, great color, and the use of the wide angle lens seems to give him a different look that everyone likes, and he can pull more of the background into the shot, which I like!) If you want to check out what I mean, his images are at: hawk_eye_photography's photosets on Flickr
10-02-2013, 06:15 AM   #25
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QuoteOriginally posted by laughlady99 Quote
If only I could rent both, I'd be a happy camper for a week, but no lol.. gotta make one lens work for everyone who's bugging me for pictures, which is: a senior boy, a family of 5 (with a baby), a family of 4, and possibly some more individual people shots or couples. I know one lens is never ideal for all of those situations, but they will all be outside.
Thanks for clarifying. Since you won't have any super large group shots, and a fair amount of individual shots/couples, and the fact that you are outdoors with room to move back, I think you would probably be better served by the 55.

Good luck and enjoy, whatever you decide.
10-02-2013, 06:20 AM   #26
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FOR EXAMPLE, if I wanted to do a shot like this, I would probably need the 31mm right? Because I would have to be so far back with the 55mm that I'd have to be flying? lol
All sizes | 05162013 COLLIN (29) | Flickr - Photo Sharing!
10-02-2013, 07:05 AM   #27
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QuoteOriginally posted by laughlady99 Quote
Thanks, CA isn't cool, but if it's minor I could deal with it. I would *love* the 50mm 1.2 but thats outta my budget at the moment, and not available to rent I can get the 50mm 1.4 - but the 55mm had better reviews
Isn't the price of the DA* 55/1.4 about the same as a K50/1.2? (both used, since you can't buy a new 50/1.2)

I mean, given the choice between the two, I'd take the DA* anyway, but if you can get that, you should be able to consider the 50/1.2 as well.
10-02-2013, 07:21 AM   #28
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QuoteOriginally posted by thornburg Quote
Isn't the price of the DA* 55/1.4 about the same as a K50/1.2? (both used, since you can't buy a new 50/1.2)

I mean, given the choice between the two, I'd take the DA* anyway, but if you can get that, you should be able to consider the 50/1.2 as well.


I'm not buying either one, I'm just renting at the moment I would be happy purchasing either one but I don't want to start buying expensive lenses until I'm 100% sure thats the one I want to buy. Ebay has the 50 1.4 for under $500. The 55/1.4 that I'm considering renting is about $700 to buy on Ebay, and the 31/1.8 that I'm considering renting is between $900 - $1500. Way out of my price range...
10-02-2013, 07:54 AM   #29
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QuoteOriginally posted by laughlady99 Quote
Let me tell you part of the reason I feel like I'm drawn to that 31mm. First, the reviews are wonderful. Second, one of the best photographers in our area does a lot of portraits with a wide angle lens (probably much wider than the 31mm because I see quite a bit of distortion in some of his images, but his photos are always so unique, he has great ideas, great color, and the use of the wide angle lens seems to give him a different look that everyone likes, and he can pull more of the background into the shot, which I like!) If you want to check out what I mean, his images are at: hawk_eye_photography's photosets on Flickr
if you know him personally, pass feedback about horrible watermarks he used

btw, Sigma 30/1.4 is equally wonderful lens if you don't want to spend on FA31. I own both and very recently posted blind comparison shots and most people seems to have liked Sigma 30 pics better.
10-02-2013, 08:52 AM - 1 Like   #30
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QuoteOriginally posted by laughlady99 Quote
FOR EXAMPLE, if I wanted to do a shot like this, I would probably need the 31mm right? Because I would have to be so far back with the 55mm that I'd have to be flying? lol
All sizes | 05162013 COLLIN (29) | Flickr - Photo Sharing!
Yes, I think the DA*55 would be too long to get that kind of shot. In that shot, as a viewer, you really feel intimate with the subject, standing right there on the stairs. This is a very well-composed shot, IMO, because it takes advantage of the stairway and handrails and the perspective distortion becomes an element of the composition. If this photo were taken straight on, on level ground, it probably wouldn't be so interesting.

The same effect is sometimes used when photographing models, by taking the shot from low on the ground. This makes a model's legs appear longer.

Getting close and intimate with the subject is one benefit of using a shorter lens, and why many "street" photographers like to use wider lenses -- it makes the viewer feel like he/she is right there.

So, it really depends on what kind of portraits you want to take. If you are looking to capture a more intimate feeling of mingling with your family, the FA31 would definitely work. And while both lenses produce excellent bokeh, the FA31 rendering of skin tones is legendary.

Last edited by Tanzer; 10-02-2013 at 09:01 AM.
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