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01-31-2014, 12:18 PM   #1
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help with lens

hi everyone, i am new here and fairly new to the dslr. i have picked up a k-r with the 18-55 kit lens. my question is.... what is a good or even decent lens for portraits? i have looked at the 35mmf2.4 but it is way to much .the 50mm is alot cheaper,but is it any good for portraits. i thank u for any help you could give

01-31-2014, 12:41 PM   #2
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The kit lens is OK, it's no dedicated portrait lens. Generally 50-100mm is good for portraits, so you're not in your subject's face.

You might consider keeping an eye open for an older manual lens. An M or A series 50mm f1:1.7 should cost $20 or so, and give very good results. A series is easier to use. You'll have to manually focus, but with portraits, that's not usually a problem.
01-31-2014, 01:01 PM   #3
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Go with the 50mm, it will be really good for most portraiture.
01-31-2014, 01:09 PM   #4
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I've taken some wonderful portraits with my kit lens (AL II) at around the 45mm range, f/8 aperture. Give it enough light and it will do well. If you take pictures inside, I would buy a cheap yet good flash like the AF280T (which I have, it can be bought for 30 dollars, mine was free with a film camera) and bounce it off walls or ceiling, or get a cheap remote and use it off camera. Then put the camera and flash in manual and just adjust the exposure to get the results you want at 160 shutter speed. That's what I do and depending on the place where I am, I can go from f/5.6 to f/11. Of course if you're outside in the sun, just put it on Program and have at it! It will usually pick f/8 by default, at least my K20D does. It seems to know what the sweet spot of that lens is

But I've taken even better portraits with my DA 35mm 2.4 (53mm on APS-C, so it's a portrait lens alright), and the DA 50mm 1.8 would do even better, I think, and both can be had from BHPhoto for 181 dollars, shipped to your home! I don't think you can beat that value.
Other than the 35mm 2.4, I love using my SMC-A 135mm 2.8 (manual focus), but it can be a bit pricey in the used market. The Takumar 135mm 2.5 Bayonet is 98% as good, and is a lot cheaper. Being a 135, you'll need a lot of room between you and your subject. My Ricoh Rikenon 50mm 1.4 also gets used a lot, it can really shine in low light situations at the f/2 aperture setting. Wide open, not so good. But it's a fully manual lens, no "A" setting, so you have to know if you'll get used to that.

Lately though, I've discovered a wonderful portrait lens... one I've had for a while, but never used for portraits before... it's the SMC-A 70-210mm f/4. It sells used on Ebay from anywhere between 20 and 100+ dollars. Most of the ones that sold on Ebay recently were priced around 40-60 dollars. That lens, while being and older, heavy zoom, has a skin rendition and tone that is absolutely marvelous. I took it (and my tripod) outside to take pictures of the kids and the wife in the snow a couple days ago, and the while I already knew the color and contrast of that lens are wonderful, the only-sharp-enough rendition of the images flattered the faces tremendously. The colors are wonderful straight out of the camera. I mostly used it between 70 and 100mm which is where it's better, but it's still a good lens until around 150mm. After that, the contrast and sharpness decline quite a bit, at least on my copy, and the images lose that impact.

Anyway, I don't think you'll go wrong with one of the plastic DA lenses (35 2.4 and 50 1.8). 181 dollars shipped, and the optics are superb. Just remember to follow a B&H Photo link from this site, to support it That's what I did when I got mine.

01-31-2014, 01:47 PM   #5
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I bought my 35mm DA for $125 on eBay & my DA 50mm for $116 bundled with my camera from B&H. I'm VERY pleased at the affordable prices I paid for them.
02-01-2014, 05:00 PM   #6
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thanks everyone for the alot of good info .glad to be part of this forum
02-01-2014, 05:20 PM   #7
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50 mm is an ideal focal length for portraiture on APS-C. You should be very pleased with the results.

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