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02-22-2014, 10:15 PM - 1 Like   #16
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The FA77 Limited is superb lens for portraiture. Most 50mm lenses give you working distances that are way too short for head and shoulders portraits, they also have more distortion than longer lenses.

The FA77 also has exquisite construction quality, an aperture ring which I consider extremely useful when working with flash. It also is impressively sharp @ f/1.8 though you do have to watch for purple fringing in high contrast areas at apertures wider than f/4.


Pentax K5IIs with the SMCP-FA77mm f/1.8 Limited @ f/2.8



Last edited by Digitalis; 02-22-2014 at 10:24 PM.
02-23-2014, 02:04 AM   #17
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QuoteOriginally posted by Digitalis Quote
Most 50mm lenses give you working distances that are way too short for head and shoulders portraits, they also have more distortion than longer lenses.
I find both of these points to be curious. A 50mm lens on APS-C provides working distance equivalent to that of a 75mm lens on 35mm film*. Moving on, what "distortion" are you referring to? Most well-designed 50mm lenses have negligible optical distortion. If, on the other hand, you are referring to feature exaggeration due to perspective, I would point out (again) that working distance with a 50mm lens on APS-C is more than adequate to provide a pleasing perspective (say about 1 meter for head/shoulder).

At the end of the day, it really comes down to the creative vision of the photographer. You can truly make interesting and even flattering portraits with almost any lens.


Steve


* 70mm to 85mm being the classic focal length range for portraiture on 35mm film with the range of 50mm to 135mm being acceptable.

Last edited by stevebrot; 02-23-2014 at 02:09 AM.
02-23-2014, 02:14 AM   #18
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The Samyang 85 1.4 seems to get good reviews, especially for price. It is MF though.
02-23-2014, 03:22 AM   #19
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QuoteOriginally posted by stevebrot Quote
referring to feature exaggeration due to perspective, I would point out (again) that working distance with a 50mm lens on APS-C is more than adequate to provide a pleasing perspective (say about 1 meter for head/shoulder).
Yes i'm talking about perspective distortion, personally I think that being 3 feet or less from your subject is close quarters: and you still have to fit lighting between you an your subject. 1m doesn't leave a great deal of wiggle room especially if you are working with large light shaping tools. Though my concerns come from a studio and location portrait photographer - YMMV.

QuoteOriginally posted by stevebrot Quote
At the end of the day, it really comes down to the creative vision of the photographer. You can truly make interesting and even flattering portraits with almost any lens.
In essence this statement is true, but when it comes to portraiture and focal length there is always a bell curve when focal lengths are concerned. I prefer to work around 85mm to 200mm range - though this depends on the format I'm working with and upon what I'm trying to achieve. I have shot portraits with an 800mm lens before.

02-23-2014, 09:02 AM - 1 Like   #20
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QuoteOriginally posted by Digitalis Quote
I have shot portraits with an 800mm lens before.
8x10


Steve
02-23-2014, 05:17 PM   #21
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QuoteOriginally posted by stevebrot Quote
8x10
nope...on 35mm. The longest lens I have ever used on 8X10 format was a nikkor 1200mm f/18 - which required a bellows extension of 755mm to focus at infinity* it also had to be stopped down to f/32 to cover 8X10 format properly without fall off....ah those were the days...

*The bellows on my Ebony SV810E maxes out at 850mm. I had to use two tripods to keep the camera stable outdoors: one under the rear standard another under the front standard.

Last edited by Digitalis; 02-23-2014 at 05:25 PM.
02-23-2014, 08:13 PM   #22
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QuoteOriginally posted by chickentender Quote
I've not heard of SDM issues with the 55mm... Only the zoom types. As long as you're discerning you can find great used buys, particularly if you donate and access the marketplace here. KEH is an excellent resource as well. A few weeks ago I found an 8 year old copy of the 43mm LTD for what seemed like a steal - had a few scratches in the lens cap but otherwise it was near flawless.

Also, for what it's worth, i won a 77mm for 640 on the Bay earlier last week. (completed the set for me after 3 years) It came with everything that was included new and if the edges of the manual hadn't been dog eared in a couple places and the box a bit worn, I would've sworn it *was* new. People generally take quite good care of their Limiteds. that's definitely over your budget, but not by a huge amount.
Ah, you got the bid.... At that time, I just hoped I could get it around $550... but apparenly you lifted up the price to win the awesome bid:-)
02-23-2014, 10:23 PM   #23
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QuoteOriginally posted by Digitalis Quote
Yes i'm talking about perspective distortion, personally I think that being 3 feet or less from your subject is close quarters: and you still have to fit lighting between you an your subject. 1m doesn't leave a great deal of wiggle room especially if you are working with large light shaping tools. Though my concerns come from a studio and location portrait photographer - YMMV.



In essence this statement is true, but when it comes to portraiture and focal length there is always a bell curve when focal lengths are concerned. I prefer to work around 85mm to 200mm range - though this depends on the format I'm working with and upon what I'm trying to achieve. I have shot portraits with an 800mm lens before.
This was 400mm. The subject was snorting and spitting, classic non cooperative client. Not the nice curly beard unfortunately.



02-24-2014, 08:19 AM - 1 Like   #24
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<$250: F50 1.7 or FA50 1.7
>$250 FA43 1.9 Ltd or DA*55 1.4
02-24-2014, 09:00 AM   #25
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I know this is going to be different, and it's not a lens I own... (I wish!)... but how about the SMC 50mm f/1.2? It can be found under 500 dollars... yes it's manual focus, but I don't think anything in its price range can touch it as far as rendering, skin tones and especially OOF.

You might even have some money left to add a SMC-K 55mm f/1.8 or f/2... I have the f/2 and it's a stunning lens! Very different from the Pentax 50s. I like its look and colors, it's very sharp and the handling is a delight. I just paid 24 bucks for it a couple weeks ago from KEH, best 24 bucks ever spent
02-24-2014, 09:23 AM   #26
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I had the The 70/2.4 Limited and it worked well, but ended up selling it for the 77mm ltd. I don't regret it at all. (Also have the FA 50 1.4, but am selling that one too.)
02-24-2014, 02:49 PM   #27
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QuoteOriginally posted by ChristianRock Quote
how about the SMC 50mm f/1.2? It can be found under 500 dollars... yes it's manual focus, but I don't think anything in its price range can touch it as far as rendering, skin tones and especially OOF
Manually focusing at f/1.2 isn't easy.
02-24-2014, 03:44 PM   #28
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You can take plenty of nice portraits with the FA 50/1.4. The 1.7 ones are good too, and even cheaper. I'd imagine that the 50/1.8 would do well here also. The 50mm lenses were so plentiful back in the day that they occupy a very sweet place on the price/performance curve.
02-24-2014, 04:35 PM   #29
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Obviously the '77 Limited is a superb lens. I regret selling mine and hope to reacquire one. The Voigtlander Nokton 58mm SLII f1.4 is a superb manual focus option for less if you can find one. No longer in production in K mount sadly. They do come up in the Classifieds from time to time. Terrific rendering and build quality. A keeper IMO.
02-24-2014, 06:29 PM   #30
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I love the 50/1.2 ... not easy to handle - but razor sharp ....
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