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05-19-2014, 07:36 AM   #1
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Which lens for birthday portrait?

I'm still obsessed with why the professional person's pics came out so great for daughter year 1 and 3,
and the discount professional I am certain I can do as well with my *ist, which I upgraded to the K200 but that is not
the point.

The professional person is now out of my price range for a single daddy. She had a Nikon, I think. D something, I think.
But the lens was about at least 4 inches across and no longer than 1.5 inches. It might have been 5 inches across
and as thin as an inch. I was not able to get that closer to it.

So, which lens do I need for birthday photos? These things are expensive enough that I just can't make a mistake.

Below is the third birthday with the super duper person, and contrasted with the discount person that used a low level
canon with a kit lens. Thanks.

Attached Images
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Canon EOS 5D Mark III  Photo 
View Picture EXIF
NIKON D7000  Photo 
05-19-2014, 08:19 AM   #2
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What is your lens budget?

For me it would be the FA 77 or DA*55.

Last edited by Driline; 05-19-2014 at 08:25 AM.
05-19-2014, 08:26 AM   #3
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I prefer under $500 used if available.
However, with being a one time single purchase that I will use for the next 10 years at least
to capture birthday and other important events, I would say in reality the budget will be
as much as it needs to be (just can't be crazy money like $5k).

Last edited by condor27596; 05-19-2014 at 08:26 AM. Reason: needed to say used not new
05-19-2014, 08:34 AM   #4
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Hi Condor. As Driline suggests a budget might be helpful so I can make some relevant suggestions. Without that, I would suggest a fast focusing lens unless your daughter is patient with manual focus....the images you are showing have a fairly shallow depth of focus so something fast if you want something similar. If you want to stick with pentax you might consider the DA 50 1.8 it can be had for less than 200.00 and that would do the trick. The FA 50 1.7 goes for about the same price. If you have excellent manual focusing abilities there are many cheaper options.

You can check out the lens clubs for some examples
https://www.pentaxforums.com/forums/122-lens-clubs/233786-fantastic-fifty-da-50mm-f-1-8-a.html


Last edited by Dice; 05-19-2014 at 08:41 AM.
05-19-2014, 08:40 AM   #5
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It sounds like your Nikon pro had a prime lens, going by your description. Maybe the ubuquitous 35mm 1.8 that every Nikon person I know has. It's a fantastic lens.

For Pentax, we have a similar 35mm 2.4 lens which I think is fantastic for taking pictures of kids and chasing them around, or to just put on when going out with the family and making sure we get some good pictures. But even better for portraits would be the 50mm 1.8. Right now on Amazon the 35 2.4 is 139.90 and the 50 1.8 is 189.90 so both of them together are still easily within your budget - and they'll bring you lots of satisfaction for many years to come. They'll also be of much better image quality than any zoom lens within your budget.

So, for practical purposes:
- If you're just going to follow your kid around and take pictures, put the 35mm 2.4 on. It will work well in a lot of situations.
- If you're specifically going to shoot portraits, or if you are outside in a wider area, put the 50mm 1.8 on. It isolates your subject better and will give you fantastic portraits.
05-19-2014, 08:42 AM   #6
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I have the 35 and the 50.
I do a lot of story telling with the 35 (for lack of a better word, used as a point and shoot for action).
The 50 not as much I've not figured it out as well yet.

I did read on the 70 and 77mm. Some people loved the 70, others the 77.
The price difference is a bit so I have to be 100 percent sure.

This lens will be specifically for fantastic portrait shots. I will eventually get a better camera and flash as well.

Last edited by condor27596; 05-19-2014 at 08:45 AM. Reason: needed to fill more
05-19-2014, 09:03 AM   #7
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QuoteOriginally posted by condor27596 Quote
I have the 35 and the 50.
I do a lot of story telling with the 35 (for lack of a better word, used as a point and shoot for action).
The 50 not as much I've not figured it out as well yet.

I did read on the 70 and 77mm. Some people loved the 70, others the 77.
The price difference is a bit so I have to be 100 percent sure.

This lens will be specifically for fantastic portrait shots. I will eventually get a better camera and flash as well.
I had the DA70 and it renders very nicely. But considering you already have the DA 50, you might already have what you need. I found the DA 70 a little long for more casual portraits. The 50 on APS-c gives you a very nice portrait FOV. Consider spending the money you'll save by not buying the lens on a flash and maybe some good books on portraiture. Or begin (if you haven't already) studying portraits to learn what works and what doesn't. I recently got a portrait lens and I'm going through a learning curve. Studying images is a cheap way to go.
05-19-2014, 09:11 AM - 1 Like   #8
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QuoteOriginally posted by condor27596 Quote
I have the 35 and the 50.
Those are two great lenses! You can do excelent portraits with any of those. More expensive lenses wonŽt get you better pictures until you understand lighting, composition and decisive moment.
The difference in the pictures you posted are not based on the equipment each photographer used, but on the decisions they made. How they composed the scene (vertical, subject in the center, background vs horizontal, subject to the left, tree, background), how they light the subject (look where the light comes from and shadows) and the exact moment they decided to press the shutter (laughing vs attention). Last, the "look" of each photo is based on post processing decisions.

So, since you already have nice lenses, youŽll have to invest not money, but something much more valuable: your time. To read, experiment and practice until you get the hang of it.

05-19-2014, 09:11 AM   #9
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A quick purusal says I got the cheap 50.
I investigate more.
05-19-2014, 09:47 AM   #10
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QuoteOriginally posted by condor27596 Quote
I prefer under $500 used if available.
However, with being a one time single purchase that I will use for the next 10 years at least
to capture birthday and other important events, I would say in reality the budget will be
as much as it needs to be (just can't be crazy money like $5k).
For me, either a DA 70 limited or FA77 limited will suit. The DA is cheaper than the FA.
The exifs shows for both pictures, high end lenses like the Canon 85 mm f1.2, but used at f3.5, the DA will be fine.
Cheers
05-19-2014, 11:44 AM   #11
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Are you sure that the difference that you are seeing isn't mostly down to post processing?
05-19-2014, 12:06 PM   #12
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I don't know. I can say the bottom pic was a canon kit no better or even not as good as my pentax setup. Particuarly she was using the kit lens. ( before I knew what a kit lens was).

The top pic I'm sure her camera cost as much as my car. But her hourly rate reflects it. I do know she does post processing. I do not know if the bottom pic was even processed at all.
05-19-2014, 12:13 PM   #13
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QuoteOriginally posted by condor27596 Quote
I don't know. I can say the bottom pic was a canon kit no better or even not as good as my pentax setup. Particuarly she was using the kit lens. ( before I knew what a kit lens was).

The top pic I'm sure her camera cost as much as my car. But her hourly rate reflects it. I do know she does post processing. I do not know if the bottom pic was even processed at all.
Both photographs were made with really good cameras and lenses. Click on "View Picture EXIF" above the top left corner of each image to see 5D MIII + 85/1.2 for the first one and D7000 + 24-70/2.8 for the second one. No kit lens or inexpensive gear at all.
You are just judging based on size and, as I wrote before, it doesnŽt matter...
05-19-2014, 12:34 PM   #14
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Kit lens for the bottom picture? Hardly. As carrrlangas said, it's a D7000 (equivalent to a K-5 II) with a 24-70 f/2.8 Nikon lens (almost two grand!).

Still, I see significant PP having been done, particularly in the 2nd picture. The 1st one probably didn't have hardly any - and to be honest, doesn't look as good as I expected a Canon 5D MkIII + 85 f/1.2 to look like.

If you have PP skills, there is no reason why you shouldn't be able to get a similar quality look from your DA 50 1.8 lens, IMHO. With the FA77, you might go even further than what she got - if the light is correct, because with these older sensors like the ones you have, as soon as you get the ISO up, the quality goes down quickly.
05-19-2014, 01:27 PM   #15
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I think the real difference between these two portraits is the lighting. The "super" photo appears to have been taken under a soft, overcast sky while the other seems to be during intense afternoon daylight, though she is in the shadow of the tree.
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