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07-20-2015, 03:19 AM   #31
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QuoteOriginally posted by cantthink193 Quote
I definitely rate the 70mm Limited. I was snapping away (i.e. not the official photographer) at a friends wedding the other day and it produces great shots. The size is a definite plus as well - very portable and much less intimidating than a massive dark eye staring from the camera. Prime is a little more fussy to use at a wedding but for general portraiture it was excellent. The only limitation is that it could have been slightly faster for the indoor dancing and could've kept me ISO 1600 and below, but had to make the jump to 3200 to hold people still enough. Can't show any of the true portrait photos as I don't know that my friends would want their wedding all over the internet, but this was conveniently anonymous. Motion blur intentional! I've also appended a couple of portraits of the newly-married couple's cats taken with the 70mm (again, indoors and fairly dark) which shows a little of the depth of field/bokeh.


Swirl by Callan S, ISO3200 on Flickr




I love the black and white one of the cat

07-20-2015, 03:35 AM   #32
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Thanks - it's one of my favourite photos taken with the lens since I got it (roughly a month or so ago!), although it put in a sterling performance at the wedding I mentioned. It's one of those lenses that you just point at people and they look good - it has that 'magic touch'. My copy suffers a bit more than the average with CAs wide open, by the looks of things, but it's all getting in hand by f3.2.

Whole reason I found this thread was because I am thinking of getting a fast (f2.8) zoom for a wedding I've been asked to semi-formally shoot for some friends in a few months time. I'll be interested to see the result of your initial dilemma. Seems that all asking the forum has done for you so far is increase the number of options you've got!
07-20-2015, 05:39 AM   #33
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Are you using a film or full frame camera because those lenses you mentioned are a little bit too long on an ASP-C camera unless you like to back-up a lot from your subject.
07-20-2015, 09:12 AM   #34
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QuoteOriginally posted by cantthink193 Quote
Whole reason I found this thread was because I am thinking of getting a fast (f2.8) zoom for a wedding I've been asked to semi-formally shoot for some friends in a few months time. I'll be interested to see the result of your initial dilemma. Seems that all asking the forum has done for you so far is increase the number of options you've got!
Same dilemma here. I need semi portrait/ candid fast lens for the wedding in September (as a guest ), and just bought 30mm f1.4 EX DC HSM Sigma lens in addition to DA70mm and the others I have. I will not risk to use manual focus for the wedding, and I also want TTL flash to work with fast lens.

I love DA 70mm ltd indoors, but I want wider coverage in tight spaces for group candids.

Ok, my son will kill me for posting this publicly , but I want to show 70mm indoors with the flash on the camera. We were just having fun at night at home, so he does not like his "messy" look. It's a bit tight frame since it has been taken in the kitchen.

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07-20-2015, 11:55 AM   #35
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QuoteOriginally posted by micromacro Quote
Same dilemma here. I need semi portrait/ candid fast lens for the wedding in September (as a guest ), and just bought 30mm f1.4 EX DC HSM Sigma lens in addition to DA70mm and the others I have. I will not risk to use manual focus for the wedding, and I also want TTL flash to work with fast lens.

I love DA 70mm ltd indoors, but I want wider coverage in tight spaces for group candids.
I shot a wedding as a guest over the weekend, using pretty much exclusively the 70mm and the 15mm Limiteds (and unusually, a couple of shots with the DA 10-17mm fisheye). It was an outdoor wedding then a ceilidh in a tent - used the 70mm for nearly everything and then the 15mm for closer groups/tight spaces. Works reasonably well, although for 'proper' stuff the perspective of the 15mm might be a bit harsh on the outliers
07-20-2015, 01:37 PM   #36
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QuoteOriginally posted by cantthink193 Quote
the perspective of the 15mm might be a bit harsh on the outliers
I think so That's why I hope 30mm will be wide enough for candids, and flattering.
07-20-2015, 01:58 PM   #37
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Of course when I gave all I had to get the 77 I see 1000 comments on how great the 85 is for portraits ...

Granted my skills are low. My best portraits have been the 35 plastic fantastic. Second best the 50. With a 1.5 magnification factor you have to be so far back with the 77. It's hard to use. I'm sure it will get easier.

However the messing around pics are fantastic.

Is there not a really great lens in the 35 range other than the expensive 31 ?
07-20-2015, 02:45 PM   #38
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QuoteQuote:
Is there not a really great lens in the 35 range other than the expensive 31 ?
There's always the DA 35mm Limited - a great lens, although it depends what you want it for. For fast moving stuff it sometimes hunts if it misses the focus (which takes ages because of the macro-length focusing ring) but it's sharp as anything and built like a tank. Is it worth replacing your DA 35mm f2.4 with? Probably not, unless the macro is important to you (and if it is, get a longer macro lens). If you also own a Pentax Q with the adapter the 35mm macro becomes an absolute beast for close-ups of almost anything. For single-person portraits, I'd still want longer.

I'm thinking more about a portrait zoom at the moment, especially as I sold my 18-55mm lens with my old K200D body when I upgraded to the K-S2. For rapid situations where things are moving about it gives a touch more flexibility than the prime, but they also tend to look more intimidating. Currently overrun with options.
- Sigma 18-35mm f1.8 (but tonnes of autofocus issues)
- Sigma 17-50 EX f2.8 (good and cheap, poor corner sharpness until stopped down to f4, which brings me to...)
- Sigma 17-70 f2.8-4 (good, longer, cheaper - also there's the tammy version)
- Pentax Limited 20-40mm.

I've pretty much ruled out the Pentax DA* 16-50 as it gets crushed in all the comparisons against the sigmas/tamron. If anyone has any experience using these for portraits that'd be much appreciated, and I'll also throw those down as options for a portrait lens to plooksta, just to make life harder still!

07-21-2015, 01:21 AM   #39
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Lol thanks for the suggestions and thoughts. I still don't have one, but very taken with the 70 Ltd.
07-21-2015, 08:12 AM   #40
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Samyang 85mm is pretty good for portraits, but I must admit a preference for a good zoom when I'm doing formal portraits because this allows for more precise perspective and framing control. I find the a35-105 f/3.5 ideal wide open for portraits. If I had the money, the 50-135 is superb and it does give you a little more speed. Agree with Na, macro lenses often yield unflattering portraits.
07-21-2015, 09:11 AM   #41
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I also asked myself this question (what general portrait lens) and I have a few manual 50s that I've used a bit but always ended up going back to the 35mm 2.4 because it's got AF and skin tones are wonderful with it (they're just as good with the M 50 1.7 but it's hard to get pics of moving kids). Its equivalent FL of 53mm is good enough for portraits, I find. But sometimes you do want something longer. I find that 50mm is a perfect FL on APS-C so I ordered a Pentax-F 50mm f1.7. It should be here later this week. If it's as good as my M 50 1.7, which I've been using quite a bit lately, I'll be very very happy.
07-21-2015, 10:00 AM   #42
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After much agonising and research I've decided that I will go with the DA* 50-135mm and the Sigma EX 17-50mm f2.8 as my 'wedding kit' when the wedding finally rolls around. Got a few months to save some pennies as it's next summer - rather considerate of the couple to give me some warning.

I shall, of course, be bringing the DA 70mm Limited with me, because it's still brilliant. I just think the long end of the 135mm will be useful if I cant get close enough for the 70mm to kick in, and the short end similarly, but in reverse. If I weren't going to be the only one there taking pictures in an 'official' capacity I'd just stick with the 15/35/70 combination.
07-21-2015, 11:38 PM   #43
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I myself use my 77mm for portraiture for which of course the lens is just amazing. I do have the 100mm WR and it can be used for portraiture; it doesn't focuse as fast as the 77mm in either manual or automatic for, as it should, being a macro it takes quite a bit of turning to go from close to infinity, and there's no focus limiter to help speed things up either. With the 100mm you do need to stand fairly far away for portraits, but you do get a decent amount of subject isolation with nice bokeh.

Don't worry about the lens being unflattering due to being too sharp, you can always soften an image up in postprocessing, use a diffusion filter, or take the pictures slightly out of focus, you could even set your camera up to automatically ever so slightly miss peak focus with the 100mm in automatic mode using the, "AF Fine Adjustment" in the custom function menu.

Plus if you got the 100mm WR, like you note, you would have a top-notch macro lens that happens to be weather resistant and full frame compatible!

One thing I will say is that the 100mm is sort of unpredictable and temperamental more so than say my 77. My 77 always just seems to nail photos every single time, even if I take a picture that's complete garbage it seems to always turn out magically looking better than what I have thought. Now the 100 -_- sometimes it nails a shot and when it nails it it really nails it. But There's plenty of times I take a shot that I think should turn out pretty good and it just falls flat.
So in my completely subjective opinion it is not the type of lens I would want to use for portraiture, because taking a portrait unlike still life weighs so heavily on that split moment of emotion peeking through the model. So when I get a second or two of magic from a model I want to have confidence that my lens is going to nail it, and using the 100mm would always leave me nervous wondering whether or not I was really able to capture the moment when it counted.

So if you're looking for an exclusive portrait lens you can probably do better than the 100mm, if you're okay with a decent portrait lens, then get the 100mm because it's a lens that offers a lot of benefits!

One other thing to keep in mind when looking for a lens for portraiture is: What millimeter length does the human face look best to you?

The lower the millimeter the more expanded the face is, the higher the millimeter the more compressed the face is. The common wisdom is that the face looks best between 70mm and 80mm, (this is one of the reasons Pentax chose to make a lens at 77mm – the lucky number between 70 and 80!) Personally I think the human face looks best between 60mm and 135mm and I would not consider a lens for portraiture that did not fall in between that range. But that's just myself go ahead and look into how faces appear at different millimeter lengths and make your own determination, it might help you narrow, (or worst case hopelessly complicate) your decision.

Last edited by SGOMMO7; 07-21-2015 at 11:51 PM. Reason: Grammar
07-22-2015, 06:12 AM   #44
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My most used portrait lens these days is the 50-135/2.8. Among primes it is the FA77 followed by the FA50/1.4 followed by the DA 70. I am perhaps a shy photographer but I find 70-85 more comfortable than 50 for candid portraits. The 50s are great for studio.

I own and love the DFA 100 for macro and for tele landscapes or other applications requiring ultimate resolution. I find it too long for portraits, and its macro focus capable AF is noisy and hunts if the subject is moving, such as a child.
07-22-2015, 07:04 AM   #45
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Favorite portrait lenses

1. Pentax 77 mm f 1.8 ltd . . . face or face and shoulders
2. Canon FL 55 mm f 1.2 (permanent Pentax conversion) . . . any pose, but especially waist and up
3. Pentax 31 mm f 1.8 ltd . . . full body or groups

Pentax 77 mm ltd can be used for everything if you are shooting in an area with enough space to position yourself for the shot. Problem is when I zoom with my feet, I sometimes encounter a wall or other obstacle.

I also use one of a dozen or so nifty 50s on occasion or Helios 58 mm f 2.0. These will likely receive less use when the full-frame reaches me, and same with 31 ltd, although experimentation is in order, and time will tell.
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