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12-21-2015, 12:21 PM   #16
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QuoteOriginally posted by sTi Quote
The obvious answer is the current dedicated Pentax lens for portraits, the DA*55/1.4
Better bokeh than the 70/2.4 IMO, sharper than the 77/1.8 and less aberrations at the same aperture. However, the 77/1.8 might have a tad smoother bokeh, but both are outstanding in this respect; the DA 55/1.4 bokeh is a bit nervous at f/1.4, but from f/1.8 on it is very smooth.

I think on FF this would be for full body portraits more than head and shoulders. I would avoid 50 or 55mm focal length for a portrait lenses I would want to use on FF except if I'am after an environemental portrait.

12-21-2015, 12:37 PM   #17
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To me counting you think of FF, I would adivce one or 2 lenses in the 77-135mm range.

Great lenses to me include:
FA77
FA*85
DFA100 macro
F/FA 135 f/2.8 (only used but quite affordable and small for the focal length).

I currently own the FA77 and the F135 and I'am happy with both.

I think the FA*85 is too old / heavy / expensive but I would expect a new lens to come out soon (2016 ?) in that focal range. There was no new FA77 batch and the FA85 is discountinued.

A few FA77 samples (on APSC):
@f/1.8



@f/2



@f/3.5



@f/4.5



And a few F135 (on APSC):
@f/3.5



@f/2.8



@f/4

12-21-2015, 01:42 PM   #18
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I think the FA 77 is a really nice lens. Looking forward to when there is a full frame camera to mount it on, as it is a little long on a crop sensor.

This is the FA 77 at f2.4



The DA *55 is close in performance, as I use them both at f1.8 to f2 as maximum aperture. (this shot at f2.5)

12-21-2015, 01:47 PM - 2 Likes   #19
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Well most of the time what i do is portrait photography and about the lens depends of what you have NOW, and what you plan to have in the future... also the kind of portrait that you shoot.. in my case i love bokeh, so the 70-200 and 85mm f1.4 are my favorites for that. FA 77 f1.8 is a great great lens, but it wasnt ment for digital ( but of course it works great like most FA lenses ), thats why i went for the Sigma 85mm f1.4 HSM, i love that lens, lovely bokeh, sharp and fast.. You can check my flickr portfolio and see the exims of each photo, most are 70-200 or 85mm

ANDREA B.
by Roberto Duran

Michelle ( IMM )
by Roberto Duran

12-21-2015, 01:54 PM   #20
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The FA 77 ltd is the ultimate portrait lens as far as I'm concerned.
12-21-2015, 03:12 PM   #21
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QuoteOriginally posted by zzeitg Quote
There are more options if you don't insist on AF...


- A* 135 f1.8
- M 85 f2
- Sigma 85 f1.4
- Samyang 85 f1.4
- Samyang 135 f2
- Tokina 90 f2.5
- Helios-40 85 f1.5
- Jupiter-9 85 f2
- CZ 85 f1.4
- CZ 100 f2
- Porst 135 f1.8
- Soligor 100 f2
- Soligor 135 f1.8


Most of them with very nice bokeh.
Add to that: Zeiss T*Planar 85/1.4 ZK ... pricey, big but a real pearl!
12-21-2015, 06:46 PM   #22
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QuoteOriginally posted by kooks Quote
Well most of the time what i do is portrait photography and about the lens depends of what you have NOW, and what you plan to have in the future... also the kind of portrait that you shoot.. in my case i love bokeh, so the 70-200 and 85mm f1.4 are my favorites for that. FA 77 f1.8 is a great great lens, but it wasnt ment for digital ( but of course it works great like most FA lenses ), thats why i went for the Sigma 85mm f1.4 HSM, i love that lens, lovely bokeh, sharp and fast.. You can check my flickr portfolio and see the exims of each photo, most are 70-200 or 85mm

ANDREA B.
by Roberto Duran

Michelle ( IMM )
by Roberto Duran
With models like those, you can even convince me to buy a coke bottle to mount on my camera.


Very nice shots!
12-21-2015, 09:13 PM   #23
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QuoteOriginally posted by pinholecam Quote
With models like those, you can even convince me to buy a coke bottle to mount on my camera.


Very nice shots!
Agreed! That first one especially is just a stunning portrait.

12-21-2015, 10:23 PM   #24
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I have portrait keepers taken with everything from the Sigma 8-16 to the DA*300. I didn't keep the FA*85 - it's just too damn big, and how shallow do you want the DoF anyway?
Choose your weapon and use it wisely.
12-22-2015, 03:18 AM   #25
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There's a lot of lenses mentioned in this post, and to be totally honest I think they are all very capable portrait lenses. We all have personal preferences, but basically you need to make a few decisions to rule out some lenses and then make your choice.

Head, head & shoulders, full length? If you want to do all of these then the lenses of 100mm and above are likely to be difficult to use (less of an issue on FF, but APS-C can be problematic).

Film or Digital (or both)? If you want to use it on a film camera in the future then a lens with an aperture ring is preferable.

Ultra-thin Depth of field? Can be used to great effect, but it's very difficult to do well - so if you don't need the fast maximum aperture you can shave quite a lot of cash off your bill!

You've mentioned potential full frame (and K3) - so you need to check FF compatibility.

In your mind you've narrowed it down to two of the finest lenses ever produced by Pentax. You won't go wrong with either lens (I've owned both) so essentially it will come down to how much you're willing to pay for an excellent (but used) FA*85 (£800ish at a guess) or whether you go with a new FA77 Limited at around half the price
12-22-2015, 04:17 AM   #26
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I have both the FA*85 and FA77 Ltd. The 85mm is large and heavy, but the images it produces make even my lowly talent look better. My copy is sharper than my 77 and the bokeh is on another level altogether.




85mm


















77mm


12-22-2015, 07:11 AM - 3 Likes   #27
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A lot will depend on working distance to subject and type of shot (headshot, half body, full body).
Generally speaking, the longer the FL, the more isolation one can get for the full body shot.
Anything from 50mm onwards can do headshots and give a shallow enough DOF for isolation purposes.

FF will generally have a more reasonable working distance (esp. for the longer focal lengths)
The 77mm is still rather usable indoors and out on apsc.
The 85mm gets on apsc gets a bit harder to use indoors.


The FA*85 is a smooth bokeh isolation by its sheer shallow DOF type of lens imo. (plus the nice bokeh)
The FA77ltd on the other hand tends to isolate by a very strong drawing style, color and contrast.
The FA*85 is big and often ends up as a very specific purpose lens (eg a portrait shoot session lens)/
77ltd is more portable all rounder and the lower encumbrance just means its taken out more for all purposes.


FA77 (apsc)


on FF






FA*85 (on FF)







50mm on FF can be very versatile too on FF.

from a A50/2

A50/1.4






Full body shots, I think do give the 135mm a consideration.

K135/2.5 on FF
12-22-2015, 07:57 AM   #28
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I would give serious thought to the Pentax 55mm f1.4 as a portrait lens for the K3. The 77mm f1.8 and the 85mm f1.8 are more suited to full frame in my opinion.
12-22-2015, 08:28 AM   #29
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Brilliant replies folks and also some truly superb images! I only have a fairly small home studio so that is indeed a consideration and just maybe the 85mm even though I think it's the better lens may just prove too long. Coincidentaslly my 100mm macro 2.8 just turned up today and by all accounts may be an interesting option too - although too long for indoor use. I think I will have a look a what focal length I have used most in the studio and go from there.

Once again many thanks for all your input, I will let you know what I decide - no rush.

Jonlg
12-22-2015, 09:13 AM   #30
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Superb shots pinholecam.
QuoteOriginally posted by pinholecam Quote
The 85mm gets on apsc gets a bit harder to use indoors.
unless you are in an auditorium or sports-hall.

BTW pinholecam, with your photos you have proved that its really more about the photographer than about the lens. By using a FA*85 wont rub off its magical properties on your photographic skill. The lens is just a tool - what you get depends on your skills.

I have seen photographs with the lowly M50/1.7 which rival those taken with my FA*85 anyday. That said the FL is different and so in the IQ, so variations apart, skill always rules. I am an average photographer, but my intent to get a FA*85 or the VL-58 was to see if I can up my ante a bit and learn to use it the way it should be used. Both these lenses will give many keepers as in my case, but to ascend to a certain level of finesse one needs a lot more practice and patience.

Of course having these jewels always tempts me to get out more often and shoot. On the plus side it also cures LBA to a great extent, so ever since I got these lenses, I get into a lot less argument with my better half. Those are plenty worthwhile reasons to make such investment AFAIK.
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