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05-03-2016, 01:07 PM   #1
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The perfect/best portrait lens for K-1

Forgive me if this is already covered here somewhere, but I could not find it if it is there, in plain sight.

In the past two years I've about wore out my K200D. I take a lot of portraits, and I have been using the 135mm 2.8. It really is too long sometimes, but it has become my trademark I think. And I like it. But, it is time to get a new body, and I am buying the K1 soon. All of my legacy glass will still work on this new body, except the 18-55 DA will be cropped. My thoughts are to buy the 77mm LTD. It is after all, the one lens everyone is in agreement on as being the best "portrait lens ever. I would like to have the thoughts of people who actually know what is going on in portraiture photography. I use a 135mm mostly because of how it compresses and separates the subject from the world. I also use several other lenses, but I need a Auto Focus because I no longer see as well as I once did. Simply stated my OOF ratio is too high for me to tolerate. So, those of you who have an opinion on this, may I please have it? Which lens should I be buying with the K1, knowing what I have stated? The choices that look at me are: 77mm LTD, 85mm, or the 100mm,

Thank you.

05-03-2016, 01:15 PM   #2
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I've moved this from the article section.

The FA 77mm is a good choice. Another solid option would be the Sigma 85mm F1.4- it has the bonus of offering silent AF, but it's considerably heavier. I use the FA* 85mm F1.4 myself, which is a similar lens, just a bit older. I think the focal length is perfect on FF.

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05-03-2016, 01:21 PM   #3
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Why not just use the 135mm? Or is it manual focus? If you like the longer focal length anything under 135mm is going to look really short after shooting 135mm on APS-C. If your 135 is manual look for a Pentax-F or Pentax-FA 135mm f/2.8
05-03-2016, 01:34 PM   #4
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This 135mm is the lens I bought for my Super Program. That was prior to auto focus by quite a bit. And you are thinking what I have been thinking, will that 77mm be so short after using this legacy glass on a full frame sensor. On the crop sensor I thought it a bit long, but I absolutely love how it renders when I get the focus right. And that is the problem. In low light, I can be off 50% of the time. And in good light I still fire off a good 20% OOF. It kills me when I have everything absolutely right on point, and I am focused on the item inches behind the eyes. My thoughts are, a modern camera, and an auto focus lens that I can put on point every shot, will give me new bionic eyes.

05-03-2016, 02:00 PM - 1 Like   #5
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QuoteOriginally posted by KTschappat Quote
.... My thoughts are to buy the 77mm LTD. It is after all, the one lens everyone is in agreement on as being the best "portrait lens ever. I would like to have the thoughts of people who actually know what is going on in portraiture photography. ...
The "best portrait lens ever" is which ever one you think it is. I've made clients happy with a Tamron 28-75/2.8, DA 50-135/2.8 and DA 17-70/4. Head shots, half length, full length or group? Do you have room to move or is the space tight?

Your primary concern should be lighting, communication and posing which all need a little thought and planning. And why I always meet with clients before the shoot. How can you make a portrait if you don't know anything about them? Its also how you guide folks into clothing that works for the session.

And don't get hung up on the prime thing. This is from a used DA 17-70/4 https://brookemeyerphotography.wordpress.com/2015/12/07/careful-consideration/
05-03-2016, 03:34 PM - 2 Likes   #6
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Run, don't walk, to the 77mm 1.8 Limited. And then keep running to the 43 & 31, then stop running because you may get shin splints. :-)
05-03-2016, 03:53 PM   #7
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So, while I have the FA 77, and I have previously owned the A* 85 f/1.4, and I own the DA* 200 - I do not have your personal experience. If the 135 on cropped feels right, then you need a 200. I STRONGLY suggest that you get the new DFA 70-200 f/2.8. Most of the pro's I see use zooms for portraits because it gives them a great set of working distances. In the long distant past the lenses were too slow and not sharp enough but now they are quite good.

Alternatives:
FA* 200
FA* 135 (but it may seem short)
FA* 85 (also going to be very short but lovely, great big aperture at f/1.4 that will help with subject isolation without having to be so far from the subject)
FA 77 Limited (Stunning on APSC and likely on FF as well - completely different working distance - but such a wide aperture it may not matter)
DA* 200 (some vignetting may occur)
05-03-2016, 04:20 PM   #8
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The perfect/best portrait lens for K-1

On my K5iis, for portraits I have used the 50mm f1.8, the 77mm Ltd, the Tamron 90mm 2.8 macro. In most cases, I like the results I get with the 77mm Ltd. It's equiv focal length on APS-C is about 115mm. So, with the K-1, I plan on using the 77 ltd and a newly purchased Rokinon 135mm f2. In general, if you want the movie/TV portrait look where the background is out of focus, you will need a long lense. For auto-focus, buy the new 70-200 f2.8 lens. In the studio, for tight head shots I plan on using the Rokinon 135mm since this will give me something similar to the 77 ltd on my K5iis. The 77mm on the K-1 still should be a great lens. It just gives the photographer a more "intimate" portrait on the K-1, similar to the nifty 50mm 1.8 on APS-C. For more compression and a more flattering look, I think you will want a longer lens like the 70-200 f2.8.

05-03-2016, 08:32 PM - 1 Like   #9
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A* 85/1.4. Period.
05-03-2016, 08:52 PM   #10
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QuoteOriginally posted by fwcetus Quote
A* 85/1.4. Period.
That's a truth for most people - I sold mine and while I don't regret it - it was a wonder to behold.

But if the OP is finding 135 on APSC the right length - 85 on FF is probably just too short. Everyone works differently - and the OP might adjust but the OP also indicated a need for AutoFocus - so again the A* 85 while lovely isn't likely the right lens for this situation.
05-04-2016, 04:32 AM   #11
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QuoteOriginally posted by UncleVanya Quote
That's a truth for most people - I sold mine and while I don't regret it - it was a wonder to behold.

But if the OP is finding 135 on APSC the right length - 85 on FF is probably just too short. Everyone works differently - and the OP might adjust but the OP also indicated a need for AutoFocus - so again the A* 85 while lovely isn't likely the right lens for this situation.
Good points (for this instance). I guess I should have said "A* 85/1.4. Comma..." .
05-05-2016, 05:30 PM - 1 Like   #12
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QuoteOriginally posted by Brooke Meyer Quote
The "best portrait lens ever" is which ever one you think it is. I've made clients happy with a Tamron 28-75/2.8, DA 50-135/2.8 and DA 17-70/4. Head shots, half length, full length or group? Do you have room to move or is the space tight?

Your primary concern should be lighting, communication and posing which all need a little thought and planning. And why I always meet with clients before the shoot. How can you make a portrait if you don't know anything about them? Its also how you guide folks into clothing that works for the session.

And don't get hung up on the prime thing. This is from a used DA 17-70/4 https://brookemeyerphotography.wordpress.com/2015/12/07/careful-consideration/
My wife used to get outstanding portraits with a 6mp K100 and a kit lens.
not one complaint ever.

Randy
05-05-2016, 05:58 PM   #13
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I love me some FA 77 goodness. Pretty much my go to lens at this point but I do plan on picking up the FA 85 eventually for my future K-1.
05-05-2016, 06:38 PM   #14
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It should be noted before the fight escalate that when Jun Hirokawa gave birth to the FA*77/1.8ltd he used the same optical formula as the A*85/1.4 (patented earlier in the 80's by Ogawa Ryota). He just tweaked the focal lenght slightly, limited the speed to f1.8 and gave it autofocus. Just so you know that you compare apples to apples. They should render very similarly. As the A*85 goes from razor sharp to a bit soft below f1.8 he probably thought it an OK trade for AF and size. FA*85/1.4 is a very much different design....still on my shorter and shorter shopping list.

---------- Post added 05-06-16 at 03:48 AM ----------

As pointed out, with full frame the 135mm lenses once again enters classical portrait angle of view. So does the 100mm and 105mm lenses, and with a less narrow angle of view than the 135mms. So don't forget the K/M/A/F/FA/DFA100 mm macro lenses. There you have also autofocus alternatives. If you can do without AF, the M/A100/2.8 is also a very good portrait lens. Even more suitable is the K105/2.8 and its m42 sibblings.
05-05-2016, 06:48 PM   #15
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QuoteOriginally posted by Douglas_of_Sweden Quote
It should be noted before the fight escalate that when Jun Hirokawa gave birth to the FA*77/1.8ltd he used the same optical formula as the A*85/1.4 (patented earlier in the 80's by Ogawa Ryota). He just tweaked the focal lenght slightly, limited the speed to f1.8 and gave it autofocus. Just so you know that you compare apples to apples. They should render very similarly. As the A*85 goes from razor sharp to a bit soft below f1.8 he probably thought it an OK trade for AF and size. FA*85/1.4 is a very much different design....still on my shorter and shorter shopping list.
Source?

I actually sold my A* 85 and bought the FA* 77 - they both are very nice lenses.
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