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06-22-2016, 08:11 AM   #1
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Now that the K-1 is here, is it time for an updated portrait prime?

Hi everyone,

By all accounts, it seems that the K-1 is a really big hit, and has pushed the Pentax brand up a level. For portraiture, I admire the work of those who create photos of very crisp subjects that really pop from their blurred surroundings. Lisa Holloway is one example that was recently mentioned in another thread. Las Vegas Family Photographer | LJHolloway Photography

I think one of the main lenses she uses for this purpose is the Canon 200mm f2. http://neilvn.com/tangents/canon-200mm-f2/. Now, don't get me wrong, I don't expect Pentax to create a $5,0000 lens like this. Pentax does have the FA77, which I do have, and it's great, I use it quite a bit for portraits with my K-5. But I'm looking for something longer, for even more isolation. On the lens roadmap, there is a "large aperture medium telephoto" listed. I think I've seen speculation that it might be an 85mm, I'm hoping for something like a 135 f1.8. What would you like their large aperture medium telephoto to be?

06-22-2016, 08:22 AM   #2
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Have you got, or can you try out, the 100mm f/2.8 WR Macro? While it has focus hunting issues, a relatively immobile subject that won't scuttle away and can be prefocused with quick shift before tidying up with AF may mean that it's just what you're after. On top of all that, it has a hood that's deep as all get-out and it's sharp as hell. 85mm may, as you've hinted, be a little too close to 77 for you to benefit much.

If it's a 135mm f/1.8, it's likely to be a D-FA* lens - and while the price probably won't be stratospheric, it would put it beyond my willingness to pay for as a non-professional (of course if you're earning from it, you could soak the cost into your fees or depreciate it in your taxes as applicable). I'm hoping for a more down-to-earth (but still very good) 135mm f/2.8 or thereabouts which can supplement or replace my FA135 for taking pics of my kids' rehearsals, but hey, I can well understand if Pentax decides to put the professional market first.
06-22-2016, 08:39 AM - 1 Like   #3
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Well, there is the DA* 200mm f/2.8 if you want to go that long.
As for the lens on the roadmap, I bet on an 85mm f/1.4-1.8; they might be playing it safe and release "standard" focal lengths. But I have no information, take it as a mere guess.
06-22-2016, 09:16 AM   #4
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Looking at an online depth of field calculator the difference from 200 f/2 to 200 f/2.8 is pretty small. 200 f2 on a Full Frame sensor at 10' gives 0.09' of DOF vs. 0.12' for the f/2.8 version. This is about 1/3 of an inch difference in DOF. From 20' the DOF is about 6" on f/2.8 and 4" on f/2.

The 135 f/1.8 you mentioned is going to have about the same delta at 7 and 14' from an F/2.8 version today. Realistically I don't think the DOF is the only factor here but I think it is clear that the differences are minor. Personally I'd grab a DA* 200 and be happy.

LeRolls here on PF shoots a lot of portrait work with models. His full body shots are never at f/1.8 but often at f/3.2 with the FA 77. He recently got the FA* 85 (and shoots a K-3 btw) and he is still shooting at f/2.5 or so most of the time that I see. The 85 is close to the 135 fov on FF - so I'm not sure that I see the point in the ultra-wide aperture for this use. I'm prepared to be wrong however as this is not my area of expertise.

06-22-2016, 10:31 AM   #5
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What I'm looking for here is a killer prime portrait lens. I don't know a lot about the 200 f2.8 honestly. I've never hear heard any discussion of it as a portrait lens, probably because it's just too long to be very practical for APS-C. Maybe with FF, it might have more uses? I have just never heard great things about it. I suppose the new 70-200 2.8 might cover that length just as well, and be very useful for portraiture, but it is a beast. I am hoping for optical performance better than an FA85 1.4, which is, as far as I know, the existing Pentax lens people point to as being able to deliver the look I'm referring to.
06-22-2016, 10:47 AM   #6
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I would love a cheaper/compact 85mm f1.8 or f2 (with WR/DC) but its unlikely with the FA 77mm Limited in the lineup.

I guess a 'D-FA* 85mm f1.4' is a priority for Ricoh Pentax for any kind of Portrait Lens.
06-22-2016, 10:48 AM - 1 Like   #7
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The DA*200 is a superb Portraitlens, it always was
06-22-2016, 11:18 AM   #8
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QuoteOriginally posted by jake14mw Quote
What I'm looking for here is a killer prime portrait lens. I don't know a lot about the 200 f2.8 honestly. I've never hear heard any discussion of it as a portrait lens, probably because it's just too long to be very practical for APS-C. Maybe with FF, it might have more uses? I have just never heard great things about it. I suppose the new 70-200 2.8 might cover that length just as well, and be very useful for portraiture, but it is a beast. I am hoping for optical performance better than an FA85 1.4, which is, as far as I know, the existing Pentax lens people point to as being able to deliver the look I'm referring to.
Reach out to LeRolls here on PF and ask him about his experience. He shoots a K-3 and recently acquired the FA* 85. His past work is largely done with the FA 77 Limited. he can give you the skinny on the differences and the advantages and he is using a crop body with that FA*. The FA* is fairly unique in that it gives very much softer results at close focus distances for head shots than it does as you move away. Most of LeRolls work is waist up or full body so you may have to dig a bit more to find out just what you want to know if you are planning head & shoulders shots.

My own use of the A* 85 and FA 77 leads me to think the FA 77 is a good substitute on crop for the A*, but the A* and the FA* are a bit different. The A* is sharper at close focus (razor sharp) and wide open - it is less forgiving than the FA* is supposed to be. I have not used the FA* however so this is only conjecture based on the documented behavior of that lens.

As for the 200 - meh. I like mine. I have shot portraits with mine indoors and outdoors. Working distance for the example shot below is 10-15' if I recall correctly. I used the AF540FGZ flash as fill on this one. F/4 was necessary to keep from overpowering ambient light even at a low setting on the flash (-2EV I think). This was a pure JPG shot not raw and impromptu - I asked him to pose for the shot in his kitchen and backed away down an aisle in his attached shop.



06-22-2016, 11:35 AM   #9
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I used 200mm and 300mm lenses for portraiture since mid '90's with great success and almost never 85mm. My mostly used lenses at that time were 105, 135, 200 and 300mm. I got tip from a friend who worked as assistant to one very successful National Geographic photographer to try to include longer focal length... First time I tried I was in awe. Since then I always recommended to everyone those focal lengths. I think that DA*200mm will suit your needs as it is FF compatible. I do not shoot any more commercially but still sometimes use around 200mm primes for shots... but tripod is a must if you want the absolute quality. You can do without as well but it is risky and for commercial work is necessary in my opinion.

Here is an recent example of 210mm shot, handheld, while child was playing around (the link should work even that is restricted on flickr)



---------- Post added 06-22-16 at 02:44 PM ----------

Forgot to mention that is not all about DOF but the compression that 200mm creates is very different as well as you include also something in your foreground. Also the people feel more comfortable if you are more further away from them...
06-22-2016, 12:09 PM   #10
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QuoteOriginally posted by UncleVanya Quote
Reach out to LeRolls here on PF and ask him about his experience. He shoots a K-3 and recently acquired the FA* 85. His past work is largely done with the FA 77 Limited. he can give you the skinny on the differences and the advantages and he is using a crop body with that FA*. The FA* is fairly unique in that it gives very much softer results at close focus distances for head shots than it does as you move away. Most of LeRolls work is waist up or full body so you may have to dig a bit more to find out just what you want to know if you are planning head & shoulders shots.

My own use of the A* 85 and FA 77 leads me to think the FA 77 is a good substitute on crop for the A*, but the A* and the FA* are a bit different. The A* is sharper at close focus (razor sharp) and wide open - it is less forgiving than the FA* is supposed to be. I have not used the FA* however so this is only conjecture based on the documented behavior of that lens.

As for the 200 - meh. I like mine. I have shot portraits with mine indoors and outdoors. Working distance for the example shot below is 10-15' if I recall correctly. I used the AF540FGZ flash as fill on this one. F/4 was necessary to keep from overpowering ambient light even at a low setting on the flash (-2EV I think). This was a pure JPG shot not raw and impromptu - I asked him to pose for the shot in his kitchen and backed away down an aisle in his attached shop.

Thanks for your feedback and advice. Hopefully LeRolls will check in with this thread.
06-22-2016, 12:24 PM   #11
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On the K-3 I really liked the DA* 200, and now with the K-1 I like it even more - portraits are my primary use. When doing couple shots, the 77mm is my go to for up close, and I really like the 77mm for individual portraits too, but I don't think I'll have a portrait shoot anytime soon where the 200 stays in the bag the whole time! I have respect for the FA 135mm f/2.8 also, but on FF I've been finding myself either going to the 77mm or the 200, and not much desire to shoot in-between.

As for lenses I'd like to see... A new 200 f.2.0 sounds great, but the DA* 200 is pretty usable, light and balanced nicely on the K-1. Not sure if I'd use a f/2.0 very much as of now. An 85 f/1.4 would be certainly be tempting, if it had WR and a DC motor. Personally I'd prefer something unique and typical outside-the-box Pentax. :-) They've done pretty great with their primes in the past, so something original would be preferred to a "fit-in-the-box" match-up against Canikon, though I suppose that's what many are probably clamoring for.
06-22-2016, 12:26 PM   #12
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QuoteOriginally posted by RAART Quote
I used 200mm and 300mm lenses for portraiture since mid '90's with great success and almost never 85mm. My mostly used lenses at that time were 105, 135, 200 and 300mm. I got tip from a friend who worked as assistant to one very successful National Geographic photographer to try to include longer focal length... First time I tried I was in awe. Since then I always recommended to everyone those focal lengths. I think that DA*200mm will suit your needs as it is FF compatible. I do not shoot any more commercially but still sometimes use around 200mm primes for shots... but tripod is a must if you want the absolute quality. You can do without as well but it is risky and for commercial work is necessary in my opinion.

Here is an recent example of 210mm shot, handheld, while child was playing around (the link should work even that is restricted on flickr)


---------- Post added 06-22-16 at 02:44 PM ----------

[/COLOR]Forgot to mention that is not all about DOF but the compression that 200mm creates is very different as well as you include also something in your foreground. Also the people feel more comfortable if you are more further away from them...
I know what you mean. Some of the best portraits that I have taken have been with either a Sigma 70-200 2.8, or even a Sigma 100-300 f4 at long focal lengths. Even though this is the case, I don't use them as much as the 77. I think this is why I'm hoping that the medium telephoto they come out with is a 135. Good compromise length.
06-22-2016, 03:32 PM   #13
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How about DFA 560mm f5.6? Fairly shallow DoF at minimum focus distance and wide open aperture! Big bokeh! Sure its unwieldy and you have to stand far away, and it will be difficult to focus on just the subject's face, but if you are going for 200mm f2, why not go all the way?

Yes, I am being a bit sarcastic, sorry. I just find that Canon 200mm f2 (or its f1.8 predecessor) to be a slightly odd choice, but hey, whatever floats your boat.

I agree that Pentax should make a DFA* 135mm lens with aperture of f2 (can even be in collaboration with Samyang, they have a good one) or faster. With silent focusing, QS, WR, HD coatings, rounded aperture blades, everything. At least, if they want to tackle the portrait industry
06-23-2016, 12:58 AM - 1 Like   #14
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well, I admire Lisa Holloway too, but it is not only the lens, the distance between subject and background is important too. The further the background, the smoother the bokeh.
ex : I shot this with my Helios 58mm f2 not a long lens

And Lisa post-processes her photos heavily (color balance, sky replacement...) to have the warm tone in her photos (her syle) !

Last edited by redcat; 06-23-2016 at 01:51 AM.
06-23-2016, 04:58 PM   #15
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QuoteOriginally posted by pid Quote
The DA*200 is a superb Portraitlens, it always was
I agree with you but for the most part the focal length is impractical on a crop sensor... now K1, that is a different story
the Bokeh is amazing!

Randy
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