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08-28-2018, 11:05 AM   #1
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Portrait lens for a cheap price!

Was in dire need of a portrait lens. So after a lot searching I singled out two lenses! 1) SMC Takumar 85mm f1.8, & 2) CZJ Pancolar 80mm f1.8. I can't decide which one to buy. Some advice would be nice.What I'm looking for in a lens is color rendition, contrast, bokeh and a little bit of sharpness. Not overly sharp neither overly soft! Thank you in advance!

08-28-2018, 11:12 AM   #2
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It would help to know which camera you have... If APS-C, the DA50 1.8 is cheap and works very well for portraits.
08-28-2018, 11:14 AM   #3
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Are you shooting FF or APS-C? If it is the latter, I would say you'd be quite well off with the DA 50mm f/1.8 which is very reasonable. 85mm is getting a bit long to be ideal. If it is for FF, the SMC Tak should be nice. Pentax has long been famous for its SMC coatings and good color rendition. I have not heard of the other brand 80mm lens.

(CarlJF just beat me to it!)
08-28-2018, 11:30 AM   #4
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An SMC Takumar 85mm f1.8 is hardly cheap. Not the ones I have seen any way. It has a stellar reputation, which means that demand is high. I don't know much about the CJZ and can't comment on it. The interwebs has this to say:

http://vintage-camera-lenses.com/carl-zeiss-pancolar-80mm-1-8/

Very good lens but hardly cheap.

I you have a K mount camera, by far the best value in an 85mm would be a Samyang/Rokinon 85mm f/1.4. I have the Rokinon and I am very happy with it. Even brand new, they are less than $250. Used ones can be found for less than $200.

08-28-2018, 11:30 AM   #5
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For apsc I find even 70mm sometimes long for portraits, 85 might be a little too long.

As mentioned above the da 50 1.8 is good value and available brand new. If you want something even cheaper, get a SMC 55/2 vintage lens if you're ok with manual focus and exposure (they're around $50 in nice condition)
08-28-2018, 11:31 AM   #6
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If you don't mind using manual lenses, any of the Helios 44 lenses are really good for portrait on APS-C. Optically, they are slightly modified Zeiss Biotar copies.

These lenses were (still are?) produced for a very long time, so many different versions exist where the main distinction seems to be handling of. bokeh.
There is also one PK mount version: Helios 44K-4

EDIT: I forgot to mention the Helios 44 is a 2.0/58mm lens (on APS-C equ. a 83mm lens on FF).
08-28-2018, 12:05 PM   #7
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On APS-C, the DA50 is a no-brainer for cheap and good new portrait lens.

08-28-2018, 12:12 PM - 1 Like   #8
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QuoteOriginally posted by SunnyG. Quote
Was in dire need of a portrait lens. So after a lot searching I singled out two lenses! 1) SMC Takumar 85mm f1.8, & 2) CZJ Pancolar 80mm f1.8. I can't decide which one to buy. Some advice would be nice.What I'm looking for in a lens is color rendition, contrast, bokeh and a little bit of sharpness. Not overly sharp neither overly soft! Thank you in advance!
You can get a DA* 50-135 used for under $500. It is an awesome lens for portraits

08-28-2018, 12:19 PM   #9
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If you’re shooting a K-1, you can use any of the older Pentax 135mm lenses, they are great for skin tones and slightly soft around the edges when wide open. Plus they are usually sub $200
08-28-2018, 12:46 PM   #10
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On APS-C any 50 mm (preferably a faster one such as the M1.4 can be had for less thans 100 and will make a nice portrait lens in my opinion and experience. It will be manual focus, though.
08-28-2018, 01:18 PM   #11
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QuoteOriginally posted by SunnyG. Quote
CZJ Pancolar 80mm f1.8. I can't decide which one to buy.
Are you saying you found one in working condition for reasonable money? They are sort of a legendary cult lens. I would seriously consider the purchase knowing it will be easy to sell and that they are hard to come by. One was listed on the Marketplace several years ago at 420 BPS, but did not sell.

More realistically...If you are shooting APS-C, any number of fast-50s would do nicely. As noted above the DA 50/1.8 is both good and inexpensive new. Of the lenses on my shelf (I have 20+ fast 50s), my personal favorites for portrait would be my Auto Rikenon 50/1.7 or KMZ Helios 44M 58/2 (both M42). Both have nice bokeh, rendering, and center sharpness without being harsh. The Helios 44M is often overpriced due to current cult status but still worth considering. Despite conventional wisdom, I hesitate to recommend a 50mm f/1.4 due to difficulty managing focus and limited depth of field. Seldom is there a need to have nose and eyes in focus and everything else blurred.


Steve

Last edited by stevebrot; 08-28-2018 at 01:29 PM.
08-28-2018, 02:25 PM   #12
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QuoteOriginally posted by SunnyG. Quote
Was in dire need of a portrait lens. So after a lot searching I singled out two lenses! 1) SMC Takumar 85mm f1.8, & 2) CZJ Pancolar 80mm f1.8. I can't decide which one to buy. Some advice would be nice.What I'm looking for in a lens is color rendition, contrast, bokeh and a little bit of sharpness. Not overly sharp neither overly soft! Thank you in advance!
See if these sample images help you judge. Personally, I saved an Ebay search for the Pancolar 80/1.8 on the strength of shots like the one of the girl on the train tracks.
Carl Zeiss Jena Pancolar 80mm f/1.8 MC Sample-Image.com
SMC Takumar 85mm f/1.8 Sample-Image.com

Of course, I'm sure you can find many more examples of the Takumar right here on Pentax Forums.
08-28-2018, 04:15 PM   #13
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I use every focal length for portraits and I have posted this before - 15 - 400 on APSC in the past. Working distances get really long with 400mm... lol. I honestly prefer the DA 70 and FA 77 over the 50 - the working distance is better for me. Ironically I like the DA 40 for the short working distance. Maybe I just don't love the middle distance?

I do want to point out that pros use 70-200 zooms for a lot of professional portrait sessions. The 200 on FF is about like 135 on crop. So an 85 is not anywhere near too long on crop. The DA* 50-135 in screwdrive with failed SDM is a cheap lovely option for portraits that is often overlooked.
08-29-2018, 03:23 AM   #14
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QuoteOriginally posted by CarlJF Quote
It would help to know which camera you have... If APS-C, the DA50 1.8 is cheap and works very well for portraits.
Well it's good! But I'm looking for a longer focal length preferably 100 and above! And I shoot APS-C.

---------- Post added 08-29-18 at 03:27 AM ----------

QuoteOriginally posted by mikesbike Quote
Are you shooting FF or APS-C? If it is the latter, I would say you'd be quite well off with the DA 50mm f/1.8 which is very reasonable. 85mm is getting a bit long to be ideal. If it is for FF, the SMC Tak should be nice. Pentax has long been famous for its SMC coatings and good color rendition. I have not heard of the other brand 80mm lens.

(CarlJF just beat me to it!)
Yes I know it's good, but the thing is I'm looking for something above 100mm. And I shoot aps-c. Besides the DA lens doesn't look so durable.

---------- Post added 08-29-18 at 03:32 AM ----------

QuoteOriginally posted by Wasp Quote
An SMC Takumar 85mm f1.8 is hardly cheap. Not the ones I have seen any way. It has a stellar reputation, which means that demand is high. I don't know much about the CJZ and can't comment on it. The interwebs has this to say:

Carl Zeiss Pancolar 80mm 1.8 | Vintage Camera Lenses

Very good lens but hardly cheap.

I you have a K mount camera, by far the best value in an 85mm would be a Samyang/Rokinon 85mm f/1.4. I have the Rokinon and I am very happy with it. Even brand new, they are less than $250. Used ones can be found for less than $200.
Well I have a seller, who has a 85mm tak in mint condition, only the mount shows some minor signs of use. He is asking like 260$ for it! Also I love how the metal barrel feels in my hand! Also the Carl Zeiss Jena Lens is also similar in price to the tak! I love the metal build rather than plastic feel of the DA lenses.

---------- Post added 08-29-18 at 03:33 AM ----------

QuoteOriginally posted by mikesbike Quote
Are you shooting FF or APS-C? If it is the latter, I would say you'd be quite well off with the DA 50mm f/1.8 which is very reasonable. 85mm is getting a bit long to be ideal. If it is for FF, the SMC Tak should be nice. Pentax has long been famous for its SMC coatings and good color rendition. I have not heard of the other brand 80mm lens.

(CarlJF just beat me to it!)
It's Carl Zeiss Jena, from west Germany.

---------- Post added 08-29-18 at 03:37 AM ----------

QuoteOriginally posted by aaacb Quote
For apsc I find even 70mm sometimes long for portraits, 85 might be a little too long.

As mentioned above the da 50 1.8 is good value and available brand new. If you want something even cheaper, get a SMC 55/2 vintage lens if you're ok with manual focus and exposure (they're around $50 in nice condition)
I thought of the tak too! But the thing I really want a lens 100mm and above. 100mm + f1.8 = crazy thin DOF. I have shot with 50mm primes, but for portraits I prefer longer focal length. The 50mm's are great for general and street.

---------- Post added 08-29-18 at 03:39 AM ----------

QuoteOriginally posted by clackers Quote
On APS-C, the DA50 is a no-brainer for cheap and good new portrait lens.
I know the DA 50 is good optically, but feels pretty cheap and less durable. I want a 100mm+ focal length.

---------- Post added 08-29-18 at 03:41 AM ----------

QuoteOriginally posted by steve_k Quote
You can get a DA* 50-135 used for under $500. It is an awesome lens for portraits
The DA* is no doubt one of the better zooms from Pentax! It's a dream lens. But I really want a prime portrait lens!

---------- Post added 08-29-18 at 03:44 AM ----------

QuoteOriginally posted by HoutHans Quote
On APS-C any 50 mm (preferably a faster one such as the M1.4 can be had for less thans 100 and will make a nice portrait lens in my opinion and experience. It will be manual focus, though.
I shoot manual mostly! For portrait, manual is the most preferred method. And besides I'm looking for a lens with 100mm and above focal length. Simply because of the reach and dof. I believe a 122mm lens with f1.8 will have a very thin DOF.

---------- Post added 08-29-18 at 03:47 AM ----------

QuoteOriginally posted by twilhelm Quote
If you’re shooting a K-1, you can use any of the older Pentax 135mm lenses, they are great for skin tones and slightly soft around the edges when wide open. Plus they are usually sub $200
There are three 135 mm prime on my radar right now! SMC tak 135mm f2.5 & Pentax 135mm f2.5, also Contax 135mm f2.8. No I don't shoot ff. But I really want to get a K-1 mkii

---------- Post added 08-29-18 at 03:51 AM ----------

QuoteOriginally posted by stevebrot Quote
Are you saying you found one in working condition for reasonable money? They are sort of a legendary cult lens. I would seriously consider the purchase knowing it will be easy to sell and that they are hard to come by. One was listed on the Marketplace several years ago at 420 BPS, but did not sell.

More realistically...If you are shooting APS-C, any number of fast-50s would do nicely. As noted above the DA 50/1.8 is both good and inexpensive new. Of the lenses on my shelf (I have 20+ fast 50s), my personal favorites for portrait would be my Auto Rikenon 50/1.7 or KMZ Helios 44M 58/2 (both M42). Both have nice bokeh, rendering, and center sharpness without being harsh. The Helios 44M is often overpriced due to current cult status but still worth considering. Despite conventional wisdom, I hesitate to recommend a 50mm f/1.4 due to difficulty managing focus and limited depth of field. Seldom is there a need to have nose and eyes in focus and everything else blurred.


Steve
Yes actually I am in contact with the seller! 85mm tak in absolute mint condition for 250$ & the jena 80mm is around the same price! Also is mint condition. Only the mounts has some slight signs of use.

---------- Post added 08-29-18 at 03:53 AM ----------

QuoteOriginally posted by Scintilla Quote
See if these sample images help you judge. Personally, I saved an Ebay search for the Pancolar 80/1.8 on the strength of shots like the one of the girl on the train tracks.
Carl Zeiss Jena Pancolar 80mm f/1.8 MC Sample-Image.com
SMC Takumar 85mm f/1.8 Sample-Image.com

Of course, I'm sure you can find many more examples of the Takumar right here on Pentax Forums.
Holy shit! Those pics look amazing. The colors are so rich! Lol Damn I am gonna have to buy both I guess 😂

---------- Post added 08-29-18 at 03:57 AM ----------

QuoteOriginally posted by UncleVanya Quote
I use every focal length for portraits and I have posted this before - 15 - 400 on APSC in the past. Working distances get really long with 400mm... lol. I honestly prefer the DA 70 and FA 77 over the 50 - the working distance is better for me. Ironically I like the DA 40 for the short working distance. Maybe I just don't love the middle distance?

I do want to point out that pros use 70-200 zooms for a lot of professional portrait sessions. The 200 on FF is about like 135 on crop. So an 85 is not anywhere near too long on crop. The DA* 50-135 in screwdrive with failed SDM is a cheap lovely option for portraits that is often overlooked.
To be honest! I prefer primes over zooms no matter what.
08-29-2018, 05:08 AM   #15
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The 135 Pentax Takumar Bayonet f2.8 is supposed to outperform the Takumar Bayonet f2.5. I have the f2.5 version and it is OK but it doesn't blow me away. The lack of multicoatings on the glass is one factor, the relatively simple optical design is another.
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