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11-08-2018, 04:32 PM - 1 Like   #1
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Am I heading the right direction?

Long time Pentax user, both film as well as our new (shared with my daughter) K3 ii, and so far we have added a 55-300mm 3.5/5.6 WR and 16-88mm 3.5-5.6 WR (think that's right, but they're not right in front of me!) and we're looking for a portrait lens......is the Pentax 55mm 1.4 DA* SDM a good addition, so far as a portrait lens goes? It seems to get a lot of love from this group, and the new one doesn't fit the budget.....just wonder if I'm missing anything else?

11-08-2018, 04:54 PM - 1 Like   #2
Ari
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It's a great choice. But for full flexibility, think about getting the DA*50-135. It's tack sharp throughout the focal length. And they're abundantly available on the used market at a great price.
11-08-2018, 05:08 PM   #3
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I would think the F or FA 50mm f/1.4 would be a better choice, considering price, and it is reputed to have a very nice (and lower resolution) wide open, which is usually good for portraits. Currently $320 new FA 50mm f/1.4 at B&H.

Last edited by dms; 11-08-2018 at 05:17 PM. Reason: Add price for new FA lens
11-08-2018, 05:23 PM - 2 Likes   #4
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QuoteOriginally posted by ol guy Quote
Long time Pentax user, both film as well as our new (shared with my daughter) K3 ii, and so far we have added a 55-300mm 3.5/5.6 WR and 16-88mm 3.5-5.6 WR (think that's right, but they're not right in front of me!) and we're looking for a portrait lens......is the Pentax 55mm 1.4 DA* SDM a good addition, so far as a portrait lens goes? It seems to get a lot of love from this group, and the new one doesn't fit the budget.....just wonder if I'm missing anything else?
It's *the* beautiful portrait lens Jun Hirakawa designed for APS-C, Ol Guy.

It also happens to be a very good standard lens on the K-1 (I use it all the time) but that wasn't the intention.

+1 for the DA*50-135 as a zoom BTW, wonderful pictures come out of it, and it's designed by the guy who also did the DFA 70-200 f2.8 and the incredible new DFA* 50.

11-08-2018, 05:25 PM   #5
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QuoteOriginally posted by dms Quote
I would think the F or FA 50mm f/1.4 would be a better choice, considering price, and it is reputed to have a very nice (and lower resolution) wide open, which is usually good for portraits. Currently $320 new FA 50mm f/1.4 at B&H.
I have an F 50/1.7 that is very nice also and paid under $100 for it. Of course there are many manual focus 50s and 55s available.
11-08-2018, 05:37 PM   #6
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QuoteOriginally posted by dms Quote
I would think the F or FA 50mm f/1.4 would be a better choice, considering price, and it is reputed to have a very nice (and lower resolution) wide open, which is usually good for portraits. Currently $320 new FA 50mm f/1.4 at B&H.
The FA is underrated, no doubt.

But the DA*55 has nine rounded aperture blades, and there's actually one going in the MarketPlace at that price at the moment, the owner's wanting to upgrade to the Fat Fifty.

Last edited by clackers; 11-08-2018 at 08:01 PM.
11-08-2018, 05:37 PM   #7
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You didn't mention a price range, so I could also suggest the FA 77mm as it (with the possible exception of some of the 85mm's) is likely the best portrait lens Pentax makes. If you are going for headshots this is the best bang for the buck an if you have room to back up you can shoot any portrait. You'll hear about purple fringing, but you don't shoot portraits under harsh lighting. Also consider the FA 43. Much shorter than the *55, but I like the rendering better than the *55 but definitely not a headshot lens. The best thing to do to make up your mind is to do Flickr searches by lens, see what folks have produced and what appeals to you visually.
11-08-2018, 06:37 PM   #8
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Oh yeah- the FA 77mm LTD is marvelous. Fine even wide open for portraiture. If you don't need the extra speed and reduced DOF, the DA 70mm LTD is great too, and minus the purple fringing.

11-08-2018, 07:11 PM - 1 Like   #9
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If you are unsure, before you buy another lens, think about the type of photography you are currently doing, and whether or not another lens would make it more enjoyable or improve your results.

Then ask yourself, what kind of photography do you want to get into, and whether that requires get another lens.

Personally, you seem to have a lot of zoom range covered, so as long as you have a prime between 30mm and 55mm, you will probably be happy for a long time no matter what circumstance you find yourself in or what style of photograph you want to create.


FWIW, I have purchased ~5 lenses here on PF, and I was pleased with each purchase, so consider buying used gear on PF without fear.


I look forward to seeing your photos.
11-08-2018, 07:28 PM   #10
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I went with the DA*55 1.4, after dropping my FA 50 1.7 a month ago. I quite like it. I prefer 70 100mm for portraits so no opinion there but I like it as a walk around lens on the K-1. I cost me 20 bucks for a third party lens hood that doesn't vignette not eh K-1. The hood it comes with works on the K-3.

Reposted from the 55mm club. Quiet SDM focussing. Very smooth out of focus areas, almost on par with the new DFA 50 1.4 which is a little smoother in the transitions.
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11-08-2018, 07:43 PM - 2 Likes   #11
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Thanks all for your thoughts, and have gone ahead and purchased the DA*55 1.4 that was listed on PF. We love this forum and hope to be able to get some pictures for your critique posted!
11-08-2018, 08:02 PM - 2 Likes   #12
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QuoteOriginally posted by ol guy Quote
Thanks all for your thoughts, and have gone ahead and purchased the DA*55 1.4 that was listed on PF. We love this forum and hope to be able to get some pictures for your critique posted!
Very happy to put a buyer and a seller together, Ol Guy, a simple ten percent from each of you on the transaction would of course be the honourable thing to do! :P
11-09-2018, 05:50 PM   #13
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Enjoy the 55! It is a stellar lens. I still kick myself for letting all of my DA* lenses go when I bought my k1. I just bought a k3ii as a backup this year and it would be super to have them again (and I had ALL of them except for the 200 and 300). But this is the wonderful world of Pentax and the Forums - I have probably bought and sold the same lenses about a half dozen times here from other users. Enjoy the long journey with such a great system!
11-10-2018, 03:57 PM   #14
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The 55 is one of the best portrait lenses for the money as far as I've seen. It's not based on old designs and the rendering is just gorgeous.
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