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05-25-2020, 07:07 PM   #1

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Longer focal length portrait lenses?

It's been a while since I have posted but here goes. It will probably go in several directions but it should keep the same general theme.

For portraits who uses longer focal length lenses? By longer I mean 105mm or 135mm or something maybe even longer.

Basically with shorter lenses like a 50mm I think some people feel like the camera is right up in their faces. Also a little bit longer may (or may not) offer a bit of flexibility with the DoF or whatever and maybe even framing or somewhat about composition or perspective. This obviously depends on the specific type of results one wants to get.

On that note what are some of the most highly regarded lenses in that area? The only stipulation is that they are K mount. They can be modern or older, manual focus or auto. Some even might think the 100mm macro could be an option (I guess)

Also if anyone is interested, please post some samples that fall into this specific niche so I can kind of see what my options are as well as what I can expect to see.

It's been a long time since I bought a new lens but this has my curiosity.

Any brand, almost any age group of lens is welcome to be discussed or shown off for the specific purpose I'm talking about.

05-25-2020, 07:14 PM   #2

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I forgot to mention my current kit. K-1, three amigos, 24-70, and a single manual 50mm f1.4. All full frame. Full frame is specifically what I'm interested in looking at options for.
05-25-2020, 07:16 PM   #3
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Do you have a 70-200/2.8?

haha... just saw your above post....

Anyway, when I look at my 70-200 shots I don't see many at 70ish ..... I'd always be longer... and 2.8 isn't so bad I reckon at 135mm ish for most stuff.... unless one is specialising in some way (not studio stuff for me though).
05-25-2020, 07:24 PM   #4
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while not quite as long as you were asking, a Carl Zeiss Planar 85mm f1.4 ZK T* may be an interesting option...

05-25-2020, 07:37 PM - 1 Like   #5

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QuoteOriginally posted by pepperberry farm Quote
while not quite as long as you were asking, a Carl Zeiss Planar 85mm f1.4 ZK T* may be an interesting option...
I have a 77mm so just for kicks and giggles I was thinking about a longer focal length.

85mm might be a good option. I'm not a portrait kind of guy but in the absence of globe hopping it might allow me something to try and get better at.
05-25-2020, 08:02 PM - 2 Likes   #6
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I shoot crop and use the FA77, da70, da 50-135, da 200 etc. I like longer perspective lenses for this use. On my crop body these have a narrower field of view than you get on the k-1:

FA77 (around 115mm equivalent field of view)

Generated from my Motorola o using

Da* 200 (300mm fov)

Generated from my Motorola o using

Da 18-135 at 78mm (117mm fov equiv)

Generated from my Motorola o using
05-25-2020, 08:19 PM   #7
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I quite like somewhat longer than normal focal lengths for portraiture. For me, the 85mm lens on full frame is about as short as I like. I don't have anything to share from the K1, I haven't shot a portrait in a few years, so, while this is not quite what you are looking for, as it was shot with an APS-C camera, it was shot with the 77mm lens, so it puts it right in your range at a 115mm equivalent.
Most of my portrait work was shot on film, and with the 35mm camera, my preferred lens was the 105mm.

Last edited by Wheatfield; 06-15-2020 at 10:06 PM.
05-25-2020, 10:16 PM - 2 Likes   #8
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Another vote for the DFA*70-200. However, even the mighty DFA 150-450 can produce a nice portrait; this at 410mm, f/7.1.

05-25-2020, 10:26 PM   #9
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All of my digital shooting has been on crop sensors, but Iíve also used 35mm film for portraits.

My favorite lens for working in a group of people is my 20-40 Limited, which covers the same field of view roughly as a 35-60mm would on FF. 20/35mm isnít so wide that it distorts a persons face or shape, and 40/60mm gives enough compression for a more flattering look.

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The DA*50-135, and for you the 70-200, was my real workhorse for portraits. 50/70 is wide enough for upper torso shots, even indoors, and 135/200 is great for headshots. Mind the aperture so the whole face stays in focus.

Generated from my Apple iPhone using

Generated from my Apple iPhone using

Honestly my equipment thoughts on portraits leans towards lighting over lenses. A simple single off-camera flash in a soft box or shot through an umbrella, or hell an on-camera flash (Not the on board flash) bounced off the ceiling, can dramatically change a portrait, more than a lens imo. Most of my favorite shots, going through them now, are done with relatively short lenses but nearly all have additional lighting or really good natural light.

Generated from my Apple iPhone using

Last edited by skierd; 05-25-2020 at 10:41 PM.
05-25-2020, 10:44 PM   #10
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I really like my sigma 85mm f/1.4 for portrait work. It's long enough to be flattering but short enough to be versatile.
05-25-2020, 11:18 PM   #11

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If you are doing candids, a longer FL will better enable anonymity. But for more ideal portraits, it depends largely on perspective determining the FL used. Since you are using a FF setup, the FL range of within 70mm to about 120mm is considered best. A very long FL will tend to flatten features more, which could flatter (or rather flatter than just flat? ha, ha) someone who has a large nose, for example. For a fairly tight but not real tight closeup portrait, to half-body portrait, or even the whole figure, the versatility and very good perspective of your FA 77mm Limited should be extremely useful, in addition to its exceptionally fine performance.

For a very tight portrait, such as the one Wheatfield presents, with a FF body the standard ideal for most accurate perspective has been about 105mm, as I recall.
05-26-2020, 12:59 AM   #12

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I would use dfa 70-200. 100macro works, but is not really my preferred portrait lens.
Did anyone mention the Samyang 2/135 - manual focus only.
Use 77 and 85 with current DSLR and step back a little without scarifying resolution.
05-26-2020, 02:42 AM   #13

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I shoot very little portrait work ... it's been a long time since I used full-frame (film) ... but if the two circumstances arose again for me, I'd clip on my Tamron Adaptall-2 135mm f/2.5 and be confident the hardware was capable even if I failed
05-26-2020, 03:07 AM   #14
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Personally I am more into enviromental portrait, i.e. showing people including the surrounding. I would prefer a 35 mm for that type on the K-1.

So the answer is, it depends on what kind of portrait you want to shoot. For a head only portrait anything from 70mm upwards is usable. If you are doing details of the face more focal lenght is better to keep the distance, I would go up to 200 then. With 200 mm you will have quite twodimensional portraits if steping away from your subject and thus I would not use a longer focal length.

For a half-figure portrait 50 to 70 mm is what I would use when indoors. For half-figure or whole persons outdoors, when you want background separation, a very fast lens, like the already suggested 85 / 1.4 is advisable (with a 200 mm you would have to count in a megaphone as well). Be aware that shooting at 1.4 has its own issues.

All together I would recommend to start with a 2.8 / 70 - 200 and from your experince with it choose a faster (if needed) of just lighter prime afterwards. I would choose a used Pentax, Sigma or Tamron over the new D FA, because of its weight, adding 2,0 kg to the not so light K-1.
You have also to keep the weight in mind when you want to do a real portrait session, not only a single portrait. You might to start with a prime then.
A 100 mm or 90 mm 2.8 makro would be a good starting point. Or a manual 135 mm if you want something longer, dirt cheap.
05-26-2020, 04:33 AM   #15
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I have gotten some great outdoor portraits with my Takumar 200/3.5 preset. I have also done quite a few shots at the 100 and 135 mm focal lengths with other m42 presets. I like preset lenses because ther is such a difference in the out of focus rendering. They seem to add more depth to the shot than newer lenses

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