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11-30-2008, 08:17 PM   #1
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portrait lens at 35mm?

Hey Folks,

I'm wondering about picking up a 35mm lens for portraiture...considering the DA35 macro, or maybe waiting for the upcoming 30mm. Or for that matter, how do the 31/1.8 or 35/2 compare specifically for portraits? Zeiss Flektogon? I've got a 35/2 SMC takumar that I'm relatively happy with, but I'd like a normal AF lens to have in the bag for those days I don't want to MF.

I'm wondering if f2.8 is bright enough to throw the background out of focus in semi-wide portraiture. Or am I going to want to stop down a brighter lens to f2.8 anyway for DOF/sharpness optimization...

Thoughts from 35mm portrait shooters?

11-30-2008, 08:46 PM   #2
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To keep the background blurry, you're going to need to be very close to the subject, as the 35mm naturally has a larger depth of field than a telephoto. I used the DA 70 ltd for most portraits, and it's absolutely fantastic. I had the DA 35 for a bit, and while it was great for close up shots, etc, the loooong focus throw and cramped DOF markings weren't really condusive to my style of shooting.

As with most lenses, you're going to want to stop down a bit for max sharpness, and starting at f/1.8 or f/2 gives you a bit of lee way as far as DOF goes.

I'd vote the DA 40 ltd or FA 35.
11-30-2008, 10:39 PM   #3
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i have the FA 35 f/2 and recommend in-and-out when people ask for a low-light indoor lens... but not my first option for portraits.

And just to make clear, i do shoot lots of portraits, and for those i use mostly DA* 50/135 and the 77LTD, but rarely 35mm.


In any case, if you do know for sure 35mm is what you need, rest assured the FA 35 is a very sharp lens!
12-01-2008, 07:56 AM   #4
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I recently picked up the DA35.....not for portraits but it does a decent job.
You have to be pretty close to the subject to fill the frame on a headshot. For full body or group type portraits it might work.



12-01-2008, 08:15 AM   #5
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QuoteOriginally posted by maxwell1295 Quote
You have to be pretty close to the subject to fill the frame on a headshot.....

.... and models / subject usually get intimidated by that!


BTW: really nice shot!
12-01-2008, 08:20 AM   #6
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QuoteOriginally posted by BBear Quote
.... and models / subject usually get intimidated by that!


BTW: really nice shot!
Thanks.

Luckily, my wife isn't afraid of me! But she does tend to run from the camera...
12-01-2008, 08:41 AM   #7
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The DA35 is an exceptionally sharp lens, and therefore people steer clear of it for traditional portraiture unless they really want to show the wrinkles! (depends what kind of portraiture you're into, I guess? old men)

I've done some portraits using the FA31, but normally I want something longer. but if you're really looking for something in the 35mm range... well, you can stop reading my post

According to many, the ultimate portrait lens is the FA*85, which is really expensive right now. There's also the upcoming DA*55, which would translate to 84.5mm on digital, thus becoming their new portrait lens. I'm very interested in how this lens turns out!

I use (and love) the FA77 limited, which is more reasonable and does a beautiful job. The background looks amazing, and you can get good sharp results from F2.0. The DA70 might have less "magical" bokeh, and to some this could be a good thing. Also worth a look.

I'd look at Frank's comparison of the FA*85 and the FA77 limited and see what results he got:
https://www.pentaxforums.com/forums/pentax-slr-lens-discussion/41607-fa-85-1-...-8-photos.html

On the cheap the FA50 1.4 is not a bad option either. Fast, cheap and sharp--people love it (but I don't have one)
12-01-2008, 09:21 AM   #8
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It really depends on the focal lengths you use most often and feel most comfortable with. If you're looking to fill a gap and need a lens in the 35mm range, the DA35/FA35 would be a good choice. The DA35 does offer the ability to shoot 1:1 macro, although from a very close range.

If you're looking specifically for a portrait/headshot type lens, I think the FA50 is a really good and inexpensive option. If you need something longer, then look at the DA70, FA77, or any of the Pentax/Takumar 85mm lenses.

12-01-2008, 09:38 AM   #9
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QuoteOriginally posted by CSoars Quote
To keep the background blurry, you're going to need to be very close to the subject, as the 35mm naturally has a larger depth of field than a telephoto.
This is a very common conception. But it is wrong. Wide angle lenses only have a larger DOF if your distance to the subject stays the same, thus filling only a smaller part of the picture. If you get closer to the subject in order to fill the same amount of the picture as with the tele, the DOF is constant. Here is a good explanation.
12-01-2008, 09:45 AM   #10
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QuoteOriginally posted by pareto Quote
This is a very common conception. But it is wrong. Wide angle lenses only have a larger DOF if your distance to the subject stays the same, thus filling only a smaller part of the picture. If you get closer to the subject in order to fill the same amount of the picture as with the tele, the DOF is constant. Here is a good explanation.
That's sort of rephrasing what I said.... you need to be close to maintain a shallow DOF like you'd get with a telephoto. (unspoken: to fill the frame the same way)
12-01-2008, 11:06 AM   #11
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if you get too close, you get perspective distortion...that's why the ideal portrait focal length is between 80-135mm IIRC...
12-01-2008, 12:04 PM   #12
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street portrait lenses?

QuoteOriginally posted by kenyee Quote
if you get too close, you get perspective distortion...that's why the ideal portrait focal length is between 80-135mm IIRC...
I'm letting the side down by only working with one lens (43 Ltd) on the K100D, but I would like to add a longer prime. Most of my stuff ends up converted to B&W, natural light, so resolution and contrast are high on my list of virtues. I'm at an impass between the DA 70mm or the D-FA 100mm, the former for size and speed, the latter for reach and very occasional macro.

Comments on what works for candid street work and portraits, close-in detail of found objects? Thanks for any input,
Brian (FHPhotographer)
12-01-2008, 12:09 PM   #13
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QuoteOriginally posted by kenyee Quote
if you get too close, you get perspective distortion...that's why the ideal portrait focal length is between 80-135mm IIRC...
That is on 135 format (so-called "full-frame", eg. Nikon FX).

On APS-C, the typical "portrait" focal range is rather 50-90mm.
12-01-2008, 12:32 PM   #14
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QuoteOriginally posted by RBellavance Quote
On APS-C, the typical "portrait" focal range is rather 50-90mm.
Sorry...should have mentioned that :-)
That also means that the 85/1.4 overlaps...wish Pentax would reconsider making it
12-01-2008, 01:32 PM   #15
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Well if you're going to pick one lens, sounds like the 43's a pretty good pick!

The FA77 should also be on your list. Faster, sharper in the middle than both, and beautiful rendering, in my opinion. If you love the 43, you'll probably love the 77.

The DA70 focuses very fast, gives a very even (and very good) resolution and is noticeably lighter and less than half an inch shorter than the 77 if that's important to you. I personally prefer the look of the 77 wide open to the 70.


QuoteOriginally posted by FHPhotographer Quote
I'm letting the side down by only working with one lens (43 Ltd) on the K100D, but I would like to add a longer prime. Most of my stuff ends up converted to B&W, natural light, so resolution and contrast are high on my list of virtues. I'm at an impass between the DA 70mm or the D-FA 100mm, the former for size and speed, the latter for reach and very occasional macro.

Comments on what works for candid street work and portraits, close-in detail of found objects? Thanks for any input,
Brian (FHPhotographer)
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