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View Poll Results: Which portrait lens?
FA 50mm/1.4 4113.99%
DA 70mm/2.4 4415.02%
FA 77mm/1.8 Limited 19165.19%
D FA 100mm/2.8 Macro 175.80%
Voters: 293. You may not vote on this poll

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12-07-2009, 08:51 AM   #31
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I'm somewhat surprised at the separation in the DA 70mm and FA 77mm but not surprised that the FA is ahead.

The key is "In production" which means the DA* 55mm should be there, however, I doubt it would be ahead of the FA 50mm f1.4 by much if at all. That said, one of these days, I may get my hands on a FA or F 135mm.

12-07-2009, 08:51 AM   #32
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QuoteOriginally posted by DavidWasch Quote
Ok, so I don't have any of these lenses YET. Just purchased the 70mm expressly for portraits. The reason I voted was to make the point that it's not all about IQ. I love the 70mm because it is compact, making it much easier for candids. A big honkin' 70mm can put some subjects off. I have a 50mm 1.2 when I IQ matters the most.
The 77mm isn't all that honkin especially compared to the 50mm f1.2.
12-07-2009, 09:55 AM   #33
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QuoteOriginally posted by Blue Quote
The 77mm isn't all that honkin especially compared to the 50mm f1.2.
4.8cm for the 77 vs. 2.6cm for the 70-- the 77 may not be honkin', but the 70mm sure is diminutive. I use the 50mm when size doesn't matter....

Last edited by DavidWasch; 12-07-2009 at 02:28 PM.
12-07-2009, 11:21 AM   #34
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you might argue with me but I find my best portraits are with the 55/1.2 on full frame. On APS-C it's nice too for headshots !

12-07-2009, 01:57 PM   #35
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QuoteOriginally posted by mer Quote
you might argue with me but I find my best portraits are with the 55/1.2 on full frame. On APS-C it's nice too for headshots !
Pentax has never had a 55mm f1.2 lens in production now or ever.
12-07-2009, 05:31 PM   #36
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The 50/1.2 K or A version then
12-07-2009, 06:15 PM   #37
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QuoteOriginally posted by mer Quote
The 50/1.2 K or A version then
O.K. I thought maybe you were trying to slip a Tomioka or Cosina in there on us.
12-07-2009, 06:20 PM   #38
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Regardless of whether or not this lens is out of production, you certainly made a case for it with this image.

QuoteOriginally posted by danielchtong Quote
No clue how this voting thing works.
I only have F50mmF1.7 - poor man's 77mm then



Edited later
Oops . I forgot this is for lens still in production


12-08-2009, 09:41 AM   #39
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Fun that this tread was pulled from the dust bin. I read it all and one comment which cracks me up is how many people voted for a lens calling it "the poor man's 77ltd". Ummmm, that means you feel the 77ltd IS a better lens for the purpose yet ya vote for something else? hehehehe...just funny is all, because I read the meaning of what those are saying and it is hard to vote for a lens you might never have used yourself.

I have owned the 35ltd, 43ltd & 77ltd, as well as a a few 50mm of various speeds. I voted for the 77ltd but I could easily have said the 35ltd or 43ltd. I am willing to be the 40ltd is nice also, the FA50/1.4 is a super lens as well. And of course the 31ltd is a keeper from what I've read & observed. I am not sure the DA*55/1.4 is worth the costs over the FA50/1.4 for this specific purpose, and that is portraits, which are not usually in an environment where weather sealing would be important, though it's possible of course. In fact value wise it might be tough to decide between an FA50/1.4 or the DA40ltd if budget were a concern, and really these days it's a concern for most people.

I would say that the older OOP lenses like the A50/1.2 should be in the mix as well because, even if they are not currently in production, they are out there for purchase. In fact I believe one HK seller has a NIB copy listed on eBay, albeit for a gawd awful $800ish, still it is new just old stock, I am sure there are actually others out there in the same condition in small camera shops or on backroom dusty shelves.

I don't think a single one of these lenses would be a bad portrait lens. All are small, and that comment about the 77ltd being a "big" honker, man have you ever used a typical lens in that area(?) the 77ltd is down right diminutive and compact. Look at the 85mm beasts Pentax has made, those silver ones scream out "...LOOK AT ME..." hehehehe..(of course I have a silver 77ltd, d'oh!!) Now the 70ltd indeed is much smaller, but at this size level, I sense diminishing returns sets in for the physical presence of a lense being intimidating....seriously 4.8cm vs. 2.6cm? There is a point where small enough is small enough...at least neither is like "The Brick" from Canon (EF28-70L/2.8) or the Pentax DA*55/1.4 with hood attached is a beastly looking critter. Still I do understand the attraction of the smaller 70ltd as I love the feel of using the 43ltd in MF...it is so easy to focus with one finger, I like using a finger from my right hand which helps me stabilize the body better with my left hand, though I find I swap almost w/o thinking in MF mode. If the 70ltd is like that then super, especially given the "quick shift MF" ability of the DA limiteds. Loved that in my 35ltd lense.

I guess I am just observing that there really is not a single clunker lense among this group of lenses. Just personal preference but also there are some intangibles which do differentiate them from each other, meaning these lenses each have their own character. And really I feel it is that presence of character which sets the Pentax lenses apart from the "big two" where things tend to be pretty sanitized and uniform between not just individual lenses of a particular type but also across the board lense option wise.

Anyway, love the discussion in this thread...if I were hunting for a lense in this category and for this purpose, there is detail enough here to help make that choice and be happy about it. More example shots is all I feel is missing, though there are plenty on the site if one can sleuth them out.
12-08-2009, 10:20 AM   #40
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QuoteOriginally posted by brecklundin Quote
Fun that this tread was pulled from the dust bin. I read it all and one comment which cracks me up is how many people voted for a lens calling it "the poor man's 77ltd". Ummmm, that means you feel the 77ltd IS a better lens for the purpose yet ya vote for something else? hehehehe...just funny is all, because I read the meaning of what those are saying and it is hard to vote for a lens you might never have used yourself.

I have owned the 35ltd, 43ltd & 77ltd, as well as a a few 50mm of various speeds. I voted for the 77ltd but I could easily have said the 35ltd or 43ltd. I am willing to be the 40ltd is nice also, the FA50/1.4 is a super lens as well. And of course the 31ltd is a keeper from what I've read & observed. I am not sure the DA*55/1.4 is worth the costs over the FA50/1.4 for this specific purpose, and that is portraits, which are not usually in an environment where weather sealing would be important, though it's possible of course. In fact value wise it might be tough to decide between an FA50/1.4 or the DA40ltd if budget were a concern, and really these days it's a concern for most people.

I would say that the older OOP lenses like the A50/1.2 should be in the mix as well because, even if they are not currently in production, they are out there for purchase. In fact I believe one HK seller has a NIB copy listed on eBay, albeit for a gawd awful $800ish, still it is new just old stock, I am sure there are actually others out there in the same condition in small camera shops or on backroom dusty shelves.

I don't think a single one of these lenses would be a bad portrait lens. All are small, and that comment about the 77ltd being a "big" honker, man have you ever used a typical lens in that area(?) the 77ltd is down right diminutive and compact. Look at the 85mm beasts Pentax has made, those silver ones scream out "...LOOK AT ME..." hehehehe..(of course I have a silver 77ltd, d'oh!!) Now the 70ltd indeed is much smaller, but at this size level, I sense diminishing returns sets in for the physical presence of a lense being intimidating....seriously 4.8cm vs. 2.6cm? There is a point where small enough is small enough...at least neither is like "The Brick" from Canon (EF28-70L/2.8) or the Pentax DA*55/1.4 with hood attached is a beastly looking critter. Still I do understand the attraction of the smaller 70ltd as I love the feel of using the 43ltd in MF...it is so easy to focus with one finger, I like using a finger from my right hand which helps me stabilize the body better with my left hand, though I find I swap almost w/o thinking in MF mode. If the 70ltd is like that then super, especially given the "quick shift MF" ability of the DA limiteds. Loved that in my 35ltd lense.

I guess I am just observing that there really is not a single clunker lense among this group of lenses. Just personal preference but also there are some intangibles which do differentiate them from each other, meaning these lenses each have their own character. And really I feel it is that presence of character which sets the Pentax lenses apart from the "big two" where things tend to be pretty sanitized and uniform between not just individual lenses of a particular type but also across the board lense option wise.

Anyway, love the discussion in this thread...if I were hunting for a lense in this category and for this purpose, there is detail enough here to help make that choice and be happy about it. More example shots is all I feel is missing, though there are plenty on the site if one can sleuth them out.

hmmmm....the "poor man's lens" connotation does somehow present a negative perception to a lens' reputation. I think using the word "cheap version" would be more appropriate.
12-08-2009, 12:08 PM   #41
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QuoteOriginally posted by Pentaxor Quote
hmmmm....the "poor man's lens" connotation does somehow present a negative perception to a lens' reputation. I think using the word "cheap version" would be more appropriate.
I actually get that same meaning from the phrase "a poor mans....{insert item here"}" as meaning a more economical version, not necessarily of lesser quality at all. I was commenting on when someone called a lens "a poor man's version of the 77ltd" they would go ahead and vote for what they were implying was a lesser quality lense and the poll is about "the best lense". I think I'm just being a "net nit-picker" here because, well, I am feeling a bit goofy today and found the irony of the kinda-sorta passive-aggressive nature of the observation funny in an ironic fashion. Gawds know I do the same sort of thing as well...still, there is also a point where for a given person's needs, a less spendy analog of the 77ltd is more than enough. for example the FA50/1.4 or even either the K/M50/1.4's (or K/A 1.2's) are pretty darned good in addition to the 70ltd. And one might be able to buy a 40ltd AND one of the 50/1.4's for the cost of a single 77ltd, and still end up with nice options for the task.

Still, I would rather have the 77ltd. When I came back to Pentax after not using one for, about 30yrs, I decided I would go with the best glass, even it it meant fewer lenses. When I jumped into Canon a couple years ago, because I was completely in the weeds as to what lenses were what, I decided to go for "the poor man's versions" of lenses, for example the EF-S 55-250IS as a "poor man's" version of the Canon 70-200IS F4 and certainly the F2.8 version. But for my needs, it was good enough. Still I eventually found myself wanting faster glass to give better images...so I learned what seemed the best from Pentax and after selling all my Canon gear I bought the Ltd's as well as a 50-135 (crib death and even further OT than this comment....hehehe).

Something I would also add is that I could see under the right conditions, the 35ltd as being a WONDERFUL lower cost option for a high end portrait lens with added abilities of close focus and true macro. In the case of the 35ltd I see it as an example of a "poor man's" 77ltd yet not of inferior quality just a different sort of lense. Same goes for the 50/1.2's.

I guess this means after the few months I have been using Pentax again, I have remembered the wonderful fun of primes and the great IQ from pretty much all of the older Pentax glass, which reminds me I need to go dig my ME Super out of storage just for "sheets & giggles", plus there is a 50mm of some sort and a 135mm in there as well. Ya know I think I will do that now because I am really curious what lenses are there. Then again, perhaps tomorrow is better. hehehehe...

Last edited by brecklundin; 12-08-2009 at 12:16 PM.
12-08-2009, 12:23 PM   #42
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QuoteOriginally posted by Eigengrau Quote
I'm specifically looking at primes, and I'm wondering - which lens is sharpest? I'm torn on the 77, because while many reviews praise it's sharpness, the resolution figures at Photozone aren't stellar - bad copy maybe?
It's not all about sharpness. The FA77 captures much detail and is as sufficiently sharp. It has nice micro-contrast and a great overall way of imaging a portrait. These are the most important IQ characteristics and they are not captured in tests.

In terms of IQ the FA43 is better yet, but is not as generally useful in focal length.

QuoteOriginally posted by Eigengrau Quote
My (approximate) priorities...
1. Resolution
2. Low-light performance
3. Bokeh
4. Focus speed/accuracy
5. Build quality/small size/low price
The FA77 meets all of these. You can use it as an f/2 lens just fine. My experience with lenses faster than that is they don't get really good until stopped down more than the FA77. Before that it's all special effect bokeh and other things I don't like. It's not all about maximum aperture; it's more important to note the maximum usable aperture.

QuoteOriginally posted by AndrewG NY Quote
I'm pretty sure that the results here are skewed by a fair number of people who bought the FA77 at least in part because of full-frame coverage they're likely never to take advantage of.
I doubt it. Rather that the results are skewed by the fact that there is no lens the equal of the FA77. To get marginally better bokeh you must pay over the odds for the A*85 and then carry a heavier, larger, manual focus lens.

QuoteOriginally posted by brecklundin Quote
I actually get that same meaning from the phrase "a poor mans....{insert item here"}" as meaning a more economical version, not necessarily of lesser quality at all.
Generally the phrase implies a compromise.
12-08-2009, 01:25 PM   #43
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QuoteOriginally posted by rparmar Quote
It's not all about sharpness. The FA77 captures much detail and is as sufficiently sharp. It has nice micro-contrast and a great overall way of imaging a portrait. These are the most important IQ characteristics and they are not captured in tests.
That has been my experience as well...it's all in the details of this lense which sets it apart from others made today. I cannot compare it to the results from the A*85mm but given it's reputation, I could see it as a great lense to own as well. How would the FA*85/1.4 compare as well as the A*85/1.4 you mention? (or is that question best left to it's own thread?) Those lenses appear to be in the same price range as the 77ltd, though neither is still in production so they fall outside the thread topic, still the tread might be moving in the correct direction...as in look outside the current models otherwise one will miss a lot of great options. I have to say I like the look and build of the A*85 better but the FA* does have AF which is a nice thing!

QuoteQuote:
In terms of IQ the FA43 is better yet, but is not as generally useful in focal length.
I have never understood what people mean by this sort of statement. I am not being sarcastic or anything here, I mean I truly do not understand WHY this is accepted as true. I ask because I do not feel any sort of lack of utility in this lense. I have just re-acquired a nice copy of it for my DA35Ltd. And while the 35ltd has been by far my most useful lense, that was only because of it's closer focus ability (as well as true macro). Then again I am using this lense mostly for product shots and still life in general. But also, I don't understand the position that a lense is an "un-useful" focal length because, truly, is it not up to the person behind the lense to make it useful? Perhaps it is that oddness which stimulates people using it to be more creative and that is what gives the lense it's reputation? The main reason I left Canon was because of the "cookie cutter" nature of the lenses...as in everyone's shots looked the same and over sanitized at the same time, or more perhaps better stated as "politically correct" focal lengths ans shots.


QuoteQuote:
QuoteOriginally posted by brecklundin Quote
I actually get that same meaning from the phrase "a poor mans....{insert item here"}" as meaning a more economical version, not necessarily of lesser quality at all. I was commenting on when someone called a lens "a poor man's version of the 77ltd" they would go ahead and vote for what they were implying was a lesser quality lense and the poll is about "the best lense". I think I'm just being a "net nit-picker" here because, well, I am feeling a bit goofy today and found the irony of the kinda-sorta passive-aggressive nature of the observation funny in an ironic fashion. Gawds know I do the same sort of thing as well...still, there is also a point where for a given person's needs, a less spendy analog of the 77ltd is more than enough...
Generally the phrase implies a compromise.
That is what I wrote...only you say it more efficiently but you also missed my point in that the person writing also will add they voted for the lense they "settled for" even while acknowledging the 77ltd is a better option, this is the thing I find funny...you know as in humorous, funny, ironic... ... ....it also skews the poll, not that of the given list, there is much doubt in the outcome.
12-08-2009, 02:42 PM   #44
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QuoteOriginally posted by brecklundin Quote
I have just re-acquired a nice copy of it for my DA35Ltd. And while the 35ltd has been by far my most useful lense, that was only because of it's closer focus ability (as well as true macro). Then again I am using this lense mostly for product shots and still life in general. But also, I don't understand the position that a lense is an "un-useful" focal length because, truly, is it not up to the person behind the lense to make it useful? Perhaps it is that oddness which stimulates people using it to be more creative and that is what gives the lense it's reputation? The main reason I left Canon was because of the "cookie cutter" nature of the lenses...as in everyone's shots looked the same and over sanitized at the same time, or more perhaps better stated as "politically correct" focal lengths ans shots.
I think the reason 50-100mm is more frequently associated with portraits is because that range of focal lengths flattens out features a bit, and folks find this effect flattering. I'm sure there are instances when a wider lens achieves a desired look, but it can look a bit goofy.

On the other hand, 50mm is considered a portrait lens for film, so a 35mm is roughly the same for APS-C.

Last edited by DavidWasch; 12-08-2009 at 02:47 PM. Reason: Reconsidering the 35mm.
12-08-2009, 02:45 PM   #45
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QuoteOriginally posted by DavidWasch Quote
I think the reason 50-100mm is more frequently associated with portraits is because they flatten out features a bit, and folks find this more flattering. I'm sure there are instances when a wider lens achieves a desired look, but often it can look a bit goofy.
THANKS!! that makes sense.
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