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04-13-2009, 05:35 PM   #1
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A Lens For My Wife

My wife recently gave birth to our baby girl and it's my job to take all the pretty and memorable moments but what about old dad? My wife thinks that big cameras are for nerds but I refuse to have my candid portraits with my daughter taken with a 6mp point and shoot! Yeah yeah I'm a snob!

Anyway, my setup is 90% manual m42 primes, mostly Takumar and some Russian lenses but getting my wife remotely interested to take photos with these lenses would end up in a heated "discussion". So, in all her wisdom she suggested I buy an AF lens so she can use and take photos with. Now I know it's the photographer not the equipment but getting her to focus a Jupiter-9 and adjust aperture and ISO on my K10D will probably make her throw it off the nearest cliff so, I have permission...yes, permission to buy a NEW AF lens...lucky me.

So this is what I'm thinking as I have about $500 to play with. The lens has to be light, simple, have wide aperture (2.8 or lower) and used for candid and portraits among other things. I'm thinking prime but zoom would be ok I guess. I have in mind the DA 70 ltd as a first choice as well as the 40 ltd, the 35 ltd and the more expensive 43 ltd ($100 over budget).

So...any other suggestions?

04-13-2009, 05:44 PM   #2
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My vote goes to the 40mm ltd. Absolutely brilliant lens. I have it and the 70 and the 40 will be better for candids / portraits. You just have to stand too far away with the 70.

Of course once the little one is up and moving (at 18months - 2 years) the 70 will be better so you can both snap her in action without getting in the way.

BTW, conratulations. I have 2 littlies of my own and know the joy they bring. Also..... you never without a subject to photograph

cheers
mike
04-13-2009, 05:56 PM   #3
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Congratulations!

It's not 2.8 but the Pentax 17-70/4.0 is an option.
Gives her the flexibility to get in relatively close when she needs it. But it's not exactly a light lens. Plus, if your camera has the battery grip, it can be pretty heavy.

You can't go wrong with the DA40 though. It's easy to use, f2.8 and very small and light.

I agree with shmik. The 70 might be too much telephoto for candids. Especially if she's going to be taking shots inside the house.
04-13-2009, 06:06 PM   #4
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my vote goes to FA31, though a little above the budget, if you get a good 2nd hand copy it worths every penny you spend, and it's definately the best lens (if DA30 does not come out) in that focal range .

04-13-2009, 06:08 PM   #5
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QuoteOriginally posted by safari Quote
my vote goes to FA31, though a little above the budget, if you get a good 2nd hand copy it worths every penny you spend, and it's definately the best lens (if DA30 does not come out) in that focal range .
Way to tempt the man. But I don't think he's going to buy arguably the best lens ever for his wife to use.
lol
04-13-2009, 06:11 PM   #6
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The 17-70 is a great focal range but f/4 is just a little too slow for my liking. The 40 / 70 ltd combo seems great, I can get both for about $750 USD here in Japan but I'd be pushing for an early divorce if I came home with 2 lenses

Does the 40 ltd take decent portraits, isn't it a little too wide? For portraits indoors and out I currently use either my Takumar 55mm or the Jupiter-9 (85mm) so I'm not sure if the 70mm would be too long, but i'm not too sure. Thanks for the comments so far!

Last edited by figmental1978; 04-13-2009 at 07:35 PM.
04-13-2009, 06:24 PM   #7
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QuoteOriginally posted by figmental1978 Quote

Does the 40 ltd take decent portraits, isn't it a little too wide?
Define portrait. head and shoulders, head shot? Do you (or your wife) like to shoot from near or far? How much space have you got?

FYI, i like to get close and found the 50 just i tiny little too long for indoors. Hence i got the 40.

To consider though, i do love the 10-17 fisheye... so i obviously lean towards the 'get close and go wide' end. If you are happiest with 50 - 85 then the 70 maybe better.

Maybe stick the camera in your wifes hands and ask to stand at a distance at which she wants to shoot. Base the decision from that. Try to get something to suit her and make her happy to snap away.... Face it, you'd be happy to add either to you collection so leave the choice to her.

cheers
mike
04-13-2009, 06:34 PM   #8
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I can't offer any advice on AF primes, but I can solidly recommend the Tamron 17-50/2.8. My son just turned 1yo a week ago and the Tammy is my go-to lens for shooting candids of him.

It's sharp, renders great color, relatively fast AF, a pound lighter, about 2" shorter and about $200 less than the DA*16-50.

04-13-2009, 06:48 PM   #9
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QuoteOriginally posted by figmental1978 Quote
Does the 40 ltd take decent portraits, isn't it a little too wide?
At "normal" portrait shooting distance, sure, 40mm includes more background than one would "normally" want for a portrait. But for babies, actually, you might prefer to take portraits from closer up. Seems I've seen many done that way. So 40mm could work. It's also a really nice length for candids that show a person in his/her surroundings, and for portraits involving two people (mother & daughter?).

Frankly, though, given you'd also want longer focal lengths for more traditional portraits, and shorter comes in handy at times too, I'd probably choose the Tamron 28-75 if I were in your shoes. Although given that this is *really* supposed to be for your wife, I'd also be strongly looking at the Panasonic LX3 - yes, a P&S, but one capable of taking some excellent pictures and would probably make your wife much happier than any lens you might mount to a DSLR.
04-13-2009, 06:53 PM   #10
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I have a Sigma 24-60 f2.8 EX DG (will work on a full frame cam as well as APS-C), and I love it...it can be had for $380. It is a rather large lens though, using 77mm filters, but it's pretty fast, and delivers great IQ.

You could even ad a Pentax FA 50mm f1.7 to the mix for more speed and nice portraits, and with the two of them you could still come in right around the $500 budget that you're shooting for.
04-13-2009, 07:34 PM   #11
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QuoteOriginally posted by Marc Sabatella Quote
Although given that this is *really* supposed to be for your wife, I'd also be strongly looking at the Panasonic LX3 - yes, a P&S, but one capable of taking some excellent pictures and would probably make your wife much happier than any lens you might mount to a DSLR.
You're right Marc, it is mainly for my wife as I'm fine with shooting manual but I never thought I'd hear my wife say "Why don't you buy a new lens?" so I'll take this opportunity to spoil myself in the process and then it can benefit both of us

The sigma and tamron zooms seem too big and bulky as she's a small woman hence the ltd route, but as I said earlier, I like the short tele zooms....hmmmm
04-13-2009, 08:22 PM   #12
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I cant believe no one has said the FA 50 1.4
04-13-2009, 09:11 PM   #13
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Fa 35 f2

No question in my mind that the FA 35 is the ticket here.
04-13-2009, 09:50 PM   #14
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Admitting my ulterior motive about pleasing my own LBA, I decided that if I go for a prime, I'd get something not in the focal distance that I already have. Considering I have about 4 lenses from 50~58mm (all f/2 or under) and 2 lenses at 35mm I was thinking of not getting either the 50 1.4 or the 35 2, then again, I don't have anything as quick as a 1.4 (closest is Vivitar 50mm 1.7) and my fastest 35mm is an m42 Tamron 2.5.

I think I may do as Schmik said and give my wife my current lenses and let her see which focal length she likes.
04-13-2009, 09:59 PM   #15
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FA 50mm F1.4. Save the rest for another lens later. At US200 can't go wrong. Read the reviews, you'll like it
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