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05-18-2009, 04:40 PM   #1
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Help choosing a portrait lens

Ok, so I just recently got a couple of relatively large paychecks, and my LBA is kicking in. I've been trying to figure out what lens or what lenses to buy and here is where I'd love some help.

I currently run around with my 16-50mm f2.8 most of the time or my A 50mm f1.4. My 50mm has a good bit of wobble in the focus ring and as such it bothers me . . . . optically seems fine but the wobble bugs me and I sit there and play with it while its mounted to the camera. As such I was thinking about getting the Voigtlander 58mm f1.4 to replace the A 50 and to act as a short portrait lens. Buuuuuuttttt. . . . . . then I was thinking that I might want something a little longer, closer to the 85mm mark. Looking around there aren't too many choices at this length, or maybe there are and that's where my problem lies.

Right now I'm looking at the 77mm limited or possibly one of the new cheap 85mm f1.4 lenses because that price is much more palatable to me. I'd love the Zeiss 85mm f1.4 because it looks SOOOOOO gorgeous, but it's more than I can justify.

I'm also looking at and will 99% get a 50-135 f2.8.

So my question is, 1) does anyone have any other recommendations for a portrait lens? 2) I've read the review thread for the samyang 85mm and I'm still not sure, those of you who have purchased this lens in one of its many iterations, will I like it? Is it good enough to keep me happy without spending the extra on the 77mm? 3) With the good reviews of the 50-135, is it even necessary to get a separate portrait lens?

I'll probably get one, but figured I'd ask that last question to see if anyone would try to convince me not to spend more money

Thanks for any help you guys can offer!

-Morgan

05-18-2009, 06:36 PM   #2
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Buy the 77mm ltd and let your worries melt away.

You can thank me later...

c[_]
05-18-2009, 06:56 PM   #3
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If you can afford it, maybe go with the 77ltd. I have the 50-135, very nice for portraits also. If you don't care about AF, I use a Jupiter-9 which is 85mm f/2 in m42 mount and is very good for portraits and goes for $200. There's also the DA 70 f/2.4 which would be pretty sweet too.
05-18-2009, 07:34 PM   #4
pdo
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Just get the 50-135mm.

05-18-2009, 09:01 PM   #5
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Hmm....tough choice.
I was in your position few weeks ago.
Beautiful 77mm Ltd or DA*50-135mm or even FA* 85mm/1.4

FA*85 is hard to get and very expensive.
So it left me with either 77 or 50-135.
I finally found a very good used 50-135 at a hard to pass up price so I got that one.
Man, this lens rocks. I want to use it more than my 16-50 because I like tight photo for portrait.
Yes it's big but nothing compared to my mighty FA*80-200
IQ wise...like everybody has said...BEAUTIFUL. A must have DA* lens.

But still, I want the 77mm Ltd for everyday walk ;P.....that's LBA!
05-18-2009, 09:14 PM   #6
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I have the DA70 and sometimes the distance I need from the subject can be problematic. It's quite long. A 50-60 would be great too, even the FA50 works as a great portrait lens. If you do get one though, get a good hood for it.
05-18-2009, 10:02 PM   #7
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I have both the 50-135 and the 77. Trade offs with each. 77 is fast, small and beautifully constructed. 50-135 has a nice range, quite quick but is a lot larger than I'm used to. (The 70 is the cheapest of the three, and may have the quickest AF.) No bad decisions here...
Good luck.
05-18-2009, 10:08 PM   #8
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I noticed you haven't considered the DA 70mm? Small, compact, sharp, and really nice IQ.

05-19-2009, 12:30 AM   #9
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I have both the FA 77 and the DA 50-135

Use both for different reasons.

I love the DA 50-135 but not half as much as the FA 77




Neil
05-19-2009, 06:57 AM   #10
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FA77 and FA43 for when you need to be closer.

Game over.
05-19-2009, 07:13 AM   #11
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Don't dismiss the DA70, it's a fantastic little lens, very sharp, very "limited", excellently priced and the AF is one of the fastest on Pentax...
05-19-2009, 07:36 AM   #12
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while you look at all the options, and there are tons of them, it seems here people are only pointing you at present to new lenses.

don't forget the SMC 85mm F1.8, SMC 105 mm F2.8, SMC-M 100mm F2.8, SMC-M 85mm F2 or similar M42 screw mounts.

If you have a ton of money, you can also go for any SMC-A, or later 85mm F1.4 lenses.

There is also a russian 85mm F2, and the samyang (vivitar, bowen et. al) 85mm F1.4 in KA mount.

I own the vivitar 85mm F1.4 and can advise that while a little soft at F1.4 it is very good at F2 and higher. I also have the SMC 105 F2.8 which I also find a little soft wide open but very sharp when stopped down.

With a portrait lens, you may want something that can be a little soft (flattering) and you may also want very shallow depth of field. Providing you can control both.
05-19-2009, 07:57 AM   #13
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QuoteQuote:
I own the vivitar 85mm F1.4 and can advise that while a little soft at F1.4 it is very good at F2 and higher. I also have the SMC 105 F2.8 which I also find a little soft wide open but very sharp when stopped down.
The older Vivitars or the new one?

I wonder why A lenses have gotten so expensive. You'd think anything you have to do manually would be so much of a turnoff to so many people that they couldn't give them away!

I love using my 50mm A and my Sigma 70-210 for portraits. I have the DA 50-200 but some inner voice is telling me that its not sharp enough for portrait work. Has anybody used it for that, or should I just up my dosage? LOL!
05-19-2009, 08:45 AM   #14
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QuoteOriginally posted by jboyde Quote
The older Vivitars or the new one?
the new one
QuoteQuote:

I wonder why A lenses have gotten so expensive. You'd think anything you have to do manually would be so much of a turnoff to so many people that they couldn't give them away!
aside from the quality of some of the A lenses and the range of lenses offered by pentax at that time (perhaps the best range of pro lenses) the A setting lets you use P-TTL flash and all exposure modes available on the newer DSLRS. older K mouont lenses can't do that and there are metering issues with Non A lenses on the K10D and K20D that can be frustrating.
QuoteQuote:

I love using my 50mm A and my Sigma 70-210 for portraits. I have the DA 50-200 but some inner voice is telling me that its not sharp enough for portrait work. Has anybody used it for that, or should I just up my dosage? LOL!
the point with portrait lenses is to be a little soft and shallow depth of field wide open but tac sharp stopped down. a good prime (even a chineese one) can usually be much better than a zoom although the gap has narrowed. My main concern was having an F1.4 lens and there are NO zooms at F1.4
05-19-2009, 09:06 AM   #15
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I would fix the A50/1.4. Remove the beveled ring just inside the filter ring, remove the three screws holding the filter ring on, tighten the three screws that hold the focus ring to the lens, then reassemble.

Diego mentioned subject distance, and that gets important with older classic portrait lenses. It's also personal preference - where are you going to take the portraits from? If you can figure that out in advance, you can rule out a lot of lenses.
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