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08-27-2009, 07:07 AM   #16
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Being rediculously sharp at 1.8 the 77lim still needs to be stopped down when doing closeups due to a very narrow DOF... Thus the DA70, will do the job just as well...

08-27-2009, 09:54 AM   #17
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For general portraiture, my go-to lens has been either FA or F 50mm f1.4. I find their speed, size and focal length just ideal for most situations.

However, I also have and love the 77mm Ltd, which I prefer for formal portraits if focal length is not an issue. And for that same reason, I just got a 43mm Ltd so I can see myself using the limiteds together more often from now on.

EDIT: I realized I got caught up in the conversation that followed the OP which actually only asks only for one among Tammy 90, Sigma 70 and DA 70mm so, since having never worked with any of them but based on what I have read so far, I'd probably go for the DA.

Last edited by EsBee; 08-27-2009 at 11:39 AM.
08-27-2009, 09:56 AM   #18
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QuoteOriginally posted by Digitalis Quote
personally, I would go for the DA70. when you get a macro lens you will probably want one with more working distance than the tamron. ditto for the sigma 70mm
I have owned both the Tamron 90mm macro and the Sigma 105mm macro. I have found negligible differences in macro working distance between the two. I've never owned the Sigma 70 so I cannot comment on that one but I've never noticed any difference in working distance between the other two. The sigma 180 is a different story but that lens is so big that it needs at least a monopod for any kind of decent macro work. And it's damn difficult to hand hold at "normal" distances.

NaCl(maybe a inch or so at the most)H2O

Last edited by NaClH2O; 08-27-2009 at 09:58 AM. Reason: added comments about sig 180
08-27-2009, 11:04 AM   #19
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Among all lenses of my own -as you may see in my signature.
I'd say DA 70mm is most probably the best, including DA* 200mm.

Tamron 90mm is a very good lens indeed, and will do the job,
but it is a little bit heavy and has no quick-shift focus.
DA 70mm is a special lens I tell you,
it gives the most beautiful colors and a little bit warm tone which is very convenient for portrait. Sharp wide open and bokeh is great too.

Unfortunately I had no chance to try FA 77mm but looking to the samples online,
I have to say the bokeh from FA 77mm wide open is better, naturally, (f/1.8 vs f/2.4)

08-27-2009, 02:49 PM   #20
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I adore my 'people pics' with the DA70. Very sharp wide open and super color and contrast. BUT i have never used a 77 to compare it too. Being in Aus too..... CAN'T AFFORD IT.

FYI, below is the DOF for the 70 and 77 at 1, 2 and 3m respectively.

da 70(2.4) 2cm 7cm 16cm
FA 77(1.8) 1cm 5cm 10cm

08-27-2009, 03:03 PM   #21
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I have the DA 70 and the Tamron 90.

The Tammy is probably TOO sharp for portraiture, even at 2.8. Seriously, that thing will cut you, mang.
08-27-2009, 03:06 PM   #22
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Haven't used the 70 but would like to try it with a K7.

The 77 is magic on my K20d. My favorite lens, and one reason I still shoot Pentax.
08-27-2009, 03:09 PM   #23
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Someone mentioned the 85mm f1.4 Samyang for like $300-400 or so.

Although I'm suspicous how could such a fast long lense be any good for that price? there has to be some major compromise.

08-27-2009, 03:10 PM   #24
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I'm using 3 lenses for portraiture

1. A 50 f1.2 = artsy surreal portaiture
2. FA 50 f1.7 = for walkaround fast shooting and sharp wide open portaiture.
3. FA 100 f2.8 macro = working distance and excellent IQ.
08-27-2009, 05:24 PM   #25
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What I have used for portraiture over the past while:
Voigtlander Nokton 58/1.4, FA50/1.4, DA*55/1.4, DA70/2.4, FA77/1.8, A*85/1.4.
They are all very good lenses indeed. I sold the Nokton and the FA50 when I bought the DA*55. It is somewhat sharper wide open than the 50 or 58 and has the advantage (for me) of being an AF lens (the FA is as well, obviously).
Honestly, I have a hard time telling the difference between the 70 and the 77. There isn't a huge difference in maximum aperture (2/3 stop?), so the DOF difference wide open just doesn't strike me as significant. The FA is definitely easier to use with studio lights due to the brighter screen, and the AF does hunt a bit in some conditions with the 70, again due to the modelling lights being a bit dim.
Now, you'd have to whack me upside the head pretty hard to get me to give up my A*85/1.4, but it is too long for general portraiture and is both rare and expensive, and probably doesn't apply to this discussion.
If you are having a hard time justifying the 77, the 70 is a very good alternative.
I won't use Sigma lenses, so I can't comment on them, and I don't use Tamrons, so the same applies.
08-27-2009, 08:06 PM   #26
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QuoteOriginally posted by C.W Tsorotes Quote
Someone mentioned the 85mm f1.4 Samyang for like $300-400 or so.

Although I'm suspicous how could such a fast long lense be any good for that price? there has to be some major compromise.
There is. I have yet to see a single shot posted that impresses. Whereas the DA70, DA*50-135, FA77, FA43, etc. etc. all have many shining examples of great portraiture on this forum.
08-27-2009, 10:31 PM   #27
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This is a little off the wall, but...

I own the 77 ltd. I was lucky and got it new for about the same as the U.S. price of the Sigma 70. It is a wonderful lens. The rumors about pixie dust are true. After using it for the last three months, I have only two reservations:
  • The focal length is a little long on APS-C when working in close quarters
  • It is not particularly close focusing
Fortunately for me, the pixies speak Russian too and dumped a generous amount dust on my Helios 44M 58/2. For a fraction of the price of modern glass, you can get a lens that is sharp wide open, has great bokeh and plenty of magic. On APS-C the working distance for portraits is about the same as the traditional 85mm portrait lens. Like the 77 ltd, the Helios is not particularly close focusing (a little less magnification at closest focus than the 77), but for the price, who cares. Mine was $10 USD + $10 to ship.


(If you truly prefer the longer focal length, there is also the Jupiter-9 85/2...5x-10x more money than the Helios 44M, but still a bargain.)

(Not a portrait, but here is a pair of shots of the same subject using both lenses

Last edited by stevebrot; 08-29-2009 at 09:05 AM.
08-28-2009, 01:26 AM   #28
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i suggest FA 50/1.4
08-28-2009, 04:32 AM   #29
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It is true that the FA77 is not close focusing. For that focal length I do not mind, since the idea is to be a good distance back from your subject, in order to flatten features. I find the minimum distance much more a limitation on the FA43, with its significantly shorter focal. In fact, that is my only complaint about the lens.

But in either case, if you have the K20D you have lots of crop room. Keep this in mind when framing. You can always crop in even 50% in PP while maintaining good image quality (enough for 8x10 glossy).

I like the suggestion of the bargain basement Helios 44M, though it generally goes for $40-60 including shipping, and requires an M42 adapter which is not that cheap if you get the genuine Pentax article (please do). However for portraits the Jupiter 9 85/2 is a lot more appropriate at $140.

Compare with FA77 in the market right now for $525 plus shipping. Or DA70 for $450+. (At used prices the FA77 looks very good compared with the DA70.)
08-28-2009, 05:39 AM   #30
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QuoteOriginally posted by rparmar Quote
There is. I have yet to see a single shot posted that impresses. Whereas the DA70, DA*50-135, FA77, FA43, etc. etc. all have many shining examples of great portraiture on this forum.

I think you have made this comment previously. I would be curious to know exactly what you find lacking in the lens, or is it simply that there is no identifyable trait that makes it "unique". I believe in the past you copmpared it to the unique bokeh of the russian lenses, as an example.

So is the problem simply that the lens performs, is suitably sharp, etc, but does not have a feature that distinguishes it from the rest?

I have posted these in the past
and a 100% crop out of the frame

For me they are sharp, the contrast is as the lighting permitted on an overcast day, the color is what I saw, and overall have the quality I want and expected.

what would the other lenses do differently?

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