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09-25-2009, 05:43 AM   #1
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Forget the cheap DA normal lens, where's our cheap DA portrait lens?

There has been a lot of talk about how Pentax should make a cheap, fast "normal" prime for APS-C, i.e. like Nikon's 35mm f1.8. However, I would much rather have a cheap, fast portrait lens, like Canon's 85mm f1.8 which goes for a mere $400! Nikon also has a very good 85mm f1.8 which is just a bit more expensive. Anyone agreeing with me?

Yes, we have the 77mm LTD, and there are manual focus offerings, but where's our cheap auto-focus DA 85mm f/1.8??

09-25-2009, 07:11 AM   #2
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QuoteOriginally posted by EricT Quote
There has been a lot of talk about how Pentax should make a cheap, fast "normal" prime for APS-C, i.e. like Nikon's 35mm f1.8. However, I would much rather have a cheap, fast portrait lens, like Canon's 85mm f1.8 which goes for a mere $400! Nikon also has a very good 85mm f1.8 which is just a bit more expensive. Anyone agreeing with me?

Yes, we have the 77mm LTD, and there are manual focus offerings, but where's our cheap auto-focus DA 85mm f/1.8??
85mm is a bit long for a portrait lens with APS-C ...it is considerd a portrait lens on 24X36 size sensors. Pentax have the DA* 55/1.4 as their portrait lens ...but it is a new lens so more expensive. The 85s have been around for ever in the 35mm world so development and tooling have long since been paid. If you want an inexpensive fast portrait lens ...look at one of the 50s.
09-25-2009, 07:12 AM   #3
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I ddon't think they will do anything like it.
You have DA*55 as APSC equivalent of 85, you have FA50 as bit shorter and bit cheaper option and you have DA70/2.4 (105 equivalent), 77ltd you named. I really don't think Pentax will do new 85 until they do FF (but let's not talk about this here). If anything they would do DA55/1.8 or 2 as a cheap alternative. Truth is, I wouldn't mind DA85/2.

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09-25-2009, 08:09 AM   #4
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QuoteOriginally posted by MikePerham Quote
85mm is a bit long for a portrait lens with APS-C ...it is considerd a portrait lens on 24X36 size sensors. Pentax have the DA* 55/1.4 as their portrait lens ...but it is a new lens so more expensive. The 85s have been around for ever in the 35mm world so development and tooling have long since been paid. If you want an inexpensive fast portrait lens ...look at one of the 50s.
Yes, I already have the FA 50mm. However, it depends on what type of portrait you want to take, head shot, upper body, head-to-toes etc. A lot of fashion photographers use 300mm and 400mm lenses for head shots for instance.

Also, a fast 85mm would be great as a fast medium telephoto, for low-light events like concerts, or sports photography where you can get close to the action, like basketball or gymnastics.

09-25-2009, 08:14 AM   #5
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QuoteOriginally posted by axl Quote
I ddon't think they will do anything like it.
You have DA*55 as APSC equivalent of 85, you have FA50 as bit shorter and bit cheaper option and you have DA70/2.4 (105 equivalent), 77ltd you named. I really don't think Pentax will do new 85 until they do FF (but let's not talk about this here). If anything they would do DA55/1.8 or 2 as a cheap alternative. Truth is, I wouldn't mind DA85/2.

my2p
Peter
Well, an 85 would be roughly equivalent to a 135mm, which certainly is a popular focal length for full frame.

The DA 70 simply isn't fast enough, and 20% shorter. The 77 is too expensive. Look at Canon, who has an 85 f1.2, 85 f1.4 and an 85mm f1.8. Yes, I know Pentax isn't Canon, but I can still dream, can't I?
09-25-2009, 08:18 AM   #6
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Yes. DA 85 f/2.

QuoteOriginally posted by axl Quote
...Truth is, I wouldn't mind DA85/2.

my2p
Peter

If Pentax made a DA 85 f/2 with a bit less PF than the M 85 f/2, while retaining The M 85's mind-blowing IQ, I'd get a Pentax tattoo on my friggin forehead. And yes, I'd buy the lens too.
09-25-2009, 08:27 AM   #7
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QuoteOriginally posted by EricT Quote
Yes, I already have the FA 50mm. However, it depends on what type of portrait you want to take, head shot, upper body, head-to-toes etc. A lot of fashion photographers use 300mm and 400mm lenses for head shots for instance.

Also, a fast 85mm would be great as a fast medium telephoto, for low-light events like concerts, or sports photography where you can get close to the action, like basketball or gymnastics.
OK, but I would not classify the 85 as a portrait lens. In fact it comes close to the 135mm in 24X36. However, in the 35mm days the 135s were replaced by the 70-200/F2.8 zooms and I think the DA* 50-135 will do the same today. Doubt you will ever see a fast 85.
09-25-2009, 08:30 AM   #8
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I wish they would bring out a FA 90mm f/1.8 (f/1.2 would be preferable, but let's be reasonable here) Limited and an FA limited in the 100~200mm area with an f stop no slower than f/1.8

09-25-2009, 08:31 AM   #9
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QuoteOriginally posted by EricT Quote
There has been a lot of talk about how Pentax should make a cheap, fast "normal" prime for APS-C, i.e. like Nikon's 35mm f1.8.
That's where I would like to see Pentax concentrate their efforts. There are plenty of existing second-hand lenses that make excellent portrait lenses with digital SLRs - but there are no fast, (affordable) digital normal lenses.
09-25-2009, 09:41 AM   #10
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QuoteOriginally posted by jsherman999 Quote
If Pentax made a DA 85 f/2 with a bit less PF than the M 85 f/2, while retaining The M 85's mind-blowing IQ, I'd get a Pentax tattoo on my friggin forehead. And yes, I'd buy the lens too.
That's what I'm talking about!
09-25-2009, 09:43 AM   #11
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QuoteOriginally posted by MikePerham Quote
OK, but I would not classify the 85 as a portrait lens. In fact it comes close to the 135mm in 24X36. However, in the 35mm days the 135s were replaced by the 70-200/F2.8 zooms and I think the DA* 50-135 will do the same today. Doubt you will ever see a fast 85.
Well, the 50-135mm sure is nice, but it's over a full stop slower, twice as heavy and twice as expensive as the Canon 85mm f1.8!!
09-25-2009, 09:46 AM   #12
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QuoteOriginally posted by Spock Quote
That's where I would like to see Pentax concentrate their efforts. There are plenty of existing second-hand lenses that make excellent portrait lenses with digital SLRs - but there are no fast, (affordable) digital normal lenses.
Which auto-focus, fast(f<=2) and cheap(<$400) second-hand lenses around 85mm are you referring to?
For normal, you have the Sigma 30mm f1.4 for $400, and the Pentax 35mm f2 can still be found relatively cheap.
09-25-2009, 09:55 AM   #13
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QuoteOriginally posted by EricT Quote
Well, an 85 would be roughly equivalent to a 135mm, which certainly is a popular focal length for full frame.
True, but definitely on the long side of the typically accepted range. The 85 exists for Canon and Nikon because it already existed as a *short* portrait lens for film, so keeping it around as a *long* portrait lens on APS-C made sense, but that doesn't really make this the ideal portrait lens. Kind of like all the wedding shooters bemoaning the lack of a Pentax 70-200/2.8 just because Canon and Nikon had one, when really, a 50-135 is more appropriate. It should have been the Canon and Nikon folks bemoaning the fact that they didn't have one of those! Just as Canon and Nikon folks now should be complaining about the lack of medium-range portrait primes for their systems.

QuoteQuote:
The DA 70 simply isn't fast enough, and 20% shorter.
I think you'll find most people perceiving the 70 being shorter as an *advantage*, as you are already seeing on this thread with people commenting that 85 is on the long side.

As for not being fast enough, sure, that extra fraction of a stop can sometimes matter, but really, a whole heck of a lot of portraiture is effectively done at f/2.4 and above. I think you're casually dismissing a fantastic lens, and the "obvious" answer to your question.

QuoteQuote:
Yes, I know Pentax isn't Canon, but I can still dream, can't I?
Absolutely! Nothing wrong with dreaming, or even sharing our dreams. But don't be too surprised when realists come along and try explain why they aren't that likely to come true :-)

BTW, elsewhere, you write off the fast 85's that are available for not having AF. This also seems very odd to me. If you're going to complain the DA70 is too slow for portraiture, then presumably you are looking for extremely shallow DOF special effects where you get half the eyelashes of one eye in focus and the other half not. Surely you don't rely on AF to give you that precise control over exactly where that focus point is? Seems to me shallow DOF portraiture is practically synonymous with manual focus.
09-25-2009, 10:06 AM   #14
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QuoteOriginally posted by Digitalis Quote
I wish they would bring out a FA 90mm f/1.8 (f/1.2 would be preferable, but let's be reasonable here) Limited and an FA limited in the 100~200mm area with an f stop no slower than f/1.8
Wow! An FA 200/1.8 would probably end up being 5-inches in diameter so you definitely wouldn't sneak up on anyone. It might as well be painted white.

I won't suggest the combo as a true portrait lens, whatever that means, but my 50/1.4 on my 1.4x TC gives an interesting FOV on my K200D while being reasonably quick.
09-25-2009, 10:33 AM   #15
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QuoteOriginally posted by Marc Sabatella Quote
As for not being fast enough, sure, that extra fraction of a stop can sometimes matter, but really, a whole heck of a lot of portraiture is effectively done at f/2.4 and above. I think you're casually dismissing a fantastic lens, and the "obvious" answer to your question.

Absolutely! Nothing wrong with dreaming, or even sharing our dreams. But don't be too surprised when realists come along and try explain why they aren't that likely to come true :-)

BTW, elsewhere, you write off the fast 85's that are available for not having AF. This also seems very odd to me. If you're going to complain the DA70 is too slow for portraiture, then presumably you are looking for extremely shallow DOF special effects where you get half the eyelashes of one eye in focus and the other half not. Surely you don't rely on AF to give you that precise control over exactly where that focus point is? Seems to me shallow DOF portraiture is practically synonymous with manual focus.
The extra (almost) stop plus a longer focal length can really make a difference in bokeh. You do have a point about MF. However, say I want a torso+head portrait. At 85mm and f1.8, I would have a DOF of 20-25cm, which isn't extremely shallow. Still, it would require less distance to the background to throw it out of focus than with the 70mm at f2.4.
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