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05-29-2007, 12:47 AM   #1
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Good 50 or 55mm prime for K100d

I think about getting a Pentax prime for headshot shooting, as I don't need a zoom lens for this task.

Camera: K100d.

50mm should give what 75mm is for a film SLR after applying the conversion factor.

In film, I had Minolta and Nikon before. I do not know the Pentax lenses.

1. Which prime would you recommend? A manual? Autofocus?

2. I currently have the kit lens and wonder how much I could gain in quality.

3. Where would you buy it: e-bay or craigslist?

Thanks!

05-29-2007, 12:52 AM   #2
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QuoteOriginally posted by The View Quote
1. Which prime would you recommend? A manual? Autofocus?
Personal taste. kind of depends on how good you are at getting your focus right when you use manual focus. I think the MF ones a bit easier to got hold of too and should be cheaper

QuoteOriginally posted by The View Quote
2. I currently have the kit lens and wonder how much I could gain in quality.
An older prime will usually be made out of metal, so build quality will be miles ahead of the kit lens. You will also get a faster max aperture so you can shoot in lower light. And the quality of the prime will be better than the kit lens too.

QuoteOriginally posted by The View Quote
3. Where would you buy it: e-bay or craigslist?
I would keep as far away from cragslist as possible. Ive heard of some pretty bad experiences with it. Not that ebay is any better.
Try posting in the wanted section of the market place here. I think someone has a few spare copies of the 50mm (something like 10 from memory)
05-29-2007, 05:26 AM   #3
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I find 50mm is still a little too close to the subject when doing headshots even on digital. I would probably go for either DA70 or FA77.

I have got:
FA50/1.4 - nice bokeh, not very sharp at f1.4
M50/1.7 - sharper than FA50/1.4 wide open
K55/1.8 - only just got this lens recently so haven't really formed an opinion yet.

Here is a shot of K55/1.8 wide-open at f1.8: (Sorry not a portrait shot)


Here is the centre crop:


cheers
Kenny
05-29-2007, 05:27 AM   #4
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i'd suggest the fa 50mm f1.4 or the m 50mm f1.7

the fa, being af is generally more useful but the m is really smooth and great for mf. i'd say 90% of my shots are done with the fa prime; it's really good and performs best at f2.0.

05-29-2007, 05:28 AM   #5
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that's super soft.
05-29-2007, 05:39 AM   #6
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From your thread before - (https://www.pentaxforums.com/forums/pentax-dslr-discussion/7584-noob-needs-bu...ice-k100d.html)
QuoteQuote:
Even a basic kit lens will by far outperform these older lenses.

Current zooms are better than even fixed focus lenses fifteen years ago. (this doesn't apply to kit lenses).
So just stick with the kit lens for now 50mm @ f/5.6 is fine for portaits...

But seriously, I still love my SMC-A 50mm f/1.7, even though my FA 50mm f/1.4 gets more use because of the autofocus. Very sharp (even wide open!)
05-29-2007, 06:14 AM   #7
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uh, mtf quality doesn't change with age so glass 20 years old will still perform better than a new lower end lens?
05-29-2007, 06:56 AM   #8
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The Pentax FA 50mm 1.4 can be found new for under $200 with the mfg rebate here in the US. Very good lens. Some find it not so sharp at 1.4, others think it IS sharp wide open. In any event, by 2.0 it is sharp as the proverbial tack. Also has good bokeh. I agree with kjao in that I find 50mm digital still a bit close for head shot portraits, I use my Tamron 90mm F2.8 macro for that. Pentax also has an 85mm f2.0 "soft focus" lens specifically for portraits. Don't own the lens personally but I've read mostly good things about it. Here is a link.
https://www.pentaxforums.com/lensreviews/showproduct.php?product=189&cat=30

NaCl(hope that helps)H2O

05-29-2007, 07:52 AM   #9
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Seriously, why would you ask
QuoteQuote:
I do not know the Pentax lenses.

1. Which prime would you recommend? A manual? Autofocus?

2. I currently have the kit lens and wonder how much I could gain in quality.
and then proclaim in another post
QuoteQuote:
Even a basic kit lens will by far outperform these older lenses.

Current zooms are better than even fixed focus lenses fifteen years ago.
That's like in a car forum saying "Ford's today stink" and then asking somewhere else "Are Ford's today any good? I'm used to driving Japanese cars" (My answer - I like Toyotas...)
05-29-2007, 09:35 AM   #10
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Yes it is soft.
My 55/1.8 doesn't get "sharp" until stopped down to f/4 or maybe f/5.6.
With sharp I mean a combination of resolution and contrast resulting in the modern style of overly crisp pictures after a minor touch-up in PP.
05-29-2007, 09:42 AM   #11
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QuoteOriginally posted by The View Quote
I think about getting a Pentax prime for headshot shooting, as I don't need a zoom lens for this task.

Camera: K100d.

50mm should give what 75mm is for a film SLR after applying the conversion factor.

In film, I had Minolta and Nikon before. I do not know the Pentax lenses.

1. Which prime would you recommend? A manual? Autofocus?

2. I currently have the kit lens and wonder how much I could gain in quality.

3. Where would you buy it: e-bay or craigslist?

Thanks!
1. Can't answer that. If you are fine with AF then you should go for AF.
2. You gain in quality in quality. "How much"? You'll get better microcontrast, better control of DOF, better resolution and better low light performance.
3: I would buy a new FA50/1.4 from some good US dealer. Either that, or buy a cheapo thing and wait for the DA*55/1.4.

The A/F/FA50/1.4 all have low contrast until stopped down. They also all show a relative high degree of axial CA (most Pentax lenses do this).

hth,
05-29-2007, 02:44 PM   #12
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My M 50/f1.7 has always been my go-to-lens for headshots. It certainly does the trick for me...
05-29-2007, 05:31 PM   #13
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QuoteOriginally posted by egordon99 Quote
(My answer - I like Toyotas...)
I prefer a vw or an audi, but its really personal taste

Back on topic, if you can afford a new 50mm f1.4 then get that. If not, buy the best you can afford.
05-29-2007, 06:13 PM   #14
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QuoteOriginally posted by Jonas B Quote
1. Can't answer that. If you are fine with AF then you should go for AF.
2. You gain in quality in quality. "How much"? You'll get better microcontrast, better control of DOF, better resolution and better low light performance.
3: I would buy a new FA50/1.4 from some good US dealer. Either that, or buy a cheapo thing and wait for the DA*55/1.4.

The A/F/FA50/1.4 all have low contrast until stopped down. They also all show a relative high degree of axial CA (most Pentax lenses do this).

hth,
Thanks for this knowledgeable reply. 55mm would be a better focal length for headshots than 50mm, and you hinted the new DA55/1.4 would be an outstanding lens.

In 35mm film cameras, 80mm is ideal for headshots (using a 80mm lens (like two members suggested, would - with a 1,5 conversion factor - make it a 120mm lens, which is too long for headshots. It flattens the face, and takes away that certain intimacy you need to make a person's character and character potential come over)

Last edited by The View; 05-29-2007 at 06:55 PM.
05-29-2007, 06:16 PM   #15
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QuoteOriginally posted by Jonas B Quote
You gain in quality in quality. "How much"? You'll get better microcontrast, better control of DOF, better resolution and better low light performance.
hth,
Better microcontrast - does this more of contrast mean less nuances in color (which is usually the case in higher contrast).

Better low light performance: do you just mean "more light in due to a bigger aperture" or...

... better describing details and colors at low light?
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