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11-25-2009, 08:29 AM   #1
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Any recommendations on an inexpensive portrait lens?

I have a K20D, and the 18-55 lens that came with it. I also have the 55-300.

I'd like to take portraits of family members and their kids. I also volunteered to take portraits for my kids sport teams as well. The 18-55 is just not fast enough, because at 55mm it doesnt seem to open past f5.6. It'll open to f3.5 at 18mm, but that is just way to wide for my purposes.

Is there a nice, inexpensive lens available that is around 50mm and allows somewhere between f1.4 and f2.8? It doesnt have to be a Pentax lens or a DA lens, I'd just like the electronics to work when I set the aperture. Not looking for a zoom, just fixed.

11-25-2009, 08:31 AM   #2
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Yes the perfect lens for this is the FA 50mm f1.4. it's used for this exact purpose all the time.
Usual price seems to be between $250-299.00 these days. Periodically there's some here on the marketplace (where I got mine).

If you have the budget and want something more exotic, the FA43mm is a sweet lens as well but it's about double the price.
11-25-2009, 08:36 AM   #3
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Is autofocus a necessity?
11-25-2009, 08:39 AM   #4
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Pentax Lens Review and Specification Database - 50mm F1.4

*** Pentax-A 50mm/f1.4 Lens *** WOW!!! K-7 K-x K20D - eBay (item 220512983074 end time Nov-29-09 19:05:13 PST)

11-25-2009, 08:44 AM   #5
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50mm is the sweet spot for speed and affordability. If you can do manual focus, you can't really go wrong with an A-series 50mm lens. The f/2 version is very inexpensive but still a big step up from the kit lens. The f/1.7 and f/1.4 versions are stellar.

As for autofocus, you can find an F 50mm f/1.7 for less than $200, or else an FA 50mm f/1.4 for a bit more.

In any case, it is hard to go wrong with a fast fifty.
11-25-2009, 08:52 AM   #6
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I'd prefer autofocus to work, but I'd be OK with out it if need be. I'm more interested in getting something as inexpensive as possible because it'll be a specialty lens for me. Macro would be nice too.
11-25-2009, 08:56 AM   #7
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Well then a used f 50mm f1.7 is the cheapest AF way to go for a good (great) lens.
To get true macro, you are looking at a different animal. there are a couple of 50mm choices but slower at f2.8 and more money in most cases. Plus they will focus a bit slower due to the long focus throw (turn distance of the focus ring).

IMO keep your macro and portrait lenses seperate.
11-25-2009, 10:59 AM   #8
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I agree with Peter. There are a few Pentax-F 50:1.7's on ebay at present and they will probably sell for around $150.

A good alternative might be a fast Pentax-A 50mm if you don't mind Manual focus. I suggest an A type as it does everthing except autofocus and might be in the $50-75 range; there are quite a few listed on eBay now.

11-25-2009, 11:53 AM   #9
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As noted above, just about any "fast 50" will function as a nice portrait lens with an APS-C sensor. If you want the lens to do double duty as a macro lens, the Sigma 50/2.8 EX DG Macro might be a good choice. It generally sells for less than $300 (I paid $236 for mine). Here are the reviews of this lens. I does a great job for closeups and macro, though I have never used it for portraits. Alternatively, any fast 50 can be paired with a bellows or inexpensive set of extension tubes for doing macro work.

Steve

Last edited by stevebrot; 11-25-2009 at 12:14 PM.
11-25-2009, 12:16 PM   #10
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I forgot to mention that my favorite portrait lens for the K10D is the very inexpensive Helios 44M 58/2. Go cheap...be happy

Steve
11-25-2009, 01:09 PM   #11
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Yeah, the Helios is fantastic and offers a completely unique look.
11-25-2009, 02:18 PM   #12
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could somebody post a pics from the same spot of the same subject, say 2-3m away, Helios w F50/1.7 (any SMC50 for that matter) at same f stop? I'd just love to visualise the difference in FOV/DOF.

Many thanks
Peter
11-25-2009, 02:25 PM   #13
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QuoteOriginally posted by jeryst Quote
I'd prefer autofocus to work, but I'd be OK with out it if need be. I'm more interested in getting something as inexpensive as possible because it'll be a specialty lens for me.
As inexpensive as possible, while retaining full auto & manual metering options, would be, as mentioned above, the manual focusing Pentax 50mm A f:2, which can be had in excellent condition for about $30.
11-25-2009, 02:43 PM   #14
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QuoteOriginally posted by axl Quote
could somebody post a pics from the same spot of the same subject, say 2-3m away, Helios w F50/1.7 (any SMC50 for that matter) at same f stop? I'd just love to visualise the difference in FOV/DOF.

Many thanks
Peter
I don't have any comparison shots but all Pentax 50mm primes I have used are very good (M50/1.7 M50/2 SMC Takumar 50/1.4 and FA 50/1.4). The Helios 58mm f/2 is also an excellent lens, haven't used it for portraits but I have used it for street shooting and it can be found dirt cheap on ebay though most of them are M42 and a k-mount can be harder to find.

Helios 58mm f/2:







FA 50mm f/1.4



11-25-2009, 02:52 PM   #15
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QuoteOriginally posted by axl Quote
could somebody post a pics from the same spot of the same subject, say 2-3m away, Helios w F50/1.7 (any SMC50 for that matter) at same f stop? I'd just love to visualise the difference in FOV/DOF.

Many thanks
Peter
I will see what I can do. I don't think that I have any direct comparisons in my current library of shots, though it would be easy enough to generate a few. I assume you are wanting the comparison using the K10D and not film.

Steve
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