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View Poll Results: Portrait lens?
Pentax DA* 55 816.67%
Sigma 50 EX HSM 12.08%
Pentax FA 50 918.75%
Pentax DA 70 1020.83%
Just use the DFA 50 Macro 12.08%
Something else 1939.58%
Voters: 48. You may not vote on this poll

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04-20-2010, 11:59 AM   #1
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50mm-ish portrait lens?

I have a small flock of lenses and I've decided that my next purchase should be a portrait lens. Now the problem I've got is that I do a lot of portraits indoors (as well as what would better be called 'candids' at parties) - now none of this is badly lit so I don't need blinding speed for that reason.

I've been looking at the DA70 Limited, but my dilemma is that it might well be too long for indoor use whereas the DA*55 is more expensive (and also 200 than the Sigma 50) and I already have five lenses covering 50mm-ish (the two kit zooms, a DFA 50 Macro, and a Helios 77M-4).

My only real constraints are that the lens must have AF (I don't really have the eyesight to justify buying a premium MF lens like a Voigtlander), and that the DA*55 is the highest I can go in price terms (so the DA*50-135, and the FA Limiteds, are out of the question). Other than that any pointers would be greatly appreciated :P

EDIT: I also have a DFA 100 Macro - the 35 Macro appeals to my completionist self but will it be as useful for portraits as a wet haddock?

04-20-2010, 01:39 PM   #2
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Have you also considered the DA40/2.8 limited?

You might want to also consider the DA40. It performs very well wide open and focus really fast even under low indoor light. It's also small and should be well within your budget (based on the other lenses on your list). Being a little wider might also be helpful for indoor candids. Just a thought.
04-20-2010, 01:47 PM   #3
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As suggested, the DA40 is perfect for indoor portraits. It is really sharp so a bit cropping if needed won't hurt.

Besides, it is small and fast-focusing - a great lens for candid photos.

But I think the lens for parties is DA21. I can see that one in your future....
04-20-2010, 03:14 PM   #4
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Out of these choices? The DA* 55mm. Depending on the situation though, the FA* 85mm F1.4 or the DA* 50-135 F2.8.

04-20-2010, 03:21 PM   #5
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I find 50mm too wide for the kind of portraits I prefer - either the subject is too small in the frame or I have to stand too close. I much prefer the FOV of a 70mm lens. It would have to be a pretty small room for that to be too long for a head and shoulder portrait. So maybe avoid shooting it in the bathroom, I guess. But if you prefer 50mm, I can't see any reason to buy anything at all when you've got several already.

Last edited by Marc Sabatella; 04-20-2010 at 05:03 PM.
04-20-2010, 03:22 PM   #6
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Yes!!!

Something else is kicking ass!!!

We're winning by one vote!!!
04-20-2010, 03:37 PM   #7
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On digital I would really go with the old FA 35mm f/2 because I've seen some great portraits taken with that lens. The field of view is closer to 50mm so it's a bit of a standard lens, but like I said, same of the best portraits that I've seen from a Pentax camera were taken with that lens.
04-20-2010, 05:49 PM   #8
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QuoteOriginally posted by jct us101 Quote
On digital I would really go with the old FA 35mm f/2 because I've seen some great portraits taken with that lens. The field of view is closer to 50mm so it's a bit of a standard lens, but like I said, same of the best portraits that I've seen from a Pentax camera were taken with that lens.
The FA35 is a pretty solid choice too. Even though I suggested the DA40 a few posts up, I actually haven't used my DA40 all that much since (re)aquiring the FA35/2. It's a great indoor lens as well, and quite sharp even at f/2. Like the DA40, it focuses very quickly and is pretty light weight as well.

04-20-2010, 06:52 PM   #9
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I guess it depends on your style of portraiture...but I've always found that for me, unless I'm in a studio shooting the same types of poses constantly....primes are too limiting.

My favorite lens I ever used for portraits was in my Canon days I had an 80-200mm f/2.8 (Magic Drainpipe for those who are familiar with it). My 2nd favorite was the Canon 85mm f/1.8. So if I were looking for something in Pentax it would be the DA 70 or the 77 limited...or of course a sharp f/2.8 zoom lens.

But that's just me...I actually prefer to just use a zoom, but then I don't have a studio so of course YMMV
04-20-2010, 07:13 PM   #10
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can't say i have any portrait experience worth anything, but if the da 40 is an option, then probably you should look at the fa 43. there were some very nice portrait examples from that lens in the fa ltd. thread - and it is faster than the da 40 if you're talking about usage indoors. as far as i can tell, it is possible to purchase the fa 43 new for close to the price of the da* 55 new if you look hard enough.
04-20-2010, 07:43 PM   #11
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If you haven't seen this thread yet, it may also interest you: https://www.pentaxforums.com/forums/pentax-slr-lens-discussion/94382-if-you-c...-you-pick.html
04-20-2010, 11:20 PM   #12
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A recent thread of interest is: https://www.pentaxforums.com/forums/pentax-slr-lens-discussion/97973-da%2A55m...mm-f1-4-a.html altough one should not discard the FA50mm f1.5 that is AF.

Personally I can recommend strongly the Voigtlander Nokton 58mm f1.4. I bought the Nokton 58mm for outdoor low light shooting, but I getting some nice portait of the family with that lens. The Nokton is a superb lens, very solid, excellent IQ. And a nice price ... same as the FA50mm and much cheaper than the DA*55mm.
04-21-2010, 12:20 AM   #13
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I mainly use my Pentax-K 35mm 3.5 for indoor candid shots. On a APS-C DSLR it gives me around 50mm focal length which feels pretty natural indoors. Of course, this is not an auto-focus lens so if you need that, I would recommend the DA 40mm LTD (which would probably be your most affordable option) or the FA 43mm LTD, DA 35mm 2.8 Macro, or FA 35mm f/2.
04-21-2010, 12:23 AM   #14
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Out of those options I voted for DA*55....
But myself, I have no intentions to get it. I own 50/1.2 and 55/1.8 and have just ordered 85/2 which I suspect will do me nicely for portraits, and combined they are still cheaper than DA*55 on it's own.....
04-21-2010, 03:26 AM   #15
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QuoteOriginally posted by axl Quote
Out of those options I voted for DA*55....
But myself, I have no intentions to get it. I own 50/1.2 and 55/1.8 and have just ordered 85/2 which I suspect will do me nicely for portraits, and combined they are still cheaper than DA*55 on it's own.....
What 85/2 did you buy?
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