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Why should I spend the big bucks...
Lens: Pentax-A f/1.7 50mm Camera: K20d Photo Location: Arligton, TN Shutter Speed: 1/180s Aperture: F4 
Posted By: Barron, 04-26-2012, 09:47 AM

..on portrait lenses? When the quality is pretty good from a cheap 50mm 1.7. I mean nothing is moving around that I should need a fast auto-focus.


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04-26-2012, 10:32 AM   #2
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You are right. Many people want the sharpest lens for portraits, however. I guess they like retouching :-)
04-26-2012, 11:14 AM   #3
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The 50 1.7 is a great portrait lens and the (also) cheap 55 1.8.

Nice photo!
04-26-2012, 11:16 AM   #4
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QuoteOriginally posted by SpecialK Quote
You are right. Many people want the sharpest lens for portraits, however. I guess they like retouching :-)
I like unflattering portraits. People with tons of wrinkles, pockmarks, etc. They are more interesting to me. Of course most people want to look 'good' in their photos . I shoot mostly candids of my daughter, since she won't pose for photographs, and AF comes in handy(kids have perfect skin anyways). A 50/1.7 is certainly an awesome lens, but it's also sharp enough to show flaws, and require touch up, stopped down at all. The FA50/1.4 is a little softer and better for traditional portraits.

04-26-2012, 11:22 AM   #5
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QuoteOriginally posted by SpecialK Quote
You are right. Many people want the sharpest lens for portraits, however. I guess they like retouching :-)
the thing is, people always want features like eyes, hair etc tak sharp, but the rest a little soft to hide the flaws.

As kenafein says however, on some people, sharp details, wrinkles lines etc add character.

Maybe some subjects just don't like "character", especially when it is their image
04-26-2012, 11:26 AM   #6
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Two possible answers would be, "you should because you have the big bucks" or you a shouldn't because you don't need to. Personally, I have no problem at all with using a 50 mm lens for portraits on an APS-c camera. 85 might be better on full frame. If you have someone with a really big nose or something I guess you might want to go longer... just to flatten things out a a bit. But you're going to be standing in the next postal code.
04-26-2012, 11:32 AM   #7
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QuoteOriginally posted by kenafein Quote
I like unflattering portraits. People with tons of wrinkles, pockmarks, etc. They are more interesting to me. Of course most people want to look 'good' in their photos . I shoot mostly candids of my daughter, since she won't pose for photographs, and AF comes in handy(kids have perfect skin anyways). A 50/1.7 is certainly an awesome lens, but it's also sharp enough to show flaws, and require touch up, stopped down at all. The FA50/1.4 is a little softer and better for traditional portraits.
Or maybe go for a 50/2 since it is so soft and fuzzy when wide open? (That's a serious comment)
Less serious is my trying to sort out the advice from the sarcasm. I don't shoot portraits, so I'm finding the more serious feedback like that of @Lowell_Goudge helpful in what you need to think about for portraits.

Getting back to the original poster, what may be as interested as the lens choice is your selection of F4 rather than shooting wide open.
04-26-2012, 03:52 PM   #8
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QuoteOriginally posted by MSL Quote
Or maybe go for a 50/2 since it is so soft and fuzzy when wide open? (That's a serious comment)
Less serious is my trying to sort out the advice from the sarcasm. I don't shoot portraits, so I'm finding the more serious feedback like that of @Lowell_Goudge helpful in what you need to think about for portraits.

Getting back to the original poster, what may be as interested as the lens choice is your selection of F4 rather than shooting wide open.
I like shooting street portraits with a samyang 85/1.4. That does not mean that I shoot all the time at F1.4 but I do shoot fairly close to that, typically less than F2.8. The samyang 85 is quite sharp, and I consider separation between foreground and background by using the space? One of the big issues that keeps people asking for full frame cameras is the shallower DOF for the same field of view. But this can easily be compensated for with a little thinking about the foreground / background separation. By increasing this distance a little, you can stop down, keep more of the subject tack sharp by stopping down from. Wide open and still achieve good visual separation between sharp foreground and blurred background


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04-26-2012, 04:16 PM   #9
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QuoteOriginally posted by Lowell Goudge Quote
I like shooting street portraits with a samyang 85/1.4. That does not mean that I shoot all the time at F1.4 but I do shoot fairly close to that, typically less than F2.8.
Ditto - really one of my favorite lenses for many reasons. I shoot mostly at f/2.5 and f/4.0 but I also carry an ND8 with me and shoot some outside random street portraits @ 1.8 with the filter. Great all around lens (use it a lot for sports shooting also)...
04-26-2012, 06:26 PM   #10
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I've always known that thin black fabric doesn't photograph well with on-camera flash. Didn't know it would apply to white blouses. I don't know what this woman's relationship to you is, but I can tell you that she is wearing a green bra with yellow and white polka dots, butterflies, or flowers. Good job!
04-27-2012, 04:39 AM   #11
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QuoteQuote:
but I can tell you that she is wearing a green bra with yellow and white polka dots
You're staring way to hard, maybe it's your eyes getting tired.
04-27-2012, 09:05 AM   #12
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QuoteOriginally posted by normhead Quote
You're staring way to hard, maybe it's your eyes getting tired.
That's what I'm thinking!
04-27-2012, 11:11 AM   #13
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QuoteOriginally posted by normhead Quote
You're staring way to hard, maybe it's your eyes getting tired.
She's not my type, so I wasn't starting hard at all. I noticed it one second after starting to scroll down. It's very obvious.
04-27-2012, 11:20 AM   #14
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QuoteOriginally posted by mischivo Quote
She's not my type, so I wasn't starting hard at all. I noticed it one second after starting to scroll down. It's very obvious.
What kind of monitor are you using? It kind of concerns me because I don't want people to be noticing things like that without even trying. I can barely see green if I look hard enough, but only on the un-cropped version of the photo. I don't use high end graphics monitors though, so I'm curious to know if you are. And in that case I wouldn't have to worry about it in the a typical household and with typical run of the mill monitors.
04-27-2012, 11:31 AM   #15
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I agree on apsc you can get great portraits from inexpensive fast 50-55s. I love the super tak 55 1.8 for portraits and my tak 50 1.4. combined cost was probably less than $50 since they both came as part of larger kits
On FF though i do like an 85, but you can still get a very reasonable 85 if you go the samyang bower route, and it make a nice longer length portrait - good for street candid shots - though even a lowly 100 2.8 can fill that hole well
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