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10-16-2012, 10:59 AM   #1
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K30 on the way. Now, the lens...

Well, the K-30 with the 18-135 WR lens is on it's way to my front door. I am sure I will be very very glad with my buy..

Now, starts the lens dilemma

I will be taking a lot of interior shots of small babies for a volonteer project I have at the local hospital. I don't want to use the flash, so a fast lens will be very important.
One thing I con't seam to make up my mind is between the 35mm or the 50mm or even the 55mm focal lenght.. Wich do you think will give the best results in a not that bit room? The kind of picture will be portrait of the mon and the newborn, or some details of the newborn, so getting the back out of focus will be needed.

I am thinking about a 50mm f1.4, but do you think that in the k-30 and the crop factor, a 75mm for indoors will be to long??

Thanks

Zorza

10-16-2012, 11:44 AM   #2
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Yes, the 50mm may well be too long in a small room like that, for many shots beyond head/shoulders. (although it would work well for the newborn)

Think about the DA 35 f/2.4, FA 35 f/2. I used only my FA 35 f/2 in the hospital room where my daughter was born and it was the perfect length to get pictures of my newborn, and her being held by the grandparents, my wife, etc. I think both f/2.4 and certainly f/2 are great for throwing the background out of focus, and you can use these without a flash on the K-30 without any problem.
10-16-2012, 11:50 AM   #3
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Best approach would be to try some framing using your 18-135 to determine the best focal length for your circumstances. You can also determine how much light you have, and whether you absolutely need faster lenses. Although the 18-135 is slower and not so sharp as the primes you are considering, you might find its speed, depth of field, and rendition for portraiture (you probably won't want the photos tack sharp) adequate for your needs. Although a 1.4 or 2.0 lens is attractive for speed, you might find it difficult to get both baby and mother in sharp focus when they are used wide-open. Another alternative would be to consider a constant f/2.8 zoom covering the range, such as the Tamron 28-75.

That said, I think you will be happiest with a 35mm length. I would suggest 50mm or longer for a head and shoulders portrait, partly to not exaggerate the nose, but this shouldn't be a problem with a wider view. For adequate depth of field, I suspect you will be using f/2.8 or slower most of the time anyway so you have a lot of choices at both lengths. With mainly stationary subjects, my guess is that you could get good photos with exposures as slow as 1/30th or less. Given the likely flat lighting, you will probably find that you can take excellent shots at ISO 800 or even 1600, which should allow adequate shutter speeds and f/values.
10-16-2012, 12:22 PM   #4
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Congrats on getting the 18-135... the wife has gone visiting for a few days and taken mine with her, and I sure do miss that lens. I've been twisiting in the wind trying to avoid buying a second one... but any other option seems to be two lenses, and two lenses defeats the purpose of a walk around.

SO check out the resolution of the Tamron 28-75, excellent control of barrel distortion, excellent edge to edge sharpness, excellent control of CAs recommended here as the best portrait lens for Canon. And 2.8 isn't bad for an aperture either, probably the one weakness of your 18-135, which also happens to be rated at the same site as the best portrait lens for Pentax.

But really, in your position I'd get the 35 2.4. Shooting too it's strength, (center in foreground (razor sharp) and back ground out of focus, )(foreground blur is not as pleasing) it's just a great lens for a lot of different reasons. (i.e. control of CA and vignetting.) The only reason I'm not thinking of buying one is I already have one.

10-16-2012, 12:25 PM   #5
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why don't you want to use a flash? a good external flash will be a better solution than a fast lens
10-16-2012, 12:41 PM   #6
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There is nothing less flattering than head on lighting. Unless using the built in flash for a fill light, I wouldn't even consider it. If you're going to go artificial light, you need to go the whole nine yards. Minimum 3 light set, Top, fill and back, and possibly a hair light... and your main light should be heavily diffused. I've seen quite a few images totally ruined by someone turning the flash on.
Making the best use of existing light is usually the best option, and a 50 1.4 or 1.7 or even a 2.4 will usually give you that. Unless you're going to carry a Lightbox around with you. Flash in the hands of amateurs has probably ruined more pictures than anything else I can think of.

I guess it just a matter of preference, but I've always preferred existing light to flash if I can pull it off. Using flash is an act of desperation in my book. Especially, a single flash.
10-16-2012, 12:50 PM   #7
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He did say *external* flash, Norm, and he's quite right - a bounced flash can provide lovely even illumination in a room. I would still recommend the 35/2.4 though, but why not pick up an old Pentax manual flash with the spare change? Do not be afraid of manual flash on digital - it's easy as peas!

Last edited by ihasa; 10-16-2012 at 01:08 PM.
10-16-2012, 01:07 PM   #8
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But yes, any sort of flash is probably a bad idea for the specific type of shots the OP is talking about... Although babies are surprisingly unfazed by flash, I've found...

10-16-2012, 01:47 PM   #9
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Thanks all for you kind and very usefull opinions..

I was more inclined to the 35mm and now I am almost sure

As for the flash, I've been using one with TTL on a Panasonic LX3 and it works wonders, it the head is pointed to the ceiling bouncing the light. But, in this special case, I prefer not to use the flash to stop from waking up the baby or people from getting everytime you take a picture.. I guess I want some more candid ones, and the flash won't work in does cases..

As for the 35mm, I am a bit torn.. The 35mm DA f2.4 for about 200euros, wich is a good price, I guess.
BUT (why is there always a but..) , I can get the Samyang 35mm F1.4 for about 400euros. I know the price is the double!!, but it's a f1.4 and as I could read about it, it is dead sharp even at 1.4.

Do you think it is worth the difference? I am not a pro, and I will not be selling the pictures, so the lens will be payed by me and not by itself!!

I guess the 2.4 with a high ISO will do the trick

What do you think??

Zorza
10-16-2012, 01:52 PM   #10
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QuoteOriginally posted by zorza Quote
Thanks all for you kind and very usefull opinions..

I was more inclined to the 35mm and now I am almost sure

As for the flash, I've been using one with TTL on a Panasonic LX3 and it works wonders, it the head is pointed to the ceiling bouncing the light. But, in this special case, I prefer not to use the flash to stop from waking up the baby or people from getting everytime you take a picture.. I guess I want some more candid ones, and the flash won't work in does cases..

As for the 35mm, I am a bit torn.. The 35mm DA f2.4 for about 200euros, wich is a good price, I guess.
BUT (why is there always a but..) , I can get the Samyang 35mm F1.4 for about 400euros. I know the price is the double!!, but it's a f1.4 and as I could read about it, it is dead sharp even at 1.4.

Do you think it is worth the difference? I am not a pro, and I will not be selling the pictures, so the lens will be payed by me and not by itself!!

I guess the 2.4 with a high ISO will do the trick

What do you think??

Zorza
It's hard to see how you can shoot those subjects at f/1.4. You could end up with an eye in focus but the nose out-of-focus (not the mention the rest). Save the 200 euros for something else is my advice.
10-16-2012, 02:06 PM   #11
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The 35mm DA L F2.4 AL Lens may be a good bet on a budget.

Sigma makes a 30mm f/1.4 that would give you a bit wider look and keeps you at f/1.4. Like has been mentioned you can't really shoot a subject at 1.4, even at 30mm, but just stop it down, have a nice sharp f/2.4 or f/2.8 photo and be super happy?
10-16-2012, 02:18 PM   #12
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I like the 18-135 with the K30 for your application . The cameras high iso works great even up to 6400 . If your on a budget try a legacy manual focus 28 f2.8 or the 24 f2.8 . Nice size with crop factor and no screw drive noise to wake the baby !
10-17-2012, 10:58 AM   #13
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Recommending the 35 2.4 as well

For its price, I found DA 35 2.4 superb: sharp wide open, nice focal lenght to use indoors and good AF performance. I became a first time dad last month and this lens was perfect paired with the K-30, for getting those newborn shots in the hospital room. I even got one printed and framed at 16 x 20 and it came out great. Apart from this I think a Sigma 17-50 2.8 would be a good choice for indoor use. And yes, I would bounce flash off the ceiling if needed but with the K-30 more often than not, I have managed fine with just the ambient light. Keep an eye on the white balance, though
10-17-2012, 08:28 PM   #14
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QuoteOriginally posted by zorza Quote
Thanks all for you kind and very usefull opinions..

I was more inclined to the 35mm and now I am almost sure

As for the flash, I've been using one with TTL on a Panasonic LX3 and it works wonders, it the head is pointed to the ceiling bouncing the light. But, in this special case, I prefer not to use the flash to stop from waking up the baby or people from getting everytime you take a picture.. I guess I want some more candid ones, and the flash won't work in does cases..

As for the 35mm, I am a bit torn.. The 35mm DA f2.4 for about 200euros, wich is a good price, I guess.
BUT (why is there always a but..) , I can get the Samyang 35mm F1.4 for about 400euros. I know the price is the double!!, but it's a f1.4 and as I could read about it, it is dead sharp even at 1.4.

Do you think it is worth the difference? I am not a pro, and I will not be selling the pictures, so the lens will be payed by me and not by itself!!

I guess the 2.4 with a high ISO will do the trick

What do you think??

Zorza
Hi, I actually have the K-30 and Samyang 35mm F1.4 combo (it is my only lens). The above comment is true: the depth of field is so small at 1.4 that it is easy to get out of focus pictures, or have only parts of the face in focus (which will usually be the case). Also, it is a manual lens, you might throw away a lot of pictures because of out of focus pictures (but the K-30's focus peaking function helps a LOT in getting in focus pictures).

However I really love this combo! Although the above is true, I find that the extra brightness of the lens really help in getting decent shutter speeds indoors, and the K-30's high ISO performance helps even more. I find that with this combo I can take almost any shot indoors, at night (as long as the lights are on) or day (in the daytime I usually use ISO 100, even indoors). Also, the sharpness when in focus is extremely good, even at F1.4.

I do think going for the 35mm FL will be the best bet, I find it perfect for indoor, people shots.
So sorry for not being much help, just wanted to add my 2c.

Good luck in your decision!

[Edit]: Please note, the lens is huge! I think it weighs as much as the K-30 camera itself. So if the size/weight of the lens is a problem, that's another thing to consider (It does look quite cool though)

Last edited by koolimy; 10-17-2012 at 08:33 PM.
10-18-2012, 11:45 AM   #15
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I have a FA 50mm 1.4. Yes, it is somewhat soft wide open, although a hood helps a lot. Because newborns are on their backs most of the time, it is hard to get full body shots with a 50mm (effectively a ~75mm with a K-30) unless you are 8 feet tall.

After my experience, yes, I would have liked to have a 35mm or a 30mm 1.4 instead of a 50mm. With AF Micro Adjustment and a hood you should be able to get relatively sharp shots wide open, although not razor sharp. Don't forget there is also Focus Peaking, and it never hurts to learn to manual focus as to not have to always rely on the AF system (which can fail on you on low light).

The 2-3 f-stops from a 2.8-2.4 to a 1.4 does help, though. However, at that point, your DOF is so narrow, you might get one nostril in focus while not the other...

Good luck, and please keep us posted on what you end up buying, and what the results are. Thanks!
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