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03-17-2014, 04:16 AM   #1
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How much its really worth to spend on Portrait lens for K30


Am looking for a portrait lens and am not too sure on how much its worth to spend on the Portrait lens for K30. I understand that lens plays a major role but again am not too sure how much its worth to spend for K30 considering its capability. I dont want to spend too much for a lens which might be bit over kill for the camera. Some of the lens I was looking are as follows.

1) Pentax FA 50mm F1.4
2) Pentax FA 50mm F1.8
3) Sigma 35mm F1.4 DG HSM - Art Lens (Expensive)
4) Sigma 30mm F1.4 DG HSM

Currently I own Pentax 18-135mm WR lens which is not good on low light and the sharpness is not that great when I zoom in completely to achieve background blur on portraits. Hence am looking for a good portrait lens for low light (good sharpness, background blur and autofocus). I read the previous topics regarding the portrait lens but am still not able to come to conclusion and hence my sincere apologies if this is a re-post. Kindly advise on how much to spend on lens or worth for the cost for the K30 body?


03-17-2014, 04:30 AM   #2

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Well, your K-30 should be more than capable for high quality lenses.

I suppose(depending on your style too) that you should not look wider than 50 mm lens for portraits. Both FA and DA 50 mm lenses are just fine for what they can do. Just buy lens hood to go with them.

I bought DA*55 for portraits, and it is worth it. I tried my friends DA 50/1.8 and it was almost as good when stopped down on K-3.

If you are on budget you might wan't to look for even older A50/1.7 but it would need some manual focus skills. Also I like longer lenses for portraits. Samyang 85/1.4...but this is of course up to anyone of what they like.
03-17-2014, 04:40 AM   #3
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Get a Helios 44M-7 or 77M-4 (if you can find one). I find the flush fit M42 adapters to be the same whether Pentax original or cheapbay.

These lenses are razor sharp with swirly bokeh.

They're usually 40 to 60.
03-17-2014, 06:20 AM   #4
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I would say that for portraits you want a lens that is between 55mm and 135mm. 55mm is more convenient with APSC cameras.
Here is why:
- less distortion
- less space compression
- more subject isolation/bokeh
- more comfortable (a 35mm lens requires you to come very close to a person to take a portrait. This makes many people uncomfortable)

The DA* 55mm is made for portraits. It has fast aperture, shallow DoF, and renders skin tones very well.
So I wouldn't recommend a 35mm lens for portraits. It would make faces look rounder. Its only good for dramatic or funny portraits, not much for classical, beautiful glam portraits. Under 50mm I would only use for full body portraits or group photos, not for closeup portraits.
The DA 50mm f1.8 is a good compromise. The Samyang 85mm f1.4 is a great portrait lens on a budget (no AF, might have QC problems, but generally has great IQ).
Though, 35mm is a much more convenient lens overall. It can be used for landscapes, architecture, travel photography - it will do everything well. Its just not spectacular for portraits.
"Worth" is a subjective idea. Someone who makes a living taking portraits might think that a $5000 portrait lens is worth it. Someone who just takes portraits every now and then would find better worth with the <$220 DA 50mm f1.8

Last edited by Na Horuk; 03-17-2014 at 06:28 AM.
03-17-2014, 06:31 AM   #5
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I personally like 70mm for portraits... but 55 will do.
If you're images aren't sharp @135 for portraits with an 18-135, you don't understand that shooting at the long end requires more stabilization. The 18-135 is has excellent center sharpness at 5.6. Being soft on the edges is a landscape vice, not a fault you should care much about in a portrait lens. I like my SIgma 70 macro... really nice bokeh with that lens. I don't own a 55 so you'd best seek out images for that lens on your own. Ditto with the using a 35 for a portrait... you'll end up with portraits that look like a selfie taken with a cell phone.
03-17-2014, 07:41 AM   #6
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I take environmental portraits with my Sigma 30mm f1.4, and more personal close-up portraits with my DA* 55mm f1.4

The DA* is MADE for taking portraits, and is absolutely worth the price. It's an amazing lens.
03-17-2014, 07:59 AM   #7
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Personally I wouldn't use anything less than 85mm lens.

Learn how to manually focus and pick up a Rokinon 85M-P 85mm F1.4 Aspherical Lens for Pentax (Black): ROKINON: Camera & Photo

Less than 85mm puts the photographer right in the OP's space. Not to mention that at less than 85mm there can be some distortion of facial features.

Most I see shooting Portraits use one of the 70-200 mm F2.8 that length is very versatile.
03-17-2014, 08:35 AM   #8
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Good glass is worth it's weight in gold. The K-30 is more than capable of making use of good lenses. It is an investment as you will keep it through future body upgrades.

Nobody yet has mentioned the venerable FA77. Not the cheapest option but definitely a magical portrait lens. The DA70 is a cheaper, almost as good option.

K-30 + FA77

(Last one shot with a K-3, not that it makes much difference).

35mm Can work but just doesn't give the same result (although still pretty good) especially on a head n shoulders portrait. Full length it works just fine. The DA35 f2.4 is a really good cheap option here (FA31 even better).

K-30 + DA35 f2.4

The DA*55 looks to have amazing results, but I do not have one (although on my LBA list). But I love my FA77. It seriously cannot take a bad picture of people.

03-17-2014, 11:23 AM   #9
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You can get lovely portraits with any number of different focal lengths provided you know what you're doing.

Judging from what you've stated is important to you, I'd recommend getting the longest lens that will be usable for the distance you will be shooting at, with a minimum focal length of 50mm.

The longer the lens, the easier it is to get 'bokeh' -- but, the more room you need between you and your subject.
03-17-2014, 11:44 AM   #10
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As has been noted frequently on this site, any "fast 50"* should make you very happy. Auto-focus may or may not be a good idea. Given those constraints you should be able to get something lacking the "A" contacts for less than $45 USD and maybe even much less. If you need the "A" contacts, your best bet would be a Pentax-A 50/1.7 for under $60 USD.

Longer focal lengths will also work, but be aware that working distance with a 135mm lens for portraiture with an APS-C camera is at least 8 feet.


* focal length 50-58mm with at least f/2 maximum aperture
03-17-2014, 11:52 AM   #11
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77ltd +1
(FA*85 is my first choice, but too expensive for first portrait lens).
03-17-2014, 01:29 PM   #12
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Thanks everyone. That is lot of options to choose from. I believe a budget of AU$400 should be a reasonable amount to spend for a portrait lens. But lot of people have recommended DA* 55 F1.4 and am not too sure if the extra cost is worth considering the fact that FA 50 F1.4 and FA 50 1.8 lens have good review too. Also am not sure if Sigma 35mm F1.4 DG HSM - Art Lens is better than DA*55 F1.4 lens for portrait? If am going to spend that much of money, I really need to understand the value behind it.

But again, am buying the portrait lens since my 18-135mm autofocus really hunts sometime to lock in focus when taken indoors during party. Also advise where to get the lens for reasonable price in Australia? Currently I have purchased my K30 kit from Teds cameras.

03-17-2014, 01:47 PM   #13
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If you cannot decide on a specific focal length, seek a Tamron 28-75 f/2.8 which are seen in the Marketplace fairly often. I owned a very good copy a while ago
03-17-2014, 01:56 PM   #14

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I love DA*55 but to be honest. It is really expensive. You can really get great photos with FA 50 and A 50 and so on. If I were you I would buy DA 50, and see how I like it. If it is your cup of tea, you can always upgrade it, or sell it. Or even buy some shorter ens to have fun with it. My friend enjoys his DA 50/1.8 and as he got it for good price brand new, it is even better.
03-17-2014, 03:47 PM   #15
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QuoteOriginally posted by repaap Quote
I love DA*55 but to be honest. It is really expensive. You can really get great photos with FA 50 and A 50 and so on. If I were you I would buy DA 50, and see how I like it. If it is your cup of tea, you can always upgrade it, or sell it. Or even buy some shorter ens to have fun with it. My friend enjoys his DA 50/1.8 and as he got it for good price brand new, it is even better.
@ repaap, thanks for the response. I got mixed review for DA 50 1.8 but cant deny the fact that its the cheapest of all. So I believe is good value for money.

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