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03-25-2011, 03:17 PM   #16
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Examples of what I've taken with the Sigma 17-70mm.

http://www.flickr.com/photos/ziggazune/5559745530/in/photostream/

http://www.flickr.com/photos/ziggazune/5559159419/in/photostream/

http://www.flickr.com/photos/ziggazune/5559203781/

http://www.flickr.com/photos/ziggazune/5559773132/in/photostream/


Last edited by Rainy Day; 03-25-2011 at 03:42 PM.
03-25-2011, 05:25 PM   #17
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If, as some say, it's all about light, not lenses, someone really needs to explain why the vast majority of portraiture is done with lenses in the 50-70mm range on the APS-C format or the equivalent angle of view on other formats.
Perhaps it's because portrait photographers know what works, and know that the anything goes attitude is kinda silly.
To the OP, if you want a decent AF portrait lens for cheap, try to find yourself an F50mm f/1.7 lens.
If you want a decent manual focus portrait lens, any of the Pentax 50s will provide very good results, some are better than others.
The much reviled A50 f/2 is a remarkably good (and very cheap) portrait lens.
03-26-2011, 01:04 AM   #18
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I'd like to suggest that much of the brouhaha about portrait lenses is an imprecise definition of 'portrait'. We may 'portray' an entity in many different ways, from many distances, depths, angles. I say 'entity' because non-humans and non-living stuff may be portrayed too.

Sticking to humans, our portrayal may range from a small figure dwarfed in a large context, to closeups of eyes or mouth or other mini-feature. Or more narrowly, from full-figure small-group shots, to head-shots. And how close is comfortable? One focal length does NOT fit all.

And context matters. Formal, or spontaneous, or surreptitious, or quickie ID shots, or what? In-studio, or in a controlled space, or in the wild, or where? One shooter's portrait is another's snapshot. Are we snapping portraits of mates at the pub? Or kids running on the beach?

I'll suggest that unless we clarify our suppositions and know what we and a questioner mean by 'portrait', we'll have a hard time giving appropriate advice. Use a 35-135/3.5! No, use an 85/1.2! No, use a Holga! All these are the right answers to the wrong questions. Bother.
03-26-2011, 01:39 AM   #19
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Classic portraits sure the 50-100 range is very popular and commonly used, myself I would opt to save for that coveted FA77 Ltd for a portrait lens, as long as you have a decent flash and maybe a remote flash & softbox to go with it. If not like other said, lighting first, your Sigma will probably do fine for now. Also using your Sigma zoom will allow for wider angle portraits which I prefer when you have the proper settings for it. I'm crossing my fingers that my local shop will sell me his SMC Takamur 55mm f1.8 and screw mount adapter for a good price. Finding older glass is pretty easy, just do some reading on the lenses before purchasing.

03-26-2011, 02:14 AM   #20
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QuoteOriginally posted by Rainy Day Quote
I actually have an AF540FGZ, forgot to mention that! And yes, I've done a bit of portrait photography with the Sigma 17-70 without the flash and in a room lit by two large windows only (on what I think was a cloudy day) and the results weren't too bad.
I would suggest that you have most of what you need for portraiture and now it's equipping yourself with the knowledge and skills to master the light to create the effects you want.

See the Strobist blog and examples of good strobist work, such as devisor's portraits on this very forum, for ways to inspire your portraiture.
03-26-2011, 05:09 AM   #21
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Haha, too bad Devisor uses lenses that are waaay out of my budget for now :P

Last edited by Rainy Day; 03-26-2011 at 05:22 AM.
03-26-2011, 06:33 AM   #22
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QuoteOriginally posted by Rainy Day Quote
Haha, too bad Devisor uses lenses that are waaay out of my budget for now :P
Your not hearing everyone correctly! Forget what lenes Devisor uses and take inspiration from his style. Pay attention to the shadows and the amount of light and the softness or harshness of the light.
You already have two lights (540 and built in). Learn to use them creatively for the look and lighting effects you want to create.
03-26-2011, 12:02 PM   #23
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QuoteOriginally posted by RioRico Quote

I'll suggest that unless we clarify our suppositions and know what we and a questioner mean by 'portrait', we'll have a hard time giving appropriate advice.
I'd suggest that an online dictionary would probably give a pretty concise definition of the word portrait.
I would also suggest that since the vast majority of photographic portraits are shot with short telephoto lenses, and that most professional photographers, when asked what their favorite portrait lens is will say something in the short telephoto range, that perhaps the OPs question can be answered in a non obfuscatory fashion.
Has the world come to the point that even on advice forums we have to play CYA to the point we can't answer a simple question with a simple answer?

03-26-2011, 12:22 PM   #24
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I use my Pentax 50 mm 1.4 90% of the time for portraits. It's a great lens. Especially if you happen to shoot indoor natural light portraits, it gives you more room to work with.

Good luck with your choice!
03-26-2011, 01:24 PM   #25
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I'll reiterate calicojack's comment. You're getting too hung up on the lenses being used. You'll be surprised what the kit lens can do with the right lighting. It just so happens that when photographers get lighting right, they've also come to the stage where they feel they want something more in a lens than the kit lens, but don't think you need an FA limited to transform your portraiture - what you have will do you alright. Later on, you may realise your limits with your current kit and know exactly what lens to get for what you want, but for now learn with what you have - it will suffice.
03-26-2011, 02:09 PM   #26
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QuoteOriginally posted by Ash Quote
I'll reiterate calicojack's comment. You're getting too hung up on the lenses being used. Later on, you may realise your limits with your current kit and know exactly what lens to get for what you want, but for now learn with what you have - it will suffice.
I convinced myself to get the 77Ltd. and don't regret it. Along with the 43mm & 31mm, one of the finest light instruments I've ever had going back to my Spotmatic in the seventies. Fantastic everything and yet I've shot some pretty embarrassing stuff with it. I called it a light instrument because, as others have clearly implied, we're making images of light, not necessarily reproductions of what we think we 'see'. Stick with what you. Have fun for now and learn how to make the light work for you. Practice thinking about the light not the subject 'cause that's all the camera sees.
03-26-2011, 02:18 PM   #27
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QuoteOriginally posted by jac Quote
<snip> Have fun for now and learn how to make the light work for you. Practice thinking about the light not the subject 'cause that's all the camera sees.
An interesting exercise is to go to a portfolio of portraits that you like where the photographer tells you there were three (or two or whatever) lights and try to figure out where the lights were positioned and what the light ratio (relative brightness between the lights) was. A clue to get you started is to enlarge the picture and look at the reflections in the eyes. That catchlight is one light (usually).
03-26-2011, 02:46 PM   #28
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QuoteOriginally posted by Ash Quote
I'll reiterate calicojack's comment. You're getting too hung up on the lenses being used. You'll be surprised what the kit lens can do with the right lighting. It just so happens that when photographers get lighting right, they've also come to the stage where they feel they want something more in a lens than the kit lens, but don't think you need an FA limited to transform your portraiture - what you have will do you alright. Later on, you may realise your limits with your current kit and know exactly what lens to get for what you want, but for now learn with what you have - it will suffice.
Wise words mate...

I see what you're saying, and I respect that.

I guess what's left for me to do is figure out a lighting set-up that works for me, but now I'm in the same boat as not being able to figure out a portrait lens! ie, I haven't got a clue. I'll take all your guys' advice on, with observing photographers such as devisor and trying to figure out where his lighting sources are coming from.

Are there any good sources on the internet to help out with figuring out a good lighting set-up, as well as techniques to employ and which Pentax photographers apart from Devisor to pay attention to etc?

Last edited by Rainy Day; 03-26-2011 at 02:59 PM.
03-26-2011, 03:23 PM   #29
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QuoteOriginally posted by Rainy Day Quote

Are there any good sources on the internet to help out with figuring out a good lighting set-up, as well as techniques to employ and which Pentax photographers apart from Devisor to pay attention to etc?
Me. I've been shooting portraits for something like 40 years.....
03-26-2011, 05:21 PM   #30
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QuoteOriginally posted by Rainy Day Quote
Are there any good sources on the internet to help out with figuring out a good lighting set-up, as well as techniques to employ and which Pentax photographers apart from Devisor to pay attention to etc?
As ash pointed out check out the www.strobist.blogspot.com/
This man has some very handy tips for someone looking to build on their lighting technique

Last edited by Chaos_Realm; 03-26-2011 at 05:22 PM. Reason: forgot i couldnt link yet
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