Forgot Password
Pentax Camera Forums Home
 

Reply
Show Printable Version Search this Thread
03-25-2011, 01:41 AM   #1
Inactive Account




Join Date: Sep 2010
Location: The Southern Highlands
Photos: Albums
Posts: 134
Need a good lens for portraits

Hi all!

Just bought a second-hand K7 from a work colleague, which came with the standard 18-55mm kit lens, and a Sigma 17-70mm Macro.

Now!

I'd like to do some portrait photography, and so far my best bet has been with the Sigma Macro. I've been talking to a few mates who are into Pentax photography and as far as I can gather Prime is the way to go.

But I'd like to get some advice from a few more experienced photographers!

So, I'd like to know a few good portrait lenses I can start shooting with, doesn't have to be limited to a prime/zoom, I'm open to either, and hopefully something that won't break my bank

03-25-2011, 01:47 AM   #2
Veteran Member
TOUGEFC's Avatar

Join Date: Nov 2009
Location: Brisbane
Photos: Gallery
Posts: 3,561
Do you prefer auto focus or manual focus?
And whats your budget?

There are many many options.

Last edited by TOUGEFC; 03-25-2011 at 03:32 AM.
03-25-2011, 02:27 AM   #3
Inactive Account




Join Date: Sep 2010
Location: The Southern Highlands
Photos: Albums
Posts: 134
Original Poster
I'd PREFER a lens that can alternate auto/manual focus, but if it's a manual focus lens I won't mind so much!

Budget... probably a max of $400.00 at this stage...
03-25-2011, 02:37 AM   #4
Pentaxian
twitch's Avatar

Join Date: Nov 2009
Posts: 4,571
At that price I would recommend a second hand DA 70mm f2.4 limited.

03-25-2011, 02:42 AM   #5
Veteran Member
TOUGEFC's Avatar

Join Date: Nov 2009
Location: Brisbane
Photos: Gallery
Posts: 3,561
Beat me too it!
I also recomend a second hand DA70.
03-25-2011, 03:00 AM   #6
Pentaxian
twitch's Avatar

Join Date: Nov 2009
Posts: 4,571
QuoteOriginally posted by TOUGEFC Quote
Beat me too it!
I also recomend a second hand DA70.
Ha, well I figure you're not going to send the OP'er your FA77 for $400, I'll give you $450 for it though
03-25-2011, 03:41 AM   #7
Veteran Member
TOUGEFC's Avatar

Join Date: Nov 2009
Location: Brisbane
Photos: Gallery
Posts: 3,561
QuoteOriginally posted by twitch Quote
Ha, well I figure you're not going to send the OP'er your FA77 for $400, I'll give you $450 for it though
Haha, you will have to do better than that! Well at least its a better offer than Nicole, she wants it for free
03-25-2011, 03:49 AM   #8
Site Supporter
psychdoc's Avatar

Join Date: Jul 2010
Location: Bham
Photos: Gallery | Albums
Posts: 942
I also vote for a second hand DA 70mm [or Tamron 28-75mm if you want a zoom and can live with its plasticky feel]

03-25-2011, 09:09 AM   #9
Veteran Member
RioRico's Avatar

Join Date: Jun 2008
Location: Limbo, California
Posts: 11,264
Now is the time for me to jump in and declaim that portraits can be shot at any focal length; that shooting portraits with a lens with very thin DOF is tricky; that in controlled studio settings, auto aperture and focus aren't really necessary; that while I have and use 85/2's, my favorite portrait lens is an old manual M42 Sears-Tomioka 55-135/3.5 that cost me eight bucks; that for portraits, light is more crucial than the lens; et cetera.

That last bit is important. Because these fora attract gearheads, we're more likely to think in terms of "What lens should I use?" than "What light should I use?" I've told the tale of how, Back In The Day When Photography Was My Job, I shot many (un)official portraits in various formats ranging from APS-C-equivalent to large MF, and my preferred lens in all formats was 75-85mm often at f/4 or tighter -- different formats just meant different crops, that focal length is best for dimensionality -- but I DIDN'T WORRY ABOUT THE LENS! The lens is just a bit of glass (or plastic) that projects light onto a frame. Lighting, position, background, all are MUCH more important than that bit of optics.

Sure, go ahead and spend a few hundred bucks on a 70 or 77 or 85 or even a 90 macro, they're all splendid lenses, and hay, it's only money. Just don't expect the lens to shoot better portraits -- that's your task. You can also get wizard results using a US$5 75mm enlarger lens on US$8 tubes (fixed focus) or US$30 bellows (variable). Or using a US$10 200/4.5 with a US$3 +1 dioptre closeup adapter. The lens really doesn't matter. Light matters.
03-25-2011, 09:43 AM   #10
Site Supporter
psychdoc's Avatar

Join Date: Jul 2010
Location: Bham
Photos: Gallery | Albums
Posts: 942
QuoteOriginally posted by RioRico Quote
The lens really doesn't matter. Light matters.
Everything that RioRico said is true. But.
And some of us have this big 'but'

But all I can tell you is this: I shot for about a year with the sigma 18-200 when I got my first DSLR. The only lens I had. Pretty nice all around lens. Then I discovered that I do like taking portrait pics of my family. So I got the DA 70mm and the difference was enormous. Some of it was due to the bokeh that you could get with a faster lens. The other was that I could shoot in situations where the slower lens could not. The other is simply that some of us tend to shoot more when we have an equipment that we like to handle and shooting more improves skills. Then I got the 50-135 to take pics of my kids on stage performances and in sports. Great for 'action' portraits. Then sometimes you need something wider for indoor shots and wound up with the tamron 28-75 too...

For those of us for whom this is a hobby and or lack the skills or the time and energy these portrait lenses can provide a short-cut of sorts. I dont kid myself, my pics are nowhere close to being professional but I sure do use these lenses more and get more enjoyment out of them. I am sure there are cheaper options but...

So, in short. And I will use a computer analogy. If you are the type who would love a non-windows/non-apple computer and like to fool around with stuff like linux and ubuntu you can go one way. If you a run-of-the-mill guy like most of us who is happy with Windows and not sure what all the complaints are about you can go another way. And there are many gradients in between.
03-25-2011, 11:54 AM   #11
Forum Member
KLSMpls's Avatar

Join Date: Jan 2011
Posts: 77
If your budget goes up, the 50 - 135 DA* is stellar for portraits.
03-25-2011, 12:10 PM   #12
Inactive Account




Join Date: Mar 2007
Location: Long Island, N.Y.
Photos: Gallery
Posts: 1,124
As several people have said, it's all about light, not lenses.
You could do a fine job with that Sigma 17-70. However if you really want to spend money, you could try Vivitar 85mm f/1.4 Series 1 Manual Focus Lens for Pentax 85MMP also see Vivitar Series I (nee Samyang) 85mm F1.4 Aspherical IF Lens Reviews - Pentax Third-Party Lens Review Database
03-25-2011, 12:52 PM   #13
Ash
Community Manager
Loyal Site Supporter
Ash's Avatar

Join Date: Mar 2007
Location: Toowoomba, Queensland
Photos: Gallery | Albums
Posts: 22,678
Yes, finally... answers giving lighting as much importance as the lens...
It has been my experience throughout my portrait shooting that a good fast prime in itself is only good for portraits if you have good ambient lighting wherever you're going to shoot - a bright (or even subdued) room lit by a nice large window is a good example of this. Not everyone has this convenience. So I suggest strongly that the art of portraiture be learnt through lighting techniques as well as using good lenses. I'm not necessarily talking studio lighting, just working a single light source, like an off-camera flash, to get flattering portrait results no matter what the lens.

I reckon you'd be surprised what your Sigma 17-70 could do with the right light setup. So my first suggestion would be to invest in a wireless flash like an AF540FGZ or Metz 58. Then with the remaining funds consider a second hand A 50/1.7 or FA 50/1.4 - those lenses are excellent stopped down to f/2.8, which is about the limit to where I'd be shooting portraiture at that focal length.

Hope this helps.
03-25-2011, 02:59 PM   #14
Inactive Account




Join Date: Sep 2010
Location: The Southern Highlands
Photos: Albums
Posts: 134
Original Poster
QuoteOriginally posted by Ash Quote

I reckon you'd be surprised what your Sigma 17-70 could do with the right light setup. So my first suggestion would be to invest in a wireless flash like an AF540FGZ or Metz 58. Then with the remaining funds consider a second hand A 50/1.7 or FA 50/1.4 - those lenses are excellent stopped down to f/2.8, which is about the limit to where I'd be shooting portraiture at that focal length.

Hope this helps.
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.
03-25-2011, 03:01 PM   #15
Inactive Account




Join Date: Sep 2010
Location: The Southern Highlands
Photos: Albums
Posts: 134
Original Poster
And by the way, I am ALL FOR not spending any money if I can get away with it! I'm very new to this, and have tons to learn!
Reply

Bookmarks
  • Submit Thread to Facebook Facebook
  • Submit Thread to Twitter Twitter
  • Submit Thread to Digg Digg
Tags - Make this thread easier to find by adding keywords to it!
camera, lens, macro, pentax help, photography, portrait, sigma
Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search


Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
What fast lens would you choose for portraits (if you were me)? Metalwizards Pentax SLR Lens Discussion 23 01-25-2011 05:36 AM
Best Zoom lens for portraits HoBykoYan Pentax SLR Lens Discussion 8 05-08-2010 11:26 AM
Various portraits of my good friend Debby mikerigel Post Your Photos! 15 09-17-2008 02:54 AM
K20D tethered - good idea or no for portraits? WMBP Pentax DSLR Discussion 11 05-19-2008 03:30 AM
Proof that crappy lens + good light = good photos Finn Pentax SLR Lens Discussion 8 11-02-2007 11:19 PM



All times are GMT -7. The time now is 05:10 AM. | See also: NikonForums.com, part of our network of photo forums!
  • Red (Default)
  • Green
  • Gray
  • Dark
  • Dark Yellow
  • Dark Blue
  • Old Red
  • Old Green
  • Old Gray
  • Dial-Up Style
Hello! It's great to see you back on the forum! Have you considered joining the community?
register
Creating a FREE ACCOUNT takes under a minute, removes ads, and lets you post! [Dismiss]
Top