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04-14-2011, 06:46 AM - 1 Like   #16
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QuoteOriginally posted by kheldour Quote
But, I would never ever use a flash for portrait photography in normal circumstances! Especially the on board flash or even the smaller system flashed won't give you a good result.

I prefer the fast portrait lenses. A used FA 50 1.7 will do the job and save some money.
Sorry, I have to react to your statement. I use flash 99% for all my indoor portraits.

The 50s are good portrait lenses. Cheapest is M50f2. Here at f2.8:


04-14-2011, 06:55 AM   #17
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With the baby on the way, save money. Buy an "A 50mm f1.7" for less than half your budget max. With the "A" lens everything is automatic just like the current (new) lenses except for the focusing. You won't need to learn to use the green button in every photo (with changing light).
04-14-2011, 07:09 AM   #18
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Wow! I'm overwhelmed by the amount of feedback. Sorry for not responding sooner. I thought I had set it to email me everytime someone responded. When I didn't see any emails, I got bummed. Logged on this morning and was overwhelmed with great feedback and advice. I will keep playing around with the 18-55 kit lens while keeping an eye on marketplace, ebay, and craigslist for some deals on some of the aforementioned lenses. Might snag a manual for the time being (especially since we have a while before we have to worry about the little one is moving about rapidly). Then again, I did find someone willing to sell a SMC-FA 50mm f/1.4 with filter and hood for $235. Thinking it might be worth Peanut Butter sandwiches for lunch for the next month, haha.

Thanks so much, everyone. Feel free to keep the advice coming!
04-14-2011, 07:26 AM   #19
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QuoteOriginally posted by calicojack Quote
With the baby on the way, save money. Buy an "A 50mm f1.7" for less than half your budget max. With the "A" lens everything is automatic just like the current (new) lenses except for the focusing. You won't need to learn to use the green button in every photo (with changing light).
Hmm...good point. I do like saving money, especially with the the impending costs that come with the bundle of joy. Middle of the road budget wise, and also not having to worry about green button. Might be the way to go. Although, if I luck out and find a FA 50mm 1.7, for a mid of my road budget, that would be fantastic.

04-14-2011, 07:35 AM   #20
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QuoteOriginally posted by slizzle Quote
Hmm...good point. I do like saving money, especially with the the impending costs that come with the bundle of joy. Middle of the road budget wise, and also not having to worry about green button. Might be the way to go. Although, if I luck out and find a FA 50mm 1.7, for a mid of my road budget, that would be fantastic.
When I was looking the FA 1.7 was almost as much or more than the 1.4. If you wanted autofocus, the F50 1.7 should be a reasonably priced performer.
04-14-2011, 07:47 AM   #21
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QuoteOriginally posted by hoanpham Quote
Sorry, I have to react to your statement. I use flash 99% for all my indoor portraits.

The 50s are good portrait lenses. Cheapest is M50f2. Here at f2.8:
Good point, I agree, with a little practice, a few test shots, using a flash with a manual lens is relatively easy once you get to know your lens... just need to read manual about your "Guide Number" on the flash.

Guide number - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
04-14-2011, 08:06 AM   #22
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Save money. Once you start buying lenses, you will want more, and then you are doomed.
[/me fondles ~200 lenses acquired in past 3 years, and recalls the ~100 others that /me sold]

Your current kit is a good start. Learn how to use what you have. Note what focal lengths you actually use. Don't just use the extremes of each zoom, which is a too-common practice. Try shooting at/around each marked focal length, and see what happens to perspective a each focal length and shooting distance. When you are ready to start buying primes, aim for faster lenses at those most-used focal lengths.

That said, I'll echo that the FA50/1.4 is an excellent choice for available-light work, including head-and-shoulders portraiture. And since manual primes don't seem to be getting any cheaper with time, some lenses you might consider investing in might include:

* A50/1.7, a real favorite
* Helios-44 58/2, a cult classic
* almost any A-type 28, 35, 100, 135

Actually, for manual primes, a cheap M-type would be a good place to learn about Green Button usage and the details of manual shooting. The much-maligned M50/2 is hard to give away -- I have a couple that I haven't listed because they're not worth selling yet -- thus a bargain. It's not as brilliant as its faster kin, but it's hard to beat for fifteen bucks or so.
04-14-2011, 11:50 AM   #23
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QuoteOriginally posted by Rory Quote
When I was looking the FA 1.7 was almost as much or more than the 1.4. If you wanted autofocus, the F50 1.7 should be a reasonably priced performer.
All of the Pentax 50mm f1.7s have the same optical formula, and produce nearly identical results. There are slight differences in lens coatings in different series, so colors are slightly different too. It doesn't matter in practice. My comments on each series:

M - A few of these were made in Taiwan, and won't say JAPAN on the front. The ring with the lens name might also be stamped plastic instead of engraved aluminum. No internal differeence that I can see.

A - A pretty good value purchase. You have to enter the focal length for SR, and focus, but it works well with other features, especially flash. Make sure the A setting works or you can return it if it doesn't. I wrote an article on fixing it but best not to have to. Once the A setting works, it doesn't need to change. More plastic here.

F - Fully compatible and autofocus, this is a good choice if manual focus is not an option. The biggest drawback to this lens is manual focus. The thin ring and limited arc of travel make it trickier than the manual focus versions. Plastic over metal. Sometimes the plastic filter ring chips or cracks. These lenses sell for less. Buy one, find an old metal 49mm filter, remove the glass, and install it permanently.

FA - This series has a little more damping in manual focus and a wider ring. Cosmetics are different and the lens can tell the camera where it is the sharpest. The lens is rarer and sometimes sells for a big premium. I don't think it's worth it. The extra information is only used for certain Program lines. Since the 50/1.7 is pretty sharp everywhere, it's not that important a difference.

04-14-2011, 12:48 PM   #24
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QuoteOriginally posted by Just1MoreDave Quote
All of the Pentax 50mm f1.7s have the same optical formula, and produce nearly identical results. There are slight differences in lens coatings in different series, so colors are slightly different too. It doesn't matter in practice. My comments on each series:

M - A few of these were made in Taiwan, and won't say JAPAN on the front. The ring with the lens name might also be stamped plastic instead of engraved aluminum. No internal differeence that I can see.

A - A pretty good value purchase. You have to enter the focal length for SR, and focus, but it works well with other features, especially flash. Make sure the A setting works or you can return it if it doesn't. I wrote an article on fixing it but best not to have to. Once the A setting works, it doesn't need to change. More plastic here.

F - Fully compatible and autofocus, this is a good choice if manual focus is not an option. The biggest drawback to this lens is manual focus. The thin ring and limited arc of travel make it trickier than the manual focus versions. Plastic over metal. Sometimes the plastic filter ring chips or cracks. These lenses sell for less. Buy one, find an old metal 49mm filter, remove the glass, and install it permanently.

FA - This series has a little more damping in manual focus and a wider ring. Cosmetics are different and the lens can tell the camera where it is the sharpest. The lens is rarer and sometimes sells for a big premium. I don't think it's worth it. The extra information is only used for certain Program lines. Since the 50/1.7 is pretty sharp everywhere, it's not that important a difference.
Great info; however, I'm not contradicting that. I'm just saying the FA 1.7 seems to go for more money due to rarity. I'm not saying it's worth it. Just stating the F 1.7 would be priced better.
04-14-2011, 01:22 PM   #25
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QuoteOriginally posted by Rory Quote
Great info; however, I'm not contradicting that. I'm just saying the FA 1.7 seems to go for more money due to rarity. I'm not saying it's worth it. Just stating the F 1.7 would be priced better.
I think I was agreeing with you.
04-14-2011, 05:41 PM   #26
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QuoteOriginally posted by Just1MoreDave Quote
I think I was agreeing with you.
Ah, yeah, it seemed like it. I just wasn't sure.

Awesome info, though!
04-20-2011, 03:11 PM   #27
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I have a friend who bought a manual focus fast 50 based on the advice given on these forums. He regrets it. He has a hard time using manual focus. I suppose he would get better with even more practice but...

In other words, unless you are a persistent sort of fellow, get an auto-focus fast 50. Pretty soon the little one is going to go from lying quietly to being a hyperactive little thing. Manual focus gets even harder then...

Years ago, when I was still a student the auto focus and auto settings on a Point and Shoot was all I needed to get this. It has that 'flash' look but its not blurred and remains one of my fav pics. When shooting moving kids [they grow up FAST] I personally would never have been able to get manual focus.

Just my 2 cents...

Last edited by psychdoc; 01-15-2014 at 07:14 PM.
04-20-2011, 04:22 PM   #28
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A couple of examples of what the FA 50 f/1.4 did for me in this specific application:



04-20-2011, 04:23 PM   #29
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Good response psychodoc I like your reasoning. Myself, I'm not much of a purist, more of a pragmatist. So my thought is to do the best that you can with what you've got.
04-20-2011, 05:24 PM   #30
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I guess that I've got a good portrait lens in my FA 50 f/1.4. These shots look very good.
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