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05-31-2011, 03:16 PM   #1
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Next lens suggestion?

Hi, i have a K-x with the kit lens as well as a FA 50 1.4. I am already putting away money for my next lens and want to get a zoom in the telephoto range. I take a lot of pictures of my kids a pets so I really need the AF, so I plan to get a DA series Zoom. I have a goal of becoming a part time portrait photographer some day (maybe in a couple years?) so I'm going to be working a lot on portraits of friends and family to practice as well as build a portfolio. I also like to travel and cary my lens around with me a lot. Which lens do you think would be best for me?

I've been think the 18-135 would be so convenient since I wouldn't have to change the lens too often. But since my kit lens already covers the wider angles, maybe one of the longer zooms (50-200 or 50-300) would be better...and cheaper. I suppose the FA 70-200 or 80-200 are in the mix too. Thoughts? (I do need to research more in the reviews section, but it would be nice to hear your ideas)


Last edited by mhaws; 05-31-2011 at 03:28 PM.
05-31-2011, 03:35 PM   #2
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The best Pentax portrait zoom is the DA*50-135. Failing that, the 55-300 is a very good zoom, although not ideal for portraits as it has a fairly slow aperture. The 50-200 is another step down again with its main selling point being small size.
05-31-2011, 03:38 PM   #3
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QuoteOriginally posted by mhaws Quote
Hi, i have a K-x with the kit lens as well as a FA 50 1.4. I am already putting away money for my next lens and want to get a zoom in the telephoto range. I take a lot of pictures of my kids a pets so I really need the AF, so I plan to get a DA series Zoom. I have a goal of becoming a part time portrait photographer some day (maybe in a couple years?) so I'm going to be working a lot on portraits of friends and family to practice as well as build a portfolio. I also like to travel and cary my lens around with me a lot. Which lens do you think would be best for me?

I've been think the 18-135 would be so convenient since I wouldn't have to change the lens too often. But since my kit lens already covers the wider angles, maybe one of the longer zooms (50-200 or 50-300) would be better...and cheaper. I suppose the FA 70-200 or 80-200 are in the mix too. Thoughts? (I do need to research more in the reviews section, but it would be nice to hear your ideas)
The 55-300 may be the biggest bargain in the Pentax line-up. It's IQ is unsurpassed at anything near it's price. Not really a portrait specialist, but the 50 you already have would be better for that than any of the lenses you're considering currently.

The 18-135 is just too expensive for what you get, IMO, plus, as you said, you already have part of it's range covered.
05-31-2011, 04:12 PM   #4
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QuoteOriginally posted by twitch Quote
The best Pentax portrait zoom is the DA*50-135
Which leads me to another question...what makes the best "portrait lens"? Obviously a shallow depth of field is usually preferred. Also no distortion, so short-medium telephoto lengths and a large aperture. But since I haven't shot over a length of 55 mm I haven't had the experience to know for sure what kind of aperture would still give a nice shallow depth of field with focal lengths like 70 and 100. When shooting with my 50, I often find that really low apertures (under 4) will not give me enough of the subject into focus, but at 4 it doesn't seem as compressed as I'd like it either. Will shooting with a longer lens help me with that problem??? And if usually portraits are around a 4 would I really need the DA*50-135 over the 50-200? (sorry about my ignorance, thanks for your help!!!!)

05-31-2011, 04:39 PM   #5
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What makes the 50-135 so much better for portraits than the 50-200 is the combination of stellar IQ (vs. quite average for the 50-200), plus speed. Top-notch IQ is what gives portraits that extra dose of realism. Makes you feel like you're truly seeing that person, not just a picture of them.
05-31-2011, 05:10 PM   #6
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I have used the m series 100mm f2.8 on my 35mm camera and it is a really great lens to use. I did theater head shots and they where very sharp. It works well on my Pentax K-m as well. It is not a zoom so you lose some flexablity but working in fixed focal length is a great way to work with the camera as well.
05-31-2011, 05:10 PM   #7
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QuoteOriginally posted by mhaws Quote
Which leads me to another question...what makes the best "portrait lens"? Obviously a shallow depth of field is usually preferred. Also no distortion, so short-medium telephoto lengths and a large aperture. But since I haven't shot over a length of 55 mm I haven't had the experience to know for sure what kind of aperture would still give a nice shallow depth of field with focal lengths like 70 and 100. When shooting with my 50, I often find that really low apertures (under 4) will not give me enough of the subject into focus, but at 4 it doesn't seem as compressed as I'd like it either. Will shooting with a longer lens help me with that problem??? And if usually portraits are around a 4 would I really need the DA*50-135 over the 50-200? (sorry about my ignorance, thanks for your help!!!!)
The further away you are the more depth of field you get for you aperture. I shoot a lot of portraits at f2.8 and under with 70mm+. For instance at 5 meters you can shoot a FA77 wide open @ f/1.8 and still get 1 foot of DOF, plenty for a portrait.

The 50-200 is not very sharp wide open, while the 50-135 is from 50-120.

Larger physical apertures (focal length over f number) also give you greater background blurring.

The 50-135 has nicer bokeh than either of the consumer DA zooms.
05-31-2011, 05:37 PM   #8
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A Tamron 28-75 is long enough for a single headshot, wide enough (barely) for small groups, focuses pretty close for flower shots, is a constant f2.8, and can be found from time to time in the Marketplace for around $325.

05-31-2011, 05:45 PM   #9
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QuoteOriginally posted by SpecialK Quote
A Tamron 28-75 is long enough for a single headshot, wide enough (barely) for small groups, focuses pretty close for flower shots, is a constant f2.8, and can be found from time to time in the Marketplace for around $325.
Agreed, that is a really good lens at a bargain price.
05-31-2011, 06:16 PM   #10
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QuoteOriginally posted by mhaws Quote
I take a lot of pictures of my kids a pets so I really need the AF
Why do you really need the AF?
05-31-2011, 07:31 PM   #11
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If I were in your position I would get the tamron 28-75. The DA 50-135 is better but expensive and you would need to get extra warranty as the sdm failure is a possibility in an unknown number of lenses.
05-31-2011, 07:37 PM   #12
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QuoteOriginally posted by joe.penn Quote
Why do you really need the AF?
If you have kids, you'd know how frustrating it can be manually focusing on a constantly moving target...

Single lens for portraiture: Tamron 28-75 (cheap and reasonably fast)
Multiple primes for different styles of portraiture: the Pentax FA ltds or the DA 40 and 70 lenses (ultimate in quality and small size/weight).

Last edited by Ash; 05-31-2011 at 07:42 PM.
05-31-2011, 07:44 PM   #13
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QuoteOriginally posted by joe.penn Quote
Why do you really need the AF?
Because my kids and pets move so fast I can't keep up with manual focus. Of course there is Catch In Focus, but I prefer single point AF set to continuous.

Thank you for the Tamron suggestion. I don't know much of anything about non pentax lenses yet. This has all been really helpful.

I'm going to try looking up specific lenses on flickr and look at the exif info. I haven't tried that before, but it seems like a good way to understand what I'd be getting from it. Then I'll probly rent a zoom lens before I buy one. I'll probly try the tameron and the DA50-135....although It will take me a lot more time to save up for the DA....hmm
05-31-2011, 07:59 PM   #14
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I have 5 lenses that cover 70mm-ish which is the focal length I like for portraits. Of those 5 I tend to use one of 3 for portraits; DA70, FA77 & DA*50-135. Each has their different strengths and weaknesses, but any one of them has truely excellent image quality.
05-31-2011, 08:47 PM   #15
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QuoteOriginally posted by Ash Quote
If you have kids, you'd know how frustrating it can be manually focusing on a constantly moving target...
I have three kids (2 are young) and a super hyper boxer; no issues with capturing the shots with my MF lenses and that is not even using CIF. I can understand the convenience, but what ever happened to the challenge of photography?


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