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11-02-2014, 10:16 AM   #16
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the DA 50 f1.8 and 35 f2.4 are excellent options as well as some of the older MF lenses. I usually tend to reach for my Pentax A 50 f1.4 or Samyang 85mm f1.4 since I prefer MF lenses for portraits.

11-02-2014, 11:48 AM   #17
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Same thing I've bee wrestling with for several years...the perfect lens, a budget, the upgraded bodies, did I mention budget? I'd like to improve my ability to capture full height shots of people and increasingly in studio type environments.
My old standby had been the Tamron 28-75 f2.8. Additionally, had early-on landed a copy of a Tamron 17-34. For studio work, didn't like the performance of the 17-34 compared to the 28-75,,,nothing specific but in low light it seemed to have focusing issues (fine when used outdoors) and the results just didn't compare. Continuing to evaluate, thought that a "prime" may improve some aspects. Ttargeted the DA*55 and was able to get one "gently used" from a fellow switching systems. Wonderful captures but it was only when putting it to studio use, found that the word portrait seems to indicate a "head and shoulders" shot. When shooting full length, found the "55" put me too far away from the subject and you lost that personal connection. Looked at the lenses in the (tried the Pentax at a local shop) 35mm range and found I was a still a little too far away for full length body shots. Finally deciding to add "science" to my research, went back into Photoshop Bridge and rechecked some "preferred shots" (taken with the Tamron 28-75) it seems I was shooting mostly at the 28-32 mm range. So, currently looking at the Sigma "ART" 30mm 1.4 thinking the lower aperature is essential for low-light studio situations. As an aside, I'm Intrigued with the new Sigma 18-35 but can't help but think it may not improve on the results to the Tamron 17-34...perhaps a little bit quicker on the focus. I have a Sigma 10-20 ( a great lens for outdoor shots but at 20mm in a studio situation, very definitely not a "people friendly" lens. I wish someone locally had a Sigma 30 with the Pentax mount to try but that is one of those elusive elements that makes the "perfect lens" search a little bit more fun. Right now I shoot a bit of "live performance" and the go-to lens is an older Tamron 18-250. When I switched to the K-5 IIs there was a marked improvement in all lens indoor performance compared to the K-20. In summary, I don't regret getting the DA*55...it's everything you'd want in lens quality except the distance you need to be away for full length shots, Thanks for starting this conversation and I'll stay tuned. Good luck.
11-02-2014, 04:39 PM   #18
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QuoteOriginally posted by Hattifnatt Quote
I can recommend the plastic wonder DA 35mm F2.4. It can produce some nice portraits. Sometimes you need to get close, but on the other hand you have more freedom to back up if you want full body portraits. I've done some full body portraits in a small room a while ago and I think the 35mm was a better choice for that job rather than a 50mm lens. That being said, 35mm is more versatile as you can use it for landscapes and street photography also. When it comes to sharpness, it's up there with the big boys.

Some shots with the plastic wonder:





You are awesome! Thanks, this was very helpful for a lot of reasons:
  • You read and understood my question
  • You answered promptly
  • You gave me something that fit my needs and my budget
  • You gave examples of how well it works
Excellent, like I said, thanks!

---------- Post added 11-02-14 at 06:49 PM ----------

QuoteOriginally posted by Kozlok Quote
Yes, the 50mm/1.7 will work, and it is a lovely lens. The DA50/1.8 is essentially the same lens with a nicer aperture (7 rounded blades) and a plastic mount. I'd probably get that instead. The 35/2.4 is a great budget choice if you want a closer working distance. I'd advise getting both.

If you want quite cheap, a manual focus M50/1.7 is almost free. And great fun to learn manual focusing. The 50/f2 is even cheaper, but not nearly as nice.
Getting both is doable. If I buy the Adorama kit, I can get both those lenses for $201 total, so getting both is a possibility. But if I were to get just one, what would you recommend?

And I have seen the M50 1.7 pretty cheap on eBay, less than $30 shipped in some cases.

And thanks, you have definitely given me some budget friendly suggestions, I totally appreciate that and am grateful.
11-02-2014, 05:06 PM   #19
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QuoteOriginally posted by bladerunner6 Quote
You are awesome! Thanks, this was very helpful for a lot of reasons: You read and understood my question You answered promptly You gave me something that fit my needs and my budget You gave examples of how well it works Excellent, like I said, thanks!
Thank you. I might point out that what worked for me could not work so well for you, but you'll have to find it out for yourself. 35mm is by far my most used focal length and I think it suits my style of photography pretty well. Maybe it's because 35mm on crop (around 50mm on FF) is close to the human angle of vision. I don't think you can go wrong with the 35mm f2.4... it's the best Pentax lens IMO when it comes to performance/price ratio. One thing you can do is get the 35 f.24 and the M 50mm f1.7 which should be very cheap, then if you feel the need for it go for a longer focal somewhere in the future. This will be a good investment anyway.

PS: you might also wanna check the lens club for the 35mm f2.4, as well as for the other candidate lenses. There are a lot more photos posted there so you will get a good idea about what a lens can (and can't) do.

11-02-2014, 05:08 PM - 2 Likes   #20
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My portrait kit is the sig 30mm 1.4 and da* 55 1.4.

I started out just using the DA50 1.8 and it is a great lens. I had the DA35/2.4 for a short time but ditched it for the faster sigma. Honestly I think the DA50 blows the DA35 out of the water as far as portraits go. The DA50 is a 75mm equiv so it's closer to the traditional 85mm portrait lens and its faster. I notice some distortion with both the sigma 30 and DA35 so if you plan on using one as your main portrait lens keep that in mind, you need to place the subject just right or stuff can look funky.

DA50:












the DA35 and DA50 wouldn't be a bad starter kit for portraiture.

Last edited by GateCityRadio; 11-02-2014 at 05:26 PM.
11-02-2014, 05:41 PM   #21
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QuoteOriginally posted by GateCityRadio Quote
DA50:
Those shots are wonderful! I'm tempted to pick up a DA 50 just seeing them, but I can tell most of the work is from superior posing and technique. How did you learn?

As an aside, I can also recommend the DA 40 for portraiture, though most of my good shots with it are still stuck on my old hard drive. My 35 feels a little too wide, where my 40 can do street candids with pride.
11-02-2014, 05:50 PM   #22
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If you don't mind manual focus get a m50 1.7 its a lovely lens, unique! And its a ~$50 lens.
11-02-2014, 06:01 PM   #23
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QuoteOriginally posted by PabloFP Quote
If you don't mind manual focus get a m50 1.7 its a lovely lens, unique! And its a ~$50 lens.
Thank you for the suggestion, I think my 50-135 would do alright for posing; I just need to start having people to model instead of cats.
I also had my eye on this book as a primer.

11-02-2014, 06:15 PM   #24
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Two others to throw in the mix, Plastic Fantastic F35-70 which covers a similar range with superb detail and color and the A35-105 which will force you to work on your manual focus skills. 35-70 in the $50-75 range and the 35-105 in the $75-150 range. Lots of good advice in the thread as well. Some of the K-01 folks have some great Comicon waist and full length images with all sorts of lenses in that thread.
11-02-2014, 06:34 PM - 1 Like   #25
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QuoteOriginally posted by lithedreamer Quote
Those shots are wonderful! I'm tempted to pick up a DA 50 just seeing them, but I can tell most of the work is from superior posing and technique. How did you learn?

As an aside, I can also recommend the DA 40 for portraiture, though most of my good shots with it are still stuck on my old hard drive. My 35 feels a little too wide, where my 40 can do street candids with pride.
Lots of practice and talented models. I let the models pose themselves most of the time and I move around to get the right light/angle. Good communication is key as well. Idk much about the DA40 but I have the FA43 and it is great for portraits on aps-c.

FA43:


QuoteOriginally posted by lithedreamer Quote
Thank you for the suggestion, I think my 50-135 would do alright for posing; I just need to start having people to model instead of cats.
I also had my eye on this book as a primer.
The 50-135 is good, I found it kind of big (I use mostly primes so I wasn't used to the size), so I sold it. Sometimes I wish I would of kept it. I did one shoot with it and felt like I was fighting it to much to keep the camera steady, a monopod or tripod would really help.

50-135:


11-02-2014, 08:54 PM   #26
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QuoteOriginally posted by bladerunner6 Quote

Getting both is doable. If I buy the Adorama kit, I can get both those lenses for $201 total, so getting both is a possibility. But if I were to get just one, what would you recommend?

And I have seen the M50 1.7 pretty cheap on eBay, less than $30 shipped in some cases.

And thanks, you have definitely given me some budget friendly suggestions, I totally appreciate that and am grateful.
What kit gives you both for 201? You got my attention.
11-02-2014, 09:01 PM   #27
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There are others more knowledgable in this sphere, but I would pick up the 35mm 2.4 if I was in your shoes. Even the DA Limited 35mm is a 2.8, and there are plenty of fast fifties with manual focus. Still, They are both excellent prices and I'm sure others will have their own opinion on the matter. Maybe go look at some sample photos to compare between the MF 50s and the DA?
11-03-2014, 03:52 AM   #28
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QuoteOriginally posted by bradshea Quote
Da 50 1.8 and /or da 35 2.4 - both on sale at pentax webstore now.
Even better, buy the a K50 kit at Adorama and you can buy the 50 for $80 and the 35 for $121.

---------- Post added 11-03-14 at 06:01 AM ----------

QuoteOriginally posted by bradshea Quote
What kit gives you both for 201? You got my attention.
Any of the Adorama kits.

---------- Post added 11-03-14 at 06:39 AM ----------

QuoteOriginally posted by lukulele Quote
Two others to throw in the mix, Plastic Fantastic F35-70 which covers a similar range with superb detail and color and the A35-105 which will force you to work on your manual focus skills. 35-70 in the $50-75 range and the 35-105 in the $75-150 range. Lots of good advice in the thread as well. Some of the K-01 folks have some great Comicon waist and full length images with all sorts of lenses in that thread.
Could you please show me a link to the particular lenses you are talking about?
Thanks.
11-03-2014, 05:10 AM   #29
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The OP is looking for a budget lens to shoot full body portraits. Based on those requirements, I suggest shooting some full body portraits with the kit lens you already have, in order to see what focal length gets you a full body portrait at the working distance you want to use. My guess is you'll want something wider than 50mm if doing indoor portraits. 50mm might be okay for outdoor portraits, 35mm should work well for indoor portraits. Top choice for me would be the DA 35 f2.4, second choice would be the DA 50 f1.8. A third option might be a used Sigma 24 f2.8 Super Wide II.
11-03-2014, 11:21 AM   #30
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I love the old russian manual lenses.
You can get an 8 blade Helios 44-2 for virtually nothing, it's 58mm which is a good length for portraits, at F2 the bokeh is wonderfull. They are preset apertures which take a little getting used too, but worth it.
My all-time favourite portrait lens is my Helios 40, a 50 year old silver 85mm F1.5 Monster. I've adapted it to a K mount for ease of use. It has the most amazing swirly bokeh wide open.
This is my favourite shot with it so far.
The one underneath shows the Mad Bokeh.
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