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07-26-2015, 08:03 PM   #1
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Which lens should I purchase for K-3 and close up portraits with good bokeh and DOF?

Hello --

I have a K-3 with only the crappy (slow) kit lens, and I would like to take portraits of people that I meet while I am out and about, like a grocery store cashier, or people at my dentist and doctor offices. Since these will be taken inside a small space usually, like an office or treatment room, I wanted to know which lens I should get that has a fast aperture, good bokeh, and very shallow depth of field?

Any advice that you can give in this regard is greatly appreciated! Thanks!

07-26-2015, 08:20 PM   #2
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Either of the plastic fantastics would fit the bill. DA 35 f/2.4 or DA 50 f/1.8 (tighter FOV). They have a couple F 50mm f/1.7's for sale in the Marketplace -- great lens. If you want some versatility, then a 17-50 zoom might be up your alley. Tamron and Sigma make nice ones (I've owned both, and currently use a Sigma 17-50). They are more expensive, though.


https://www.pentaxforums.com/lensreviews/SMC-Pentax-DA-L-35mm-F2.4-AL.html
https://www.pentaxforums.com/lensreviews/smc-pentax-da-50mm-f1.8.html
https://www.pentaxforums.com/lensreviews/SMC-Pentax-F-50mm-F1.7-Lens.html
https://www.pentaxforums.com/userreviews/sigma-17-50mm-f2-8-ex-dc-os-hsm-no-stabilizer.html
https://www.pentaxforums.com/userreviews/tamron-af-17-50mm-f2-8-xr-ld-aspherical-if-sp.html
07-26-2015, 08:31 PM   #3
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The classic response would be to check out any of the 3 amigo's (Fa 31, Fa43 and Fa77) or the DA limited range such as the DA 40 or DA70 depending on how much environment you want to include in your portrait of the cashier, etc.

Esrandall makes some great suggestions for a zoom, or less expensive DA lenses, and older MF lenses would be ideal if budget is tight and you have good enough eyesight.

The Pentax 16-50 and 50-135 make a great pair for general and portrait photography on APSC, but again, these are more expensive

There are a great deal of choices, but it is all dependent on budget and taste. Ultimately only you can decide (or you can be like me and just eventually buy almost everything, still trying to decide )
07-26-2015, 08:38 PM   #4
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Thanks you guys! My budget is kinda low, so I need something affordable. I want as little of the background in focus as possible, and I will be close to the subject so I don't THINK that a ZOOM would be good to point in their face! Given these parameters, can you please give me some specific lenses? I get so confused with all these naming and numbering conventions! Thank you!

07-26-2015, 08:41 PM   #5
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QuoteOriginally posted by AntonioD Quote
Thanks you guys! My budget is kinda low, so I need something affordable. I want as little of the background in focus as possible, and I will be close to the subject so I don't THINK that a ZOOM would be good to point in their face! Given these parameters, can you please give me some specific lenses? I get so confused with all these naming and numbering conventions! Thank you!
The first two I listed are both fast, affordable, and will give you the blur. The 35 is rarely seen in the Marketplace, but the DA 50 is routinely selling for $100 used. Either would give you what you want here.
07-26-2015, 09:00 PM   #6
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For indoor environmental portraits on a budget, you can't go past the Plastic Fantastic DA35/2.4. The angle of view of the 50mm might be a bit tight in some places, but you will get significantly shallower depth of field.
07-26-2015, 09:03 PM   #7
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SMC-A 50 f1.4 or f1.7 would be easiest for manual focus as exposure can be automated without more action on your part, just focus and shoot. The SMC.M are less expensive but manual metering adds a step.. 50mm and 85 f2 might be good ones.

Autofocus? Love my DFA50 but really the DA 35 and 50 above are excellent choices.

Last edited by jimr-pdx; 07-26-2015 at 09:37 PM.
07-26-2015, 09:24 PM   #8
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I also throw in my vote for the DA 35mm. In expensive and works great on what you are describing. The A28 2.8 would be a cheaper option that might serve your purposes.

07-26-2015, 09:25 PM   #9
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Auto Focus - DA50mm 1.8 and DA35mm 2.4
Manual Focus - Pentax-A 35mm 2.8; Pentax-A 50mm 1.7; Pentax-A 100mm 2.8 or Pentax-A 135mm 2.8 (cheaper than 100mm)

This is my 2c on this one... YMMW
07-26-2015, 09:28 PM - 1 Like   #10
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I would get the old Sigma 30mm/1.4. I have one, love it for just that sort of thing

Last edited by Kozlok; 07-27-2015 at 04:02 AM.
07-27-2015, 01:24 AM - 1 Like   #11
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So, you're gonna shoot in small spaces and your budget is low. You need fast aperture, good bokeh, and very shallow depth of field. Seems like a job for the cheap plastic fantastic DA35mm f2.4, that's my recommandation.

Might not have the shallowest DOF but that's what you can get at f2.4. And it's pretty sharp wide open. Some portraits with the plastic fantastic:









The 50mm f1.8 would be a good choice also, but in a VERY small space you might have problems getting close. If space allows, it's probably even better.
07-27-2015, 02:37 AM   #12
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the 50mm f1.8 can be your choice, 50mm is not too long even for indoors. I shot many portrait with the 50mm and have plenty of room for head & shoulders shoot. The min distance is only : 45 cm
f1.8 will produce nicely bokeh, a big plus ^^
07-27-2015, 11:15 PM   #13
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QuoteOriginally posted by AntonioD Quote
I want as little of the background in focus as possible, and I will be close to the subject so I don't THINK that a ZOOM would be good to point in their face!
You think wrong

A standard zoom (similar to the 18-55) gives you the flexibility to either take a photo of people including the environment (using the wider side like 18mm) or to do a close-up photo of a person's face (using the longer end like 50mm).

Take your camera with kit lens to the shop, dentist or wherever and frame your shots; check the focal length on the kit lens (the numbers from 18 to 55). You can also take photos and examine the focal length afterwards at home. Make some notes like 'I was too close for 55mm'.

That will give you an idea of the focal length that you need. If one focal length really stands out, buy a lens with a focal length close to that; else buy a zoom. If you were often too close, consider a lens with a longer focal length.

A note on DOF and background blur (you might already know). There are three parameters that define the DOF. Longer focal length gives shallower DOF, shorter subject distance gives shallower DOF and a wider aperture gives shallower DOF. How blurred the background is (keeping the DOF the same) depends on the distance from the subject to the background. So taking a photo of somebody in the waiting room at the dentist sitting in a chair against a wall will not result in an extremely blurred background (wall) but if that wall is further away. it will progressively get more blurred.
07-28-2015, 12:56 AM - 1 Like   #14
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QuoteOriginally posted by sterretje Quote
There are three parameters that define the DOF. Longer focal length gives shallower DOF, shorter subject distance gives shallower DOF and a wider aperture gives shallower DOF.
Actually the focal length does not affect DOF. Longer focal lengths may APPEAR to have a shallower depth of field because they enlarge the background relative to the foreground (due to their narrower angle of view). This can make an out of focus background look even more out of focus because its blur has become enlarged.
07-28-2015, 05:37 PM   #15
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cheap close up best quality= da50mm. I want it but have a50 and 40xs. Cheap, sharp.
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