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08-20-2015, 10:31 AM   #1
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Portrait lens

I have a Pentax KX and a K30... I've always done landscape and nature stuff but am getting requests to do portrait work. What's everyone using lens wise for portrait work? Thanks!

08-20-2015, 10:39 AM   #2
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There's quite a few threads on this subject. Do you have a budget? Prefer manual focus or autofocus?

Also, I'm assuming you mean you have the old film KX camera and not the newer K-x digital camera, is that correct? So you want a full frame lens?
08-20-2015, 10:41 AM   #3
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QuoteOriginally posted by Blackhawk1071 Quote
I have a Pentax KX and a K30... I've always done landscape and nature stuff but am getting requests to do portrait work. What's everyone using lens wise for portrait work? Thanks!
If you're on a budget or are fine with manual focus, look at the Vivitar/Samyang/Rokinon 85mm F1.4:

Vivitar 85mm F1.4 Review - Review | PentaxForums.com Reviews

If you want silent AF, the Pentax DA* 55mm and Sigma 85mm are good options.

There's also the FA 77mm F1.8 and DA 70mm F2.4, which aren't necessarily classic portrait lenses but still get the job done rather well.

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08-20-2015, 11:03 AM   #4
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Don't forget the DFA Macro 100mm f2.8 as a portrait lens.

08-20-2015, 11:11 AM   #5
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I have a DA 70 Limited and I've been very happy with this, when using for portraits. I don't have the Pentax 100mm Macro, F 2.8, but I've often thought this may be a very good portrait lens. You may have to stand back a bit....but this lens appeals to me. Also a very good macro lens according to the Popular Photography test of a few years back.
08-20-2015, 11:22 AM   #6
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If budget allows and zoom is an option then look at the DA* 50-135. I mostly shoot sports and landscapes but on occasion where I toy around with portraits, the 50-135 is one amazing lens!
08-20-2015, 12:28 PM   #7
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QuoteOriginally posted by Blackhawk1071 Quote
Portrait lens
I'm not sure if portrait is only head or if it applies to head & shoulder, full body, and group of people.
For head only or head & shoulders: 70mm and above, up to 200mm or more can do it, if the goal is to blur the background, tele lenses can do it even more (for example the DA*200 2.8), so 70ltd, 77ltd, 85 1.4, 100 2.8, 200 2.8.
For full body: 50mm or 70mm
For a group: 35mm to 50mm

The DA*50-135 cover the most usable range with APSC camera, or 70-200 on a full frame body.

For portrait with further 3D pop (given proper framing), DA*200 f2.8 (blur equ. 100 f1.4 lens) or DA*300 f4 (blur equ. 100mm f1.33) can also do it.
08-20-2015, 01:09 PM   #8
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QuoteOriginally posted by biz-engineer Quote
I'm not sure if portrait is only head or if it applies to head & shoulder, full body, and group of people.
For head only or head & shoulders: 70mm and above, up to 200mm or more can do it, if the goal is to blur the background, tele lenses can do it even more (for example the DA*200 2.8), so 70ltd, 77ltd, 85 1.4, 100 2.8, 200 2.8.
For full body: 50mm or 70mm
For a group: 35mm to 50mm

The DA*50-135 cover the most usable range with APSC camera, or 70-200 on a full frame body.

For portrait with further 3D pop (given proper framing), DA*200 f2.8 (blur equ. 100 f1.4 lens) or DA*300 f4 (blur equ. 100mm f1.33) can also do it.
This is a great answer. Many people shooting full frames today use 70-200 f/2.8 lenses as their primary portrait lens. I have used everything from my DA 40 to my Sigma 400 f/5.6 to do portraits. The working distance you want and the type of background blur you need will drive this along with any FF vs. ASPC considerations and quality and budget etc.

The lenses I like for my portraits:
DA 40 f2.8 - close intimate portraits - not an intimidating lens so subjects are at ease even though you are close.
F 50 f1.7 - a little more working distance, noiser, still not intimidating.
DA 70 f2.4 - very fine option, length is similar to the 105 Nikkor on film (and again not intimidating)
A* 85 f1.4 - a gem of a lens - working distance is longer on APSC than it was on film which is generally fine - SHARP - maybe too sharp for some people!
DA* 200 f2.8 - Surprisingly good for this. Working distance isn't nearly as far as you might think. Here's a recent sample taken on a whim inside a specialty grocer/eatery click for the flickr page with full resolution:



DA* 50-135 f2.8 - my favorite option due to high quality of image coupled with flexible working distances.

I don't own the FA* 85, or the FA 77 Limited or the DA* 55 to comment on these.


Last edited by UncleVanya; 08-20-2015 at 02:36 PM.
08-20-2015, 01:30 PM   #9
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I take only portrait and story telling pics. I highly recommend the fa77 but plan to not use inside ( you can almost never get back far enough). Recently I have been borrowing an fa31. Both are expensive. Before I had access to the 31 I used the da 35 plastic. If you are on a tight budget this one works great. The da 50 as well ( again, cheap ). This is also hard to frame inside like the 77.

I don't have the 85 or 100 or a high quality zoom.

I do waist up, full body and groups. If I need just a face shot I crop. ( not sure if this is the best but it is working well enough).

You have to decide on your budget as well as if you will be inside or outside or both. The longer focal lengths are impossible to use for inside shots.

I'm working on posting some pics from this year. Keep an eye out.

I doubt I get the 85 unless I wake up rich one morning. One of the things I learned here was the 77 is " the" portrait lens and put my entire budget into it.

I hope this helps.
08-20-2015, 02:00 PM   #10
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I've got four portrait lenses I really adore:

Pentax FA43 1.9 Limited
Pentax FA77 1.8 Limited
Pentax DA* 50-135 2.8
Tamron 28-75 2.8
08-20-2015, 02:00 PM   #11
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QuoteOriginally posted by UncleVanya Quote
I don't own the FA* 85, or the FA 77 Limited or the DA* 55 to comment on these.
QuoteOriginally posted by Adam Quote
If you want silent AF, the Pentax DA* 55mm and Sigma 85mm are good options.
For the ability to blur background , I wasn't overly impressed by the DA*55 1.4 mounted on apsc, even though I like it very much for its DA* rendering and low light. A 85 f1.4 or longer fast lenses would do it better.
If I remember well, there's also a Pentax 135mm f2.5 (manual lens) ... some other brands having 135mm f1.8, I guess this kind of lens rocks for portraits because it's a combination of long but not too long and fairly fast.
08-20-2015, 02:13 PM   #12
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QuoteOriginally posted by biz-engineer Quote
For the ability to blur background , I wasn't overly impressed by the DA*55 1.4 mounted on apsc, even though I like it very much for its DA* rendering and low light. A 85 f1.4 or longer fast lenses would do it better.
If I remember well, there's also a Pentax 135mm f2.5 (manual lens) ... some other brands having 135mm f1.8, I guess this kind of lens rocks for portraits because it's a combination of long but not too long and fairly fast.
I have a 135 2.5 Takumar Bayonet for sale as a happy coincidence. But there is a more expensive SMC 135 2.5 and also the grand dame the A* 135 1.8 - I have never shot either of those. My A* 85 f/1.4 can create really razor thin dof with great bokeh.

---------- Post added 08-20-15 at 05:14 PM ----------

I spoke about the 40 earlier - here's an example of a close portrait done with it:

08-20-2015, 02:32 PM   #13
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Portrait Lens

I vote for the Samyamg 85mm.

Fallow Deer at Knole - Pentax User Photo Gallery if you want an example, tap on the photo and then press the + cursor to see the detail.
08-20-2015, 02:34 PM   #14
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QuoteOriginally posted by K57XR Quote
If budget allows and zoom is an option then look at the DA* 50-135. I mostly shoot sports and landscapes but on occasion where I toy around with portraits, the 50-135 is one amazing lens!
I second this. If you are up to the challenge you can one some with broken SDM and convert it to screw drive and save a lot of $$
I am sure there might be a few around

Good luck

Randy
08-20-2015, 02:41 PM   #15
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Thanks everyone for the input! Lots of great options to check out here... Thanks again!
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