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06-22-2016, 01:55 PM   #1
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Need Lens Advice for Portraits (FA 2.8 50mm vs DA 1.8 50mm)

Hi,

I'm new to this forum and I've been reading up quite a bit. The amount of Lens' for the Pentax K-Mount is overwhelming.

I just got a K-50 and the photos I normally take are portraits. I want some cool traveling and family photos mainly so from what I've looked at a Prime lens should fit most of my needs.

I have the opportunity to buy a used SMC Pentax-FA 50mm F2.8 Macro Lens for about 200US or a used PENTAX DA 50 1.8 for about 80US.

In the reviews here they all say the F2.8 50mm is an amazing lens and I'm willing to spend the little bit extra if I need to however I wanted to get the advice of the experts before doing so

Thanks!

06-22-2016, 02:04 PM   #2
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I wouldn't get a macro lens for portraits because if the AF misses its mark, it will be a while before it locks on due to the long throw. I'd go for the DA 50mm- plus it will allow for a stronger background blur.

If you want something even better, there's always the FA 77mm Limited, but it's not cheap

Adam
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06-22-2016, 02:22 PM - 1 Like   #3
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QuoteOriginally posted by okta Quote
I have the opportunity to buy a used SMC Pentax-FA 50mm F2.8 Macro Lens for about 200US or a used PENTAX DA 50 1.8 for about 80US.
That's a good price and the 50mm macro is an amazing lens by all reports. But for portraiture you want some specifics. The macro primes are brutally sharp, with clinical rendering, very little lens character, highly corrected optics. This is not ideal for portraiture, as it will render all flaws, blemishes, zits and wrinkles. A lens with character, a lens designed for portraiture, will give you nice bokeh, good skin tones, and it might not be super sharp across the frame.
The FA 50mm is the better lens. But for portraiture, the DA 50mm might be a better choice. The difference in DoF/bokeh (for subject isolation, photo character) is noticeable between f2.8 and f1.8. Also, DA 50mm will focus faster (because the macro has a much longer focus range to cover), and it has rounded aperture blades.

Anyway, get both. Each has a use. Despite having similar FoV, they are not the same lens. Optimally you would get DA* 55mm for portraiture and FA 50mm macro for product photos, landscapes, macro, still life. Overall, the FA 50mm macro is probably the better choice than DA 50mm f1.8, unless you need fast AF or big bokeh

Last edited by Na Horuk; 06-22-2016 at 02:28 PM.
06-22-2016, 02:46 PM   #4
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I agree with Adam.

06-22-2016, 03:54 PM   #5
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Unless you are already eager to shoot macro and specifically seek a lens with that capability, the DA50 is the better lens for all-round use, as others have already stated. Put aside the $120 US difference that you save toward something else - a flash with a tilt-swivel head or a good tripod, for example, if you don't yet have either. That will help your portraiture more than the macro lens will.
06-22-2016, 04:38 PM   #6
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I use the DA 70mm limited for portraits and I like it a lot. I got the 70 instead of a 50 for portraits because I already had the 35 and thought a 50 would not be different enough. This way I get more coverage with fewer lenses; I added a wide angle prime and it's all I need normally.
06-22-2016, 05:47 PM   #7
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Sigma 17-50 2.8 would also be a very good choice. I think I'm settling on that and a Samyang/Bower 85 1.4 for portrait/street shots altho a friend of mine is sending me a Pentax DA*55 to try too. Many thanks to whoever suggested the Sigma in a different thread a few days ago too. I had never thought of it as a portrait lens until then, but it's looking very good! I'm hoping the *55 isn't a noticeable improvement so I'm not tempted.
06-22-2016, 06:27 PM   #8
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Thanks everyone for your thoughts! I'm going to look into the suggestions posted 😊

06-22-2016, 08:15 PM   #9
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The macros are very sharp, but I figure I can always soften the image up some afterward. But if you don't catch the sharpness on the first try then it is lost.
06-22-2016, 09:43 PM   #10
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You could also consider the FA 50/1.4, it costs a bit more than the DA 50/1.8, but less than the DA* 55/1.4.
06-23-2016, 12:50 PM   #11
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QuoteOriginally posted by Cthulhugan Quote
You could also consider the FA 50/1.4, it costs a bit more than the DA 50/1.8, but less than the DA* 55/1.4.
I would go for the DA 50 1.8 as I find the FA 50 1.4 soft wide open

Randy
06-23-2016, 12:57 PM   #12
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QuoteOriginally posted by slip Quote
I would go for the DA 50 1.8 as I find the FA 50 1.4 soft wide open

Randy
Personally I didn't like the rendering of the DA50 1.8 when used as a portrait lens. It's a great piece of glass but for me personally not a good choice for portraits, females specifically. It's just something about the look I got with it but I can't put it in words. Maybe someone with more portraiture experience will chime in and actually explain what I can't about the DA50 1.8?
06-24-2016, 10:47 AM   #13
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I have the DA50 1.8, and I almost never use it. I tend to use the 43 and 77 instead. I find the 43 works pretty well and is close enough to 50 mm to cover what I need and when it isn't the 77 works.

But those aren't going to be too cheap. You might find the 43 at a decent price, but not as low as you showed for the macro. The 40 and 70 DA-limiteds may work well, too. I've not looked at those, but it could be an option. I do like having the extra speed over a f 2.8. I never thought I would until I started taking more photos of my family.
06-26-2016, 10:43 AM   #14
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QuoteOriginally posted by slip Quote
I would go for the DA 50 1.8 as I find the FA 50 1.4 soft wide open
It is not terribly soft wide open, and it sharpens up as you stop down. Some consider that variable soft focus effect to be an advantage for portraits. I've used a friend's FA 50/1.4, and am looking at picking up a DA 50/1.8 because it is sharper wide open, but that is for general use, not portraits.
06-27-2016, 10:09 AM   #15
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I like the DA 50 F/1.8 I use it when I need a narrow Dof to achieve what I wanted Itried to do this shot with a F/2.8 lens and just could not get it.

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