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01-10-2010, 12:30 AM   #1
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New K-X owner looking for portrait lens


Full disclosure, the K-X is my first DSLR/SLR. I bought it because I was tired of missing shots of my son with a point and shoot. I am having fun learning the basics of photography and have realized that I need a portrait lens. I have been told to look for a 55MM f1.8 of f1.4. I got a little sticker shock looking at the price of the Pentax autofocus portrait lenses. What I want to know is, will I be missing out on a lot of shots if I buy a manual portrait lens? Is it worth it to lay down the $400 for the AF? Or, if I am satisfied being a casual photographer, will a used manual suffice? If the consensus is, buy the AF, I will. If I buy the AF lens, it will likely be the SMCP-FA 1.4. Thanks!

01-10-2010, 05:23 AM   #2
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I would say that based on where you are coming from, auto focus is something that you should have. Some depends as well on who is your subject. For little kids, auto focus is a must, but for older people (who hold still) you can manual focus and get amazing results.

The other thing to consider would be to upgrade your kit lens to the DA 16-45 f4. It won't get you as wide an aperture as the FA 50, but it would be quite a bit cheaper. Then you could a manual focus 50 and practice a lot.
01-10-2010, 06:46 AM   #3
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Shop around.

Aden Camera

EDIT: I noticed that they have "no stock".

Last edited by asdf; 01-10-2010 at 09:38 AM.
01-10-2010, 09:50 AM   #4
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I agree with Rondec. If your photographing kids you should probably get an autofocus lens. Not saying that a manual lens can't work but standing still isn't always in your favor.

01-10-2010, 10:01 AM   #5
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I would suggest you buy used - it gets much cheaper that way. Also, you should look around the marketplace - you can definitely find an AF fast 50mm lens for less than $300 (if it's f/1.4) or less than $200 (if it's f/1.7). Just look carefully at the descriptions - if it says the lens is optically and mechanically fine, and cosmetically there's nothing standing out - and if the seller's feedback is good - it's a pretty sure bet the lens is gonna work fine for you.

Using manual lens on K-x is gonna be a bit hard without a special focusing screen for MF - since the viewfinder is not the brightest/largest, and stock focusing screen is not designed for MF. Using 3rd party focusing screens or the o-me53 magnifier helps - but that's another story.
01-10-2010, 10:03 AM   #6
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If you're talking about staged portraits, MF shouldn't be a problem. if you're talking candids, then AF definitely helps. But in that case I wouldn't be looking at a 50, but instead the DA40 - more generally useful field of view for that purpose, and faster focus to boot. Both the FA50 and DA40 run $350 or so. Although you should shoot for a while with your kit lens to see for yourself what focal length you tend to use more in these situations.
01-10-2010, 11:45 AM   #7

Been there...

I came from P&S for the same reason. Started with the FA 50 1.4... It was a bit too long for indoors, good for head and shoulder shots but not full body house shots (small rooms in the house)

Once I realized the limitations of the fixed prime on the kid shots, I came back to the forums to ask for more help. The tamron 28-75 was recommended. It is a constant aperture zoom meaning that if you set it on 2.8 at 28mm and zoom thru the range the ap does not change.
After three years it is still my most used auto-focus family shooter. Often at the long end near 75 for the close ups, but nice to be able to go to 28 for the Birthday parties etc.
The tammy will feel really big on the Kx... it is not a small lens. You can usually find them for $300ish used on this forum.

But I also went on to collect old mf primes, and they are on my camera 85% of the time now. As Marc mentioned, they are perfect for the semi set up shots and the candid shots when they are drawing, reading, playing quietly. A bit tougher when they are running around.
Also as Marc mentioned, the DA 40 is a great lens at a reasonable price right now. $339 at BH or adorama.

Good luck... if you want to see some pics from the 28-75, da 40 or the mf lenses let me know. I have a ton.
I also recently got the Kx.

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