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04-08-2010, 03:20 PM   #16
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I have the 50 1.7 and am hoping to get the DA70 this week and I will use both of those for portraits among other subjects. I think what you should ask yourself as others have probably already said is what type of portaits will you be shooting and what kind of space are you working in.

04-08-2010, 03:55 PM   #17
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QuoteOriginally posted by Jacos Quote
Basically i will be shooting my soon to be born son and general family portraits. ... I was thinking of getting a 50mm 1.4 but have now been reading up on the SMC 100mm f2.8 and the Sigma 105mm 2.8.(also the tamron) ....

Can anybody who has both a f1.4 50mm and any of the 2.8macro lenses advise me on which they prefer for the type of pictures i require.

I have the Pentax 50 f/1.4 autofocus lens and the Sigma 105 f/2.8 macro. Both are very nice lenses. I would add further that you can use any lens at all to take portraits, if you know what you're doing and you handle your equipment well. I was reading the other day about a famous portrait photographer who, somewhat unusually but as a sort of trademark, shot nearly all of his portraits with a wide angle lens. Not what you learn in Portraits 101, but he made it work.

Actually, here's a shot I took with the Pentax 21`limited on Easter:



Of course, this isn't a head shot; I would be reluctant to use the 21 for that. And you wouldn't want to photograph a woman from too close behind her using a 21mm lens, at least not unless you'd already lined up a good divorce attorney. I made the mistake of taking nothing but the Sigma 10-20 to photograph a party attended by a family of wonderful plus-size folks who were dining in a small banquet room at a restaurant. Won't do that again. But otherwise, you can make any lens work for you. And at least down to a point (that point being somehwere around 21mm), it seems to be the case that, the wider the lens, the more options you will have for general photography.

I've said it a number of times recently in different threads: If I had to live with just one lens, I'd pick either my Sigma 28 or my Pentax 40. (Although I recently acquired that 21 and I like it a lot. So I'm glad I don't have to live with just one lens!)

Anyway, back to your pair of choices.

The Sigma is a wonderful lens, and can certainly be used for portraits. But on our Pentax cameras, it's actually get a tad long. I don't use it for portraits; I use it for shooting in church, when I can't get close to my subject. I've also used it a little to take some macro shots. If you like macro photography, that might be a consideration.

Of the two lenses, the 50 will certainly be the more useful focal length for family portraits—and it's a more generally useful lens. Actually, if you could get a Pentax 40mm, that might even be better. But it's more expensive ($500 for the 40mm and $360 for the 50, right now on Amazon). The Pentax 35 f/2 might be even better but it doesn't seem to be available anywhere right now. (The Pentax 35 f/2.8 limited is rather more expensive.)

Just to give you a little more to think about, here's a quick picture I took today with the Pentax 70 f/2.4.



This is the lens I use most now for portraits. The photo has been cropped but only slightly; note that I was about 10 ft away from the subject for this shot. Keep in mind that distance as you think about the 105.

Will
04-08-2010, 04:02 PM   #18
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For general purpose portaiture, i'd recommend the manual lenses 50mm f1.7 and the 85mm 2.0.
BUT in this situation i'd rather go with a fast zoom, like a tamron 17-50 or 28-75, both f2.8. A kid might not wait for you to take that step back or forth for feetzooming.
04-08-2010, 11:26 PM   #19
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IMO, for a general purpose portaiture, the 70mm lens is good.

But in this situation (where photographing a kid is the challenge) I prefer a fast zoom, like a Tammy 17-50 or 28-75, both at f2.8. The kid might not wait for you to take that step back or forth using prime to zoom at the subject.

04-08-2010, 11:36 PM   #20
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QuoteOriginally posted by Pentaxie Quote
IMO, for a general purpose portaiture, the 70mm lens is good.

But in this situation (where photographing a kid is the challenge) I prefer a fast zoom, like a Tammy 17-50 or 28-75, both at f2.8. The kid might not wait for you to take that step back or forth using prime to zoom at the subject.
That's when you yell at the kid to stop. That's how my sisters and I got trained to the camera. We'd run around, Dad would yell "HEY!", we'd stop for a second, he'd aim and shoot his Minolta Autocord loaded with Verichrome Pan (ASA 100), we'd continue. And a merry time was had by all.
04-09-2010, 12:05 AM   #21
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I recomend a fast 50mm for portrait, there are many different type out there and alot of the older ones can be had for bagain prices.
04-09-2010, 04:07 AM   #22
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Don't be affraid from non-autofocus lenses, I have an old A 50mm F1.7 lens, and I manage to get greate photos with it.

The lens is fast, and for portrate pictures it's a greate one.

You can search for second hand F 85mm F2.8 Soft lens, which I heard is very good for portrates.
F 50mm F1.7 (and F 50mm F1.4) are also good samples, just need to search and get lucky to find them
04-09-2010, 04:28 AM   #23
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I understand that a lot of the Manual Focus lenses are very good and a lot cheaper but i feel for a newborn i will benefit from auto focus as i snap away. Besides taking pics of my Son the general portraits will be head and shoulder shots. The low light capabilities of the f1.4 are a big plus for myself. I am not shure that f2.8 will be sufficient for low light even though i have a k-x which is good at higher iso. If i combine a K-x with a 1.4 then i should hopefully get some good images.
Almost about to purchase the SMC AF 1.4 so if anybody has any last minute advice please feel free to comment.
Remember my budget is a maximum of £250 so its no point suggesting lenses that cost more. Also remember i am new to all this so try not to confuse me.............hehe

04-09-2010, 01:30 PM   #24
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QuoteOriginally posted by Jacos Quote
I understand that a lot of the Manual Focus lenses are very good and a lot cheaper but i feel for a newborn i will benefit from auto focus as i snap away.
Not trying to talk you out of AF, but do consider that people lived without it until 1980 or so and did just fine. Newborns will actually be far easier than when they hit 3 or 4. As long as they're essentially immobile, you've got all the time in the world to focus, and time to get better at it as they become more mobile.

QuoteQuote:
The low light capabilities of the f1.4 are a big plus for myself. I am not shure that f2.8 will be sufficient for low light even though i have a k-x which is good at higher iso.
Also, not trying to talk you out of f/1.4, f/2.8 is good enough in almost all situations where there is enough light to make the picture worth taking in the first place - assuming you don't mind actually using ISO 1600 or 3200 as necessary. Even with a 50/1.4, you'd generally want to shoot at f/2.8 when possible both to get sharper results and to get enough DOF.

Anyhow, the FA50/1.4 is a fine choice, but I just don't want to see you ruling out other good options unnecessarily.

Last edited by Marc Sabatella; 04-10-2010 at 12:52 PM.
04-09-2010, 07:30 PM   #25
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I want to agree with both of Marc's points.

The last time I gave manual focus a serious look was about 4 years ago, when I was mostly shooting sports and only starting to do weddings and portraits. I actually shot some basketball and volleyball games with manual focus. The results weren't terrific, and I got frustrated, and gave it up. I sold the manual focus lenses that I'd picked up from KEH. Looking back, I admit that I didn't stick with it long enough to master it. And these days, shooting sports with manual focus lenses might simply masochistic, if you had any choice in the matter.

But for an awful lot of the rest of the stuff I do now, I actually find myself focusing manually—and even when I don't, I now realize that I could. ALL of my portrait work could be done with manual focus, and I don't think it would be much of a hardship to shoot weddings using manual focus, at least for the ceremony in the church, and the formals.

And what I need for my work as a photographer, is fairly different from what I need as an amateur who frequently shoots for himself. When I'm traveling, taking vacation pics, landscapes, nature photography, manual focus would be quite acceptable. And I think manual focus would work for just about all of the personal photography I do, including photos of family and friends.

This isn't how I always thought. But I believe it's true now. And I would just like to follow Marc's recommendations and suggest that good manual focus lenses might be a superior alternative to not quite so good auto-focus lenses.

Just a thought to consider.

Will
04-10-2010, 01:11 AM   #26
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Thanks again for the advice.
I have now purchased the smc AF 1.4. I will try manual lenses in the future but i think at this stage i just want to make it as easy as possible. Also my wife will find this a lot easier to just pick up and shoot when she wants to. After all i did tell her that i bought the camera for 'both of us' hehe.
04-10-2010, 10:22 AM   #27
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QuoteOriginally posted by Jacos Quote
Thanks again for the advice.
I have now purchased the smc AF 1.4. I will try manual lenses in the future but i think at this stage i just want to make it as easy as possible. Also my wife will find this a lot easier to just pick up and shoot when she wants to. After all i did tell her that i bought the camera for 'both of us' hehe.

I take it the f/1.4 lens you got is the 50mm? Well, it's a great lens. Auto-focus is definitely nice. And I am sure you're right, your wife will appreciate having it.

Will
04-10-2010, 10:59 PM   #28
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Jacos, all the best with the baby. I'm up to grandkids now and child photography is still fun!
Use the AF for security, but practice manual focus from time to time as well (it is only one switch away without chaging lenses!) then you will be confident to buy when you see a good manual for sale.

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Last edited by rod_grant; 04-11-2010 at 05:46 AM.
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