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10-28-2014, 01:59 PM   #1
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Which 50mm lens should I choose ?

I am using a K-30 and I want a portrait and macro lens. I'm really in love with the Tamron 90mm SP AF Di Macro f2.8. But of all the pictures I saw online, I 95% of the pictures with the tammy are macro shots. I think I would use macro in less than 40% of my shots. So i am not sure if that is a practical purchase based on my usage. Also the effective focal length on APS-C is 145mm , which is almost a medium zoom and max aperture is only 2.8

So I'm thinking of a portrait lens which can also shoot macro or maybe not. So the lens I'm thinking of are.

Pentax SMC-F 50mm F2.8 Macro (Macro is why I would love this, but not the highest aperture)
Sigma 50mm f1.4 EX DG (The increased Aperture Value is a bonus, but no macro)
PENTAX SMC FA K 50MM F/1.4 (Same reason as above, but Sigma one above it has a silent AF)
Pentax SMCP-F 50mm f/1.7 (No macro, larger Aperture, lower cost - might be able to buy another lens later with more funds)

Can I get some suggestions as to what would be a good option. I'm really confused right now or should I go with the tammy itself

Btw the current lens that I use is a 16-45 f4 Pentax, its much better than the kit lens, but not the greatest. Might want to look into a f2.8 wide angle later..

10-28-2014, 02:04 PM   #2
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QuoteOriginally posted by donpjt Quote
I want a portrait and macro lens.
I'll vote for the F 50mm f/2.8 macro. One of my favorite lenses, your only choice really if you want both.

'Only' f/2.8 but come on who really shoots portraits at f/1.4?? I find f/4 about the smallest aperture I can use and still get any reasonable portion of the subject in focus. if you want f/1.4 then get one of the fast 50mms but you will not get a macro.
10-28-2014, 02:06 PM   #3
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if you could get by with manual focusing, there are a bunch of cheap legacy primes in m42/k mount, that are pretty sharp.

maybe a cheap m50/1.7, see how mf fits for what you shoot.

i wouldn't buy an expensive autofocus lens for macro use.
10-28-2014, 02:16 PM   #4
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Well, how about the DA50mm F1.8, which now ranges between $120 and $140 - on amazon? Then you have enough money to buy a macro lens, especially a manual focus one - I would suggest 50mm F4, which is around $80-90. Another cheap option is a sigma 50mm F2.8 macro. Better yet, you can get a 90mm F2.8 tamron macro fro $200, if you don't want to double focal lengths.

10-28-2014, 02:17 PM   #5
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A good 50mm lens can give you near focus results if you use extension tubes, bellows, or macro filters (like raynox), or if you use a lens reversal adapter. There is a thread about "macro at any means necessary" or "macro on a budget" - something like that, with a big list of different, creative ways to achieve macro. That being said, a dedicated macro prime is hard to beat! Of course, all macro primes are f2.8, or slower. In the past, they were f4, or they would only go down to 1:2 magnification. The modern Pentax macro primes are pretty amazing, f2.8, very compact, stunning image quality, true 1:1 magnification! But for every day use, they have two main weaknesses. AF is slower, since the focus range is so much longer (from macro to infinity), and slow aperture (which is okay in macro, because in macro range you will be between f8 to f16 anyway, for the DoF) compared to regular nifty fifty lenses.

If this is your first 50mm prime, I would suggest you buy a FA 50mm f1.4, DA 50mm f1.8, or an older F 50mm f1.7. Get the macro if you want to do a lot of macro photos, product photos, landscapes, and other photos where low light is not a problem. The DA 50mm f1.8 can be found for very low prices, and it uses modern lens coatings, which is great. If you want to buy an older lens, like M or A series, you should also buy a lens hood for it.
I have a couple 50mm lenses, but they are all manual. Pentax M 50mm f1.7, Industar 50mm f3.5, Miranda 50mm f1.9,.. I would recommend the Pentax M 50mm f1.7. Inexpensive, good quality - same optical lineage as DA 50mm f1.8, just with older lens coatings and all-metal barrel (and, of course, no automation). But if you don't want artistic, manual focus photos, go with the ones I mentioned earlier (FA, F, DA).
Above someone recommended DA 50mm f1.8 and Tamron 90mm macro - great idea, covers a lot, top notch quality for a good price. Beats any zooms in this price range, gives you macro, general purpose, portrait, product photos,..
10-28-2014, 02:19 PM   #6
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I have the FA 50mm F2.8 macro and enjoy using it. For Macro, which I don't shoot that often, I also have the DA 35mm F2.8 limited macro which for general photography I use more often. I haven't used the other lens you mention so I can't compare those.
When I first got my K-5 II one of the lens I first purchased was the Pentax-D FA 100mm F2.8 Macro WR which I ended up returning. I couldn't help comparing it the Canon 100mm F2.8 Macro that I used with a Canon 5D, and I found the Pentax not as easy to use as the Canon lens. After more experience with the Pentax camera I think I would have kept the FA 100mm now. It's a WR lens and I believe would also make a good portrait lens.
10-28-2014, 02:24 PM   #7
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You could always look at a DA 50mm f/1.8. Very inexpensive and a pretty decent lens.

For macro I always found ~100mm works best for me, I use a A50 with a macro 2x TC (giving me 100mm). A plain 50mm macro would be too wide for my needs.

For portraits, I've used the DA50 quite a lot, until I got the sigma 35 and the DA*50-135. The 35 is great if space is small, like my home "studio", everywhere else I use the zoom. I rarely shoot wide open for portraits, especially with the sigma, at 1.4 you can't get the entire face in focus, you either lose the ears or the nose.

On APSC 90-100mm is still useable for portraiture, if you have a large enough area to be able to move away from your subject.

There is always the Sigma 17-70, it's kinda macro (not 1:1) and it is good enough for portraiture too
10-28-2014, 02:53 PM   #8
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Wow, thanks for all the replies. This information is really useful for me about macro photography and photography in general. I'll be making a decision soon Seems like the 50 MM DA1.8 is a must have. I might purchase it later if I end up getting a 90mm one now. Hopefully once I get the lens, i should be able to upload some pics too

10-28-2014, 03:16 PM   #9
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I have the Pentax DFA 100mm F2.8 WR, Pentax FA 50mm F2.8 Macro and Pentax DA 50mm F1.8
Just got the FA 50mm macro lens (two weeks ago) and I really like it. I think it will be on my camera most of the time as a 50mm and a true macro lens cover a lot of situations when out and about.
But if you want to take macro pictures of bugs and other insects I strongly recommend a 90-120mm macro lens as you need to be much closer to the subject with a 50mm lens.

Edit: Forgot to mention I do like my DA 50mm lens. Not sure how much love it will get now...

Last edited by Yos; 10-28-2014 at 03:22 PM.
10-28-2014, 03:53 PM   #10
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I find 50mm is more usable for portraits because indoors you don't always have the option to back up for wider shots. I like the 50 also for macro because you can get studio like lighting from an on camera flash and store bought or diy diffusers but you have to be sneaky to get close

Here's My first Macro set up I used on my Pentax KX DSLR ( Modelled on K1000) Hidden flash was Metz 44af and second flash had a slave trigger in the diffuser.


THE RESULT

.

Last edited by Sliver-Surfer; 10-28-2014 at 06:39 PM.
10-28-2014, 04:22 PM   #11
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Thanks again for all the inputs. I think I will go for the SMC F or FA 50 mm macro as its generally rated as a very high quality lens and it does a 1:1 macro and the FA one has a better manual focus as well. I hope this fits my needs
10-28-2014, 04:47 PM   #12
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Sounds good! Just keep in mind that sometimes the FA can be as expensive as the more modern DFA 50 macro. But they all have the same great basic optical elements! The difference in user review numbers is mostly just standard deviation, the biggest difference between the F FA and DFA is the barrel and some features, like focus clamp and quickshift. You won't regret anyway
10-28-2014, 04:55 PM   #13
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QuoteOriginally posted by Na Horuk Quote
But they all have great optics! You won't regret anyway
+1 on that.

35mm and 50mm are great focal lengths to shop for. None are really bad and most are very good. And you also get to pick you price point, you can go for a $50 M42 or K lens or go all the way to $700 for a recent SDM/HSM lens. But all will have a nice character and will be decently sharp stopped down a bit.
10-28-2014, 05:21 PM   #14
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I don't find Auto Focus to be necessary, so I by used lenses, very good quality at a far lower price than their newer models. I do like having the auto aperture setting so I can realiably use the camera light metering, but I have one lens with out it and after a week of dedicated use in a variety of conditions, I can guess what will be the right setting pretty well, or use a handheld light meter.

I bought a used manual focus, 50mm Pentax-A f1.8 for about $50. It takes very sharp pictures and I agree that f2.8 is more than enough for portraits.

I bought a used manual focus Pentax-A f4-5.6 28-135 Macro. for about $125. very sharp in macro.
10-28-2014, 06:01 PM   #15
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QuoteOriginally posted by robgski Quote
I don't find Auto Focus to be necessary, so I by used lenses, very good quality at a far lower price than their newer models. I do like having the auto aperture setting so I can realiably use the camera light metering, but I have one lens with out it and after a week of dedicated use in a variety of conditions, I can guess what will be the right setting pretty well, or use a handheld light meter.

I bought a used manual focus, 50mm Pentax-A f1.8 for about $50. It takes very sharp pictures and I agree that f2.8 is more than enough for portraits.

I bought a used manual focus Pentax-A f4-5.6 28-135 Macro. for about $125. very sharp in macro.
Not sure if there is such a lens A 50f1.8, there is f1.2, f1.4, f1.7 and f2.0, never heard of f1.8; must be a rare lens...
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