Lens for candid portraits, 70mm Ltd or DFA 100 Macro

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Link Posted 20/07/2008 - 16:44
It seems that a number of weddings are in my future, and I shall be official photographer (I didn't step back fast enough when volunteers were called for!) at one of them.

Using this as an excuse (), I am contemplating a new lens.

I'm pretty sure the lenses I have available will cover standard set up portraits, but I also want to be able to snap candids at the reception where people will be more relaxed and natural.

Lenses under consideration at the moment are:

Pentax DFA 100mm Macro

Pentax DA 70mm Ltd

By reputation I know both of these are superb lenses, and SRS currently has both for the same price of 349. Here are my thoughts to date:

DA 70 Ltd:
It's TINY!!! When combined with my venerable *ist DL2 it's practically pocketable. This should help people not to be self concious when I point it at them.

It's slightly faster

It's only obvious use is portraits, which up to now have not been a forte of mine. However it might come in handy at fencing competitions.

DFA 100 Macro:

I've used the DFA 50mm macro before, and fell instantly in love with the finish and handling. As far as I know the 100 is the same quality.

Full frame compatible and has an aperture ring, so compatible with my collection of film SLRs.

I do quite a lot of macro, so will have uses other than portraits.

Will probably render my Tamron 90mm SP obsolete, which can then be exchanged for a number of those pretty pictures of the queen which people seem to value so highly.


Bigger than the 70 limited.

?100 is a bit long for portraits on digital?

100 is shorter than I'm used to for macro since I generally use my Tamron 90mm with a 2x converter.

Any suggestions, thoughts, outright disagreements with the above will no doubt help my deliberations! Feel free to suggest other lenses, but nothing more expensive than these since they are already on the limit of what I can afford.
you don't have to be mad to post here

but it does help


Link Posted 20/07/2008 - 16:57
With the crop factor, 100mm and even 70mm are IMO a bit too long. Weddings are cramped affairs with lots of people milling about and I really think the 16-45mm or 16-50mm lenses would be enough.

If you wanted to take candids at the evening reception then the 50mm f1.4 is ideal. Coupled with a high ISO you can even shoot candids under disco lights without the need for flash. I've done it and it made a great slide show as a bonus for the couple involved.

The less lenses the better really.
Best regards, John


Link Posted 20/07/2008 - 17:07
Hello there,

I think that the 100mm macro is definitely too long for the type of use you have in mind. I have the M version and it is a brilliant lens, but I wouldn't be able to fit 2 people talking from less than 5-6 m. away, which is too far...

the 70mm ltd seems like a great lens, in my opinion I'd prefer something a bit bigger to put on my K10 - but you should be fine with the focal lenght.

I went to SRS yesterday, and tried some very interesting lenses whilst having a great chat with Chris. - The 77mm ltd is absolutely stunning, and if you can afford it, it looks like the perfect lens for you.

Otherwise, if your budget is a bit lower, I would follow John's advice and get the 50mm f1.4 which is also an incredible lens. Its a bit wider, but it is really a matter of 1-2 steps foward to achieve the focal lenght of the 70/77. Brilliant lens, really fast, and quite sharp even wide open, it is usable indoors, in low light and the results are awesome. (I've even shot live bands in really dark clubs with it, and without flash it's always given fantastic results.

Even though I am about to buy myself the 16-50, I wouldn't reccomend it for this use. I think you want the shots to look "magical" and the ltd's are all about magic....

'Between the lights there is always a shadow'

www.nathanservi.com & PPG


Link Posted 20/07/2008 - 18:34
I just did a wedding.

In church I used the Da* 50-135

At the dinner party - I had to switch to my Sigma 28-70. I needed mm below 50 at the wedding quite a lot. I would recon a 43mm would be a better option.

Better to have a shorter lens than a too ling one...


Link Posted 20/07/2008 - 19:46
I did a first holy communion a month or so back and used the 43mm Limited for all my pictures. Going through the shots at home, about 10% of them could have done with something a bit wider and another 10% with something longer but the 43mm was just about a perfect choice for the majority. I recently bought a 70mm, largely for portrait use, but I don't think I would have had time to change lenses even if I had it then so I'm not sure that it would really have helped. It would have been too long for most of the shots I wanted.

With perfect choice, I would have gone for a fast zoom in the 28-70 range - the Tamron 28-75 f2.8 would have been about ideal. If I was doing a lot of weddings or event photography I'd seriously consider one. Failing that, the 43mm does most of what I wanted.



Link Posted 20/07/2008 - 19:51
thanks all who have answered so far, this is why I asked in here, I knew you wouldn't be afraid to tell me if I was looking at the wrong lenses.

It has come to my attention that for the same price as the 70mm ltd I can get a 50mm F1.4 AND a DA 16-45 F4.

Given that I will have two bodies with me (A *ist DL2 and a K10D), how does a 16-45 on one (probably with a Sigma 530 flash on top) and a 50 F1.4 on the other sound?


Link Posted 20/07/2008 - 20:39
That would be my choice of lenses and in fact that is what I use.
Best regards, John


Link Posted 20/07/2008 - 21:18
yep, I agree also.
I bought the 100 mm macro specifially for portraits.
but the 16-45 and 501.7 will cover most needs.
i also have three bodies, 2 video cams and a partner on a shoot.
I run two vid cams, and one slr wwhile Gerri runs two slrs.
I got time to swap out the 100mm, a 50mm, and 10-17, knowing I can't miss a shot (if Gerri misses a shot while I'm sawpping lenses, it's still caught on video!
Fired many shots. Didn't kill anything.


Link Posted 20/07/2008 - 23:01
Mongoose wrote:
. . . how does a 16-45 on one (probably with a Sigma 530 flash on top) and a 50 F1.4 on the other sound?

Just about ideal I'd say.
Peter E Smith

My flickr Photostream


Link Posted 21/07/2008 - 00:22
I'd like to add another vote for the FA43; pretty much ideal focal-length wise for portraits and parties on a DSLR, almost as small as the DA70 and has an aperture ring (its performance on film is frankly sublime!).
Joining the Q


Link Posted 21/07/2008 - 00:32
just to be clear...I'm not saying don't buy the 100mm macro, it is by far my favorite portrait lens, oh heck my favorite period. (a blessing for manually focussing in low light).
just get the wider angles first, one decent portrait length, then look seriously at the 100!
you can't go wrong with a wide zoom+ flash and 50mm1.7.
Fired many shots. Didn't kill anything.
Last Edited by Don on 21/07/2008 - 00:34


Link Posted 21/07/2008 - 06:43
Mannesty wrote:
Mongoose wrote:
. . . how does a 16-45 on one (probably with a Sigma 530 flash on top) and a 50 F1.4 on the other sound?

Just about ideal I'd say.

Another vote for the DA16-45 & FA50.........

Here's a few I took last year at a friends wedding.....

A few more can be viewed here, I should have used the FA50 for the in church shot as flash was not allowed


Link Posted 21/07/2008 - 06:46
For receptions I use the 50/1.4 and the 100/2.8 macro. The 100mm gets used during the speeches, and the 50mm for almost everything else, with the 16-45 filling in where the 50mm can't reach

That doesn't make it any easier does it!

(For gallery, tips and links)


Link Posted 21/07/2008 - 08:17
I would go with the 16-50, I believe you need something under 50mm because even 50mm can be a bit too long in some situations.

And the 50-135 or 100mm macro when there is a bit more room and people are speced out more.
But i would have my 50mm 1.4 in my pocket just in case.

The pics i posted in photos for my daughters wig party were taken with the 16-50.
Pentax Lenses:|DA12-24/f4 ED AL|DA35Ltd Macro|FA31Ltd|FA77Ltd|FA50/1.4|F70-210|FA20-35 f4/AL|A*200/f4 Macro ED|A50/1.7|A50 Macro f2.8|1.7xAF adapter|
Voigtlander|125/f2.5SL Macro APO Lanthar|
Sigma Lenses:|EX DG 100-300 f4|2X & 1.4X TC|
Flashes:|AF540FGZx2|RingFlash AF160FC|


Link Posted 21/07/2008 - 11:43
Thanks for the input everyone.

I think that about decides it, 16-45 and FA50 it is, probably with my trusty Tamron 90mm SP in my bag just in case (it's not that I don't trust the lens you understand, it's that I don't trust myself not to miss the focus!).

You've all been a tremendous help.
you don't have to be mad to post here

but it does help
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