Searching for portrait lens on a budget


mattox

Link Posted 26/10/2014 - 10:23
Hi fellow pentaxuser, since the birth of my child I need to move into a bit of portrait photography. I already own A 16-50sdm, 55-300 and a fa 35mm, but would love a dedicated sharp portrait lens to accompany my k5. I have seen some amazing results recently with the old 135 2.5 takumar, and have always know the potential of an old manual 50 1.4 smc. These two I can find around 100 used on eBay, but if I had the extra cash I'd go for the takumar 85mm. Any thoughts on those lenses I've chosen and any ideas on what else I could go for?

johnriley

Link Posted 26/10/2014 - 11:21
The lenses you already own will cover it very well, but if you fancy a prime portrait lens then the current classic lens would be the DA* 55mm f/1.4, which gives the same view that the classic portrait lens would on film. That would be the 85mm f/1.4.

Other great lenses for the purpose are the 70mm f/2.4 Limited, the 77mm f/1.8 Limited and any older lenses from about 50mm to 85mm. Personally I would find longer lengths a bit too long on a DSLR.

One thing to watch is that older lenses may not focus as closely as current ones.

My ideal choice would be the DA 70mm f/2.4, which I think is a lovely lens. It would also make a good pairing with the 35mm you already have.
Best regards, John

QuestionableCarrot

Link Posted 26/10/2014 - 12:30
Agree with John - Used the 70 recently and was very surprised.

Great colours and clarity

BUT.....

Having said that the M 50mm 1.7 is mega sharp and i would have no hesitation in using it for a shoot

Below is an example



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Last Edited by QuestionableCarrot on 26/10/2014 - 12:34

AndrewA

Link Posted 26/10/2014 - 13:21
If you are looking for a budget lens I would be looking at the SMC A f1.7 50mm, the advantage of this over the M version is that you can alter the depth of field. A quick search on ebay sees them around the 50 mark.

But if you can stretch a bit further the Pentax 50mm f/1.8 SMC DA Lens is currently 112.07 on Amazon here link, or if you don't mind ebay there is a used boxed one on there for 90 and free P&P and the new ones on ebay start from 97.27.
Andrew

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Last Edited by AndrewA on 26/10/2014 - 13:22

screwdriver222

Link Posted 26/10/2014 - 14:14
Quote:
I would be looking at the SMC A f1.7 50mm, the advantage of this over the M version is that you can alter the depth of field

Surely depth of field is only altered by aperture setting, subject distance and if using a zoom the focal length.

The advantage of an 'A' as opposed to a 'M' is the 'A' can be used with the automatic exposure settings instead of using the green button to do stop down metering.

Jeff
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AndrewA

Link Posted 26/10/2014 - 14:37
screwdriver222 wrote:
Quote:
I would be looking at the SMC A f1.7 50mm, the advantage of this over the M version is that you can alter the depth of field

Surely depth of field is only altered by aperture setting, subject distance and if using a zoom the focal length.

The advantage of an 'A' as opposed to a 'M' is the 'A' can be used with the automatic exposure settings instead of using the green button to do stop down metering.

Jeff

Sorry, you are right I seem to have not finished that sentence! Guess I should have said the advantage is of course the fact that you can set the ring to "A" and use the camera's scroll wheel to adjust the aperture via Av mode.
Andrew

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Last Edited by AndrewA on 26/10/2014 - 14:38

LennyBloke

Link Posted 26/10/2014 - 14:54
Hi Mattox - I have a k55/2.0 that's been listed on here for a little while. I've just dropped the price to 25 inc P&P if you're interested...
https://www.pentaxuser.com/forum/topic/fs--pentax-smc-k-55mm-f2-0-50667

I no longer have the original front lens cap, but otherwise it's an ideal portrait lesn
LennyBloke

mattox

Link Posted 26/10/2014 - 17:10
Thanks everyone for the kind feedback. Very useful. So apart from
The 135mm everyone seems to be stuck on the 55 da. I will look into the m 55mm and get back to you. I suppose the question is, if I have a 55-300 is that lens decent enough for portraits or not?

johnriley

Link Posted 26/10/2014 - 17:27
The 55-300mm is a great lens, but the maximum aperture is quite restricted. This makes out of focus backgrounds much more difficult.
Best regards, John

McGregNi

Link Posted 26/10/2014 - 18:01
The autofocus Tamron 90mm macro is on my wish list for portraits, and macro of course, not the least because AFAIK it has a FF image circle, as well as highly rated IQ.
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Pentax K7 with BG-4 Grip / Samyang 14mm f2.8 ED AS IF UMC / DA18-55mm f3.5-5.6 AL WR / SMC A28mm f2.8 / D FA 28-105mm / SMC F35-70 f3.5-4.5 / SMC A50mm f1.7 / Tamron AF70-300mm f4-5.6 Di LD macro / SMC M75-150mm f4.0 / Tamron Adaptall (CT-135) 135mm f2.8 / Asahi Takumar-A 2X tele-converter / Pentax AF-540FGZ (I & II) Flashes / Cactus RF60/X Flashes & V6/V6II Transceiver

mattox

Link Posted 26/10/2014 - 18:21
True John, but an out of focus background isn't the only priority for me when I look at a lens.
johnriley wrote:
The 55-300mm is a great lens, but the maximum aperture is quite restricted. This makes out of focus backgrounds much more difficult.

johnriley

Link Posted 26/10/2014 - 18:23
I thought we were thinking in the context of portraits, where often the desire is for narrow DOF?
Best regards, John

McGregNi

Link Posted 26/10/2014 - 18:33
Yes, the OP asked about a 'dedicated fast sharp' portrait lens, and he already has a 55-300 which presumably is not doing the job ... I agree with John that the maximum aperture on this lens would be the key limitation for portraits. I'd have thought as a guide, at around the 50-70mm level you'd need 1.8 -2.4 and from 90mm onwards f2.8 would be wide enough?
My Guides to the Pentax Digital Camera Flash Lighting System : Download here from the PentaxForums Homepage Article .... link
Pentax K7 with BG-4 Grip / Samyang 14mm f2.8 ED AS IF UMC / DA18-55mm f3.5-5.6 AL WR / SMC A28mm f2.8 / D FA 28-105mm / SMC F35-70 f3.5-4.5 / SMC A50mm f1.7 / Tamron AF70-300mm f4-5.6 Di LD macro / SMC M75-150mm f4.0 / Tamron Adaptall (CT-135) 135mm f2.8 / Asahi Takumar-A 2X tele-converter / Pentax AF-540FGZ (I & II) Flashes / Cactus RF60/X Flashes & V6/V6II Transceiver

mattox

Link Posted 26/10/2014 - 19:03
Sorry John, didn't seem to come across rude there. I always appreciate your advice. I really just want something that is amazingly sharp, great contrast and true colour range. Yes, and the 55-300 doesn't do it for me. It's a great lens for a cheap wildlife zoom for example but not quite what I need when it comes to overall quality

johnha

Link Posted 28/10/2014 - 00:13
For a classical portrait lens as John pointed out you're looking at about 55mm, longer lenses may be OK depending on the size of your 'studio' (you often need enough room behind the subject as well as in front). That said, any lens can be used for portraits in the right circumstances. A 50mm f/1.4 would also be about right and are quite plentiful.

As you have the 55-300 you might experiment with focal lengths around 55, 70 and 85mm etc. to get an idea of which focal length you're happiest with.

John.
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