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DPChallenge Forums >> Hardware and Software >> Portrait zoom lenses on crop sensors??
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04/13/2017 06:45:15 AM · #1
Hey guys,
I have seen the posts already on full frames but it really did not address what I needed for the crop sensors.

I just started getting into portraits and studio shooting and man what a learning curve this has been, I have invested in some speedlights, soft boxes and diffusers which have truly been getting addicting to use. I have been doing more portraits lately and I am kinda stuck on where I need to go for my next portrait lens, I am dropping on getting my super zoom for my wildlife until it becomes more affordable.
Shooting people is nothing like shooting wildlife or my nature lol.

I have pretty much sold my 50m because I hated it, I just did not get along with it at all, and I have one zoom which tends to work super well which is my 26-45 but the issue with that lens is that it won't go lower than a F4.

I did dive in and purchased a prime 35m lens on my portraits and I really, really love that lens. Right now, it just never comes off my camera. It does great for the half body, head and shoulder shots but the learning curve I am having is with full body shots. Even if I place the distance of the background more than 10ft away, it just will not give me what I need so I am thinking I will be needing a more longer focal length for good body portraits. And I think I need something more than a 50m to get what I really want.

I do own a 100m macro which I have tried and I have to stand really far away, like across the street. In the Studio shots I am finding I have to be across the room just to even use that lens for body shots and its just super weird as space has been an issue with the people I shoot with. I really don't care for standing across the room like I am in time out just to get that bokah effect LOL!

I have just started looking but my eye has been on the Tameron 24-70 F2.8 or a 16-50 Pentax. Or shall I go with another prime lens?
I have a major shoot to do at the end of the month and I was going to order a lens this weekend. But I have not had luck with tamerons and find them super soft on the long ends on the ones I have tried (but those were more for super telephotos, not the wide lenses).
I am not sure if this would be the same with this lens as it may be a better quality lens from the reviews I have been looking at, it just seems like a super sweet lens.

Suggestions? What is the best to use on the crop to where I don't need that huge gaping space and can stand back a few feet in the studio to get a decent full body shot without having to stand across the room or street?

Message edited by author 2017-04-13 07:38:00.
04/13/2017 07:46:05 AM · #2
It sounds like a 24-70 f/2.8 zoom would be a practical choice for you, assuming the optical quality is up to the task. Normally, I like longer focal lengths for portrait, but you've already learned the drawback to that; you need space, lots of it. One thing you will still be challenged with is getting the very shallow DoF you may sometimes want. For that, nothing beats a fast prime, and by fast I mean at least f/1.8, preferably f/1.4. Not sure why you and your 50mm prime didn't get along, but a really good 50mm f/1.4 prime is a killer portrait lens on APS-C. Heck, it's a great portrait lens on FF, LOL!
04/13/2017 08:09:47 AM · #3
If I were in your spot I'd be looking at a Tamron 45mm f/1.8 or similar. It gives you great control of DOF and 45 x 1.6 = 72mm, which is right in the wheelhouse for a full-body, studio lens. For the work you're doing I don't think zooms are the right answer. I'd like to see you eventually add to the 45mm and 85mm f/1.8 or f/1.4, and those would be your two portrait rocks :-)
04/13/2017 09:33:01 AM · #4
I had my 100m and when I am outside it works great, fast and perfect.. Not so much in the studio space that I have to work in.

That is what I was not sure about whether or not this Tameron would give this quality that I expect and putting money into it I really wanted some feedback on it. With my models, I end up doing a lot of full body shots to get what I want.

The reason my 50 did not work well is because I had purchased the wrong one. I thought it was 1.4, it turned out to be a 2.8. LOL! It did a great job, but just not what I expected it to be esp the 2.8 part of it. ( I had brought it used from a private party)

I have not thought about the 45 at all or the 85m, Good suggestion! I really am enjoying these prime lenses, I really do think it makes a difference in the images.

Message edited by author 2017-04-13 09:46:44.
04/13/2017 09:45:02 AM · #5
Originally posted by jgirl57:

I really am enjoying these prime lenses, I really do think it makes a difference in the images.


Addictive, isn't it?
There's really no substitute for a good, fast prime. Some of the f/2.8 zooms can do great work, but for subject isolation and that creamy background bokeh, yeh, fast primes.
04/13/2017 09:49:35 AM · #6
Yes and that is what I want to start getting now, the 35 does a heck of a great job wtih it, but I want more of that creamier background kinda of thing.
I just want to be sure to get the full body in without having to stand like 100 feet away from my models

For the 85 all I see is the
Rokinon 85mm it seems super reasonable for $259 as well as the Samyang 85mm f/1.4 Aspherical Lens (not sure what that Aspherical means ) but I will have to check the Pentax Forums for the reviews, I never shot with that brand before.

I was also looking at a few sigma arts as well. But wasn't sure what those were about. All lenses I have are Pentax. But as long as it is a K mount its good to go with other brands.

Message edited by author 2017-04-13 09:52:53.
04/13/2017 11:03:51 AM · #7
Originally posted by Bear_Music:

If I were in your spot I'd be looking at a Tamron 45mm f/1.8 or similar. It gives you great control of DOF and 45 x 1.6 = 72mm, which is right in the wheelhouse for a full-body, studio lens. For the work you're doing I don't think zooms are the right answer. I'd like to see you eventually add to the 45mm and 85mm f/1.8 or f/1.4, and those would be your two portrait rocks :-)


I'd agree with Robert here. I've recently got the Tamron 45mm f1.8 and it's a lovely lens. I've gone back to using crop cameras for weddings and portraits this year and the 45mm was just what I was looking for. I have one Nikon D500 with a 14-24mm f2.8 attached and another D500 with the Tamron 45mm or the Nikon 85mm f1.8 and that set up suits me just fine. (although i'll probably exchange the 85mm for the 105mm f1.4 later in the year)
04/13/2017 11:12:17 AM · #8
Although, do Tamron do the new lenses in Pentax mount?

Not sure but if not there are some very well regarded Pentax lenses which would be worth looking at. These are the FA Limited lenses - 31mm f1.8, 43mm f1.9 and the 77mm f1.8. The 31mm and 77mm in particular are meant to be very special indeed. Not cheap though but if I was using Pentax that's what i'd gravitate towards.
04/13/2017 11:23:43 AM · #9
The Rokinon 85mm f1.4 and the Samyang 85mm f1.4 are the same lens, just branded seperately. Optically they are meant to be quite nice for the price but bear in mind they are manual focus only. That might not matter much in the studio at smaller apertures but if you are going to be shooting wide open for the shallow depth of field you may struggle. I'd avoid that option personally. If I was in your position i'd be saving for the Pentax 77mm (and 31mm).

Message edited by author 2017-04-13 11:33:40.
04/13/2017 12:36:46 PM · #10
Stick with Pentax's fantastic Primes if you can. The 77mm Limited especially, and if you can find one, put in a older manual like the 50mm SMC-A f/1.4. Manual focus lenses are perfect for studio settings and the quality of the SMC-A series is almost unmatched, even today. If space is an issue and you need something in the 40mm range, then yes, you'll probably have to look at other manufacturers, but for the money, sticking with Pentax' primes are the way to go IMHO.

(I agree with the DA 50mm, I use it in outdoor situations only. It's a step down from just about every 50mm I've ever used.) Although, the DA* (gold band) 50mm is a BEAST. Although I've only ever got to test it. I need it though. lol.

Message edited by author 2017-04-13 12:40:03.
04/13/2017 12:55:22 PM · #11
Tamerons only offer a few lenses for the Pentax, the newer lenses they do not.

Also, I just went in to my local camera store and they stopped selling my Pentax stuff. Not sure what the company is doing but I found that kind of sad. So any lenses that would fit it, I was not able to even try it to see if I liked it.

Good point about the 85 Rokinon, I know for a fact I do not wish manual. I currently have a 28 manual lens and I have only used it for landscapes and night shots only. Otherwise that is collecting dust right now. Not my favorite lens but it does work when I do use it. It just usually sits in the bag, but I keep it because its my favorite landscape and night lens.

I was not aware of the limited prime lenses and that is within budget of what I was planning on spending so it really is not that bad, thank you for those choices as well. Looks like I have more options to check out :-)


Message edited by author 2017-04-13 21:33:27.
04/13/2017 09:33:34 PM · #12
This is going to be a very hard decision for me but I think I narrowed it down to the 77 or the 43, One of the rental sites has these lenses which I can rent for a couple weeks, just to be sure I like it before plopping down that money big time.

Is there one lens rental webiste which is better than the other? Or are they all pretty good? I have never rented lenses before. The one I had found was on the Borrowed Lenses.com

Thank you all for the help and suggestions and guiding me in the right direction, I can always count on very sound advice here :-)

Message edited by author 2017-04-13 21:34:25.
04/13/2017 10:20:09 PM · #13
Originally posted by jgirl57:

This is going to be a very hard decision for me but I think I narrowed it down to the 77 or the 43, One of the rental sites has these lenses which I can rent for a couple weeks, just to be sure I like it before plopping down that money big time.

Is there one lens rental webiste which is better than the other? Or are they all pretty good? I have never rented lenses before. The one I had found was on the Borrowed Lenses.com

Thank you all for the help and suggestions and guiding me in the right direction, I can always count on very sound advice here :-)


I know nothing about rental sites. However, the 77 has NEVER been given a bad review and I've known quite a number of users.
04/13/2017 10:32:57 PM · #14
Yes, the reviews are outstanding:))
I'm pretty impressed with it lol
04/14/2017 09:33:36 AM · #15
When I was using Sony's for a couple of years I very nearly picked up the 31mm and the 77mm to use with adaptors (manual focus only) as the size and image quality looked so nice. If you listened to most of the internet you'd think that sharpness was the be all and end all with lenses but it's actually quite far down the list of qualities for lenses in my opinion - particularly for portrait lenses. How a lens renders and the image it produces is far more important and those Limited lenses have a really special and lush look to them. Plus, if at some point in the future you go Full Frame with the K1 or something then they'll be lovely on that as well.
04/15/2017 12:50:30 AM · #16
This has been awesome information all around, and I really appreciate the time being taken to help discuss my other options as well before plopping down the money and making sure it will be the right lens.
I really do agree prime is the best and I was really unsure of that Tameron Zoom and I am so glad I asked here in the community first before purchase.. I will be sticking with the prime lenses for sure.
The lens porn never stops does it hahah! I already have a 28 manual, 35, 100macro.
I ended up buying a Nikon coolpix P900 for my birding and wildlife for now, and that has been a fun camera as well to play with. My son is getting into the photography and he really enjoys using that little beast of a camera.
My baby zoom I have already sold on Ebay and it was gone within 30 min of listing it. So that will help pay for this new lens.

I have decided to dive in and purchase the 77m limited and decided just to skip the rental process all together LOL. The 85 sigma that I found was just a bit out of my price range by a few hundred $$ and the 77 was right about what I was expecting to spend, a hundred or so just a bit more and that is ok.
I truly think you get what you pay for in glass especially for photography. I am learning ya all.

I am very comfy and super confident with all the suggestions that this will be what I have been searching for to add to my portrait collection. I have been looking for a while now and just could not make a decision on what to do or know direction to go in. Can't wait to start practing with it and having it in my hands because I am sure there will be a huge learning curve with it. I love the fact that the min. focus is about 2-3 ft. What I have seen on the Pentax Forums, I am just drooling about the sharpness and colors that produces.

As for the full frame, I really do not see me ever going to full frame nor do I really have the need for it at this time. If I ever get to the professional level to where it replaces my income, I think I will take that serious jump then, but not for just hobby and fun use.
I can not justify that cost right now and I don't do any low condition lighting or weddings.. But the K1 is super sweet from what I have seen.

Thank you, thank you again! I apprecaite it!! I am super excited to have my skills jump to a new level. (Now, I think the 77 needs to be added to the DPC lenses section LOL!)

Message edited by author 2017-04-15 01:21:04.
04/15/2017 01:32:34 AM · #17
Pentax 77mm

It's there ;)
04/15/2017 02:28:59 AM · #18
Originally posted by K3Master:

Pentax 77mm

It's there ;)


weeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee thank you!
04/15/2017 02:08:41 PM · #19
Great! Good choice I think. Glad to be of help. Be sure to come back and let us know what you think of it - with some photos! :)

Message edited by author 2017-04-15 14:08:59.
04/15/2017 02:49:23 PM · #20
oo yeah you bet I will!!!

I should have it next week sometime!
04/23/2017 01:12:08 PM · #21
SO I just received my new baby in yesterday and wozers! It sure does make a difference!!
I think I am going to really have some fun with this lens and when I work with my models and portraits now. I can stand really super close less than a few feet away and then get the body shots I really wish for to really get what I want. I wanted the 85 as well but the decision came down to price and I was able to get the 77 for a few hundred $ less.
The 85 will be my next portrait lens though for sure.

Here were a few sample shots from the 77 Limited, I can not thank you all enough for the thoughts and suggestions and helping me decide. Poeple on the pentax forums were saying there might be some weird purple fringing going on with it being wide open, but I have not seen it with this lens yet, so I am quite pleased. Just a few test shots with it!

With the dog I purposly wanted to try a DOF thing where it was blurred in front and more on the back/sides because I am going to be with a model who wishes for cetain bokah effects. I can say I am super happy with it. There is a learning curve I have to get and learn, there is an aperature lens ring which I am not used to, but my other 28 2.8 has it as well. I just get to practice more with it.

Copyrighted_Image_Reuse_Prohibited_1198926.jpg Copyrighted_Image_Reuse_Prohibited_1198925.jpg

I was truly able to get the effects I wanted with this lens with no efforts.

I really can't wait to try it this next weekend for my photog sessions I have set up

Message edited by author 2017-04-23 13:19:23.
04/23/2017 03:53:09 PM · #22
I have a 28/75 f2.8 Konica/Minolta aand I find this focal length on a crop senser to be ideal for portrait work,
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