Lens suggestion for indoor portrait for kids

Started Jul 4, 2007 | Discussions
Hin Man Senior Member • Posts: 2,552
Lens suggestion for indoor portrait for kids

I have Pentax K100D with the basic gear with Kit's len + DA 50-200 without a flash. I narrow down few choices for my 3rd lens which I plan to use for indoor portraits with my kids.

And my choices are below, I want to solicit opinions on the following or perhaps other lens around $300 for consideration

1. Pentax SMC FA35 f/2
2. Pentax SMC FA50 f/1.4
3. Sigma 17-70

I know many people like 50 f/1.4 but I am concerned on the longer focal length. So far I like both the basic kit's lens and DA 50-200 but for indoor, I get soft and high iso 800 pictures such as the following. I could have tried lower iso and more windows natural lighting to get sharper pictures, suggestions and techniques are welcome on getting the most from the $60 Kit's lens on taking pictures of my kids for indoor.

Many thanks,
Hin

BrettRTurner Senior Member • Posts: 1,219
Re: Lens suggestion for indoor portrait for kids

I use the FA50 F1.4 for exactly the sort of child photos you have posted here, and it does just fine. There is no better Pentax low light lens. To take indoor portraits with no flash, you really need something faster than the kit lens. I didn't buy the kit, but I did get the similar speed Sigma 18-125, and my no-flash indoor shots looked about like yours. Better shots require either a flash or a faster lens.

I haven't used the FA35, but I do have a Sigma A28 F2.8 prime. For portraits of my child, it's too wide. She doesn't like parents standing in her face with a camera, and with the FA50 I can stand back just far enough that there's a slight chance she'll act natural. With the 28mm either I'm too close, or I'm doing so much cropping that I might as well have used the 50mm anyway. This is not to criticize the 28mm, which is the best and sharpest landscape lens I have. But for portraits, the 50mm is better. In fact, in some ways I'm starting to see why people say that primes in the 70-85mm range are good portrait lenses.

Of course it all depends on the child(ren), so your situation may be different. My daughter is eight now; when she was younger the FA35 might have worked better. As they get older, you need more zoom, at least for candid shots.

The Sigma is said to be sharp, but it's only F2.8 through about 20mm, so unless you always shoot wide it may not be the best low light lens. If it were constant F2.8 it would be wonderful. With the variable minimum aperture, the Sigma 18-50 and the Tamron 28-75 are probably better lenses.

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Brett

ahblur Regular Member • Posts: 477
Re: Lens suggestion for indoor portrait for kids

I recommend FA50/1.4 because I always use it for indoor kid photograph.
It is fast and sharp. Also its focal length is good for indoor.
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hayslip Contributing Member • Posts: 991
Re: Lens suggestion for indoor portrait for kids

I've had my K100D for a couple months now. Got a Tamron 28-75 2.8 instead of the kit lens and love it. I have two kids and do a lot of no flash shooting indoors. Every once in a while I wish it would go wider, but then I also like the extra reach over the 18-50...

I have a manual Pentax 50mm 1.7 and it can really pick things up in the dark. Wish I had the FA50 1.4 though. Maybe by the end of the year...
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Nols Senior Member • Posts: 2,997
Another vote for The FA 50mm 1.4(nt)
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swinglabakaisse Senior Member • Posts: 2,330
Re: Lens suggestion for indoor portrait for kids

FA 50/1,4 was my choice for the same reasons as yours. I already had the sigma 17-70 and found it not sufficient for what I needed.
See some of my results with it. I never regretted my choice.
http://forums.dpreview.com/forums/readflat.asp?forum=1036&thread=22900132
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Jocelyn

dc277 Regular Member • Posts: 211
Re: Lens suggestion for indoor portrait for kids

I would also use the same 50 f1.4. I think the lens is great....but then I like it so much I would practically marry it...if it wouldn't make me look incredibly insane...
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mskad Veteran Member • Posts: 3,329
No brainer: FA 50mm f/1.4...

Ideal field of view, very fast lens, exceptional optical quality. And relatively cheap (around $160 after $25 mail-in rebate).

Only drawback: tendency to front focus under tungsten lighting conditions.

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OP Hin Man Senior Member • Posts: 2,552
Re: Lens suggestion for indoor portrait for kids
Edvinas Senior Member • Posts: 2,812
Another vote for FA 50mm 1.4 (NT)
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Edvinas

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Dan Darmoros Regular Member • Posts: 269
Re: Lens suggestion for indoor portrait for kids

Depends on the size of your rooms. If you have large rooms, 50mm might be a nice option due to the 1.4 aperture. If you have smaller rooms you might want a wider lens, so the 35mm f/2 might be better. I had the 35mm lens and exchanged it for the 17-70. It's my exclusive lens now. I have a manual 50mm f/2 and 135mm f/2.8 but have not seen a need to use them.

Nick Savoiu Senior Member • Posts: 1,632
Sigma 28/1.8 EX DG

I've had this for a couple of months now (it was also my first lens after the 18-55+50-200) and it had not left my K110D yet

Here's one sample in low light.

Handheld K110D 1/80s f/2.0 at 28.0mm iso800

Nick

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igelfeld Senior Member • Posts: 1,337
Re: Lens suggestion for indoor portrait for kids

Hin Man wrote:

I have Pentax K100D with the basic gear with Kit's len + DA 50-200
without a flash. I narrow down few choices for my 3rd lens which I
plan to use for indoor portraits with my kids.

And my choices are below, I want to solicit opinions on the following
or perhaps other lens around $300 for consideration

1. Pentax SMC FA35 f/2
2. Pentax SMC FA50 f/1.4
3. Sigma 17-70

I have 1) and 2). I like and use them both and they both work great for taking indoor portraits. 35 is more versatile since it is normal on K100D.

Get one now and another one later. Their focal lengths are different enough that you would be using both.

With the kit lens indoor you need to use flash - no way around it. And I mean an external flash, not the built-in one.

Cheers,

Igelfeld

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igelfeld Senior Member • Posts: 1,337
Re: Sigma 28/1.8 EX DG

Great shot, Nick!

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Cheers,

Igelfeld

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Nick Savoiu Senior Member • Posts: 1,632
Thanks! n/t
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Simmo888 Junior Member • Posts: 25
Re: Lens suggestion for indoor portrait for kids

I noticed on your photos that although the faces are soft, the hands and desk appear to be pin sharp. I dont know what your focus setting are but are you using the matrix focus setting, you might want to switch to point focus for portrait and see what happens.
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ozbrit
ozbrit Regular Member • Posts: 480
Lens betweem 70 & 90mm

Are my favourite for portraits. I have the 50mm f1.7 A lens but find you need to get pretty close with it for head & shoulder shots (portraits). Always a very personal issue this one, even one's take as to what constitutes a portrait - only head and shoulders, the waist up or the full person?

MarkEL Regular Member • Posts: 334
Re: Lens suggestion for indoor portrait for kids

What apertures do you guys use mostly with this kind of indoor photography? Is f2.8 sufficient (for the average ammount of light indoors) or do you have to use f2.0 for example. And if you have to use f2.0, doesn't the depth of field become too small?

Reason I ask this is that I have pre-ordered a DA* 16-50 and I hope this one will be sharp enough at f2.8 so I can use this one for this kind of photograpy. Right now I'm using a Sigma EX 28-70 f2.8 but unfortunately I have to use f4.0 or higher to get sharpness. And on f4.0 I can't take pictures indoors without my (external) flash.....

OP Hin Man Senior Member • Posts: 2,552
Re: Lens suggestion for indoor portrait for kids

Thanks again for all the feedback, suggestions and pointers. Great tip for front focusing, Sigma 28 with very cute picture from Nick, valuable inputs in both 50 and 35, and longer range in 70 & 90, and perhaps buy it all with LBA.

Front focusing is not something that I thought about as I usually get pretty sharp pictures outdoor. Looking closer at the exifs, all three are in long shutter speed but I think I have SR turned on. I use center focus and I usually aim at the eyes or the face. Front focusing is something that I need to look into as I recall getting soft pictures indoor on static objects with the kit's lens

  1. 1

Exposure: 0.033 sec (1/30)
Aperture: f/4.5
Focal Length: 38 mm
ISO Speed: 800
Exposure Bias: 0/10 EV
exif link: Flickr: http://flickr.com/photo_exif.gne?id=708190826

  1. 2

Exposure: 0.04 sec (1/25)
Aperture: f/4
Focal Length: 31 mm
ISO Speed: 400
Exposure Bias: 0/10 EV

exif link: http://flickr.com/photo_exif.gne?id=708191834&context=set-72157600522778558

  1. 3

Exposure: 0.033 sec (1/30)
Aperture: f/5.6
Focal Length: 50 mm
ISO Speed: 800
Exposure Bias: 0/10 EV
exif: http://flickr.com/photo_exif.gne?id=708192834

Thanks,
Hin

Robert Daley Senior Member • Posts: 1,339
Re: Lens suggestion for indoor portrait for kids

Your 50mm is FF (front focusing).

FF for me varies a significant amount from lens to lens ... biggest problem being with old, manual focus lenses. Most AF lenses are not a problem at all.

Your FA 50 f/1.4 is a laser sharp lens, but it's FF'ing.

In your first shot, the foreground (countertop) is obviously in ultra-sharp focus, while the child's face in in soft focus.

Restage that shot. If you would've focused on his rear elbow (10" or so to the rear of his face), his face would've been in ultra-sharp focus. Try it. You'd love that lens.

Again, FF for me varies from lenses to lens. I've done some tests and now compensate when I need to.

Exposure from f/5.6 (unless you're really close) to f/22 hides FF'ing.

Test the lens, then compensate.

Bob :O)

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