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Old Jul 10, 2008, 11:24 PM   #1
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My brother has asked me to do some wedding pics, and I was hinking of getting a 50mm lens to do the job. I have read that the 50mm lens is good for indoors, and for portraights. Would a 50mm lens be better than my 18-55 kit lens? Is the SMC Pentax-FA 50mm f1.4 Lens a good lens or should I look for an oldercheaper lens that gives the same or better quality pictures?
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Old Jul 11, 2008, 12:16 AM   #2
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I've never shot a wedding, so don't really know what you would need. However, I know a bit about the lenses. The FA 50mm 1.4 has an excellent reputation, and would probably do very well. It's faster than the kit lens, so you'd be able to do more without resorting to flash.

The advantage to the FA is that it's auto focus and auto exposure - how fast can you focus a manual focus lens during a wedding shoot? The FA would probably be the best solution under your set of circumstances.

I have both the M 50mm 1.4 and the M 50mm 1.7 lenses. My personal preference is the 1.7 since it is sharper at 1.7 than the 1.4 is at 1.4, but when stopped down to something like f2 or smaller, the lenses are identical. I understand they changed the optics when they came out with A 50mm 1.4 (think that was the one) and it, along with the FA 1.4 are both much sharper wide-open than my M lenses.

If your budget can stretch further than the FA 50mm 1.4, you might want to look for one of the older 2.8 wide angles, either the 28mm or the 24mm. I have the K version of the24mm and while there's some barrelling (think mild fish-eye effect), it's quite sharp and fast. The 28mm has less distortion, is closer to being what your eye sees, and would be a better choice (but is usually more expensive, too). I would guess that with the crop factor on a dSLR camera, it might be nice to have something wider than 50mm.

Hopefully someone who shoots weddings will jump in here and give you some of their practical advice.
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Old Jul 11, 2008, 12:28 AM   #3
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It all depends on what you mean when you say you're going to "do some wedding pics," and what your expectations are from those photos. For indoor shooting, the FA 50 f1.4 is going to give you generally far better results than the kit lens, especially if you're going to be shooting without flash (often a requirement in weddings).

The FA 50 is a wonderful little lens. I have taken some of my best portraits with it and gotten some terrific low-light shots. Mine got stolen recently, and I felt I had to promptly replace it because I use it so often. However, it does have some limitations. Because it is a prime lens, you don't have the flexibility of a zoom. To shoot the ceremony with it, you would have to be close.

Wedding photography can be very tough. Many photographers with far more experience than I will advise you to "run away" as fast as you can when a friend or relative asks you to shoot at the wedding. It also depends very much on whether you're the primary photographer for the wedding, or just shooting supplemental shots.

You ask whether you should look for an "older, cheaper lens" that give the same or better quality pictures. Because I recently got a Sigma 18-50 f2.8 zoom to replace the kit lens (also stolen), I thought about replacing the FA 50 with a lesser lens, but the good manual focus lenses were going for about as much as the FA 50. The only options I would consider are far more expensive lenses such as the 77mm Limited f1.8.

Tell more exactly what you want to shoot, and we may have better suggestions. I've attached a portrait done with the FA 50mm.

Paul
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Old Jul 11, 2008, 12:54 AM   #4
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Hi Graham,

I think what I'd do is to try to simulate the situations that you'll likely be shooting in and see if the kit lens will work. If you can talk someone into being your model for an hour or two, you can see whether the focal lengths included will work for the type of shots that you will want to get. Since you'll be shooting people, unless you're taking a lot of group shots, you'll probably be using the longer focal lengths in the kit's zoom range. Also be aware of the distance to your subject. You don't want to be too close, as I think it makes people feel more intimidated. With the kit lens at 55mm, you'll be able to see if the single FL(of the FA 50) will work for you.

Also try to duplicate the type of lighting that you'll be shooting under (it'll probably be darker than normal room lighting) and see if the Auto Focus will function well enough. The kit lens is f5.6 at 55mm, and this just might not be fast enough for indoor shots. Of course, using the flash will get you good exposures, but the AF might not have enough light to work without a lot of frustration. A 50 f1.4 will have 16 times the light (4 stops) more light to focus with. I personally have a lot of trouble focusing in low light, so manually focusing is not much of an option for me.

My personal choice would be a in the range of a 28-70 f 2.8 zoom. Good ones are available from Pentax (extremely expensive used), Tamron (actually 28-75), Sigma, and Tokina. All of them are pretty good, but I chose the Tamron, and have not regretted it. Expect to pay at least @ $150USD more than the FA 50/1.4, and the lens is a lot bigger and heavier, but the zoom range is pretty versatile, and it will work very well as a portrait lens at the longer end (which is why it's so good shooting people at events).

That being said, the FA 50 1.4 is a very good lens. If you can live with the focal length for what you want to do, then it should work well. It's also a lens that most seem to like in their kit for the very low light stuff.

And realize that this is at least the beginning of LBA. . .:-)

Scott
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Old Jul 11, 2008, 1:14 AM   #5
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snostorm wrote:
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I personally have a lot of trouble focusing in low light, so manually focusing is not much of an option for me.
I'm glad to know I'm not the only one. I had a really nice 35-85 f2.8 Vivitar Series One (when they were superior quality lenses) that I gave to my son simply because I couldn't get the sharp low-light focusing that was the reason I bought the lens. (my old eyes, not a problem with the lens)

I didn't mention the DA*50-135 f2.8, which will probably be my primary lens the next wedding I shoot simply because Graham had expressed some trepidation about the cost of the FA 50mm. I will use it along with the Sigma 18-50 f2.8 because my next wedding is afternoon in a chapel with good natural lighting.

Paul
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Old Jul 11, 2008, 9:34 AM   #6
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Thanks for the replys. I have tried to get out of this, but I think my brother is just being cheap. I have warned them over and over that I am not a pro at this, nor do I have the right equipment, but to no avail.

This is one of those things that you can't win for losing. If I screw it up, I'll never hear the end of it. If I do a good job I'll get bugged by others to do more....


I am hoping that the majority of pics will be out doors, but I know that there will be some indoor pics. I am hoping to get access to the church before the wedding.

Another thing happening around that time is that my first grandchild will be arriving. Besides having a tight budget, the other reason for choosing the 50mm was for portraights of the new baby.

My budget is around $200.00 so I am kinda limited.

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Old Jul 11, 2008, 1:15 PM   #7
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GrahamM wrote:
Quote:
This is one of those things that you can't win for losing. If I screw it up, I'll never hear the end of it. If I do a good job I'll get bugged by others to do more....
Quote:
Another thing happening around that time is that my first grandchild will be arriving. Besides having a tight budget, the other reason for choosing the 50mm was for portraights of the new baby.

My budget is around $200.00 so I am kinda limited.
Welcome to the world of being the "guy in the family who has the good camera." All of us have faced it in one way or the other. :|

With a new baby at hand, you definitely will want the capability of not shooting flash. I hardly see how you could go wrong with the FA 50mm f1.4.

Paul
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Old Jul 11, 2008, 2:55 PM   #8
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Trojansoc wrote:
Quote:
GrahamM wrote:
Quote:
This is one of those things that you can't win for losing. If I screw it up, I'll never hear the end of it. If I do a good job I'll get bugged by others to do more....
Quote:
Another thing happening around that time is that my first grandchild will be arriving. Besides having a tight budget, the other reason for choosing the 50mm was for portraights of the new baby.

My budget is around $200.00 so I am kinda limited.
Welcome to the world of being the "guy in the family who has the good camera." All of us have faced it in one way or the other. :|

With a new baby at hand, you definitely will want the capability of not shooting flash. I hardly see how you could go wrong with the FA 50mm f1.4.

Paul
I am now also the "guy with a camera" at work as well.

Done the shots of the staff for the company website and covered the corporate golf day.

More on the way I suppose...

No rest for the wicked - LOL :evil:


Dal

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Old Jul 11, 2008, 8:22 PM   #9
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If your budget is $200 I don't think there is any other lens that will give you more for the money. If I was advising someone on putting together a bargain basement kit or a top drawer kit that is the one lens that would be included either way. The only other lens in the same price range that might suit is the Sigma 24-60mm f/2.8. Daniel has an example and has posted some good shots from it. It is available from Cameta Camera through Amazon for $199. I do have one on order but no experience personally. The Pentax 50mm 1.4 lenses are THE price/performance bargains of the Pentax lineup though and you can't go wrong adding one to your bag.

Tim
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Old Jul 19, 2008, 8:54 AM   #10
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You will need a zoom lens to shoot a wedding. You won't have time to be switching lenses, wide-angle to telephoto and back again. For group pics you will need 18mm focal length or you'll be standing 30 yards back with your 50mm lens. I would say a 17-70mm sigma or Pentax lens might at a pinch do the job for you. Good luck with that wedding.


GrahamM wrote:
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My brother has asked me to do some wedding pics, and I was hinking of getting a 50mm lens to do the job. I have read that the 50mm lens is good for indoors, and for portraights. Would a 50mm lens be better than my 18-55 kit lens? Is the SMC Pentax-FA 50mm f1.4 Lens a good lens or should I look for an oldercheaper lens that gives the same or better quality pictures?
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