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06-17-2010, 10:19 PM   #1
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Feasibility of only using a Sigma 50mm 1.4

Hey guys,

I'm fixing to switch over from Canon to Pentax and purchase a K-7 (body only). I'd really like to get a fast, sharp, artistic, and quasi-affordable lens to go with it. I'm on a tight budget, but don't want to skimp on quality for more lenses.

The only lens I had for my Canon was the old Sigma 17-70, which I really liked *except* for the variable aperture (2.8-4.5) and slow focus. I'd like something a bit faster and with full-time manual focus.

Originally I was thinking the new Sigma 17-50 2.8 OS HSM would be perfect, but I need the camera and lens by August, and at this rate I doubt the lens will be out by then in Pentax mount.

I've always admired the Sigma 50mm 1.4 HSM: beautiful clarity, speed, and bokeh, but I don't know if shooting with just a 50mm prime for the next 6-12 months will be torture or a great learning experience. I expect it would be a bit of both.

Any tips?

06-17-2010, 10:27 PM   #2
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You are the person that you have to please. If you like the Sigma go for it. However, I think that you should consider either the FA 50mm f1.4 or possibly a F 50mm f1.4 or f1.7 if you can find a good used one. These are smaller and even with the price increase seam to be cheaper than the Sigma. If you are in the $500 range, look at the FA 43mm f1.9 ltd.
06-17-2010, 10:35 PM   #3
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What about this : Pentax Lens Review Database - SMC Pentax-DA 18-55mm F3.5-5.6 AL WR Lens Reviews

and, if you really want it, this : Pentax Lens Review Database - SMC Pentax-DA* 55mm F1.4 SDM Lens Reviews

And last but not least, the Ltd's ...
06-17-2010, 11:08 PM   #4
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QuoteOriginally posted by jeffshaddix Quote
Hey guys,

I'm fixing to switch over from Canon to Pentax and purchase a K-7 (body only). I'd really like to get a fast, sharp, artistic, and quasi-affordable lens to go with it. I'm on a tight budget, but don't want to skimp on quality for more lenses.

The only lens I had for my Canon was the old Sigma 17-70, which I really liked *except* for the variable aperture (2.8-4.5) and slow focus. I'd like something a bit faster and with full-time manual focus.

Originally I was thinking the new Sigma 17-50 2.8 OS HSM would be perfect, but I need the camera and lens by August, and at this rate I doubt the lens will be out by then in Pentax mount.

I've always admired the Sigma 50mm 1.4 HSM: beautiful clarity, speed, and bokeh, but I don't know if shooting with just a 50mm prime for the next 6-12 months will be torture or a great learning experience. I expect it would be a bit of both.

Any tips?
What are you going to be using this lens for?

I ask because if you're on a tight budget, buying a manual focus 50 mm to start is one easy way to keep your cost down while still getting good value for your money. Then you could use this lens to tide you over until the Sigma zoom comes out.

I suggest this because it is harder to find primes that are at or wider than 30 mm (that 17-30 mm range provided by the Sigma zoom) that are both good at f/2.8 and also affordable. Although the Sigma 30 f/1.4 and Sigma 28 f/1.8 are alternatives that would cost a little less than what the Sigma 50 f/1.4 does.

However, if you feel you can get by with just the Sigma 50 f/1.4, and if you're planning to use it primarily for fairly tight people shots or candids, I think it's a good enough lens that you could get away with it if you worked around the limitations of only having one lens.

Are you getting paid for your work over this time? Because if the answer is no you can almost certainly get by with one lens.

I began with Pentax using my Pentax FA50 f/1.4 as my primary lens for awhile (probably about 5 to 6 months) while working at a newspaper and I still think I did pretty well considering and learned a lot. These days, though, I use wide angle lenses so much it's hard for me to imagine just having a 50 mm.

06-17-2010, 11:14 PM   #5
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only 1 lens? why not a 17-50 2.8?
06-18-2010, 12:59 AM   #6
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QuoteQuote:
only 1 lens? why not a 17-50 2.8?
Agree.

But if you want a fixed focal, make a tiny supplemental effort and get the FA 43 Limited (USD 500). The Limiteds are one of the biggest gains in switching brands, why not take advantage of it?

You won't regret it! Actually I sold my Sigma 50mm f1.4 HSM to get the FA 43mm.

Pentax Lens Review Database - SMC Pentax-FA 43mm F1.9 Limited Lens Reviews
06-18-2010, 08:00 AM   #7
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I agree, you should get the FA 43mm Ltd.
06-18-2010, 08:11 AM   #8
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QuoteOriginally posted by Blue Quote
You are the person that you have to please. If you like the Sigma go for it. However, I think that you should consider either the FA 50mm f1.4 or possibly a F 50mm f1.4 or f1.7 if you can find a good used one. These are smaller and even with the price increase seam to be cheaper than the Sigma. If you are in the $500 range, look at the FA 43mm f1.9 ltd.
These are all great lenses, but none of them have full-time manual focus. Neither does the FA 43, which was also suggested here.

The DA*55 would get my vote, more expensive, but a fantastic companion to the K-7. Also as fast or faster than the other lenses mentioned, and I think it has the nicest bokeh of the bunch. Weather sealing, silent SDM focusing, quick-shift (Pentax's version of full-time manual focus). I'm on my second DA*55--I sold it to purchase another lens, but then couldn't live without it and picked up another one.

I've never used the Sigma 50 though, but I believe the Sigma is bigger and heavier--there's a comparison thread on the forum here by Clinton. He compared the Sigma 50 to the DA*55 and bought the DA*55 in the end.

06-18-2010, 08:34 AM   #9
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The 43 is probably a better length than a 50-ish for this, but I wish I had the link to the story by the guy who only shot with the 50 for like 6 months.

It was very informative and he said it made him a better photographer.
06-18-2010, 08:39 AM   #10
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I've never gotten along with 50mm on APS-C. Just a little too long for indoors and a little too short for outdoor.

If I had to use just one lens with a K-7 for a year, it would probably be the DA40/2.8. With that setup you won't even need a carrying case.
06-18-2010, 09:10 AM   #11
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Wow, thanks guys for the recommendations! All of those lenses look great, but I think most of them are out of my price range (I can't find a 43mm under $750).

I do like Urkel's idea of maybe getting a cheaper (but quality) manual focus only prime to tide me over until the 17-50 2.8 is out. Did you have any recommendations? And to answer your question, no I won't be getting paid (at least directly). I'm an enthusiast currently, but may look into doing stock photos or the sort with the new setup.

I do agree with you guys that 50mm seems a little long in the APS-C size.

Ira I'd love to check out that thread you mentioned, was it on this forum? Since I've been mainly using a 17-70 up until now, I do think using a prime would stretch me a good bit to make me think more critically of composition.
06-18-2010, 09:28 AM   #12
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QuoteOriginally posted by jeffshaddix Quote

Ira I'd love to check out that thread you mentioned, was it on this forum? Since I've been mainly using a 17-70 up until now, I do think using a prime would stretch me a good bit to make me think more critically of composition.
I can't even remember.

I'm an old M42 Takumar guy myself (see my lens list below), so I'm real biased, but if you want a combination of manual, good quality, and CHEAP, you can get a 50 1.4 Super Tak between $75 and $100.

You'll need the adapter, but once you have that, the world is your oyster regarding old M42 manual lenses.

I'm not saying these Taks are as good as today's modern lenses, but they're DIFFERENT in a very good way. And as to cost, no comparison.

We all shoot differently, and my way (and many others) is to just stick a prime on there and leave it, even if we sometimes see a composition that would benefit from a change of FL. I myself don't find much joy zooming in and out to create a composition. I'd rather use my feet.
06-18-2010, 09:57 AM   #13
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QuoteOriginally posted by farfisa Quote
These are all great lenses, but none of them have full-time manual focus. Neither does the FA 43, which was also suggested here.

The DA*55 would get my vote, more expensive, but a fantastic companion to the K-7. Also as fast or faster than the other lenses mentioned, and I think it has the nicest bokeh of the bunch. Weather sealing, silent SDM focusing, quick-shift (Pentax's version of full-time manual focus). I'm on my second DA*55--I sold it to purchase another lens, but then couldn't live without it and picked up another one.

I've never used the Sigma 50 though, but I believe the Sigma is bigger and heavier--there's a comparison thread on the forum here by Clinton. He compared the Sigma 50 to the DA*55 and bought the DA*55 in the end.
The OP didn't specify full time manual focus and in fact brought up the Sigma 50mm f1.4. Furthermore, the DA* 55mm isn't full time mf either and is substantially more expensive than the Sigma. The lenses I mentioned were based on ~ $500 for the Sigma. Every thing I mentioned is less expensive except for the FA 43 which is closer in price to the Sigma.

If you want to get into full time mf, then that's another ball game and brings out the A/k 50mm f1.2, the A/M 50mm f1.4/1.7 lenses and a plethora of Taks just in the Pentax realm of things again looking at the $500 threshold.
06-18-2010, 10:02 AM   #14
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QuoteOriginally posted by jeffshaddix Quote
Wow, thanks guys for the recommendations! All of those lenses look great, but I think most of them are out of my price range (I can't find a 43mm under $750).

I do like Urkel's idea of maybe getting a cheaper (but quality) manual focus only prime to tide me over until the 17-50 2.8 is out. Did you have any recommendations? And to answer your question, no I won't be getting paid (at least directly). I'm an enthusiast currently, but may look into doing stock photos or the sort with the new setup.

I do agree with you guys that 50mm seems a little long in the APS-C size.

Ira I'd love to check out that thread you mentioned, was it on this forum? Since I've been mainly using a 17-70 up until now, I do think using a prime would stretch me a good bit to make me think more critically of composition.
BH and Adorama have the FA 43mm for $569.

You have to put it in the cart to see the price.

B&H Shopping Cart | B&H Photo Video

20180 Pentax SMCP-FA 43mm f/1.9 Standard Auto Focus Limited Edition Black Lens with Case & Hood.
06-18-2010, 10:45 AM   #15
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If I were to get just one prime to shoot with for six months, it would probably be the DA35/2.8 Limited Macro. Or maybe the DA40, and a manual focus 24 or 28 for next to nothing to go with it. A good case could be made for the old FA35 or the Sigma 30 as another single prime solution.

But really, I think the solution is simpler than that. Get the 50 if that's what you really , but get the kit lens too so you aren't drive *completely* batty by only being able to shoot telephoto. or get a 17-50/2.8 like others have suggested. No particular reason to wait for the specific Sigma version you mentioned.
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