Forgot Password
Pentax Camera Forums Home
 

Reply
Show Printable Version Search this Thread
10-23-2010, 04:16 PM   #1
Inactive Account




Join Date: Jul 2010
Location: Chicago
Photos: Gallery
Posts: 672
The Modern 50s (Sigma, DA*), which to get?

So I have three 50s right now (Voigtlander Nokton SLII, M50-1.7, FA50-1.4), and I'm thinking of offloading them and consolidating. I'm weighing my options with the DA* and the new Sigma.



DA*
  • Weather Resistant
    • Not too important right now, as I have a Kx, but may make sense for future upgrade (K7 or K5)
  • Personal experiences seem to show better flare resistance
    • Important; however, how much remains with the hood?
  • 55mm closer to 85 portrait length on APS-C
  • Quick-shift Focus
Sigma
  • HSM has reportedly far better (faster) autofocus
    • This is important to me, as I do a lot of live music shots, and fast AF really helps.
  • HSM doesn't seem to have a failure rate of SDM
    • SDM failure doesn't seem as prevalent as on the zooms
  • Reportedly has better test resolution at 1.4
This is what I've read, so it's all I have to base it on. I'm looking for input from owners or previous owners. Any opinions are greatly appreciated.


Last edited by Rory; 10-23-2010 at 05:01 PM.
10-23-2010, 05:12 PM   #2
hcc
Pentaxian
hcc's Avatar

Join Date: Nov 2009
Location: Brisbane, Australia
Photos: Gallery | Albums
Posts: 3,533
I am not sure why you would off-load the Voigtlander. In comparison with the DA* and Sigma, I would add the following for the Voigtlander Nokton 58mm f2.14 SLII:



Nokton 58mm
  • Basically Weather Resistant - Although not rated WR, it is a very solid lens. I have used it in strong rainfall, in the mud, dust, sand and salt. This is a true WR lens without the badge.
  • Excellent IQ.
  • f1.4 - Excellent in low light including outdoor and indoor. I recently used my Nokton at sunset and sunrise to shoot breaking waves on the coastline. I worked with 1/40 to 1/100 s at ISO below 400. I was very impressed by the lens' ability to take good shots with minimum light.
  • Since Voigtlander decided to stopped manufacturing K-mount lenses, this lens is becoming a classic and its value will increase rather than decrease
  • No HSM or SDM - Increased robustness and reliability over the Sigma and Pentax DA* for outdoor usage.
I do a lot of outdoor shooting in harsh conditions (bush walking, camping) when WR is a must. I would keep my Voigtlander Nokton 58mm against the DA* or Sigma, partly because of the Nokton's outstanding IQ, and partly because the reliability of HSM/SDM for rough applications is still to be proven.

Food for thoughts...
10-23-2010, 05:17 PM   #3
Inactive Account




Join Date: Jul 2010
Location: Chicago
Photos: Gallery
Posts: 672
Original Poster
I agree. The main issue is that when I use it in low light, it's for live music. My live music shots would benefit from AF. I love the lens, and would rather not dump it, but I'd need to sell all of them to fully fund either purchase.

But you're overall right on the money. It's an amazing lens, and if I could, I'd hang on to it or at least wait a year or so when the value goes up on it.
10-23-2010, 05:29 PM   #4
hcc
Pentaxian
hcc's Avatar

Join Date: Nov 2009
Location: Brisbane, Australia
Photos: Gallery | Albums
Posts: 3,533
QuoteOriginally posted by Rory Quote
I agree. The main issue is that when I use it in low light, it's for live music. My live music shots would benefit from AF. I love the lens, and would rather not dump it, but I'd need to sell all of them to fully fund either purchase.
Rory,
I found that the Nokton's MF is not an issue "what-so-ever" when your target is more than 5 m away, because of the Nokton DOF. I simply set the focus range to Infinity. In addition, the K-7 has an excellent AF assist system that is very helpful for target within 3-8 m.

Simply, if you shoot live music, and the musicians are more than 5 m away from you, I would:
- set the lens to +infinite
- half-press the shutter release (& keep it half-pressed), and
- adjust very-slightly the lens focus ring until....
- when the AF assist light is on (and the K-7 has a truly-excellent focus assist in low-light conditions), shoot.

I cannot comment with other camera-bodies, but I found that the K-7 + Nokton is the "ideal couple" in low-light. The K-7 AF focust light is a great feature in low-light conditions and definitely an asset with the Nokton. I add that I am not a pro and would regard myself as a beginner/amateur with MF.

For thoughts...

10-23-2010, 05:37 PM   #5
Inactive Account




Join Date: Jul 2010
Location: Chicago
Photos: Gallery
Posts: 672
Original Poster
Great points; however, I'm usually on stage for most of the action. This set is a bit unusual, since it was acoustic, but it should give you an idea. It helped me to learn that AF is a bit easier.

pA @ The Beetle Chicago - rorybigelow's Photos
10-23-2010, 07:20 PM   #6
Inactive Account




Join Date: Jul 2010
Location: Chicago
Photos: Gallery
Posts: 672
Original Poster
102 views and no opinions on either lens? Someone has to have something to say.


Please?
10-23-2010, 07:30 PM   #7
Veteran Member




Join Date: Jan 2009
Location: Canada
Posts: 1,255
I've used both. Sigma 50 has nasty onion ring bokeh when you have points of light in the background. Also, the pentax is slightly brighter in the T-stop sense (maybe imperceptibly unless you look at the histogram)...
10-23-2010, 07:32 PM   #8
Veteran Member




Join Date: Aug 2009
Location: New England
Photos: Albums
Posts: 690
While I'm not an owner, if you haven't read the Lenstip reviews of the Sigma 50mm and Pentax 55mm, check them out.

One of the big advantages of the Sigma is low coma: "Coma may be a serious problem for fast 50 mm class lenses. It’s enough to have a look at the Sigma’s competitors’ results to be very surprised in some cases. In this light the Sigma results please us very much. Its coma is the smallest but it doesn’t mean it is imperceptible. The praise is certainly due, though."

While the Pentax DA* 55mm is good, it's not as good: "Although we don’t like what we see at all, it’s worth to say that Zeiss Planar recorded even worse results in this category. On the other hand, Sigma 1.4/50 HSM performed much better."

Both are better than the Voigtlander Nokton 58mm though: "The crops below show that the Voigtlander is unfortunately closer to the Zeiss than to the Sigma here. Even 20 years ago showing a Sigma as an example to a Zeiss and a Voigtlander would be tantamount to heresy. Times change though and our crops speak for themselves. "

10-23-2010, 07:36 PM   #9
Inactive Account




Join Date: Jul 2010
Location: Chicago
Photos: Gallery
Posts: 672
Original Poster
So one vote for keep the Voigt, one for Sigma, one for DA*.

I've read that about the Voigt, but I've never heard it from actual field use, and I never really ran into it myself.
10-23-2010, 07:40 PM   #10
Veteran Member




Join Date: Aug 2009
Location: New England
Photos: Albums
Posts: 690
QuoteOriginally posted by asdf Quote
I've used both. Sigma 50 has nasty onion ring bokeh when you have points of light in the background.
I wonder if that's because the Sigma has lower spherical aberration? To quote Kouichi Ohshita of Nikon: "When spherical aberration is left a bit undercorrected, flares surround the out-of-focus background, thereby resulting in a close-to-ideal out-of-focus background."
10-23-2010, 07:59 PM   #11
hcc
Pentaxian
hcc's Avatar

Join Date: Nov 2009
Location: Brisbane, Australia
Photos: Gallery | Albums
Posts: 3,533
A different perspective might be the independent lens reviews:
+ DA* 55mm
Pentax SMC DA* 55mm f/1.4 SDM - Review / Test Report at Photozone.de
Pentax Lens: Primes - Pentax 55mm f/1.4 SDM SMC DA* (Tested) - SLRgear.com! at slrgear.com
Pentax SMC DA* 55mm F1.4 SDM Lens Review: 1. Introduction: Digital Photography Review at dpreview.com

+ Voigtlander 58mm
Voigtlander Nokton 58mm f/1.4 SL II - Review / Test Report at Photozone.de

+ Sigma 50mm HSM
Sigma AF 50mm f/1.4 EX DG HSM (Canon) - APS-C Review / Test Report at Photozone.de
Sigma 50mm F1.4 EX DG HSM Lens Review: 1. Introduction: Digital Photography Review at depreview.com

That is:
* 2 independent reviews out of 3 have some reservations about the DA*55mm.
* Both reviews of the Sigma are positive.
* The review of the Voigtlander is positive.

In terms of User reviews, the Pentaxforums.com database rates these lenses as:
DA* = 9.0 (SMC Pentax-DA* 55mm F1.4 SDM Lens Reviews - Pentax Lens Review Database)
Voigtlander = 9.55 (Voigtlander 58mm f1.4 Lens Reviews - Pentax Third-Party Lens Review Database)
Sigma = no score at Pentaxforums.com lens database

Independently from personal preferences, both the independent reviews and users' reviews point to some directions with a preference to the Sigma and Voigtlander. In your place, and since you have the Voigt, I would suggest to keep the Voigtlander and consider/try the Sigma. That is simply a thought.....
10-23-2010, 08:01 PM   #12
Inactive Account




Join Date: Jul 2010
Location: Chicago
Photos: Gallery
Posts: 672
Original Poster
Sigma is rated 9.67 with 6 reviews here.

I appreciate your opinions. Anyone else that's used both?
10-23-2010, 08:20 PM   #13
Moderator
Site Supporter
Blue's Avatar

Join Date: Jun 2008
Location: Florida Hill Country
Photos: Gallery | Albums
Posts: 17,212
The Sigma and DA* are relatively large lenses in comparison to the FA 50/1.4 and for that matter the A 50mm/1.2.

Have you considered the Zeiss 50/1.4 ZK? However, I like the idea of a 58mm lens.
10-23-2010, 08:36 PM   #14
Veteran Member
Steinback's Avatar

Join Date: Jan 2008
Location: GTA, ON, Canada
Photos: Gallery | Albums
Posts: 1,673
Opinions? Rent or borrow both to make sure they're different enough or enough of an improvement from the FA 50mm to be worth (for your particular purposes) giving up the Nokton and FA 50.

I've tried the DA* 55mm briefly and although the rounded aperture blades are nice I wasn't convinced it was worth almost double (and more than 3x what I paid for) the FA 50. Maybe if I used it for an event I'd change my mind.
10-23-2010, 08:46 PM   #15
Inactive Account




Join Date: Jul 2010
Location: Chicago
Photos: Gallery
Posts: 672
Original Poster
The Zeiss would defeat the purpose of the need for AF.

I'd love to rent or borrow a Sigma, but there is no Pentax dealers in the entire state, and I don't know anyone that shoots Pentax, let alone has the lens. I may rent the DA*.

I'm not worried about lens size. It's nice to have small lenses, but this wouldn't be a carry around lens. More portrait and live music shows, where I have plenty of room to work.

But keep them coming. You've all brought up some good points to make me think.
Reply

Bookmarks
  • Submit Thread to Facebook Facebook
  • Submit Thread to Twitter Twitter
  • Submit Thread to Digg Digg
Tags - Make this thread easier to find by adding keywords to it!
da*, failure, hsm, k-mount, owners, pentax lens, sdm, sigma, slr lens
Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search


Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Modern Media /Modern Minds seacapt General Talk 24 09-23-2010 03:55 PM
Questions on fast 50s ismaelg Pentax SLR Lens Discussion 5 11-19-2009 01:43 PM
New DA* 16-50s Ed in GA Pentax SLR Lens Discussion 6 10-07-2008 06:16 PM
I'm buried in 50s! pingflood Pentax SLR Lens Discussion 10 09-03-2008 06:16 PM
43 and 50s.. who has both? Albert Siegel Pentax SLR Lens Discussion 9 01-09-2008 07:15 AM



All times are GMT -7. The time now is 07:48 PM. | See also: NikonForums.com, CanonForums.com part of our network of photo forums!
  • Red (Default)
  • Green
  • Gray
  • Dark
  • Dark Yellow
  • Dark Blue
  • Old Red
  • Old Green
  • Old Gray
  • Dial-Up Style
Hello! It's great to see you back on the forum! Have you considered joining the community?
register
Creating a FREE ACCOUNT takes under a minute, removes ads, and lets you post! [Dismiss]
Top