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01-03-2011, 12:20 PM   #1
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Workhorse-Prime for my K-x: Sigma or Pentax?

Hello everyone, ive got a question again.

Im currently searching for a workhorse for my Kx, something ill carry with me all the time. I want this to be a prime, as i feel more comfortable with them and i find it easier/more interesting to work with.

So, right now ive narrowed it down to the Sigma 30mm/1.4 or the Pentax DA35mm/2.4, since these 2 are in my price range (roughly.). Ive also considered the 24mm and 28mm Sigma-Primes, but for some reason i dont really find any constructive reviews on them (they are also harder to get where i live, especially used).

Also, for some reason, i think that since i mainly use manual focus, the Sigma 30mm will be better, because i read that the DA35/2.4 has a rather short manual focus... distance (sorry, i dont really know an appropriate english word).

So, what are your thoughts about my dilemma? Thanks a lot in advance!

01-03-2011, 12:42 PM   #2
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I don't own the Sigma 30mm so I can't comment on it. However I do own the Sigma 24mm F1.7 and the Pentax 35 F 2.4.
The Sigma is a big lens and like a lot of the wide Sigmas, is a bit prone to flare. However it has a nice close focus and good (if slightly warm) color rendition. It is a bit soft wide open but not terribly bad, certainly useable, and maybe even desirable for portraits. By f/3.5 it is very sharp corner to corner. My main problem with this lens is that it is big and heavy compared to comparable pentax offerings.
I've just gotten the pentax DA 35mm f/2.4 and I love it. It is light, compact, sharp with good color rendition. There is a good write up and comparison of this lens with other 35mm. It can be found here

NaCl(I don't think you can go wrong with the DA 35mm f/2.4)H2O
01-03-2011, 12:47 PM   #3
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Sigma is 1.5 stops faster (I.e. It'll let you shoot at ISO400 where DA would require something like ISO1200 for the same exposure) of course it'll let you shoot much more of narrow DOF shots. On the other side. DA has SMC (which I will always prefer to whatever Sigma uses). IQ wise though, DA has great reviews! Although sigma has it's fans too... Ultimately though, you are comparing Sigmas main offering for normal APSC lens to Pentax's budget option...
If you could get your hands on FA35... That would be ok compromise IMO
01-03-2011, 01:13 PM   #4
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I'm not sure price-wise but if you keep your eyes and ears open then the Pentax 43 Ltd covers an awful lot of ground, I've used mine for everything from portraits to landscapes, for close-ups and for low light.

Wonderful lense, said to be THE sharpest lense in the Pentax armoury and small, light and damn good looking to go with it.

01-03-2011, 01:22 PM   #5
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From what I've heard of it, the Sigma won't do because it's too heavy. In the end you'll just start leaving it home. 43mm Ltd is expensive and not nearly standard. 35mm/2.4 would definitely be the way to go for a workhorse, it's sharp, light and cheap.
01-03-2011, 02:08 PM   #7
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I travel almost exclusively with the DA 35mm F2.8 Macro (in the tank bag on my motorcycle )

Yes, it is more expensive, but the close-focus capability makes impromptu detail and flower shots possible. I find that it is just large enough to handle naturally on the K200D and I really enjoy the results.
01-03-2011, 02:14 PM   #8
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i would spend the extra and get a DA 35mm Macro

This lens is so versatile; really the only lens you'll need from street, to macro, to landscape.

01-03-2011, 02:27 PM   #9
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If you don't need macro capability and you like a small lens, consider the da40 as well.
It's also cheaper than the 35 macro.

Mine is on my K-x most of the time these days!
01-03-2011, 03:16 PM   #10
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QuoteOriginally posted by stlind Quote
Hello everyone, ive got a question again.

Im currently searching for a workhorse for my Kx, something ill carry with me all the time. I want this to be a prime, as i feel more comfortable with them and i find it easier/more interesting to work with.

So, right now ive narrowed it down to the Sigma 30mm/1.4 or the Pentax DA35mm/2.4, since these 2 are in my price range (roughly.). Ive also considered the 24mm and 28mm Sigma-Primes, but for some reason i dont really find any constructive reviews on them (they are also harder to get where i live, especially used).

Also, for some reason, i think that since i mainly use manual focus, the Sigma 30mm will be better, because i read that the DA35/2.4 has a rather short manual focus... distance (sorry, i dont really know an appropriate english word).

So, what are your thoughts about my dilemma? Thanks a lot in advance!
I'm greatfull for Sigma because they offer some lenses that Pentax currently miss. Therefore I have the Sigma 20mm f1.8 (I wanted something fast that have an angle of view close to a 28mm on a full frame camera). If I could have got hold of the Sigma 180mm macro in K mount I would have that also. All creds to Sigma for filling these gaps. I'm aware that the Sigma 30mm f1.4 also fill the gap of a fast APS-C normal for Pentax for those considering the DA31ltd too expensive. So you see, I'm not a Pentax fanatic.

The 20mm f1.8 is a good lens, even very good. It is plastic built, but fairly good, though details like the shade and the "quick focus" don't keep Pentax standard. It is sharper corner-to-corner than I expected, but it is also the only autofocus lens I have that have stopped focusing below freezing. The biggest drawback is that it is heavy and bulky. There is no pocket that can take this lens. I expect this says a bit about the 30/1.4 as well.

If looking for a lens to be your everyday work-horse, consider this:

K-x weight 515g
Sigma 30/1.4 weight 430g
SMC Pentax-DA 35/2.4 124g

The Sigma is 3-4 times heavier than teh DA35, almost as heavy as as your camera body. Partly it is because it is a fast lens which means a "wider" design and more glass. But it is more than that. Pentax extremely rare SMC Pentax-M 35/1.4 was 420 g, and that was an all metal lens without autofocus mechanisms. So my impression is that Sigma (today) tend to build bulky. You might not want to carry that around everyday. I only use the 20/1.8 when I really need the speed.
01-03-2011, 03:20 PM   #11
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35mm is just about the right 'all-purpose' prime focal length.
With the 31 limited being out of the budget, the 35/2.4 is the next best thing IMO.
f/2.4 should be plenty fast for most conditions, and it's very useable wide open.
If you're happy with a 1kg camera/lens combination, then perhaps the Sigma may be worth a look, particularly if you're keen on very shallow DoF work.
01-03-2011, 09:34 PM   #12
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QuoteOriginally posted by stlind Quote
i read that the DA35/2.4 has a rather short manual focus... distance (sorry, i dont really know an appropriate english word).
Sorry I can not help with your lens selection, but "throw" is the English word you were looking for. "Short throw" mean a small rotation makes big difference in focused distance :-)
01-03-2011, 09:58 PM   #13
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The 28mm f2.8 lens (A version) is a great workhorse. It acts like a wide normal (just like the FA 43 on film). It's not exactly fast but it has nice bokeh and is pretty sharp wide open, and very sharp stopped down.

The 28mm f2 is apparently much better, but in that price range the sigma 30 1.4 is likely a better choice.

My current workhorse is the DA 40, but one of the reasons I love it is for it's autofocus. It is NOT a manual focuser's lens.
01-03-2011, 10:20 PM   #14
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Do you like anything longer than 35mm? Maybe 40? Just curious about favorite focal length.
01-04-2011, 07:40 AM   #15
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first of all, thanks a lot for all your input. basically, i had already settled for the DA 35/2.4, but since my local pentax-partner had some shipping delay, i started thinking, and as all of you might have faced in real life: thats where the madness sets in haha.

I guess this one will be just fine for me, especially since the Sigma really seems like a bit of a brick around my neck.

Ill give you an update as soon as i get my 35mm, and if necessary, i will blame you guys haha.
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