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10-11-2007, 09:36 AM   #1
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Looking for a "club" lens

I'm looking for a lens to use in low light indoor situations. I've already got both the Pentax FA 50mm 1.4 and the Pentax "K" 50mm 1.2. Both are good lenses and fast enough, but are too long. I'm looking for something 35mm or less, F1.8 or faster. I've been looking at both the Sigma 28mm f1.8 Di Macro or the Sigma 30mm F1.4. Does anybody have any experience with either lens? Does anybody know of any other fast wide/semi wide lenses out there? I was thinking about the FA 35mm 2.0 but that one is at least 1/2 stop too slow for what I'm looking for.

NaCl(now that cool weather is coming the music is moving inside)H2O

10-11-2007, 02:29 PM   #2
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Sigma 30mm 1.4

I lust after this lens for purposes similar to yours. Check out this Flickr search: Flickr: Search and this pbase search: Sigma 30mm f/1.4 EX DC HSM Lens Sample Photos and Specifications

Please - anyone - tell me why I should not get this lens for a low-light all-purpose "normal" lens.
10-11-2007, 05:28 PM   #3
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Sigma makes f/1.8 lenses at 20 and 24mm as well, although the 20 is not available anywhere as far as I can tell. I just picked up the 24mm version from another forum member here for a steal. Some day I think I'll actually want the 20mm f/1.8 and the 30mm f/1.4, but this seems like a good compromise in the meantime.

Of course, there's also the very highly regarded 31mm f/1.8 FA Limited. But it's twice the price of the 30mm Sigma, as well as being a little narrower and a little slower. And when shooting in clubs, my experience is that you want the aperture as wide as possible. That 2/3 stop difference can mean a decent looking shot at 1/30 of a second instead of 1/15 or 1/20, and that's huge for freezing motion.

Good luck!
10-11-2007, 06:42 PM   #4
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QuoteOriginally posted by NaClH2O Quote
I'm looking for a lens to use in low light indoor situations. I've already got both the Pentax FA 50mm 1.4 and the Pentax "K" 50mm 1.2. Both are good lenses and fast enough, but are too long. I'm looking for something 35mm or less, F1.8 or faster.
I have the Sigma 30/1.4, 24/1.8 and 20/1.8. To me, the best of the bunch is the 24/1.8. The 30/1.4 is smaller and 1/2 stop faster but it has some drawbacks:

- it is a crop format lens. If you want to use a film camera, if Pentax ever releases a full frame camera, or if you ever decide to buy a Canon full frame, then you won't be able to use this lens. In the last few years, I had a Pentax *ist D and a K10d but I tried to stick to lenses with full frame coverage. Now, I am glad that I did, because I've bought an used Canon 1DS and I am able to use a lot of my existent lenses with it.

- the lens exhibits bad purple fringing on specular highlights when used wide open. I find this behavior quite annoying, because it means that every light source, direct light reflection or bright edge on a dark background will be bordered with these infamous purple fringes. Yes, it is removable in post production, but I'd prefer the lens to deliver a clean image in the first place.

- The borders of the image are not very sharp at wide aperture. If you are shooting portraits with your subject nicely centered in the picture, you will not notice it but, if your subject extents till the corners of the frame, you'll be in trouble.

Of course, purple fringing and unsharp borders will improve when the lens is stopped down, but we are talking about taking pictures in low light situations, aren't we?

The Sigma 24/1.8 is a much better all-round lens IMHO. It has no major drawback, except maybe its size. The lens is perfectly usable wide open and there are not so many 24mm lenses capable of f/1.8... 24mm is a very versatile focal length on a crop format camera, a kind of normal-wide (like a 36mm lens in 35mm equiv.), and it should prove ideally suited for shooting in night clubs without distorting people's faces like a wider lens would. On a full frame camera, should the need arise, it turns to a real wide angle, great for low light cityscapes or interior shots.

The 20/1.8 would be an useful low-light wide angle, but it is not very sharp wide open, even in the center of the frame. It's only good for web-sized pictures or 10x15cm prints but not for anything much bigger.

I have tried the Sigma 28/1.8, which is at least as good as the 24mm (I regret buying the 30/1.4 instead), but I find the 24mm focal length more useful, especially on a crop format camera.

Hope this helps,

10-12-2007, 09:10 AM   #5
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Thanks everybody for your replies. Unfortunately, the 31 ltd is out of my ballpark money wise, maybe if I hit the lotto...OTOH, the 24mm f1.8 sounds great. I'll do a bit more research, but I think that's the one I'll get.

NaCl(and of course I still need the Pentax DA 12-24...LBA is such fun! )H2O
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