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03-08-2011, 07:10 AM   #1
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Indoor LowLihgt Portraiture - lens needed

Hi everyone.

Please help me to choose wideangle prime lens for indoor photography.
I have Pentax 50/1.4, and often find it too long for home shots...
I like sharp and bright lenses, and the price is a matter, of course. Otherwise I would buy 31 Limited, but too expensive for me.

How about Sigma 28/1.8 or Sigma 30/1.4? I read the reviews here.

I saw many examples of photos by new Pentax 35/2.4 but I don't like the images somehow...

I have had 35/2 and sold it because of front focus...

Now what? Suggestions? I could buy something new maximum around 400 Euro/550 US.

Please post some indoor portraits for example, natural light only.

03-08-2011, 07:45 AM   #2
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Sorry I have no advice, I just wanted to say the pictures on your website are beautiful.

Good luck with your search.
03-08-2011, 09:25 AM   #3
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I own the Sigma 30mm F1.4 .A decent lens. Taking indoor.

F1.4 ISO 800

03-08-2011, 09:28 AM   #4

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That's a tough question, and one I've been looking to answer for a while. When I read "low light portraiture" I was going to say, "easy, go with the Voigtlander Nokton 58mm 1.4!" But if 50mm feels too tight a 58mm isn't going to work at all.

I've never shot the Sigma but it seems like a decent value. Not sure how the sharpness will measure up, though. I've been using a Zeiss 25mm 2.8 for this kind of work and, while it's definitely sharp, I often wish it were faster. I got mine for about half the price of a new 31mm LTD, not too far off the price of the Sigma new, actually. Not sure if that would be an option for you.

I'd like to try the Ultron 40mm 2.0 (I'm a Voigtlander fan). Depending on how wide/fast you need that might worth looking at. If you don't mind manual focus those lenses are a pleasure to use and produce beautiful images. About the same price as the Sigma.

(And, wow, the work on your site is beautiful. Just superb.)

03-08-2011, 10:02 AM   #5
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The main weakness of the 30/1.4 is its poor corner sharpness but since you intend on taking portraits, it can actually work to your advantage. Also, the 30mm is more compact and lighter than the 28mm.
03-08-2011, 11:07 AM   #6
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I have not used the 30 1.4 but it looks to produce the kinds of images you are looking for. Center sharpness is wonderful, corners are nice and soft. Good FOV for indoors.
03-08-2011, 11:36 AM   #7
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Thank you all - for suggestions and for the kind words about my photos.

May be Sigma 30/1.4 will be the choice...Because of the composition rules may be it will be a little problem the center sharpnes and the soft corners? Because I don't center the objects...

But now I am tempted by 35/2.8 Macro also...Excellent reviews by users, very nice IQ...I am wondering...I have already 1.4 on my Pentax 50mm...Usually I always try to use the best light of the day and shoot near to window...I don't make reportage shots, mostly portraits...And also I will have macro.

What do you think? I will have better IQ and macro, but darker lens. On the other hand I have already 50/1.4 for darker situations.

About M lenses - I have 3 ones on M42, I use them mainly for the beautiful nature or street bokeh - for outdoor shooting.
03-08-2011, 11:56 AM   #8
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Your website images are lovely - creative!

I've learned to appreciate a quick focusing lens. I don't have any experience with the two you've mentioned.

So i was going to suggest the DA 21 or the DA 40. I don't have the 40 and its probably too tight for what you are looking for. I recently was asked to photograph indoors in the lobby of a live theatre group. My FA50 1.4 just hesitated and stalled for seconds at a time, while the DA 21 just snapped along like it enjoyed it. very nice sharp colorful images. (i couldn't believe all the problems i had with the FA 50 compared with the DA 21)

Idea for crowded fairs, indoors, etc. wide angle without being ultra wide angle, IMO.

03-08-2011, 12:25 PM   #9
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First of all, the images on your site are indeed very nice. You are certainly talented. Secondly, if you cannot afford the FA31, then I can all but guarantee you that you will be pleased with the Sigma 30. I had one and sold it and wish I hadn't. It has all the qualities needed for your stated purpose and the loss of sharpness in the corners will be inconsequential to you. That would really only be an issue if you were doing landscapes or architecture. I have heard of one or two folks getting a bad copy, but that happens with every lens. Good luck in your search!
03-08-2011, 01:46 PM   #10
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two things to consider.

if you are on a budget, the Sigma 28/1.8 would be great for such occasion.

btw, I love my FA35/2 for indoors.
03-08-2011, 02:12 PM   #11
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Is AF necessary? Not for me, thus my wide-ish fast-ish manual kit includes:

* Vivitar-Kiron 24/2 in PK mount, US$130 a few months ago
* Vivitar-Komine 28/2 Wide-Angle Close-Focus, US$19 a couple weeks ago
* Nikkor-O 35/2 in non-AI mount, US$48 a few weeks ago

All are extremely sharp throughout.

Oh yes, a 30/1.4 or thereabouts would be lovely. I just need to rob a couple mini-marts to pay for one. Bother.
03-08-2011, 02:40 PM   #12
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Save up for a 31 limited, seems perfect for you (if you're definitely after something autofocus) - otherwise you'll be compromising on one thing or another. The Sigma 30/1.4 is your next best, but you'd want to make your one wide prime lens purchase once and for all. MF options are plentiful (as already mentioned) so if you're happy to go down that route, then you'll be saving a lot of money.

End-to-end sharpness, the FA 31 is excellent:

03-08-2011, 11:52 PM   #13
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Free Soul, excellent website! You've got a good eye.

I'm in pretty much the same boat as you. I've got a Voigtlander 58mm 1.4, but need a wider fast prime as well. I think the posts so far have had great advice.

The choices I've narrowed my own search to are:

Sigma 30mm 1.4: I've seen some *excellent* portrait/wedding photos from this lens. The cons are extreme border resolution (not really applicable to you), aberrations (can be fixed in post), and lousy minimum focus distance (but good enough for head shots).

Pentax-FA 31mm 1.8: Perfect in practically every way. It's just pricey and there's no way to get around it. You can always think of it as an investment, as its value will likely never go down.

Samyang 35mm 1.4: A brand new lens entering the market this month. Pros are full frame, consistent sharpness across an APS-C sensor (according to the company's MTF charts), and good minimum focus distance. Cons are 77mm filter size and *manual focus* (this is not a con for me, but perhaps is for you).

The Sigma 28mm 1.8 from what I've read is a good lens, but not quite as good wide open as the Sigma 30 1.4, and I've read that it does a better job with close-focus subjects than farther out ones. It does however have the perk of having more uniform sharpness across the sensor. That said, some people love this lens a lot, so your mileage may vary. I'm actually planning on some day getting its cousin, the Sigma 24mm 1.8 macro, but more for artistic shots than portraits.

For the portrait lens, I'll likely go with the FA31 or the Samyang, but I'd be happy with the Sigma 30mm 1.4 as well. Anyway, I hope the stuff I've learned from my research helps a little bit. Take my opinions with a grain of salt, since I don't own any of these excellent choices.

Let us know what you decide and be sure to write a review on it! Good luck!
03-09-2011, 01:04 AM   #14
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Thank you all!

So, no one adviced me for 35/2.8 macro? OK, it's not on the list anymore.

Sigma 28/1.8 is as expensive as Sigma 30/1.4 here, in Bulgaria. I don't know why...But if it is no better than 30/1.4 it is not in my mind anymore.

Vivitars are very difficult to be find in my country - it is a small second hand marketplace. I will have an eye on European suggestions...It will take time...

Samyang 35/1.4? Sounds good...But have to wait for more reviews and to have it here for sale...

I know 31/1.8 is the best...Believe it or not, here in Bulgaria (Europe), it costs 1570 USD!... And the avarage salary for the country is around 400-500 USD.

So, it is only for the hobby, I should listen to my mind, not my heart, and go for the Sigma.
03-09-2011, 01:25 AM   #15
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Have a look at the M35/2, they usually sell around $200. Compact, sharp and easy to focus.

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