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06-26-2011, 11:19 PM   #1
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Sigma 30mm f/1.4 thoughts and examples

This was originaly a reply to Steve in the Sigma lens club but thought it should have its own thread. I bought this lens 2 days ago.
Ok first off your probably thinking to yourself, why didn't I get the FA31 instead considering I already have the FA43 and FA77?
Well let me say that the FA31 is still on my list and I will own it (some day), but I wanted a fast lens in the 20mm-30mm range.
And Pentax doesn't offer much (talking about currently in production here) with those needs, so why the Sigma 30mm 1.4?

Most importantly the images I had seen from this lens spoke to me and began to peak my interest...
and for same money of the FA31 new, I can pretty much buy the Sigma 30mm f/1.4 and a DA*55 f/1.4 (which is next on my list BTW)

I spent many hours looking at examples from the FA31, Sigma 20/24/28/30 on the forum here and in flickr and at the PPG. Whislt viewing the Sigma 30mm images I noticed that they had a very strong 3 dimensional look to them.Which is something I look for in a lens. Yeah the FA31 had some 3d look too and the 31 rendered it's OOF areas more smooth and creamy but the Sigma 30mm had a more 3 dimensional look to its images. Sure there are lot's of fast lenses that can shoot at f/2.8 or faster as well and many do have beautiful bokeh but to me 3d isolation is something else.

Anyway I quite like this lens, its very sharp from wide open and by the time you stop down to f/4 the levels of sharpness is through the roof literally! Just have have a look at photozones mtf charts. Its sharper(in the center) at ANY APERTURE than the FA limiteds. But border sharpness is quite average and it gets pretty average reviews and a bad rep because it doesn't do very well in the borders. So if you do alot of landscaping photography this lens is probably not the best pick for you. Where it does excel though is in (environmental)portraiture and subject isolation photography,where most of the time the borders are going to be OOF anyway so border sharpness is not important in that regard.

Other thoughts about this lens, its quite fat, but about the same length as my FA77. It does feel well made for a Sigma lens (ive had
sigma lenses in the past and one even fell apart in my hand) but this feel nice, but no where near as good as a Limited Pentax lens.
The focus is quite possibly one of the fastest out of my all my lenses, and it quite accurate even in low light it locks focus fast. Also beware
of bad copy's, Ive read many reports of ff issues and af issues, I tested mine in the shop and outide and the focus was almost spot on and
required +2 fine adjustment in camera to be perfect.(FWIW my LTD's needed more micro adjustment)
For the record I doubt its better than the mighty FA31, and if they were the same price I might have bought the FA31 instead, but for what its worth it sure is a great lens for isolation photography and for enviromental portraiture.
That basically somes up my thoughts on this lens, I'll let my first pictures with this lens do the rest of the talking.

1.4-


1.4-


2.8-


1.4-



I know there are other members on here with this lens, feel free to post some examples


Last edited by TOUGEFC; 11-04-2011 at 11:51 PM.
06-26-2011, 11:33 PM   #2
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Some great shots there. I want to get a limited next (probably the 35 macro), but this lens keeps tempting me away. The complaints of AF accuracy & an inability to focus at infinity are scary though, but youre right, there are some fantastic pics from this lens on flickr, and your shots above have a good 3D isolation, though if Im picky, the quality of the bokeh could be smoother.
06-26-2011, 11:52 PM - 1 Like   #3
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Yeah that was another thing I testesd outside of the shop was to make sure it could focus at infinity, and my copy did, I also watched the way the aperture blades closed up as I held it and closed the aperture lever, and it looked very symeterical.
Here's another wide open shot that has quite smooth OOF but its slightly miss-focused (which was my error)

Last edited by TOUGEFC; 06-27-2011 at 12:06 AM.
06-26-2011, 11:53 PM   #4
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Thanks for the careful and informative response, Simon. I've been waffling about that lens for some time - partly because of the edge sharpness problems and partly because, well, I came to Pentax for the lenses; sometimes seems odd to say that and then buy a third party lens

Still, I've looked at it for some time. It looks like a behemoth. It's screw drive focus, right? Not HSM?

I like the way your images look, but that's true regardless of the lens you're using.

I spent some time - several times - looking over the images on pixel-peeper.com from this lens. I must confess that I rarely see an image that shows its edge weaknesses.

06-27-2011, 12:00 AM   #5
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QuoteOriginally posted by jstevewhite Quote
Thanks for the careful and informative response, Simon. I've been waffling about that lens for some time - partly because of the edge sharpness problems and partly because, well, I came to Pentax for the lenses; sometimes seems odd to say that and then buy a third party lens

Still, I've looked at it for some time. It looks like a behemoth. It's screw drive focus, right? Not HSM?

I like the way your images look, but that's true regardless of the lens you're using.

I spent some time - several times - looking over the images on pixel-peeper.com from this lens. I must confess that I rarely see an image that shows its edge weaknesses.
Thanks Steve Yeah its not very often I too seek a 3rd party lens!
Yeah its quite fat, but its no longer than a FA77. And yeah it is screwdrive but it focus's very fast on the K-5, but it would have been better if it had HSM.

As for the edge sharpness, I wouldnt worry about it too much unless your shooting large DOF landscapes. Its obvious that this lens was designed for subject isolation and 99% of the time when you isolate subjects the edge is going to be an OOF part of the image anyway

Also another thing I did first off was replace that horrible sigma rear element cap with a Pentax one

Last edited by TOUGEFC; 06-27-2011 at 12:09 AM.
06-27-2011, 01:26 AM   #6
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As for the whole edge sharpness thing I wouldn't worry about it too much, the Sigma 30mm f/1.4 is a DX lens - the FA31 is a full frame lens and of course the FA31 is going to deliver better edge-to-edge performance on a DX sensor, it's imaging circle is practically twice the size. But the fact that the FA31 is able to be used on a full frame camera(and if performs very well on T-Max 100), has an aperture ring and superlative construction are some of the primary reasons why I was so interested in it, and the optical qualities are what convinced me to buy it.

QuoteOriginally posted by TOUGEFC Quote
Also another thing I did first off was replace that horrible sigma rear element cap with a Pentax one
I wish sigma would do something about those. I replaced the one on my sigma 180mm f/3.5 APO EX Macro ASAP because it was such a nuisance.
06-27-2011, 02:08 AM   #7
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Beautiful, I want one. That an XT1200?

QuoteOriginally posted by TOUGEFC Quote
This was originaly a reply to Steve in the Sigma lens club but thought it should have its own thread. I bought this lens 2 days ago.
Ok first off your probably thinking to yourself, why didn't I get the FA31 instead considering I already have the FA43 and FA77?
Well let me say that the FA31 is still on my list and I will own it (some day), but I wanted a fast lens in the 20mm-30mm range.
And Pentax doesn't offer much (talking about currently in production here) with those needs, so why the Sigma 30mm 1.4?

Firstly for same money of the FA31 new, I can pretty much buy the Sigma 30mm f/1.4 and a DA*55 f/1.4 (which is next on my list BTW)

But most importantly the images I had seen from this lens spoke to me and began to peak my interest...
I spent many hours looking at examples from the FA31, Sigma 20/24/28/30 on the forum here and in flickr and at the PPG. Whislt viewing the Sigma 30mm images I noticed that they had a very strong 3 dimensional look to them.Which is something I look for in a lens. Yeah the FA31 had some 3d look too and the 31 rendered it's OOF areas more smooth and creamy but the Sigma 30mm had a more 3 dimensional look to its images. Sure there are lot's of fast lenses that can shoot at f/2.8 or faster as well and many do have beautiful bokeh but to me 3d isolation is something else.

Anyway I quite like this lens, its very sharp from wide open and by the time you stop down to f/4 the levels of sharpness is through the roof literally! Just have have a look at photozones mtf charts. Its sharper(in the center) at ANY APERTURE than the FA limiteds. But border sharpness is quite average and it gets pretty average reviews and a bad rep because it doesn't do very well in the borders. So if you do alot of landscaping photography this lens is probably not the best pick for you. Where it does excel though is in (environmental)portraiture and subject isolation photography,where most of the time the borders are going to be OOF anyway so border sharpness is not important in that regard.

Other thoughts about this lens, its quite fat, but about the same length as my FA77. It does feel well made for a Sigma lens (ive had
sigma lenses in the past and one even fell apart in my hand) but this feel nice, but no where near as good as a Limited Pentax lens.
The focus is quite possibly one of the fastest out of my all my lenses, and it quite accurate even in low light it locks focus fast. Also beware
of bad copy's, Ive read many reports of ff issues and af issues, I tested mine in the shop and outide and the focus was almost spot on and
required +2 fine adjustment in camera to be perfect.(FWIW my LTD's needed more micro adjustment)
For the record I doubt its better than the mighty FA31, and if they were the same price I might have bought the FA31 instead, but for what its worth it sure is a great lens for isolation photography and for enviromental portraiture.
That basically somes up my thoughts on this lens, I'll let my first pictures with this lens do the rest of the talking.

1.4-


1.4-


2.8-


1.4-


Excuse my wife we were having lunch, 1.8-


1.4-


1.4-




I know there are other members on here with this lens, feel free to post some examples
06-27-2011, 02:13 AM   #8
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Yeah, super tenere.

06-27-2011, 03:23 AM   #9
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Wide(ish) and fast, however it's achieved, is a beautiful thing. Terrific images as usual Simon, and congrats on the new lens. I think that sigma is an under rated lens, what I've seen of it is very impressive.
06-27-2011, 04:06 AM   #10
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Its a cool lens I would have got it but no one had it in stock when I needed it before my holiday then somehow a FA31 turned up!
No slagging on the Sigma was purley a sense of timing with me otherwise I would be shooting with that right at this moment.
06-27-2011, 04:54 AM   #11
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Hmmm. Cool photos. However, one day your wife will rediscover that old photo of her having lunch and you will be sleeping on the couch.

(Not nearly as dangerous as the guy who posted some very "arty" photos of his wife last year--briefly)
06-27-2011, 05:10 AM   #12
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Thanks twitch! Yeah it certainly is under-rated lens IMO from what alot of reviews have to say about it, my time with it so far has been a joy to shoot with and provides very pleasing results.

Gene, I must have missed that story about the other guy?
06-27-2011, 05:30 AM   #13
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QuoteOriginally posted by TOUGEFC Quote
Thanks twitch! Yeah it certainly is under-rated lens IMO from what alot of reviews have to say about it, my time with it so far has been a joy to shoot with and provides very pleasing results.

Gene, I must have missed that story about the other guy?
Not much of a story, really. There was a young man who posts a lot of photos of his wife. One of them was a nicely done topless shot. If I recall, someone pointed out that she must be very understanding, and the shot was gone.
06-27-2011, 09:31 AM   #14
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QuoteOriginally posted by TOUGEFC Quote
Thanks Steve Yeah its not very often I too seek a 3rd party lens!
Yeah its quite fat, but its no longer than a FA77. And yeah it is screwdrive but it focus's very fast on the K-5, but it would have been better if it had HSM.

As for the edge sharpness, I wouldnt worry about it too much unless your shooting large DOF landscapes. Its obvious that this lens was designed for subject isolation and 99% of the time when you isolate subjects the edge is going to be an OOF part of the image anyway

Also another thing I did first off was replace that horrible sigma rear element cap with a Pentax one
So, see, you've thrown another wrench in my LBA monkey. I've been selling off some little used gear in order to replace my DA* 16-50 (which I sold some time ago, and regret selling). Now I'm eyeballing that 30mm f1.4 again. And maybe the Tamron 28-75 everyone raves about. *Sigh*. I need LBAA meetings or something. "Stop me before I buy again!"

The 30mm f1.4 was an early intro to Pentax mount, right? Probably why everything else gets HSM, but PTX doesn't.

I don't mind the Sigma caps so much, although it's a little irritating that they're keyed for orientation.
06-27-2011, 09:56 AM   #15
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I enjoy using my Sigma 30mm f1.4, I have been using it more lately than i have in the past, and plan on using it a lot more in the near future. Its a great lens. I have noticed a bit of distortion with mine, and it also backfocuses slightly (think thats my body/user error though as my other lenses do too) but it still produces really good shots.

30mm on flickr

30mm on my blog (only 2 so far)
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