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08-10-2011, 07:04 PM   #1
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Suggestions for a Fast Wide Prime

I've recently fallen in love with fast primes, and am looking to add a wider prime to my lineup. At this point, I'm mostly shooting weddings, although we use lenses a lot for personal things too. I love the results from the DA*55 and DA 70 for the portrait part of the wedding, but I'm realizing I need to be getting more shots that are canvas material, take in a large part of the background. The 16-50 just isn't cutting it for me in terms of that 3d look I'm after.

Basically, I'm looking for something less than 35mm that is less than f2. The 31 limited is out of my price range at the moment, so something other than that. Something that has relatively fast autofocus, as most weddings I do I'm not allowed to use flash during the ceremony and my f2.8 zooms aren't quite as fast as I'd like for processional and recessional photos. I do carry two cameras on me all the time, so I typically will have a prime on one and zoom on the other during the ceremony and reception.

I'm leaning toward the Sigma 30 1.4. Any other suggestions? I'm wanting a lens that will cover wide shots of the bride and groom, the bridal party, and low-light ceremony. What would you choose?

08-10-2011, 07:20 PM   #2
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i wouldnt suggest the sigma 30, since the corner sharpness is one of the weakpoints of that lens and it seems like you want to capture detail from the entire scene rather than use it as a portrait lens
if you don't mind manual focus and waiting a few months, Rokinon currently has a 24mm f/1.4 in the works that should come out around october/november
08-10-2011, 07:22 PM   #3
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30 1.4? Wouldn't it be too "normal" FOV? Wide would be about 20mm to 15mm... if available would the FA 20mm 2.8 work? It is a screw drive so speed is not great.
08-10-2011, 07:25 PM   #4
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Uh, probably the FA* 24mm f/2.0 if you can find one. I know it's not quite as fast as you'd like, but it's a great lens (such I hear).

08-10-2011, 07:42 PM   #5
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I really don't care about corner sharpness since I like my backgrounds rendered out of focus anyway, what I'm more interested in is what would have the fastest autofocus. I looked at the Sigma 28 1.8, but was concerned about the af speed with it being a macro. But then, I've used the Pentax 100mm macro as a reception candid lens and didn't find the autofocus speed to be a big problem, so maybe that's not an issue.
08-10-2011, 08:19 PM   #6
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I wouldn't call 30mm a wide angle, also you will only get good subject isolation up close with a wide angle.

da21 f3.2? I tried and really liked this, however budget wouldn't permit at that time. However, it's a brilliant focal length for the situation you're describing - indoor photos of small groups. Also makes your camera less intrusive than with 16-50 mounted. 7 bladed aperture and pancake design make it the best starburst lens I've ever used, too.

3.2 is not slow IMHO when considering the focal length. If you do the hand held rule of 1 / focal length, then da15, 21, 40 all about the same to hand hold, despite the 15 and 21 being slower than the 40.

or FA20 2.8 as already mentioned.

I would go and try some of these options, you may decide that they are "fast enough"...
08-10-2011, 08:40 PM   #7
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30mm isnt wide, its normal but its quite wider than 55mm or 70mm.
I recomend the Sigma 30mm f/1.4, its very sharp in the center, the corners are soft but it doesnt matter because they will be out of focus anyway, this lens is a shallow dof/subject isolation lens, NOT A LANDSCAPE LENS.
Its drips with 3D pop.
Try and find another lens in this range thats this sharp at f1.4!

f/1.4-







Last edited by TOUGEFC; 08-10-2011 at 09:24 PM.
08-10-2011, 09:18 PM   #8
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Sigma 30 1.4 (great shots simon) for a fast wide-normal, FA 24 f2 if you want a fast wide. I would go with the 30 for that "pop" you are after.

You will need a full frame camera to get faster sub 30mm. Nikon full frame + 24mm f1.4 would work. Do you have 5 grand?

The other thing would be full frame + 35mm f1.4... only 4 grand all in (with the body, of course).

In the end though, you are better to substitute a fast lens for higher ISO when you get faster than f2.8 because it is generally more cost effective. Aperture is really only *worth* it for depth of field control... and it does not sound like that is your main goal.

08-10-2011, 09:29 PM   #9
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The best options in Pentax land for wide-ish and fast are:

FA31
Sigma 30 1.4
FA*24 f2

The first is expensive, the last is hard to find or expensive on ebay, so I'd say the Sigma is the best choice if 30mm is wide enough. As was pointed out before, it's certainly wider the the 55 & 70.

I'm surprise to be honest that you aren't getting what you want out of your 16-50 though ?
08-10-2011, 10:28 PM   #10
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Another vote for the Sigma 30/1.4. I had a few reservations before I bought it because of the criticism it gets from some people (who probably don't own it and are going by other reports - which I find have exaggerated the soft borders issue).

Now it is my most used lens, 30 is surprisingly wide and it is my standard walkaround lens. On a recent trip I was unhappy with the IQ from the M28/2.8 (for the landscapes) I was using so switched to the Sigma 30 - a huge improvement.



However it really comes into it's own for individuals / couples / small groups and for subject isolation.



It is an extremely sharp lens so there is no problem shooting from further away and then composing and cropping off the unwanted areas. You specifically mentioned fast AF (and the Sigma is really fast) so I've resisted mentioning the fabulous MF only Zeiss Distagon 28/2.8 which can be had for around the US$400 mark ...... oops !
08-10-2011, 10:29 PM   #11
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Deleted - double post from the ultra slow connection we have here !
08-11-2011, 12:45 AM   #12
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I seem to recall that Sigma make a 20mm f1.8 lens. Not sure it's so great wide-open though, from reviews.
08-11-2011, 05:15 AM   #13
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QuoteOriginally posted by walro Quote
that 3d look I'm after
The Limiteds are great for that, in particular the DA21 (too slow for you, apparently)

QuoteOriginally posted by walro Quote
I'm looking for something less than 35mm that is less than f2.
Tough call. The Sigma 30 f1,4 or 20 f something come to mind, though their IQ is nowhere near the Limiteds. The 3D effect won't be there, if you don't find it with the 16-50. Both those primes are also extremely soft wide open.

QuoteOriginally posted by walro Quote
I'm leaning toward the Sigma 30 1.4. Any other suggestions?

QuoteOriginally posted by walro Quote
what I'm more interested in is what would have the fastest autofocus.
The Sigma is fine, but not breathtaking. I find (personal opinion) that it lacks emotion. I can always spot a shot taken with my DA21, it has that something that some lenses lack.

I think that except if you get lucky in the used market, you will need to prioritize between speed and IQ. I'm NOT saying Sigma's IQ is bad, I'm saying you ask for performances on par with your DA*55 and DA70 and you won't get it from those two lenses. The lenses that will do what you ask and currently available are the DA21 and FA31. In the used market, the FA*24, F or FA28 f2,8 (not quite as good as the DA21 but pretty darn good) and the FA20 f2.8 are your best bets.
08-11-2011, 05:23 AM   #14
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QuoteOriginally posted by bdery Quote
The 3D effect won't be there. Both those primes are also extremely soft wide open.
The 30mm f/1.4 ozzes with 3D effect, more so than alot of the Limited's.
Extremely soft wide open? Look up the page

A picture is worth a 1000 words.
08-11-2011, 05:26 AM   #15
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So I was looking through the photos from my last wedding. The 16-50 is indispensable. I used it primarily for groups indoors with lights, dress shots, and the ceremony. But all my photos from the 55 had a special look to them that none of the zooms had. Maybe I should get busy and edit some photos so I can post some examples. I got a lot of head and shoulders, 3/4 length shots, and even some full length shots, but I was working in some fairly tight conditions (one room schoolhouse, porches, etc.) where I think a 30 would've yielded what I'm after.

Yes, I think I'm coveting the full frame look, but I'm only on my sixth wedding and don't have that kind of dough to drop. The last wedding I was shooting in the rain and the bride's aunt (a Canon photographer who came along for fun) had to tuck her camera under her shirt while I kept shooting away. I'm a pretty loyal Pentaxian, but I do find wedding photographers like Katelyn James and Jasmine Star (full frame users who use fast primes) very inspiring. So I think I'm trying to get as close to that look as I can without owning a 5d mk ii.
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