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12-14-2011, 10:29 PM   #46
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QuoteOriginally posted by bossa Quote
To the OP: Quite a number of excellent shooters on this forum have started to use the Sigma 30 F/1.4. It's way sharper in the middle than the FA31LTD wide open but soft on the edges. IF you want something for portraits then I'd suggest you look at it and if you need something sharp corner to corner for cityscapes or landscapes then the FA31 is the go. Horses for courses as always. I have a 31mm LTD and I am still considering the Sigma for certain subject matter.
I don't doubt that the Sigma is a fine lens or that it is very sharp, but there is much more to lens quality than sharpness. Some people value the unique rendering characteristics of the FA Limiteds. For them, the fact that other lenses may be just as sharp is not terribly important. Other people don't understand what the FA fuss is all about. For them, it makes more sense to spend their money on something else.

Rob

12-14-2011, 11:36 PM   #47
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QuoteOriginally posted by robgo2 Quote
I don't doubt that the Sigma is a fine lens or that it is very sharp, but there is much more to lens quality than sharpness. Some people value the unique rendering characteristics of the FA Limiteds. For them, the fact that other lenses may be just as sharp is not terribly important. Other people don't understand what the FA fuss is all about. For them, it makes more sense to spend their money on something else.

Rob
The Sigma 30 is way sharper in the center of the frame than the '31 but it is very soft at the edges of the frame. It excels at isolating subjects because of this but its biggest drawback is the geometric COC at smaller apertures.

Regarding the LTD's I know about two of them personally because I own a '31 and a '77. On the other hand I also love my A 50/1.7, A50/1.4 and Sigma 50/1.4 for different reasons. The A50's aren't going anywhere and I would recommend the A50/1.7 to anyone looking for an amazing lens. But probably the sharpest 50 I have is a Ricoh XR 50 1.7 manual lens.. I got it for free and it always amazes me. Sorry if I went OT there.
12-15-2011, 01:17 PM   #48
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QuoteOriginally posted by bossa Quote
The Sigma 30 is way sharper in the center of the frame than the '31 but it is very soft at the edges of the frame. It excels at isolating subjects because of this but its biggest drawback is the geometric COC at smaller apertures.

Regarding the LTD's I know about two of them personally because I own a '31 and a '77. On the other hand I also love my A 50/1.7, A50/1.4 and Sigma 50/1.4 for different reasons. The A50's aren't going anywhere and I would recommend the A50/1.7 to anyone looking for an amazing lens. But probably the sharpest 50 I have is a Ricoh XR 50 1.7 manual lens.. I got it for free and it always amazes me. Sorry if I went OT there.
That's quite a collection you have, so then you must appreciate the fact that there is more to value in a lens than pure sharpness.

Rob
12-15-2011, 03:53 PM   #49
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QuoteOriginally posted by bossa Quote
The Sigma 30 is way sharper in the center of the frame than the '31 but it is very soft at the edges of the frame. It excels at isolating subjects because of this but its biggest drawback is the geometric COC at smaller apertures.
I think "way sharper" may be over-stating it just a tad. I think marginally sharper would be more accurate. I've had a 30 before and agree that it's a fine lens. I even understand someone preferring it to a 31. My particular copy of the 31, at least, gives up very little, if anything in center-sharpness to the 30. Sample variation, unfortunately, is a very real issue with the limiteds.

12-15-2011, 04:13 PM   #50
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The FA31 simply excells, my copy is exceptionally sharp and has beautifully smooth bokeh. I've been shooting with it on film and it's just as superb on my MZ-S as it is on my K-5, something the Sigma can't claim. Buying a FA31 is an example of "the quality is remembered long after the cost is forgotten".

... I re-read what I wrote, lol, I really am a bit OTT about the FA31 .... back to normal programming...
12-15-2011, 04:32 PM   #51
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The Sigma 30 is between 60 to 160 lines sharper in the center than the '31 on a 10mpx sensor depending on the aperture.
12-15-2011, 05:50 PM   #52
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QuoteOriginally posted by robgo2 Quote
I don't doubt that the Sigma is a fine lens or that it is very sharp, but there is much more to lens quality than sharpness. Some people value the unique rendering characteristics of the FA Limiteds.
That's close to the spirit that made me open the thread. Comparing "FA ltd Club" and "DA ltd club", it's obvious that FAs have something different and it's what I look for. That's why I hardly considered other options.
I understood that other lenses have that "something different" but, according to what I've read, they are mostly MF... What lens (with KA mount and for reasonnable price) would have very special (and nice, of course...) rendering, between 28 and 35 mm ?

QuoteOriginally posted by abacus07 Quote
As far as the OP is concerned I think he should buy the focal length that he wants
I've no doubt on that anymore, as I said before. Even if the FA characteristic rendering is more pronounced with the 43. You all seem to agree on that.

I was on a good track for a second-hand FA31 but it failed... I keep on seeking !
12-15-2011, 06:06 PM   #53
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QuoteOriginally posted by bossa Quote
The Sigma 30 is between 60 to 160 lines sharper in the center than the '31 on a 10mpx sensor depending on the aperture.
Again, sample variation would be a key factor in any comparison.

12-15-2011, 06:33 PM   #54
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I had all three and now I have only the 21/43. I don't think the 43 in any shape or form is inferior to the 31. It is more compact than the 31. The 21/43 combo is easily pocketable and the DA21 is a very good performer with both the K-7/K-5, not so much when I had the K10D.

I vote for 21/43.
12-17-2011, 11:15 AM   #55
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QuoteOriginally posted by Rez Quote
That's close to the spirit that made me open the thread. Comparing "FA ltd Club" and "DA ltd club", it's obvious that FAs have something different and it's what I look for. That's why I hardly considered other options.
I own all three FA Limiteds and one DA Limited. My impression is that the FAs produce very sharp images with a silky smoothness, while the DAs produce very sharp images with more punch. As to which is better is a matter of personal taste, but I prefer the rendering of the FA Limiteds. It is also my impression that most, but not all, people who have experience with both Limited series are with me on this.

Rob

Last edited by robgo2; 02-07-2012 at 09:11 AM.
12-17-2011, 05:46 PM   #56
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I mentioned earlier that I have the 21 and the 43 and I was out today with that combo. I took some shots of my son at a children's museum and kept finding that either the 43mm was too close or the 21 was too far away. I think a 30mm choice would have been perfect. That isn't to say I can't move around and get the right shot with the 21 and 43mm combo. I was just really tired today and didn't want to "manually" zoom. I've long thought about the sigma 30mm f1.4... Perhaps I'll find one in the stocking.
12-18-2011, 04:43 PM   #57
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I would love to try the FA 31 but can't justify the cost. The FA 43 is obtainable but I find the 64.5mm full-frame equivalency an odd focal length for me. Too narrow for normal on APS-C, not long enough for portrait work. The DA 40 is the same way - at least for me. On the other hand, I positively love my DA 21. It works out to a full-frame FOV of 30.5mm, which is very close to 35mm, which was my favorite focal length back in the film days. The DA 70 seems like a natural for me next and I'm trying to decide about the DA 15. Arguably, the 12-24 is sharper but the 15 is very handy.

That last remark about the DA 15 brings me to another point: The DA 35 f/2.4, followed by the DA 21 Limited, reignited my enthusiasm for my Pentax kit. I had all zooms up until I got those two primes and some zooms continue to be go-to lenses (the 12-24, 55-300 and even, in certain circumstances, the 18-250). My two weather-resistant lenses, the DA* 16-50 and 50-135, have received less use over the past year so. They've been great in many ways but, frankly, they're really big and heavy. I didn't realize how much this was blunting my enthusiasm until I bought the two primes. Suddenly, it was like working with my old film gear and I actually enjoyed shooting again. That's why I plan to buy more.

I still think there's an important role for zooms but, for me, they may be physically smaller and lighter zooms in the context of a mirrorless camera system. In fact, I am considering going with all primes on my Pentaxes and using zooms on my micro four-thirds kit. But I am eager to learn what Pentax has coming in this area.
12-18-2011, 11:16 PM   #58
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QuoteOriginally posted by dmort Quote
I mentioned earlier that I have the 21 and the 43 and I was out today with that combo. I took some shots of my son at a children's museum and kept finding that either the 43mm was too close or the 21 was too far away. I think a 30mm choice would have been perfect. That isn't to say I can't move around and get the right shot with the 21 and 43mm combo. I was just really tired today and didn't want to "manually" zoom. I've long thought about the sigma 30mm f1.4... Perhaps I'll find one in the stocking.
By the same token, I'm sure that there were some good shots that you got with the 21 and the 43 that you could not have gotten with the 31. Not to dismiss your experience, but it's helpful creatively to concentrate on taking pictures at the focal lengths at your disposal, rather than wishing you could take other pictures at focal lengths not at your disposal. Let the lens dictate the photos.

Rob

Last edited by robgo2; 12-22-2011 at 03:36 PM.
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