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12-31-2007, 09:39 AM   #1
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Join Date: Dec 2007
Location: New York USA
Posts: 23
Greetings, Introduction, and a wide prime question

Greetings:

I have been lurking in the forums for months now, learning a lot and enjoying it all. This is a great community with a lot of talented folks. On the technical side I have picked up a lot of good tips and enjoyed reading all the opinions, and on the photographic side I've seen some great images posted here.

Long time on and off photo enthusiast here, in high school and college I was full into it, photo editor of the paper, lots of 35mm equipment, darkroom work in B+W and color, etc. Once out of college I went into photofinishing, and you know how that goes, once you make your hobby your business it stops being fun. After many years of working on other people's photos I got out of that, and back into actually taking pictures. Although I know film inside and out, I haven't touched it in years, all digital now. After lots of fun with various point and shoots I went DSLR about a year ago with a K100D and have been having a great time with it ever since.

I'm currently working on expanding my lens options beyond the kit lens. I'll never get to the bag full of them I had with my 35mm gear, but I want some choices. I just ordered the Zenitar fisheye off of ebay for fun, haven't received that yet. I have decided that my first "serious" lens needs to be a wide angle prime. I need some help with that decision, and I know there's lots of folks here who won't hesitate to buy vicariously through me and give me their opinions :-))

Stuff I tend to shoot:
Street pics, people (candids mostly), places, things, pets.... low light, available light, night shots, hand-held, abstract stuff, stuff that I'm close to

Stuff I don't tend to shoot:
Sweeping landscapes and vistas, wild animals, stuff that's far away, on a tripod, in the studio

I've decided that I want something on the wide end, and since normal on the DSLR is around 30-35 that means I want to be down around 20mm. I'm looking seriously at the DA 21 pancake, and also the Sigma 20 1.8. They seem to be very different lenses and I'm having trouble making up my mind, especially since they are pretty close in price. Here's what I see:

Da 21 pancake
Pros:
Size (I really like the form factor of the pancake)
It's a Pentax, and a Limited

Cons:
3.2 max aperture
Some mixed reviews about image quality, some of which I see when looking at pics on pbase and flikr

Sigma 20
Pros:
Much larger max aperture
Seems to get better overall reviews for image quality, pics do look better to me on pbase and flickr (overall sharpness, contrast, etc)

Cons:
Physical size and weight

Need some feedback from folks who may have one or both of these lenses. Am I being overly sensitive to the IQ comments about the 21 pancake? I love the size and weight of the pancake, and I admit I like it's novelty value also. Because I like to shoot available light, I'm really attracted to the wide aperture on the Sigma, and wondering if it's IQ is really that much better (?)

And before anyone goes there, sadly I can't afford both right now ! Future additions I'm thinking about include the 40 pancake (which seems to getter better marks for IQ than the 21), the 50mm 1.4, and perhaps the DA 18-250 zoom for the far stuff (this zoom and one of the pancakes would be great for traveling I think).

Thanks and a very Happy New Year to everyone on this wonderful forum

Bruce

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