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02-17-2012, 07:33 AM   #1
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Which fast normal prime?

Hi all,
Im deciding between the Pentax DA 35mm f/2.4 and Sigma 30mm f/1.4, what should I choose?
The lens I bought together with the K-x was the DA17-70, which I still use. I would like to go into primes mainly because of image quality (which shoud be better than my zoom) and low light performance which I miss a bit in my DA zoom. I can't or wouldn't take my flash everytime/everywhere I go, beside that I like available light photography.

I'm searching for a nice prime, preferably a normal FOV, so not (ultra)wide/tele which I can use in general. The use of my new prime mainly will be indoor low light, but also general photography (indoor/outdoor) being more creative with one focal length instead of continuously zooming / framing. It would be nice if the new prime is lighter in weight than my zoom, however this is not a must have.

Are there maybe any (third party) alternatives I should consider? BTW, I do not shoot a lot of macro is not a must have feature for me.

Budget: +- EUR 400,= max.

I appreciate all help and tips, preferably from people who own more than one normal prime and advise based on own practice.

Many thanks in advance!

Pentax K-x | DA17-70/f4 | AF540FGZ

02-17-2012, 07:55 AM   #2
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I can't speak for the Sigma, but I've got the Pentax 35mm 2.4 and despite the plastic mount, I think you'd be hard pressed to find a better lens for the money. I've only had it a couple of months, but it currently spends more time on my camera than anything else.

It is very light thanks to its plastic construction, but it still seems pretty rugged. I wouldn't hammer a nail with it, but I don't worry about breaking it with normal use.

It's not the fastest prime around, but it is sufficient for most uses. I rarely use any flash, but I'm not above whipping out the tripod and using a really long shutter speed just to get the shot.

It is wide, but not unusually so. It is roughly equivalent to a 55mm lens of old, so it is about as normal as you can get. This may just be my personal taste coming in to play, but I find it is a better FOV for carrying around than the 50mm 1.4.

I hope this is a little help. I'd like to tell you more, but this is about all I can offer right now.
02-17-2012, 08:27 AM   #3
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I haven't used the Sigma, but I got the DA for Christmas and have been quite happy with it. It weighs nothing and the colors are pleasing and even the bokeh is nice for such an inexpensive lens. It's quite the excellent bargain. It has reasonably close focus, too, for a non-macro lens.
02-17-2012, 09:01 AM   #4
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You can expect better image quality from f2,4 up from the DA35, especially if you are expecting sharp image with minimum CA even at the border of the frame. But Sigma provides apertures f1,4-2,2 that DA cannot give you and it is very sharp in image center. And even the edges may not be unusable.

I'd probably go with Sigma...

02-17-2012, 10:39 AM   #5
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I have the DA 35 2.4 It's wonderful for the price, but it's not really fast enough, also you have to go to 3.5 which I think is its sweet spot, it's an okay sharp, but if I have the money I will look into the sigma. If it has awesome reviews then I'd go with that.
02-17-2012, 02:32 PM   #6
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Thanks for your support so far - very useful - but I still have some questions left:

Which prime will give the best overall performance for shooting indoor playing kids / landscapes / available light / portraits (I will buy only one prime)?

Are there any quality problems to be expected with the Sigma 30/1.4 when I
order a brand new one with the new black matt finish? Are the known quality
issues (front/back focus isssues as well as soft copies) with this lens meanwhile solved? The lens has been introduced in 2005, should meanwhile be solved.

What is the risk getting a bad copy and how should I test on this?

Does the CA/distortion correction on my K-x work when I put a DA35/2.4 on it?
(in this case the lens has been released a couple of years later than the camera, is it backwards compatible?).

What result can we expect from the corners of 30/1.4 in real life landscape shots
(necessarily it can be stopped down for landscape shooting to at least f8)?

Again, thanks for your appreciated help!
02-18-2012, 04:50 AM   #7
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You're comparing $160 lens (da 35mm 2.4) against a $$460 (sigma 30mm 1.4).

Both are fine lens. I had the Sigma 30mm and quickly became one of my favorite lens. I only gave it up for the convenience of a normal zoom lens.
02-18-2012, 04:56 AM   #8

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QuoteOriginally posted by Bandit2006 Quote
Does the CA/distortion correction on my K-x work when I put a DA35/2.4 on it?
(in this case the lens has been released a couple of years later than the camera, is it backwards compatible?).
I'd also wondered about that issue, but it seems that the K-x will just read the correction information that is stored in the lens.

02-18-2012, 05:03 AM   #9
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If you can afford it go for the Sigma 30

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