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04-07-2012, 09:52 PM   #46
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Has anyone mentioned the Pentax 35/2.4? It might be a very good fit. It's a very mild tele, and 2.4 should be a workable max aperture.

04-07-2012, 10:37 PM   #47
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QuoteOriginally posted by Wheatfield Quote
Has anyone mentioned the Pentax 35/2.4? It might be a very good fit. It's a very mild tele, and 2.4 should be a workable max aperture.
Yes, it was one of the three excellent 35's that Kennod mentions. Seems like it's hard to beat for the price when it comes to image quality. It would also be a good lens for the OP to test, to see if they like the focal length before buying something more expensive/faster, such as the FA31 ltd.
04-08-2012, 09:43 AM   #48
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QuoteOriginally posted by Edgar_in_Indy Quote
I was looking at the two Photozone reviews for the Sigma and Pentax, and noticed that the two reviews had a couple of sample images that featured the same subject and composition. The lighting is different, but if you keep that in mind, I think they can still be useful for comparing the two lenses. Here are small versions of the images that you can click on to open the original, full size images:

After studying these images, and obscenely pixel-peeping them, I must say that I'm not seeing where the Pentax noticeably outshines the Sigma, except wide open at the extreme borders. Both sets of images look very good to me in terms of sharpness, contrast, bokeh, and color.

I think the gate image looks very good from both lenses. It's possible that the Pentax has slightly more pleasing bokeh in this instance, but it's kind of hard to make an exact comparison, since the leaves on Pentax image are bathed in sunlight, whereas on the Sigma image the leaves are in shadow. Also, the Sigma is at 1.4 while the Pentax is at 1.8, so it wouldn't really be an apples-to-apples bokeh comparison anyway. The big difference in this image is the leaves at the very bottom of the frame that happen to fall into the narrow field of focus. On the Pentax, those leaves along the edge are much sharper than the Sigma. The situation would be somewhat improved for the Sigma if it was also at f1.8, but the Pentax would still have the advantage here.

In the church image, the tree branches in the extreme upper-left corner probably look a bit better on the Pentax than the Sigma, but if you look at the church itself, it seems to me that the Sigma is noticeably sharper. This is most obvious in the bricks, and especially the details of the windows. Even the grass in front of the church looks like it has a little more detail in the Sigma image. And moving close to the edge of the frame, to the larger ball on top of the steeple, I don't see where the Pentax has a sharpness advantage.

I'm surprised that the Sigma would look sharper over so much of the frame, because according to the resolution charts, both lenses peak at f4, and then start to go downhill. But the Sigma church image is shot at f10, while the Pentax image is shot at f8, closer to the resolution sweet spot. But then again, the Photozone resolution charts do show the Sigma achieving a higher maximum resolution, so perhaps this should not be so unexpected. I wonder how the comparison would have been if both lenses were at f8.

But my point in all of this is that in the real world, the image quality differences between these two lenses are not nearly as pronounced as the lab tests might indicate. And it looks like what the Sigma gives up at the edges, it regains in the center.

For easy reference, here are links to the two Photozone.de reviews:

Sigma AF 30mm f/1.4 EX DC (Pentax K) Review / Test Report

Pentax SMC-FA 31mm f/1.8 AL Limited - Review / Test Report
What can one learn from this comparison? The photos were taken on different days with different light and different skies. One is high contrast and the other low contrast. I conclude that we can learn nothing about the relative merits of the two lenses.

Rob
04-08-2012, 09:53 AM   #49
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QuoteOriginally posted by Wheatfield Quote
Has anyone mentioned the Pentax 35/2.4? It might be a very good fit. It's a very mild tele, and 2.4 should be a workable max aperture.
You did not even read the first reply

04-08-2012, 10:35 AM   #50
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QuoteOriginally posted by mmeckel Quote
I have read a lot of threads like this but it looks like everyone else already has an aray or lenses to complement their gear. I want to go with higher end glass and purchased the smc Pentax FA 50mm 1.4 and am running the K-5 and love it. I do indoor portraits moslty kids and family sessions outside I find I have to back up so much to get full or even 3/4 body shots. I am looking at the DA* line but want to be sure its the right lense for my work. Which lense would you recoment I expand to?
Thank you
Melanie
It depends. Yesterday, I shot an Easter Bonnet event for a local on-line publication. I has a 12-24 on one body and the Tamron 28-75 on the other. I have to move quickly, these are not paid portrait sessions. And of course, its mid day sun in unshaded areas. Here are 3 photographs shot within a minute, first two with DA 12-24, third with the Tamron. People all around so can't back up. Tried to balance fill flash on all three. The entire gallery is here. Easter Bonnets At Waverly Place - Images | Brooke Meyer

Depending on your budget, the Tamrom 28-75 is a great all around choice and very versatile. Edgar's portrait with the Sigma 30/1.4 gives me lens envy and boy would I like to have two more stops. Next in price is the 12-24 which I use a lot at events. The 16-50 is certainly an option. If you can afford it and can back up, the 50-135 is as wonderful as the new price isn't.

I have no experience with primes except for the FA 50/1.4 I sold years ago after I just couldn't get comfortable with it. Not the lens, it was me. I do have experience at events with lots of people and I highly recommend zooms. Sometimes you can't move or can't move quick enough. With portraits, the lenses tend to be too sharp anyway, especially with women. Good tools are important but regardless of lens, the result will mostly be because of what you do. Good exposure, good composition and being engaged with the moment are most important.
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04-08-2012, 11:18 AM   #51
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QuoteOriginally posted by robgo2 Quote
What can one learn from this comparison? The photos were taken on different days with different light and different skies. One is high contrast and the other low contrast. I conclude that we can learn nothing about the relative merits of the two lenses.
The way I saw it, the real world photos backed up the lab results showing the Sigma sharper in the center, and the Pentax sharper at the edges/corners. At the same time, it also demonstrated that both lenses are very capable optically, if a bit different.

Last edited by Edgar_in_Indy; 04-08-2012 at 12:17 PM.
04-08-2012, 03:12 PM   #52
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The Sigma 24-60mm F2.8 is really good and cheap. I paid $200 new for it.


and I second the DA* 50-135mm F2.8

Last edited by john5100; 04-08-2012 at 03:22 PM.
04-08-2012, 08:53 PM   #53
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Okay, no more images of gates and churches. Here's a picture I captured with my Sigma 30mm this very morning, wide open at f/1.4. The subject is my 4-yoa daughter at the Indianapolis International Airport, where she was anxiously watching for her sorely-missed "vovˇ" and "vov˘" (grandma and grandpa) to come home from their annual month-long visit to Brazil. We had just left church, so she is still wearing her Easter dress.

I think this image is more representative of the type of images the OP is wanting to shoot. I love my 50mm lens, but it's just not the right tool for when I want to get a full body shot that shows my subject in their surroundings. This is where the 30mm focal length excels, and the big 1.4 aperture is wonderful for softening the background to make the subject stand out, giving it that kind of 3-dimensional look. It's pictures like these that keep me coming back to this lens.




Last edited by Edgar_in_Indy; 04-08-2012 at 09:40 PM.
04-08-2012, 09:32 PM   #54
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While I'm at it, here's another picture from today, after the Easter Egg hunt at my in-laws. There's a safety net around the trampoline, so the only way to get a good picture is by leaning up against the edge of the trampoline and poking your lens through the opening of the safety net. With my 50mm lens, there's no way I could have gotten a full body shot like this. I stopped the lens down to f/1.8 to allow a little wiggle room in the DOF while shooting a moving subject.


Last edited by Edgar_in_Indy; 04-08-2012 at 10:32 PM.
04-09-2012, 07:21 AM   #55
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Very nice Edgar. I love the first shot the most.
04-09-2012, 04:42 PM   #56
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Love the photograph in the trampoline. Hate the lens envy you've caused. If that's my kid, I'm ordering prints.
04-09-2012, 05:44 PM   #57
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QuoteOriginally posted by Brooke Meyer Quote
Love the photograph in the trampoline. Hate the lens envy you've caused.
I'm sure we could work out some kind of trade deal involving your Sigma 100-300mm f4.

QuoteOriginally posted by Brooke Meyer Quote
If that's my kid, I'm ordering prints.
Are you saying you want a paternity test?



[EDIT]
I just noticed your screen name, so perhaps a 'paternity' test would not be in order...

Last edited by Edgar_in_Indy; 04-09-2012 at 05:57 PM.
04-09-2012, 09:01 PM   #58
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QuoteOriginally posted by Edgar_in_Indy Quote
I'm sure we could work out some kind of trade deal involving your Sigma 100-300mm f4.



Are you saying you want a paternity test?



[EDIT]
I just noticed your screen name, so perhaps a 'paternity' test would not be in order...
I'm a 61 year old Navy vet and father of two Marines with an unusual first name. I've never understood screen names, I just don't get the masquerade rationale. Anyway, I make and sell a lot of pictures of kids, small to big. You made a well exposed and composed and thoughtful portrait of a beautiful healthy child. That needs to be at least an 11x14 and framed up on the wall.

As far as the Sigma, it was on my list and I saw they were going away, swallowed hard and bought one of the last few new ones from Ace in Virginia. I mostly use it for performances. Attached is an example why, wide open at f4, ISO 6400, racked out at 300 mm.


Last edited by Brooke Meyer; 04-09-2012 at 09:53 PM.
04-10-2012, 09:25 AM   #59
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QuoteOriginally posted by Edgar_in_Indy Quote
Okay, no more images of gates and churches. Here's a picture I captured with my Sigma 30mm this very morning, wide open at f/1.4. The subject is my 4-yoa daughter at the Indianapolis International Airport, where she was anxiously watching for her sorely-missed "vovˇ" and "vov˘" (grandma and grandpa) to come home from their annual month-long visit to Brazil. We had just left church, so she is still wearing her Easter dress.

I think this image is more representative of the type of images the OP is wanting to shoot. I love my 50mm lens, but it's just not the right tool for when I want to get a full body shot that shows my subject in their surroundings. This is where the 30mm focal length excels, and the big 1.4 aperture is wonderful for softening the background to make the subject stand out, giving it that kind of 3-dimensional look. It's pictures like these that keep me coming back to this lens.
Nice shot. Please do not construe my earlier comments to mean that the Sigma 30/1.4 is a piece of cr*p that is incapable of delivering pleasing results. I was merely observing that most people who have compared it to the FA31/1.8 think that the Pentax lens is better overall. I will not go to the trouble of posting samples showing the excellence of the FA31, as there are already dozens of them elsewhere on this website and, besides, no one would contest that point.

Rob
04-10-2012, 10:14 AM   #60
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QuoteOriginally posted by robgo2 Quote
Nice shot. Please do not construe my earlier comments to mean that the Sigma 30/1.4 is a piece of cr*p that is incapable of delivering pleasing results. I was merely observing that most people who have compared it to the FA31/1.8 think that the Pentax lens is better overall. I will not go to the trouble of posting samples showing the excellence of the FA31, as there are already dozens of them elsewhere on this website and, besides, no one would contest that point.

Rob
I have to say after looking at Edgar's shots though no-one would dispute the FA31 is excellent, for the intended purpose the Sigma certainly seems to hold it's own. I'd need to see it doing other work though to decide between the 2. I imagine the op will use the lens for work other than the portraits. If so then you need to look at the whole package. I shoot enough stuff that is landscape or architectural that for me it would be important that it be good at both and that may give the FA31 the edge (that and it's smaller lighter size)
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