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01-10-2013, 08:22 PM   #16
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Edgar in Indy, I really like the pictures of the girls. The Sigma 30 is quite a good lens when used to isolate the subject in those circumstances. I had one for a couple of weeks and returned it because of it's weak performance in the corners when used as a standard lens. I shoot mostly with primes and went back to using an FA28 for general use and my F50 1.7 for isolating subjects.

Three months ago I got lucky an acquired an FA31 for a reasonable price. First of all, the FA31 is sharper in the centre wide open than any fast lens I have ever owned in 35 years of photography and I have had a lot of good lenses over the years. It also has amazing contrast and colors even wide open which is a rarity.

Like most f1.4 lenses, the Sigma centre sharpness takes a couple stops to reach excellent levels which is reported in Photozone and matches my personal assessment. I sold my FA50 1.4 and kept my F50 1.7 for the same reason. I used to prefer f1.4 or faster in the film days for low light situations. Low light performance of current DSLRs makes that less important and I personally find giving up half to a full stop for better wide open IQ.

Sorry for the rant on this cool night . I understand that economics make a difference...but if you get a chance to get an FA31 you will not be disappointed. I am kicking myself for waiting so long. I should warn you that Limited Lens disease will afflict you (I have 5) but it is a wonderful affliction and the only side effect is a little poverty.

01-10-2013, 10:25 PM   #17
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QuoteOriginally posted by Primes4ever Quote
Three months ago I got lucky an acquired an FA31 for a reasonable price. First of all, the FA31 is sharper in the centre wide open than any fast lens I have ever owned in 35 years of photography and I have had a lot of good lenses over the years.
Photozone tested a Sigma 30mm 1.4 and a Pentax 31mm 1.8 on the same body, and their resolution test showed that the Sigma at f1.4 edged out the Pentax at f1.8 for center sharpness. Pretty impressive in my book.

I know that almost everybody who owns the 31mm raves about it, and I'm sure I'd love it too, but I'm so happy with the Sigma that I just don't see myself laying down more than a grand for the Pentax. I would certainly like to try one out sometime, but maybe it's better that I don't.

Here's another image from my Sigma, this one capture at f1.4 on my old K-x:


Last edited by Edgar_in_Indy; 01-10-2013 at 10:35 PM.
01-10-2013, 10:33 PM   #18
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These were from my first outing with the 30. A few outings later, I'm finessing the back-focus correction (I'm at +5 at the moment).

f1.7


f5.6


f1.4
01-11-2013, 04:58 AM   #19
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I shot with a Sigma 30mm f1.4 for a little over a year. As Ed says, it is plenty sharp in the middle, although the borders are pretty weak, even at f5.6. The biggest two negatives for it in my book were the lens hood -- just pretty poor design and the rendering of out of focus areas. It just got pretty rough sometimes. This is where the FA 31 does stand quite a bit taller (well, and border sharpness too). Can't say that I have seen a big difference in handling or center sharpness between the two otherwise.

01-12-2013, 01:57 PM   #20
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QuoteOriginally posted by Rondec Quote
The biggest two negatives for it in my book were the lens hood -- just pretty poor design *snip*
What was it that you didn't like about the lens hood? I'm curious because I love it. It's big enough, sturdy and can be collapsed for transport.
01-12-2013, 02:14 PM   #21
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QuoteOriginally posted by Imcalfin Quote
What was it that you didn't like about the lens hood? I'm curious because I love it. It's big enough, sturdy and can be collapsed for transport.
Mine wasn't big enough to really do much and it stopped snapping into place after awhile. Just felt pretty flimsy.
01-12-2013, 03:32 PM   #22
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QuoteOriginally posted by Rondec Quote
Mine wasn't big enough to really do much and it stopped snapping into place after awhile. Just felt pretty flimsy.
Fair enough. I hate to think about how big the hood would be if it were substantially deeper, though. As it is I can comfortably keep it in place when I slip my camera back into the bag.

Mind you, my reason for using hoods isn't so much about image quality as it is about providing adequate protection (from both knocks and my own dirty fingers). The only times I've seen consistent big improvement from lens hoods have been with old lenses with flare issues.
01-12-2013, 03:38 PM   #23
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QuoteOriginally posted by Rondec Quote
Mine wasn't big enough to really do much and it stopped snapping into place after awhile. Just felt pretty flimsy.
I've never had reason to complain about my hood. It always stays on the lens since it is small enough to fit in my bag without removing or reversing the hood.

As far as whether the hood is adequate to prevent interference from bright light sources, I couldn't really say. I mostly use the lens indoors or in other less-than-ideal lighting conditions where a large aperture is needed. But isn't the hood on the 31mm even smaller?

01-12-2013, 05:14 PM   #24
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QuoteOriginally posted by Edgar_in_Indy Quote
I've never had reason to complain about my hood. It always stays on the lens since it is small enough to fit in my bag without removing or reversing the hood.

As far as whether the hood is adequate to prevent interference from bright light sources, I couldn't really say. I mostly use the lens indoors or in other less-than-ideal lighting conditions where a large aperture is needed. But isn't the hood on the 31mm even smaller?
The hood for the FA 31 is designed for full frame and it is the biggest negative on that lens.
01-13-2013, 05:02 AM   #25
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QuoteOriginally posted by Rondec Quote
The hood for the FA 31 is designed for full frame and it is the biggest negative on that lens.
Why?

I love these threads where it's a constant effort to pull out explanations, as if they were teeth.
01-13-2013, 05:38 AM   #26
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QuoteOriginally posted by snake Quote
Why?

I love these threads where it's a constant effort to pull out explanations, as if they were teeth.
Because the point of a lens hood is to protect the front element from flaring. This is really clear with a nice hood like is on the DA *55. The one on the FA 31 is pointless. Better to have a detachable hood than that tiny metal thing that just gets in the way when you are using filters.
01-13-2013, 02:38 PM   #27
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Anyone know if this lens can be purchased with sigmas smoother coating?
01-13-2013, 03:23 PM   #28
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Mine has the smooth coating. I actually kind of liked the crinkle coating though, and that's what my 50-150mm f/2.8 and 100-300mm f/4 have.
01-13-2013, 11:59 PM   #29
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QuoteOriginally posted by JayX2A Quote
Anyone know if this lens can be purchased with sigmas smoother coating?
Mine has the smooth coating. It was purchased new this past December.

I'm just going to go ahead and assume that all new Sigma lenses will have the newer coating. Perhaps Sigma listened to some customer feedback. Good thing too. I've seen pictures of that old sparkly coating. Awful.
01-14-2013, 03:49 AM   #30
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Is 249 a good price for this lens new?

What's AF like without HSM?
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