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View Poll Results: Sigma 30mm f1.4 or Pentax DA 50mm f1.8
Sigma 30mm f1.4 2457.14%
Pentax DA 50mm f1.8 1842.86%
Voters: 42. You may not vote on this poll

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02-22-2013, 11:24 AM   #1
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Siggy 30mm f1.4 or DA 50mm f1/8 - poll

I'm ordering my K5IIs tomorrow and have enough for one prime. Having tested both these primes in the shop, I really cant decide. They are the only two that fit my budget right now after deciding on the S version.

I know the field of view on these lenses is very different, but I'm really stuck on whats best for my needs.

The lens will be used as walkabout and portraits, occasional indoor use.

I will invest in further lenses down the line whether it be longer or shorter focal lengths.

My purchase fate lies in your very good hands.

02-22-2013, 11:38 AM   #2
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based on your needs, I'd go for the 50mm. The 30mm is not the most flattering for portraits...... see this article for a better understanding of how working distance from your subject will impact the photo....... Impact of Focal Length on Portraits : On Taking Pictures
02-22-2013, 11:41 AM   #3
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I don't know what other lenses you own so under the assumption that the number is zero, a 30mm is a much better walk around and all purpose lens than a 50 on APS-C cameras. I'm not going to comment on the IQ of either because I don't have experience with either one. I own several Pentax 50 and 55 mm primes. They are excellent lenses (all of them!) but they rarely get used. The one old prime I use an awful lot is a Super Tak 28/3.5 which I consider an excellent walk around size.
02-22-2013, 11:43 AM   #4
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QuoteOriginally posted by Lukinosity Quote
based on your needs, I'd go for the 50mm. The 30mm is not the most flattering for portraits......
Just don't frame the photos the same, if you frame the 30mm wider then there is no problem at all. But for head shoulder the 50mm is indeed better option.
30mm is a standard lens for APS-C so it would make a great all rounder, i also like the bokeh better.

02-22-2013, 11:52 AM   #5
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I agree with Lukinosity as far as portraits are concerned. I have a 28mm 2.8 and 3.5 and those rarely get used by me. I use my 50mm 1.4 quite a bit for portraits (but rarely anything else). I like the fact the 50mm 'forces' you to get a tighter shot, and the result is usually more desirable for portraits.
I would say a happy medium is a 40mm, which I use a lot as a walkaround lens.
I also will not comment on the quality of either, since I do not have either. If that is going to be your only lens for a while you will learn to use it to your advantage whichever you choose. On paper, the most ideal would be the 30mm, simply because in many situations you could move in on a subject if needed, but you will have to consciously make that effort.
02-22-2013, 12:00 PM   #6
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I just got the DA 50 1.8. While I like the round aperture blades a lot because I can get the round bokeh highlights even if I'm not shooting wide open; I would have to say that if you can get your hands on a cheap ($280) sigma 30 1.4, go for it. You can always substitute a 50mm prime with those cheap older ones like the M 50 1.7 but I believe that the 30mm sigma doesn't have a cheap good alternative. I've been looking around Adorama and B&H and apparently the sigma 30 1.4 pentax is out of stock already.

P.S. The only reason I went ahead with the DA 50 1.8 is because I got it for a very good price brand new, and can't let that chance pass.
My dream lens line-up would be the DA15, Sigma 30 1.4 and the DA 55 1.4

Good luck
02-22-2013, 12:05 PM - 1 Like   #7
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I can't speak for the DA 50mm f/1.8 but my smc 50mm f1.4 is pretty nice. Its definitely more of single subject portrait lens but I still find it a bit wide for head and shoulders. I prefer my Sigma 85mm f/1.4 for single person portraiture. Again, no experience with the DA 50 but I hear the auto focus is kind of shoddy. The Sigma 30mm f/1.4 can be used for portraits, especially multi-person shots. It also works good for wider environmental portraits. That being said, The 30mm lacks HSM and quickshift focus which I really miss. The build quality seems good enough and the glass is very sharp in the center. I'd say it was a good deal for $290 but I don't know how much higher I would go.

These are both taken using the Sigma 30mm f/1.4 with my K-5.

02-22-2013, 12:25 PM   #8
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@enoeske True that the DA 50 1.8's AF is not that great. But I can't complain (: The reason I got it is because of the round bokeh highlights(And I got if for a cheap price too!). But to be honest I still love the bokeh of my M/A 50 1.7 and they're much more cheaper than the DA 50. I would suggest to the OP to get the 30 1.4 and then get a cheap manual prime, then go after the 55 1.4

Here's some sample of the DA 50 1.8 (I just got it the other day)

Initial test: shot at 1.8


Round bokeh highlights that I was talking about. Shot at 2.8

Last edited by kaiserz; 02-22-2013 at 12:53 PM.
02-22-2013, 02:19 PM   #9
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If you have to choose between these two options then I would say the DA 50mm.

A 50mm focal length will be a little long for indoor use at times because of the crop factor but if portraits are your main concern then the 50mm is more flattering when you're up close. The 30mm is very usable for portraits but when you are at a close camera-to-subject distance the closer portions of the subject's face (usually the nose and forehead) appears enlarged because of the wider perspective of a 30mm lens versus a 50mm lens. The link that Lukinosity included in his post explains this perfectly.

However, if you stand back with the 30mm you can use Photoshop or similar software to crop in closer after the fact without the nasty facial distortions that come from using a wide angle lens close to your subject.

You could also split the difference and go with the DA 40mm pancake.
02-22-2013, 02:40 PM   #10
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Another option is the DA35, it is 52mm equivalent on APS-C, reasonably priced and well liked by most based on comments on here.
02-22-2013, 03:09 PM   #11
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Thanks for the input. I could possibly get the DA 50 or 35 and get the other later down the line. Seems the Siggy is winning the poll though!
02-22-2013, 04:08 PM   #12
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After buying a Pentax camera, get a Pentax lens to go with it. This is the only way to get used to Pentax features of DA lenses. I would start looking at lenses and not at the camera when buying a setup (I also started out the other way around many years ago). Besides that, get the focal length you need or just wait until you can affort the lens you may really want.
02-22-2013, 06:22 PM   #13
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I had a FA 50 1.4 which I never really liked. Not very good open. It's a bit long so I would not recommend it for indoors or walk-around.

The DA is rather inexpensive (but buy a hood, too) and may be OK for portraits.

I found the Sigma 30 more fun to use, and a bit better wide open. Maybe a better FL for walk around and landscape.
02-22-2013, 06:29 PM   #14
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DA35-2.4 and an A50-1.7 would be the smart play IMO
02-22-2013, 06:40 PM   #15
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I have a FA 50 1.4 and the Sigma 30 1.4, and I prefer the FL of the 30. Also keep in mind that the 30 is very sharp in the center and would allow for substantial cropping when you need it.
Here are a couple of test shots with the Sigma that are heavily cropped. The dog photo is wide open.
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