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03-07-2013, 05:57 PM   #1
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Sigma Super Wide vs. the big guys

I've been looking through the various 24mm available for Pentax, and I've found one that seems too good to be true: the Sigma 24mm f/2.8 Super Wide II. There are stories all over these forums about people who have it, love it, and use it all the time, or who have sold it, and wish they hadn't. It's not easy to find, but ebay indicates the MF version can be had for a little more than $100, or the AF for $200.

The competition I'm thinking of is the Pentax FA* 24/2, the Samyang 24/1.4, and Sigma's own modern replacement, a 24/1.8. They're all faster (in the case of the Samyang, much faster), but is 1 or 2 stops really worth an extra $400? Plus, all these lenses are HUGE and heavy compared to the Super Wide.

None of these lenses are perfect. The Pentax is soft in the corners, the Samyang is really expensive for an MF, and the new Sigma has pretty hefty vignetting. The Super Wide, I've read, suffers from low contrast in bright light, but that's the only issue I can find.

Among the "big guys," I wouldn't mind the Samyang, since B&H has it on sale for "only" $500 until March 12, but the Super Wide for 1/4 the price sounds like a much better deal, unless I'm missing something. Am I?

03-07-2013, 06:34 PM   #2
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Check the current Sigma Outlet prices for 20, 24, and 28 mm prices in Pentax mounts.
03-07-2013, 06:39 PM   #3
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Just curious--do you read the posts on your prior question on 28mm?

.If you did you would see the adaptall-2 24mm (f2.5) lens is relatively cheap and good. Adapter and lens will be on the order of $100.-$150. (e.g., KEH).

And besides A setting, it will fit a nikon, etc.(with cheap adapter) if you later get another platfrom.
03-07-2013, 06:40 PM   #4
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I've had 2 copies of this lens, one AF and one MF. I preferred the Pentax A24/2.8, and now have the FA*24/2. Yes, the FA*24 is worth it - it's in line with other quality lenses that only need to be stopped down 1/3 stop to get close to optimal IQ (so was the A24, for that matter). Sigmas tend not to. The Superwide II, in particular, needs to be stopped down a full stop for me to begin to want to use it. This puts the FA*24 at almost 2 stops faster in practice. It's nice to have a lens that wide and that fast at the same time. If you compare it to the new Canon 24/2.8 IS lens for $650 it doesn't sound so expensive.


Last edited by DSims; 03-07-2013 at 06:46 PM.
03-07-2013, 07:52 PM   #5
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QuoteOriginally posted by dms Quote
Just curious--do you read the posts on your prior question on 28mm?
I did, yes. I just changed my mind about which lens I wanted to get. I already have the Sigma 30, which would easily outclass anything I could get for $50. I like the fun factor of old, cheap lenses, but I've realized that the novelty wears off quickly, and then it's back to the good lenses that I already have.

However, the mini-wide suggestion led me to the super-wide, which seemed really good compared to the much more expensive lenses. Better yet, 24mm actually fills a hole between my 14mm and 30mm. So, I've decided spend more money on something that really has a chance of staying on the camera. I did look at the Tamron 24/2.5, but my lens preferences are heavily weighted towards sharpness. I've never considered the Adaptalls before, though. There are some interesting possibilities there.

QuoteOriginally posted by lukulele Quote
Check the current Sigma Outlet prices for 20, 24, and 28 mm prices in Pentax mounts.
Aha! $409 is a little more my speed. I had just about given up on finding one of those for less than $550. I can't find any used, at all, anywhere. The Samyang still has my eye, though. Does anyone have some personal experience with the Sigma 24/1.8 or the Samyang?

QuoteOriginally posted by DSims Quote
I've had 2 copies of this lens, one AF and one MF. I preferred the Pentax A24/2.8, and now have the FA*24/2. Yes, the FA*24 is worth it - it's in line with other quality lenses that only need to be stopped down 1/3 stop to get close to optimal IQ (so was the A24, for that matter). Sigmas tend not to. The Superwide II, in particular, needs to be stopped down a full stop for me to begin to want to use it. This puts the FA*24 at almost 2 stops faster in practice. It's nice to have a lens that wide and that fast at the same time. If you compare it to the new Canon 24/2.8 IS lens for $650 it doesn't sound so expensive.
The problem I have with the Pentax lenses is that they're so hard to find! I can't find any A24's at all, and all the FA*24's are >$700 on the Bay. That's just too much. As far as the price of the Canon glass, it's all relative. You can pay as much as you want for a lens. I understand the Canon lens the Samyang is trying to compete with is close to $2,000.
03-07-2013, 07:55 PM   #6
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QuoteOriginally posted by scratchpaddy Quote
The Super Wide, I've read, suffers from low contrast in bright light, but that's the only issue I can find.
Like many vintage lenses, it also is fairly susceptible to flare, which is why a good hood is essential.

Check out this thread for other members' opinions about the Sigma 24 super-wide, compared to FA*24 and DA 21...
Sigma 24mm f2.8 Super-Wide II vs. DA 21mm. - PentaxForums.com
03-07-2013, 08:21 PM   #7
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The SuperWide II is among the best of the cheap stuff and readily available in KA or KAF mounts. I like it but largely because it was cheap. I don't think it would hold up to the FA*, Sigma 24/1.8 or Samyang. I have used it on film and it's a good cheap film lens too.

The FA* looks bigger than it is. It has a fairly big hood.
03-07-2013, 08:33 PM   #8
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17-50/2.8 zooms are typically v.good in the 20-40 range, so there's very little point (pure LBA aside) for a 2.8 prime in this range.

My two cents is either buy a f/2 or faster prime, or buy a f/2.8 zoom. My additional 1c is I find Pentax's fixation on slow DA primes frustrating as hell.

03-07-2013, 08:57 PM   #9
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QuoteOriginally posted by twitch Quote
17-50/2.8 zooms are typically v.good in the 20-40 range, so there's very little point (pure LBA aside) for a 2.8 prime in this range.

My two cents is either buy a f/2 or faster prime, or buy a f/2.8 zoom. My additional 1c is I find Pentax's fixation on slow DA primes frustrating as hell.
I see you have angrily scratched out half the DA lenses in your sig collection . Yeah, I try to avoid APS-C exclusive lenses, though that's because I like the sweet-spot advantage, and I'm trying to future-proof my collection. Surely Pentax will come up with a FF soon. Surely.

You have a point about the zooms. The big advantage of primes is speed, so why not take full advantage of it? Still, 2.8 zooms are quite expensive; much more expensive than the Super-Wide.

QuoteOriginally posted by seventysixersfan Quote
Like many vintage lenses, it also is fairly susceptible to flare, which is why a good hood is essential.

Check out this thread for other members' opinions about the Sigma 24 super-wide, compared to FA*24 and DA 21...
Pentax Forum - Camera & Photography Community - PentaxForums.com
I tend to lump low contrast and flare into the same category, since the cause is pretty much the same. I've used plenty of old lenses, and seen some pretty bad ones.

Thanks for pointing out that thread. I'm surprised how many people were defending the cheap, old Sigma as better than the Pentax alternatives! Hmmm...
03-07-2013, 09:39 PM   #10
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I have settled on an AF Superwide as my 24mm of choice, winning out over a Cosina-made Vivitar 24/2.8, a Komine-made Vivitar 24/2, and the DA 21 (but just barely). 24mm is a nice focal length for a walk-around prime, and the Superwide can close focus to 1:4.5 or so, fine for flowers. AF tipped the scales against the Vivitars, and while the DA was punchier and probably better stopped down, the Sigma was better wide open and up close. A zoom would be significantly bigger and heavier, not to mention more money. It is a good little lens! I suspect K mount prices are more like $150/$250 for MF and AF respectively, though.

Happy shopping!
03-07-2013, 10:31 PM   #11
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QuoteOriginally posted by scratchpaddy Quote
The problem I have with the Pentax lenses is that they're so hard to find! I can't find any A24's at all, and all the FA*24's are >$700 on the Bay. That's just too much.

Man you made my day, but your day will come too. I snatched an 'Ugly' A24/2.8 from keh.com for well under $200, so now and then they're out there. I had been really happy with my all-manual Rikenon 28/2.8 until this thing showed up. And if Ugly means 'no lens cap' I'll manage every time. Never fear their Bargain/Ugly lenses, not with their return policy!
03-07-2013, 11:54 PM   #12
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The Sigma 24/2.8 is a solid performer. It's not as sharp as the Samyang [few lenses are], but it should at least match the others at moderate aperture.
03-07-2013, 11:57 PM   #13
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QuoteOriginally posted by twitch Quote
17-50/2.8 zooms are typically v.good in the 20-40 range, so there's very little point (pure LBA aside) for a 2.8 prime in this range.

My two cents is either buy a f/2 or faster prime, or buy a f/2.8 zoom. My additional 1c is I find Pentax's fixation on slow DA primes frustrating as hell.

This is a valid point. Sigma's and Tamron's 17-50/2.8 are very sharp lenses.
03-11-2013, 01:57 PM   #14
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QuoteOriginally posted by civiletti Quote
This is a valid point. Sigma's and Tamron's 17-50/2.8 are very sharp lenses.
I have the Sigma 24mm in manual and AF versions. My next purchase will be a Tamron 17-50 f2.8 tp replace my DA16-45, but the great advantage of the 24 is the size, it is aompact little lens. I am happy to use it wide open, although try to shoot at f3.5 Flare can be a real problem with bright lights though. Overall for the price ( I paid 40 for the manual and 65 for the af, although it did need a 30 service) I find it a useful lens.

Shot below wotht he af version (although I manual focus) at f3.5 Some of the other shots that evening had pretty dodgy flare (just like they add into CGI shots in films, ha ha )
Greyhound Night | Flickr - Photo Sharing!

03-11-2013, 03:01 PM   #15
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The super-wide is a very nice lens, and despite some comments, is very sharp even wide open. It has very nice bokeh and renders blues skies particularly beautifully.

I had the MF version but sold it when I got the AF. I regret selling it as the MF version, though optically identical, was nicer to use and significantly smaller and lighter. The AF versions is better built though, being metal-bodied. I don't use it that much as I have the Tamron 17-50, and now the 21mm ltd. The 24mm is my widest lens on 35mm film though.

Here are a couple of shots which I took recently, wide open. Though not much photographically, they demonstrate well the strengths of the lens.



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