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10-09-2016, 10:27 PM   #1
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Pentax 31/1,8 Or Sigma 35/1,4 Art?

Hello, some background info:
For about a year ago I got hold of an Pentax K35/3,5 and I freaking love that lens, the colors, the IQ and the build! So much win
The small problem with the lens is that its manual and "no" lightmetering, I understand how to meter the lens and have done so with great results for a year now, we dont have to go in to that here.

I would really want a modern version of that lens, or as close to it as I can get, since I got it my 15/4 Ltd and DA* 60-250 have taken the backseat...

I guess the obvious question is, which lens do I get, the outlandishly expensive 31 ltd och the $650 (In Sweden) cheaper Top Tested Sigma with bigger aperture? But there is no reason for me to buy the Sigma if I won't use it.

10-09-2016, 10:48 PM - 1 Like   #2
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There is a good chance you won't get much use out of the sigma lens because of its size, you only gain fraction of a stop in lens speed at twice the weight*. The FA31 renders images in a very pleasing way, it isn't razor sharp wide open but it is still perfectly usable even on the K-1. The sigma on the other hand is quite sharp and contrasty even wide open, but it lacks the subtle rendering qualities of the FA31. The sigma 35mm may also experience AF issues with the lens meaning you might have to also invest in the lens dock to calibrate it.

Both lenses are good, but as things were in my comparative review of the FA31 Vs Sigma 18-35mm there are many caveats involved when recommending Sigma ART lenses.


Pentax K5IIs - SMCP-FA31mm f/1.8 ASPH Limited @ f/1.8 ISO 80 1/1250th

*346g Vs 665g according to the specs published on B&H
10-09-2016, 11:15 PM   #3
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The Sigma is a phenomenal lens optically, as is the 31mm. I don't hesitate to recommend the Sigma; the only issue is the small mount scratch on the K-1, and hit-and-miss on AF performance. If you get a good copy you'll really enjoy it! The bokeh is to die for (and more pleasing than that of the Pentax, IMO).

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10-09-2016, 11:33 PM   #4
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QuoteOriginally posted by Digitalis Quote
There is a good chance you won't get much use out of the sigma lens because of its size, you only gain fraction of a stop in lens speed at twice the weight*. The FA31 renders images in a very pleasing way, it isn't razor sharp wide open but it is still perfectly usable even on the K-1. The sigma on the other hand is quite sharp and contrasty even wide open, but it lacks the subtle rendering qualities of the FA31. The sigma 35mm may also experience AF issues with the lens meaning you might have to also invest in the lens dock to calibrate it.

Both lenses are good, but as things were in my comparative review of the FA31 Vs Sigma 18-35mm there are many caveats involved when recommending Sigma ART lenses.

*346g Vs 665g according to the specs published on B&H
[/I]
Ok, yeah that┤s one factor I really havn┤t thought of, the size and weight! One of the great qualitys of the K35 is the size. And I have no problem with only 3,5 in aperture so 1,4 or 1,8 doesn't really matter.
I'm trying to find your comparative test Digitalis but I can't find it, can you point me in the right direction?

10-09-2016, 11:39 PM   #5
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QuoteOriginally posted by hence84 Quote
I'm trying to find your comparative test Digitalis but I can't find it, can you point me in the right direction?
You can find it here

the K24mm f/2.8 I use in the title image is similar in size to the M42 35mm f/3.5, next to it is the FA31 so apart from the longer barrel and the built in lens hood the FA31 isn't all that large compared the the 35mm f/3.5.

Last edited by Digitalis; 10-09-2016 at 11:48 PM.
10-09-2016, 11:47 PM   #6
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QuoteOriginally posted by Digitalis Quote
You can find it here

the K28mm f/2.8 I use in the title image is similar in size to the M42 35mm f/3.5, next to it is the FA31 so apart from the longer barrel and the built in lens hood the FA31 isn't all that large compared the the 35mm f/3.5.
Oh! I didn't realize it's that small! I have a lens hood on my K35 so it's the same size..

Last edited by BigMackCam; 10-10-2016 at 07:07 AM. Reason: Removed vulgarity
10-10-2016, 12:13 AM   #7
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I did have the Sigma 35mm 1.4 and it's now replaced by the FA31mm 1.8 the FA31 is lighter, smaller and the metal build suits my taste, you will not regret with either lens though, they are top of the class
10-10-2016, 01:15 AM - 1 Like   #8
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My personal approach in building a lens collection is to go for broad coverage with fixed f/2.8 (in other words, BIG) zooms, and to provide nuance with small primes with special qualities.

The FA31 fits in nicely with that philosophy, the Sigma Art 35/1.4 does not.

10-10-2016, 01:46 AM   #9
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Sigma 35mm Art: Super corrected, super sharp. Super bright aperture. AF is less reliable and the lens is massive, big and heavy.
Pentax FA 31mm ltd: Cult lens, known for character, compact and beautiful, almost as bright, a little wider. But expensive and not as highly corrected.

Then you also have Samyang 35mm f1.4, which is.. somewhere in between the two and avoids all AF problems by not having AF at all.

Anyway, you have to decide your own priorities. Until then, DA 35mm f2.4 should be good enough, or a used FA 35mm f2. Or, if you only have APSC camera, the DA 35mm f2.8 limited macro - super lens, very compact, highly corrected, 1:1 macro. The older version is more affordable.
Pretty much all Sigma and Pentax primes between 30mm and 35mm from the last decade are pretty good and will probably not be terrible in terms of optics. It comes down to your personal priorities. Like you said, what good is the 35mm Art if you always leave it at home, since it is so heavy? And what good is the FA 31mm if you always leave it at home, for fear of damaging such an expensive lens?

Tl;dr: Buy a used FA 35mm f2, or a new one from Japan (maybe USA?)
10-10-2016, 02:31 AM   #10
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QuoteOriginally posted by Na Horuk Quote
Pretty much all Sigma and Pentax primes between 30mm and 35mm from the last decade are pretty good and will probably not be terrible in terms of optics
Though there is a certain sigma 30mm lens that is a katamari of optical faults and is best avoided.
10-10-2016, 03:01 AM   #11
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I'm using the sigma 35mm ART with the Pentax K-1 and though it is large, it feels natural with the K-1.
Image quality is amazing even at 1.4, though i do not have the 31mm, i can say the bokeh is amazing.
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10-10-2016, 05:38 AM   #12
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Go with the Pentax. Sigma is doing great work, but they clearly put Pentax in the back of the line when it comes to development. There is a lot of variation from copy to copy and Sigma AF performance can let you down. I suggest the Pentax 31mm. There is a reason that lens is "Legendary" .
10-10-2016, 06:02 AM   #13
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I used to think that the Sigma 35 f/1.4 was big and heavy ... till I got the Pentax DFA* 70-200.

As for the scratch on the K-1, there isn't one, if your copy has had the free Sigma update. There's a good chance a new one bought now is already updated.
10-10-2016, 06:17 AM   #14
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As a guy who owned an FA 35 and FA 31 I can suggest either. Both are very good but different lenses. The FA 35 is probably sharper across the frame wide open than the 31. It is smaller as well. The 31 has a more nuanced rendering that is hard to explain.
10-10-2016, 06:17 AM   #15
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The FA 35 is also worth considering and should be cheaper than both the FA 31 and the Sigma. If you can fit the FA 31 Ltd. into your budget - go for it! You will cherish it for many years to come.

I have never owned an FA 31 (I have HD DA Ltd's) but did own an FA 35 f/2 for several years. I regret parting company with the FA 35. Some call it the poor man's FA 31. Tack sharp wide open - the FA 35 will never let you down. The bokeh from the FA 35 is good but not quite as special as images I have seen from the 31 Ltd. Colour rendering on the FA 35 is amazing and in line with the FA 50 (not quite as neutral as the DA Ltd's.). The FA 35 is also considerably smaller than the Sigma.

Here are some user reviews from Pentax Forums: SMC Pentax-FA 35mm F2 AL Reviews - FA Prime Lenses - Pentax Lens Reviews & Lens Database
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