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10-12-2008, 11:12 PM   #1
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Sigma 30mm 1.4 vs Pentax 43mm 1.9 Limited

I seem to have hit a wall in terms of deciding which lens to buy. For ages, I was set on the Sigma 30mm, because of its speed and very sharp center, but then I realized taht the 43 Limited is pretty much in the same price range, so I'm torn.

My main lens now is a SMC-A 50mm 1.4, which I love, but doesn't auto-focus, and isn't as wide as I'd like for some shots. I figured the 30 could cover my wide end while keeping the speed, as the majority of my shots are in very low light situations.

Of course, the 43 isn't as fast, but its obviously a fantastic lens. I'd be giving up speed and width for absolute quality, but I'm still not sure.

A big reason for getting a new lens is concert photography, and I'm pretty sure the 30 will do well for that, but I'm afraid it will falter in other situations, whereas the 43 will shine all around.

In addition to concert photography, I was hoping the new lens would work well for general editorial photography (people, events, etc. day and night), as I shoot for some local magazines, but I worry the edge softness of the Sigma might cripple me.

Anyone have some much needed insight?

10-12-2008, 11:29 PM   #2
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FA 35 is a good lens worth considering.
10-12-2008, 11:51 PM   #3
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Both Fa 43 and sigma 31 have weak corners even stopping down. Not a real big concern if your subjects are not off centre within the frame.

If I were you, I would buy a used copy of sigma 31. If you disliked it, it is easy to sell it off and your gain more from a cheaper investment.
10-12-2008, 11:58 PM   #4
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QuoteOriginally posted by roentarre Quote
Both Fa 43 and sigma 31 have weak corners even stopping down. Not a real big concern if your subjects are not off centre within the frame.
This is exactly the kind of info I'm looking for, thanks!

QuoteOriginally posted by roentarre Quote
If I were you, I would buy a used copy of sigma 31. If you disliked it, it is easy to sell it off and your gain more from a cheaper investment.
Ideally I'd be able to do this, but I haven't been able to find a used copy of the Sigma 30 anywhere, and I've been looking for a few weeks.

10-13-2008, 12:05 AM   #5
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Personally Id go for the FA, if you could find them for the same amount of mula
I love my Sigma's, but dang, the FA is a lens ive played with alot, and it stunned me, I love it and want to have it's children. But that's just me
10-13-2008, 01:08 AM   #6
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QuoteOriginally posted by dantekgeek Quote
I seem to have hit a wall in terms of deciding which lens to buy. For ages, I was set on the Sigma 30mm, because of its speed and very sharp center, but then I realized taht the 43 Limited is pretty much in the same price range, so I'm torn.

My main lens now is a SMC-A 50mm 1.4, which I love, but doesn't auto-focus, and isn't as wide as I'd like for some shots. I figured the 30 could cover my wide end while keeping the speed, as the majority of my shots are in very low light situations.
If you want something wider than the 50mm, the FA43 may not be enough for you. And of course it is slower than the A50 which you might notice if you are working right on the edge of low-light performance. On the other hand it's two-thirds of a stop only, which might not make a big difference.

You also desire auto-focus, though in the realm of razor-thin DOF I wonder why? I inevitably manually focus in these situations.

But really there is no comparison between the two lenses you are considering. The Sigma:
  • has three times the distortion
  • has 4-5 times the vignetting
  • has bad borders at all apertures, whereas the FA43 is fine from f/2.8
  • is almost three times the weight
  • lacks the Limited's incredible rendering
  • has nothing like the Limited build

Competition? I don't think so.

I would go back to your other criteria to select a lens. I am surprised you want something this wide for concert photography, though I saw some great images posted here earlier in the year from an FA31. If you had the money that would be the one to get.

As a cheap alternative, locating an old manual focus Vivitar 28mm f/2 might do the trick, as discussed in the ongoing thread.
10-13-2008, 05:25 AM   #7
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QuoteOriginally posted by roentarre Quote
Both Fa 43 and sigma 31 have weak corners even stopping down. Not a real big concern if your subjects are not off centre within the frame.

If I were you, I would buy a used copy of sigma 31. If you disliked it, it is easy to sell it off and your gain more from a cheaper investment.
Listen to the man!

Seriously, James gives good advice. I learned something new about the 43 Ltd. over in the other forum.
10-13-2008, 06:24 AM   #8
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QuoteOriginally posted by dantekgeek Quote
My main lens now is a SMC-A 50mm 1.4, which I love, but doesn't auto-focus
it does - trap focus/catch in focus is quite good

10-13-2008, 06:30 AM   #9
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QuoteOriginally posted by rparmar Quote

You also desire auto-focus, though in the realm of razor-thin DOF I wonder why? I inevitably manually focus in these situations.


that is 50/1.2 @ 1.2 - trap focus/catch in focus... ~2ft to the target... no issues... dim light is another story of course.
10-13-2008, 07:14 AM   #10
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If you can live with f2.8, consider the da35mm macro. for $328 off ebay, new with warranty its hard to beat. i have to admit that the 3d quality of the 43mm ltd still has me considering another purchase.
10-13-2008, 07:46 AM   #11
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QuoteOriginally posted by dantekgeek Quote
Anyone have some much needed insight?
wait for the future Pentax DA* 30... as for the higher cost of it (which is for sure) - you make some money
w/ your photos ("...I shoot for some local magazines...") - so it is just a tool for you.
10-13-2008, 08:10 AM   #12
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Trap Focus is one thing, but having to quickly turn the focus ring accurately is another. I definitely need the speed of these lenses– most of my shots are at or below f/2, so 2.8 definitely isn't an option.

I'd love to wait for a future DA* 30, but I need a lens this week, and even though I do get paid for my work, its not a full time thing, and that money goes to rent, not new toys.

Obviously I'm not going to get a lens this fast thats tack sharp all over, but I do want to examine the tradeoff between speed/length/IQ.
10-13-2008, 08:55 AM   #13
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how about the Sigma 28 1.8? it should perform better than the 30 1.4 and also be wide enough for your usage
10-13-2008, 09:14 AM   #14
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QuoteOriginally posted by k100d Quote
how about the Sigma 28 1.8? it should perform better than the 30 1.4 and also be wide enough for your usage
I've been hesitant about the Sigma 28 because everything I've seen says that the 30 is actually a better lens in most respects. If you know something different, please, let me know.
10-13-2008, 09:28 AM   #15
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QuoteOriginally posted by dantekgeek Quote
I'd love to wait for a future DA* 30, but I need a lens this week, .
buy, use gently - return back... join the Costco crowd
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