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02-06-2009, 01:11 AM   #1
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FA31ltd vs Sigma 30 - seeking advice

For some time now I've been looking for a lens not to replace DA40ltd but to go nicely with it and Sigma 10-20. I love the IQ of 40 but sometimes I find myself in tight spot with it and 10-20 is often too wide even on 20mm. Indoors my 50/1.7 does great but sometimes I just can't flinch enough. 40 is still decen indoors with decent light but I'd be happy with something tad faster and wider...
I do have Tokina 28/2.8 which is not bad but: MFing is not my strongest point, it's still 2.8 only and it's coating is nowhere close as good as SMC (even sigma's coating for that matter).
So I was looking at some decent performers in the range between 20 and 40.
My thinking:
FA35/2 - good performer, available, affordable but too close to 40 so wouldn't get much of use outdoors
FA31ltd - outstanding lens by all accounts with one fault only: and I'm not too fond of that built in hood
F/FA28/2.8 - I love 28mm FOV on APS-C but they are still 2.8 only (though I think I could live with it) they are very affordable but hugely unavailable
Sigma 24 and 28/1.8 - apparently good lenses, though big and heavy (compared to other options). Very hard to find in London
Sigma 30/1.4 - available in couple of shops, affordable, good focal length, fast, but no SMC, and reportedly soft in corners (I wouldn't mind that in low light but how is it at f8/11 for landscapes???)
any ideas/opinions very welcome

BR
Peter

02-06-2009, 02:17 AM   #2
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Hi Peter!

I'm having the same problem as you. There is DA28/1.4 missing right? But at the end of the tunnel, there is a light perhaps - PENTAX lens roadmap. Unfortunatelly I'd have to upgrade my camera (SDM).
I think I'll go for FA 28/2.8 for now, as soon, as I find one. Right now I'm using SMC-M 28/f2.8 and Cosina PKA 28/f2.8 - both MF lenses of course.
I had the opportunity to test Sigma 30/1.4 but didn't work for me. It missed focus at f/1.4 and f/1.7 very often - back focus mainly. Maybe it was just my tested copy. I think it was also a bit to long. I'm glad actualy it was to long, because I'm not thinking of FA31 anymore..
02-06-2009, 02:37 AM   #3
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Hi pentagor,
I had chance to test both FA31 and Sigma30. Both of them were missing focus (it's not my camera I calibrated it and both DA40 and F50 are spot on). And the 31 just didn't "pop" at me as I expected. I was very close to getting F28/2.8 but it got sold because retailer wouldn't hold it for me and I couldn't get day off!!! :x
as for the light at the end of the tunnel, it's going to be so I don't know, for now I'm in square 1
BR
02-06-2009, 02:48 AM   #4
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Perhaps you should wait until Pentax gives more details about their projected DA30.

02-06-2009, 02:51 AM   #5
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The sigma 30mm is very very bad. I have listen much people speak about very bad sharpness and not good colours ect ect...
the fa 31 ldt is a good lens anyway. Sharp as a edge and well built.

Don't know about focus problems ...
02-06-2009, 03:36 AM   #6
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Hi,

I own the sigma 30 / 1.4 and I must say it's a good lens. So I connot confirm that it is 'very very bad' Of course, at 1.4 it's corners are soft. But the depth of field is so minimal at this aperture, that you don't notice this, unless the only thing you're taking pics of is a brick wall .

At 5,6 and up I find it very usefull for landscape work.

So, I can only recommend it.
02-06-2009, 06:04 AM   #7
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QuoteOriginally posted by blende8 Quote
Perhaps you should wait until Pentax gives more details about their projected DA30.
I considered this option too, but looking at the prices of other DA* lenses I don't think I'd be able to justify it....

I'm thinking about FA31 only because I found dealer that would sell it 30% under street price, just because he wants to get rid of the lens (last piece of Pentax in stock) otherwise that's out of price bracket too....l
02-06-2009, 06:16 AM   #8
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Buy it. Got one recently (31mm) and I love it.

02-06-2009, 06:43 AM   #9
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I agree. Buy the 31mm at a discount, and if you end up not liking it you can sell it for what you paid, or trade it for something else when you get a better idea of what you're looking for.
02-06-2009, 06:58 AM   #10
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I've had both.

The Sigma is not very very bad, but it doesn't render as beautifully as the 31. Mine focused well and quickly too when I used it with my K100D.

Sharpness is very good, it's just at the very left and right edges where it starts to lose it a bit. Top and bottom is still very good.

I did an illustration of this when I sold my Sigma:
https://www.pentaxforums.com/forums/387401-post8.html

I missed the 1.4 sometimes for the effect, but not anymore. The 31 keeps getting better.

I don't do much in the way of landscapes, but I got some that I liked with the Sigma. The 31 has better sharpness at infinity, I think, so again the better choice.

Here's one from the Sigma on the K100D on jpeg setting:

and other here:
http://www.etherlab.com/pics/IMGP3919_2.jpg
02-06-2009, 07:08 AM   #11
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flickr is great for this

The simga 30mm f/1.4 group
02-06-2009, 09:55 AM   #12
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I was close to buying the Sigma about a year ago and then someone warned me about it. When I did a quick search I found a few tests that showed some of the worst images I had ever seen. Real textbook images of CA and softness and the lens did not get even close to reasonable until about F2.2. I never looked at this lens again. Now I see people who like the lens so maybe those tests were not really representative - and a quick 30sec google search did not find the ones I had looked at. Maybe they just have quality control issues and a few bad lenses got tested?

Good luck with your decision.
02-06-2009, 10:48 AM   #13
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If you look at the photozone tests of the three lenses:
Pentax Lens Tests

You will see that the Sigma 30 is reviewed poorly (as a few people here will attest.) I have never used it myself, so I can't speak to that.

On the other hand, the FA 35 f/2 is one of the highest rated lens on their site. In fact, in uniformity of sharpness, it beats the 31ltd!

The ltd is legendary in Pentax circles but it is very expensive. The FA35 outperforms the 31 in sharpness, and they have the same distortion level. The 31 wins in CA at smaller apertures. In terms of value however, I can't think of a better prime than the 35.
02-06-2009, 12:20 PM   #14
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QuoteOriginally posted by axl Quote
I considered this option too, but looking at the prices of other DA* lenses I don't think I'd be able to justify it....

I'm thinking about FA31 only because I found dealer that would sell it 30% under street price, just because he wants to get rid of the lens (last piece of Pentax in stock) otherwise that's out of price bracket too....l

I have this lens and I would buy it again. and even if he would sell it in full price its not a problem to "get rid" of this lens. its just maybe the best lens ever made . that happens to be one of the best "normal" like lens available for DSLRs . not to mention that it's limited and Pentax will stop making them soon

I am not joking if you will not buy it I will buy another one
02-06-2009, 12:27 PM   #15
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thank you for input everybody,
it seems that Sigma is definytely no, no...
OMG, but to spend that kind of money on lens?!?
I will have to go back there to re-test the focusing
BR
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