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02-26-2009, 01:03 PM   #1
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Pentax 43F1.9 or Sigma 24-60/Tamron17-50

I am looking for a lens for mostly indoors (so-so light) photography - singe or small group. I am looking for a lens with a good sharpness as high F as possible with a decent bokeh. I know it's a weird comparison but I am hesitating between the choice of fixed length (43mm F1.9) vs. two fast zoom lenses: Sigma 24-60/Tamron 17-50 both F2.8. I read a lot of criticism on Pentax 43mm concerning being soft wide open and it made me think of fast zoom options. I tried 21mm wide (it's too wide) and 50mmF1.4 (too narrow). 43mm has a good angle of view but again I am not sure about the sharpness wide open. Tamron is pretty sharp even at F2.8.
What do you think is the best choice for my needs?
Thanks in advance,

02-26-2009, 01:09 PM   #2
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Consider this: the 43 wide open is faster than either of the zooms wide open. So if you compare them at the same aperture (2.8) then youre really comparing the 43 stopped down a few stops and the zooms wide open. Both zooms have a good reputation but i doubt either will be sharper than the 43 at f2.8. Also, are you planning on getting both the 24-60 and the 17-50?
02-26-2009, 01:53 PM   #3
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I am actually planning getting one of them and is 43mm sharp enough at 2.8? The other two are surprisingly pretty sharp at the widest.
02-26-2009, 02:05 PM   #4
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you need to look at your total system

I am not sure for example a 43mm is all that different from 50mm, and you can get an F1.4 50mm. even if at F1.4 it is not the sharpest, by F2.8 it is, and you get 2 full stops more light into the viewfinder and AF system to make focusing easier, and perhaps faster indoors.

Also there are a ton of F1.4 50mm lenses around.

The F1.4 also lets you play with razer thin DOF for portraits and creative work.

Aside from that, once you pick a zoom, either 24-60, tamron 28-75, sigma 24-70, (all full frame) or any of the ASP-C ~16-50 lenses you will need to figure out how to go ultra wide, and ultra long.

Start planning and think about the ultimate ends of the collection before you get the middle.

02-26-2009, 02:10 PM   #5
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i think the right lens suggestion depends on what your shooting requirements are.
What things will you be photographing in low light?

M
02-26-2009, 02:18 PM   #6
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I am mostly doing portraits, small groups and so on indoors. As I said, I had 50mm F1.4 and found it was too narrow. I had really stand far to be able to fit a couple of kids into the frame. I've got to admit, it's very sharp though (starting from F2.4)
02-26-2009, 02:49 PM   #7
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I think the Tamron 17-50mm f. 2.8 will provide you with more physical flexibility than the other two. If you have room in the space to back off, then the 43 Ltd would be nice as well;
I own the Tamron and almost exclusively use it for event shooting indoors, often with a strobe. The 2.8 aperture is very nice. I'm always on the move with it.
I think it renders people nicely enough. For fine art I use other, better tools, as the Tamron is not all that great with texture and the color can be a bit strange (I feel this way about most non-Pentax lenses). But for groups of people it's fine.
When I shoot more formal portrait assignments I have been exceptionally happy with the DA Ltd 35mm Macro. A little clarity softening in Lightroom takes off the detail that it can reveal.

I don't have any experience with the Sigma 24-60. The lower end of that seems a bit too long for groups of people, though for other subjects I think 24mm rocks.

M
02-26-2009, 02:53 PM   #8
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The 43 may not be wide enough for what you describe - the 35/2 might do better, and is reputed to be very good wide open. Back when I was buying, it was nip and tuck for me whether to go for the 35 or 43 - I ended up with the 43.

FWIW a 'soft' prime may not be 'softer' than a zoom, the standards are a bit different.

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