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03-16-2009, 05:15 AM   #16
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hmmm, tough question. I had the 35 when I shot Pentax, and I loved it, although I tended to use my Tamrom 28-75 most of the time. The 35 did have pretty fast AF (much better than my FA 50 f/1.4) and the size was nice. I now shoot with the 30 on my Canon system (my 30 and my Canon 85mm f/1.8 more or less live on one of my bodies unless I'm shooting an event or wildlife) and I can't say enough good things about it. My copy is VERY sharp wide open (people seem to confuse the extremely shallow DOF @ f/1.4 up close with softness) and focuses fine. I tend to keep it around f/2 unless the light is really low and I can't use flash (I usually use flash indoors) so I get more than just one eyelash in focus.

So all in all, I think either would be fine, but if you NEED f/1.4, then buy the Sigma.

As for funerals, I took my camera gear to my Grandpa's funeral last month, and I didn't take any shots at the cemetary, I did take some nice shots at the Shiva afterwards, as it was the first time in awhile that all of the cousins/Aunts/Uncles had been together and I got some great shots of my Grandma holding my son (her first and only great-grandchild...)

03-16-2009, 08:22 AM   #17
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I have barely any experience with the Sigma 30mm, I only briefly tested it in the store. However I am practically on my way to get my new FA 35/2.0 which I ordered last week, so I'll post some sample pics when I get back I am very curious myself.
I have heard/read many promising experiences from people regarding this lens, especially on this forum.

And here we are:

Taken wide open, no PP done. One of my first test images, I love the lens already!

Last edited by alex.r; 03-16-2009 at 10:13 AM. Reason: added picture
03-16-2009, 01:14 PM   #18
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The 35/2.0 is a fantastic lens, for the record. I would call it the sharpest lens that I own, and the focal length/aperture/size just work perfectly for me. This lens only leaves my camera if I'm going to do a "specialty" shot at a wedding - macro, wide angle, low aperture portrait - for everything else I find it more than capable.

My wife shoots with the Sigma 28/1.8, and I haven't been as impressed by the resolution of that lens. It does have a very pleasant color rendition, but it rarely produces results that I would call sharp. It strikes me more as a portrait-optimized lens like the 30/1.4, with nice speed and decent center resolution but not as much emphasis on the edges.
03-16-2009, 01:17 PM   #19
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Here are some more quick sample images, in and around the house. Once again, no post processing and all wide open (2.0) with the Pentax 35mm.

I am absolutely stunned by the colors and bokeh produced by this glass. Overall sharpness I haven't been able to fully get a feel for I've mainly been shooting wide or close-to-wide open so far. The auto focus feels very 'snappy' imho.
I could have never imagined what a step ahead this would be from my kit lens. I don't think I'll be screwing that on again. Ever.

03-16-2009, 03:09 PM   #20
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QuoteOriginally posted by alex.r Quote
I am absolutely stunned by the colors and bokeh produced by this glass. Overall sharpness I haven't been able to fully get a feel for – I've mainly been shooting wide or close-to-wide open so far. The auto focus feels very 'snappy' imho.
I could have never imagined what a step ahead this would be from my kit lens. I don't think I'll be screwing that on again. Ever.
Until you get a replacement for the same focal length, I think you'll come back to it again one day Today i brought my 28-75 to shoot some really quick interiors, but in the end it's too long and the 18mm on the kit proved indispensable.

The primes are great but they all have their place =)

And just to stay on topic... I have seen examples from the 30/1.4 and I'm skeptical on its ability to render at 1.4, and I often find f 2.8 adequate already, so my next purchase for this length would be either the FA or the DA (leaning towards the DA)
03-16-2009, 03:22 PM   #21
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QuoteOriginally posted by jesalonen Quote
Hi all,

I have covered the entire 10 - 200 mm focal lenght with three zooms (10-17, 17-70, 70-200) and I'm quite happy with that setup. However, when I was shooting a funeral couple of weeks ago, I had serious trouble with 17-70 since it couldn't lock AF in a darkish church. So, I have happily allowed myself to buy another lens, a fast prime. The trouble is that I just can't make up my mind which one to get: Pentax 35/2 or Sigma 30/1.4 (that is the focal lenght I want - unfortunetlly I can't afford 31/1.8 at the moment). Sigma is a bit more expensive but I can get a good deal from my trusted dealer so there will be no price difference to base my decision on. In the user reviews, Sigma seems to have better grades than Pentax. On the other hand, Pentax is smaller and lighter, but also a tad slower. In, according to the MTF charts Pentax is a clear winner, especially in the corner sharpness. I had Sigma a short time with EOS 50D, and if i remember correctly, I wasn't quite happy with it . my copy was quite soft wide open but in those dharts it seems that Pentax is quite sharp wide open. My main use for this new lens would be dimly lit situations and walk-around when I wan't to push my composition skills by carrying just one lens. Suggestions, anyone?


Since it seams you want AF, get the Pentax, it is sharper att full aperture. If you are ready to MF you can consider the Sigma, but please note you are not able to manually focus lenses like these with the standard screen. AF in low light requires a sharp lens on full aperture, or it will fail. FA 35/2.0 is much faster AF lens than FA 50/1.4
03-16-2009, 03:59 PM   #22
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I'd go for the 35/2 because of the Sigma QC. This might just save you some trouble and initial disappointment servicing/exchanging a bad copy. Unless those 5 millimetres and two stops is a must.
Whats bad about sigma compared to 35.
Chromatic aberrations, observable distortions corners, slower AF (sometimes this makes the F1.4 argument useless in low light.. FA35 AF is a snap, so you actually get to fire).
Sigma is crop and had no aperture ring. It is supposed to be (read "priced as") HSM lens, but dosn't come with that feature on Pentax mount, plain screw drive. It's bulky.

On contrary, sigma is noticeably wider, most of the time you can have only one lens at all. Very usefull focal length. F1.4 gives less DOF in good light.. good for getting "film like" looking images. Has a better balance (weight) to camera (K100ds+AA's).

Attach: Sigma 30/F1.4, K100d, F3.2, 1/200, ISO200. (Full size)
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PENTAX K100D Super  Photo 

Last edited by ytterbium; 03-16-2009 at 10:17 PM.
03-16-2009, 05:00 PM   #23
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I haven't played with the Pentax, but I've been shooting with the Sigma since October and its the lens that's on my K100D more than any other.

Yes, there are pretty significant issues with IQ at the edges and corners, but this isn't why you buy the lens. You buy the lens to shoot very low light, center-framed shots such as portraits or concert photos (which is what I use it for).

100% crop of the edge of this shot showing IQ issues. ISO 1600, f/2 1/40 sec.

That being said, despite the issues at the corners, I'm consistently blown away by how sharp the Sigma is at the center, even at f/1.4

100% crop of this shot (those are eyelashes!) ISO 800 f/1.4 1/40 sec.

If you get the Sigma, make sure you check the copy for front/back focus issues, otherwise I heartily recommend it, especially if you need the speed, as its your only option.

Edit: I can dig up some lower ISO, faster shutter speed shots to give you a better idea of the sharpness at 1.4 if you'd like. The options here were both in difficult real-world conditions (on top of a building in freezing gusting winds without a tripod, and in the photo pit of a rock concert), so keep that in mind when looking at the technical aspects.

03-18-2009, 01:12 AM   #24
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Decisions, decisions... I went to shop yesterday evening and for my own surprise, came out with a 35/2.8 Ltd. The Sigma my dealer had (the only one, hence the good price) was extremely soft and 35/2 felt a bit too plastic. I got attracted to the sharpness and versatility of the 35/2.8 - I like to shoot details and now I can shoot near normal-FOV shots and small details with this one lens. I suppose it shall be on my camera a lot for the next two weeks I'm going to spend in Madeira Island. Of course, it wasn't exactly what I was looking for, but perhaps I'll give myself a permission to get another fast prime, 50/1.4 or M-50/1.7 (there seems to be one for 55 euros...). I haven't got a chance to check the AF yet, but based on a couple of test shots it seems to be quite accurate. Here are couple of straight-from-camera jpegs wide open, no pp:
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