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View Poll Results: You have $400 dollars and no lens wider than 50mm. Choose one.
Sigma 17-70 2.8-4.5 DC $220 1227.27%
Pentax DA 21 F3.2AL Limited $350 1329.55%
Pentax DA 35 F2.8 Macro Limited $350 1227.27%
Something else... 715.91%
Voters: 44. You may not vote on this poll

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02-23-2010, 07:59 AM   #1
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Is IQ difference between Sigma 17-70 and DA Ltds noticeable?

Well, I bought the sigma, for a great price, and thanks for all the votes and suggestions. However I have a pretty definitive answer to the original question as well (only found by buying the sigma and then taking it to the pentax store ) I am reasonably happy with it for 200 bucks but I will definitely be getting primes, and here is why. Also scroll down to see some of the first pics from my new-to-me sigma

Top DA 40mm Ltd @ F4, Bottom Sigma 17-70mm @40mm / F4; 100% crop of a wall calender taken by the pentax guy with my k10.


Despite the obvious differences, the sigma is much sharper at the wide end, and in the above crops it is also wide open at the longer end, whereas the ltd is stopped down to match it.


Last edited by JesseDavis; 02-27-2010 at 05:52 AM. Reason: Bought the sigma, but the conflict never ends :-(
02-23-2010, 08:44 AM   #2
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In terms of sharpness only, it's not going to make too much difference - all those lenses can be very sharp.

A much bigger question for you is.... what do you want to shoot?

The 17-70 is much more versatile and necessary if you want to shoot a lot of wide-angle, and a bit more useful if you want to shoot candids or portraits.

The DA 21 is very small, has great contrast and center sharpness, and can come with you anywhere. I've never owned it, but I do own an M 20 f/4 and love the focal length, sharpness and size of a quality 20mm.

The DA 35 is a stunner, a real 1:1 macro, and a great d-normal walkabout. If you like to shoot 1:3, 1:2 or 1:1 macro, that's your choice. (It's one of my favorite k-mount lenses of all time.)

Personally, I'd find some way to get both the 17-70 and DA 35 at those prices - those are very good deals right now. For $570, you'll have two incredibly useful, sharp lenses. (sorry, I sometimes sound like a lens pusher. )



.
02-23-2010, 11:24 AM   #3
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Thanks for the reply.
Yes macro is a special friend to me, and I don't like the idea of always lugging the sigma but it would remove my excuse to keep buying primes ad infinitum (er... that's a good thing if you ask the wife) and the one I found is so cheap! I know the real choice for the moment is to get that and still get a good price on a prime later from Pentax Forum in Shinjuku, but still when I take a flight next month I will have a hard time cramming the sigma into the camera bag with the macro, the fiddy, and the takumar-tele...
Basically I've never had a wide, but I love the look of wide angle shots. The Da 15 is too pricey, but I don't have a normal length (apsc) lens either so thanks for the 35 vote.

And yes, you are a lens-pusher even $400 is prolly more than I can afford, but if you want to send me some cash...

BTW, I met one of those M 20 f4 lenses in Used Camera BOX the same day I went out shopping. LOVED it, but it was the same price as a new DA limited!

Here is something I was getting around to posting in the social groups section (not yet... 1000 char limit?!?)
The secret rebate at Pentax Square / Pentax Forum in Shinjuku
When you buy a lens at the official "Pentax Square" showroom in Shinjuku, they will give you a variable rebate on the purchase if you return to them any (any! even old takumars, asahi pentax) pentax-brand glass which you 'can't' use because it's broken, cracked, fogged, infected with fungus, etc. The size of the discount varies as the demand and newness of the lens you are buying, but can be quite significant or almost nothing. The discount does not depend on what lens you provide or its condition, and anything in less than perfect working condition can be called unusable in Japan.

Here are the prices I was quoted before and after discounts; you can see how they vary by the demand for a particular lens (Feb 22, 2010):
-DA 15mm F4 Ltd. reg: •54,810 disc: •54,600 (free a bus-ride!)
-DA 21mm F3.2 Ltd. reg: •47,250 disc: •34,125 (free used lens!)
-DA 35mm F2.8 Ltd. reg: •42,460 disc: •35,490 (free sushi dinner with booze!)
-DA 40mm F2.8 Ltd. reg: •32,800 disc: •27,300 (skip the sushi, just go drinking.)

So you lose an old lens, but I have two All you have to do is come to Japan first!

Last edited by JesseDavis; 02-23-2010 at 11:33 AM.
02-23-2010, 01:25 PM   #4
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The answer is to get the Sigma, but save for some primes. Yes, you can clearly see the difference between the Sigma and the DA 35, particularly in macro settings, but the 17-70 is a pretty good all around performer and more useful (to me anyway) as a walk around lens. Sure, the Sigma is bigger, but it also includes all of the focal lengths between 17 and 70mm, whereas the primes just include one.

02-23-2010, 01:45 PM   #5
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There is also the speed difference to consider, with respect to the 35 anyhow (at 21mm they're probably identical).
02-23-2010, 01:55 PM   #6
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At this price, the Sigma is a steal...

Those three lenses are great. I own the Sigma and will keep it a loooong time. I still want something like the Da 21. The 35 holds no interest for me, I already have a macro and the Sigma is great in that range. For me 35 is not wide enough if you have a 50 mm, but then I love wide lenses...

The 35 is still an amazing lense, of course. It just doesn't have a place in my bag.
02-23-2010, 04:54 PM   #7
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QuoteOriginally posted by JesseDavis Quote
Thanks for the reply.
Yes macro is a special friend to me, and I don't like the idea of always lugging the sigma but it would remove my excuse to keep buying primes ad infinitum (er... that's a good thing if you ask the wife) and the one I found is so cheap! I know the real choice for the moment is to get that and still get a good price on a prime later from Pentax Forum in Shinjuku, but still when I take a flight next month I will have a hard time cramming the sigma into the camera bag with the macro, the fiddy, and the takumar-tele...
Basically I've never had a wide, but I love the look of wide angle shots. The Da 15 is too pricey, but I don't have a normal length (apsc) lens either so thanks for the 35 vote.

And yes, you are a lens-pusher even $400 is prolly more than I can afford, but if you want to send me some cash...

BTW, I met one of those M 20 f4 lenses in Used Camera BOX the same day I went out shopping. LOVED it, but it was the same price as a new DA limited!

Here is something I was getting around to posting in the social groups section (not yet... 1000 char limit?!?)
The secret rebate at Pentax Square / Pentax Forum in Shinjuku
When you buy a lens at the official "Pentax Square" showroom in Shinjuku, they will give you a variable rebate on the purchase if you return to them any (any! even old takumars, asahi pentax) pentax-brand glass which you 'can't' use because it's broken, cracked, fogged, infected with fungus, etc. The size of the discount varies as the demand and newness of the lens you are buying, but can be quite significant or almost nothing. The discount does not depend on what lens you provide or its condition, and anything in less than perfect working condition can be called unusable in Japan.

Here are the prices I was quoted before and after discounts; you can see how they vary by the demand for a particular lens (Feb 22, 2010):
-DA 15mm F4 Ltd. reg: •54,810 disc: •54,600 (free a bus-ride!)
-DA 21mm F3.2 Ltd. reg: •47,250 disc: •34,125 (free used lens!)
-DA 35mm F2.8 Ltd. reg: •42,460 disc: •35,490 (free sushi dinner with booze!)
-DA 40mm F2.8 Ltd. reg: •32,800 disc: •27,300 (skip the sushi, just go drinking.)

So you lose an old lens, but I have two All you have to do is come to Japan first!
thanks great tip on the rebate!

I saw a used DA15 for sale not long ago in one of the used shops. The price wasn't bad... considering its a fairly new lens... 2009?
02-23-2010, 06:54 PM   #8
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QuoteOriginally posted by tokyoso Quote
thanks great tip on the rebate!

I saw a used DA15 for sale not long ago in one of the used shops. The price wasn't bad... considering its a fairly new lens... 2009?
I haven't tried the Sigma, but this is one of my first tests of the DA 70, 100% crop, hand-held on the K-x, wide open at f/2.4, 1/200. My DA17-70 (reputed to be similar in perfomance to the Sigma) looks about the same wide open, but that is at F/4 rather than f/2.4.

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02-23-2010, 08:24 PM   #9
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Thanks everyone for the help!
QuoteOriginally posted by Rondec Quote
The answer is to get the Sigma, but save for some primes...
I think he has found the answer! I slept in this morning, but tomorrow in the a.m. I am going down to get the sigma, if it is still there.

QuoteOriginally posted by Marc Sabatella Quote
There is also the speed difference to consider, with respect to the 35 anyhow (at 21mm they're probably identical).
I also noticed that they are exactly the same at 21 mm. I guess it's pentax' fault for not making all their primes F1.2

GeneV, thanks for the crop from the 70. You are right about speed at the long end, but I have a 100mm 2.8 for when I need a wide aperture there. Of course that's not to say I don't want the 70 Ltd.

...Now what can I pawn to feed my LBA? Want those primes...
02-24-2010, 09:15 AM   #10
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QuoteOriginally posted by JesseDavis Quote
Thanks everyone for the help!

GeneV, thanks for the crop from the 70. You are right about speed at the long end, but I have a 100mm 2.8 for when I need a wide aperture there. Of course that's not to say I don't want the 70 Ltd.

...Now what can I pawn to feed my LBA? Want those primes...
Well, if it is any consolation in LBA world, I bought the DA70, and I already own, use and love the FA77/1.8. I couldn't resist the "tiny" factor for the K-x. I suspect the FA77 will start living more the K20d and on my film bodies. Thanks in part to a thread on this board, I've rekindled my interest in film.
02-24-2010, 12:47 PM   #11
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I wonder what the 'something else' voters are thinking of? I am about to grab that sigma, so please let me know!
02-24-2010, 01:04 PM   #12
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I voted for the Sigma, for its all-around versatility. You can always get a prime wider than 50mm later, for more "specialized" purposes (i.e. macro, wide aperture, whatever).
02-24-2010, 01:21 PM   #13
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QuoteOriginally posted by JesseDavis Quote
I wonder what the 'something else' voters are thinking of? I am about to grab that sigma, so please let me know!
DA15, DA 17-70, Sigma 10-20, DA 12-24, .... there are many other possibilities. They may not fit your price limit, but then the prices for the lenses you list are pretty optimistic, as well.
02-24-2010, 01:56 PM   #14
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I own a Sigma 17-70, a DA70 and a DA40 (only just acquired, I havenít used this one much at all yet beyond some test shots). I can say though that DA70 is much sharper and produces much nicer pictures than my Sigma @ 70mm, the difference is very noticable.

Iím not liking the Sigma that much really, I know it gets a great rap on this forum but I find itís not sharp until beyond f5.6. Also, the Bokeh on the Sigma is harsh, it produces very bright small dots in background highlights where my DAís produce smoother, less bright, bigger dots. LOL, not sure if that makes any sense.

I voted then for a DA21, but if you really want a zoom Iíd be looking at a Pentax 17-70 or 16-45.
02-24-2010, 02:27 PM   #15
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QuoteOriginally posted by twitch Quote
I own a Sigma 17-70, a DA70 and a DA40 (only just acquired, I havenít used this one much at all yet beyond some test shots). I can say though that DA70 is much sharper and produces much nicer pictures than my Sigma @ 70mm, the difference is very noticable.

Iím not liking the Sigma that much really, I know it gets a great rap on this forum but I find itís not sharp until beyond f5.6. Also, the Bokeh on the Sigma is harsh, it produces very bright small dots in background highlights where my DAís produce smoother, less bright, bigger dots. LOL, not sure if that makes any sense.

I voted then for a DA21, but if you really want a zoom Iíd be looking at a Pentax 17-70 or 16-45.

you can't compare a zoom lens against a prime. a prime would mostly have an IQ advantage.

the sigma zoom loses IQ as it progresses along the focal length. with regards to the bokeh, you can't compare a lens with a constant aperture of f2.4 against with a variable aperture of f4.5 at 70mm. the bokeh circles of the DA70 is bigger because it is wide open at f2.4, while the Sigma closes down at f4.5 which causes the smaller circles.

a more appropriate comparison would be a Sigma 70/2.8 and a DA70/2.4.
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