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09-24-2016, 05:56 AM   #1
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Pentax 31mm F1.8 versus Sigma 35mm F1.4 Art

I'm considering buying the Pentax 31mm limited for use on the K1. Unfortunately lack of available stock has prevented me pulling the trigger.
I've also had my eye on the Sigma 35mm F1.4 Art for Pentax, which has been recommended to me by a number of people. It also has the attractive feature of being almost half the price (750 euros versus 1350-1499 euros for the Pentax).
Does anyone with experience of both on the FF body have any comments about which is the best buy and some of the differences in performance?


Last edited by Dericali; 09-24-2016 at 06:05 AM.
09-24-2016, 06:10 AM - 1 Like   #2
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In absolute sense:
Sigma Art 35mm is has better overall sharpness and less vignetting, silenter AF. In terms of bokeh, sigma is more buttery but FA31 renders things more lively. So optically art 35mm is superior.
In terms of build quality, the legendary FA31 is superb while art 35mm is fine.

In value for money sense:
Except for the k1 scratch issue (anyway Sigma is offering free repair) sigma is the definitive winner.

I previously owned both of them but sold both, for the DFA 2470 workhorse. And currently I'm keenly waiting for the prime DFA upcoming in 2017.
09-24-2016, 06:15 AM   #3
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It is pretty expensive right now. The price level has long been around 1000/1100 euro's. You could try to find one on e bay. Pentax FA 31mm | eBay from Japan or Korea. Even with taxes you will pay significantly less.
09-24-2016, 08:18 AM   #4
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QuoteOriginally posted by D1N0 Quote
It is pretty expensive right now. The price level has long been around 1000/1100 euro's. You could try to find one on e bay. Pentax FA 31mm | eBay from Japan or Korea. Even with taxes you will pay significantly less.
I'm in Germany - I get VAT back, plus I can claim it as an expense. In Europe you get a 2 year warranty, which in the end may be worth the difference?

09-24-2016, 09:22 AM   #5
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QuoteOriginally posted by Dericali Quote
I'm in Germany - I get VAT back, plus I can claim it as an expense. In Europe you get a 2 year warranty, which in the end may be worth the difference?
The FA31 is a screw drive lens. Not much chance of anything breaking. Just check if their is a return policy, in case the lens is decentered or something.
09-24-2016, 10:11 AM - 1 Like   #6
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I have the 31 and it is superb - I went through the same decision making process prior to purchasing it between these two lenses. I am not a professional photographer but an advanced enthusiast and am more worried about the way the image renders, looks and feels as opposed to pixel peeping every picture. The 31 is an amazing lens - the IQ is amazing, the build quality superb, significantly smaller than the Sigma. It is louder, maybe not as sharp but those things are less important to me than the feel, the size and the rendering
09-24-2016, 10:38 AM   #7
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In stock on the grey market here at a reasonable price:
Camera Lenses :: Pentax :: Pentax smc FA 31mm f/1.8 Limited Lens (Black) - Onestop Digital
But obviously you will pay taxes and duty if applicable. I used one of their sister companies and everything worked out well, even arriving without any tax bill, but who knows about warranty.

Or it is available in the UK...we're still in the EU for now, so no taxes (you can claim back the VAT) and Wex are extremely good for customer service.
Pentax 31mm f/1.8 FA AL Limited Black Lens (20290) - Wex Photographic
09-24-2016, 01:08 PM   #8
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In Germany the actual cost is 1100 euros (since I pay no vat) for the 31. I'm kind of okay with paying that amount, and not planning to dance around online buying to save 100 euros given the potential risks. In that case I'd rather buy a second hand one...

Does any one have any guesses about which DFA prime lens Pentax will release next year?

09-24-2016, 01:30 PM - 1 Like   #9
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I have both. If you shoot only in a studio or only rarely take pictures, get the Sigma.

But it's huge and heavy, for someone walking around for hours the Limited is a much better idea.

09-24-2016, 04:29 PM   #10
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A wide angle 28 or 24 f2 or 2.8. A new 50 1.4. Maybe also a 85 1.4
09-24-2016, 05:34 PM - 4 Likes   #11
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The FA31 and Sigma 35mm f/1.4 are very different beasts. Personally I prefer the FA31 for its rendering. Resolution between the lenses is more or less identical, however the Sigma lens has higher contrast even at wide apertures* so this makes it appear to be sharper - but fundamentally they are both capable of capturing near-identical levels of detail. The Sigma 35mm f/1.4 doesn't render very well, OOF areas can look harsh and in some instances can appear as undesirable frog-egg bokeh.

*By contrast the FA31 is somewhat dreamier, but by f/2.8 the differences between the lenses is minuscule.
09-25-2016, 12:52 AM   #12
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QuoteOriginally posted by Dericali Quote
In Germany the actual cost is 1100 euros (since I pay no vat) for the 31. I'm kind of okay with paying that amount, and not planning to dance around online buying to save 100 euros given the potential risks. In that case I'd rather buy a second hand one...

Does any one have any guesses about which DFA prime lens Pentax will release next year?
Not paying vat in germany is not the standard case. I'm not a pro. So I have to pay the full price of 1.499,- = ~ 1.680 USD.
09-25-2016, 01:19 AM   #13
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Used prices for the FA 31mm in Germany range from 750-800 EUR. For private buyers who can not deduct VAT like commercial ones that makes a lot more sense than buying new.
09-25-2016, 02:46 AM   #14
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QuoteOriginally posted by beholder3 Quote
Used prices for the FA 31mm in Germany range from 750-800 EUR. For private buyers who can not deduct VAT like commercial ones that makes a lot more sense than buying new.
Oh - I didn't want to complain about prices! - I think if we talk of prices we should report the normal market prices for new equipment. Unfortunately we don't get these nice rebate weeks that our pentax friends get in the us and the second market for Pentax gear here in germany/europe is much smaller than in other countries. Sorry - now we're getting a bit off topic.
09-25-2016, 08:21 AM   #15
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I don't understand why you limit yourself to the German market when you have the whole of the EU to choose from. Tax, duty, warranty, consumer rights, are all as one...that's the point of the common market.
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