sigma 30mm f/1.4 vs. pentax 31mm limited f/1.8

Discussion in 'Digital Photography' started by wmmk, Mar 13, 2007.

  1. wmmk macrumors 68020

    wmmk

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    #1
    Hey everyone,

    I just got home and was pleased to see an email from B&H that a sigma 30mm was in. I click the link, and it's out of stock. Unless they only had on in, it's astonishing that they'd all sell out in 13 hours, especially for a fairly obscure mount like Pentax K (which is actually becoming less obscure as people realize that the K digitals are great SLRs for both inexperienced and very serious amateurs alike).

    This upcoming summer will probably be my last without a full time job or extra high school classes (I'm on the debate team, which means I can't take science during the year), and I'm only 13. I'd like to do something fun, like photo. For both landscape and street photography, which I'm really in to right now, the 28-31 focal length range seems nice, and I'd like a sharp and fast prime.

    Now that it'll be a while again until the sigma is available and I'm doing a webdesign project that should pay well, I'm again considering the pentax 31, Which I can order now for $779 (with a $100 rebate, but I always do rebates).

    To cut to the chase, I like the 31mm because it apparently is sharper, has better bokeh, and has much better build quality than the sigma. Call me a nitpick but I like the also 31mm perspective better than the 30mm. In favor of the sigma, it's much cheaper, it's faster, and it's optimized for digital. Another nice thing is that there's no warranty involved, so I wouldn't have to feel pressured to make a quick purchase.

    Which is a better lens? Which is a better value given my situation?
     
  2. ChrisA macrumors G4

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    #2
    More than $700 for a 30 f/2.0? A new Nikon 35mm f/2.0 is $330. Glad I bought my Nikon 35 f/2.0 back when I did. Paid about $80 for the manual focus version. Pentax is like Nikon in that older lenses will work with the new DSLRs. Why not look for a used MF lens. Should be able to get one for under $100.

    OK you would have to rotate a focus ring but really it is not hard to do and with a 35 or 30mm lens there is plenty of DOF even at f/2.0

    Don't believe that marking speak about "optimized for digital" until they can tell you specifically whet they did. Almost certainly a minor change in optical coatings
     
  3. wmmk thread starter macrumors 68020

    wmmk

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    #3
    it's f/1.8, but I suppose that's essentially the same thing. the reason I'm looking at this is that more of my good pictures are shot at this focal range than any other, so my 30mm prime will be very important in my kit. the 31mm is actually a film lens, but is in the pentax limited series (L equivalent) which is why it costs so much. It's actually still sold most places for around $1200, but pentax made a new release or something, so it's the same glass, but with less limited production, which I really don't care about. I've heard from old school hard core pentax users that the FA 21mm, 31mm, and 77mm limited lenses are the sharpest, smoothest, they've ever used. Sounds good to me!
     
  4. Buschmaster macrumors 65816

    Buschmaster

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    #4
    People also seem to really like the 50mm 1.4 which is a LOT cheaper. You'll be waiting and have to watch right to get your hands on it, but people seem to love it.
     
  5. wmmk thread starter macrumors 68020

    wmmk

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    #5
    I do plan to purchase the 50 1.4, but it is more of a portrait lens whereas the 31 is a landscape lens.
     
  6. Buschmaster macrumors 65816

    Buschmaster

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  7. wmmk thread starter macrumors 68020

    wmmk

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    #7
    Haha, I am no rich man. I am 13, and do a ton more work than most kids my age. Living in a house with my family and eating food my parents buy (which is a normal situation for most everyone my age in middle class America), I split the extra money I make between various charities, my college savings and other mutual investments, and some hobbies (primarily photo gear and classical sheet music, which can actually be rather expensive considering it's printed on paper). Also, getting the 31mm limited would mean not getting any other lenses any time soon, which is perfectly fine with me.
     
  8. Abstract macrumors Penryn

    Abstract

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    #8
    Yeah, it's sort of a landscape lens if you're using film.

    Either of them would be fantastic, though. I think you want the Pentax 31 mm, and that's what I'd get. I don't like digital-only lenses like many of these "Made for digital" lenses. Is it one of those? Getting a newer model lens means that they're likely "made for digital," which means slightly higher contrast in your photos due to the extra coating inside. It doesn't mean older lenses made for film cameras are useless or anything.
     
  9. wmmk thread starter macrumors 68020

    wmmk

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    #9
    It's in the Pentax FA limited series, which is Pentax's premium 35mm lenses, but it is a new model, so should be good on digital. The fact that it is considered Pentax's sharpest lens and it is under $1000 makes it very enticing. I have also thought about the fact that the .4 of a stop could be useful in crunch situations...
     
  10. balofagus macrumors regular

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    #10
    The FA Limiteds haven't been changed since they were released in any way since thery were released, esxept for the addition of the black finish as an alternative to the silver. The mechanism's inside have seen no change and the image circle is still for film. They work on the digitals just as well as any other Pentax lens, DA (digital optimized) or not. They are just current production. North America gets shipments maybe 2 or 3 times a year, more for the 43's.

    I recently purchased a used version of the 77 in black. It was originally purchased last august. I can attest that it is an amazing lens with nice bokeh and super sharp.

    The FA Limiteds (as well as other FAs) are slower to focus than the DAs and have an Aperture ring. It can be set to the "A" setting and thus be controlled by the body. They also don't have Quick-Shift focus. On the DAs you can grab and twist the focus ring even if the body is set to AF. On all older lenses the focus mechansim will not disengage so it is impossible to manual focus in AF mode.

    This is a shot with the FA 77 f/1.8 Limited at f/2.8.
    [​IMG]
     
  11. wmmk thread starter macrumors 68020

    wmmk

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    #11
    yeah, I have a tamron 28-200 FA equivalent right now, and I just the the aperture ring to A. considering that this will be a landscape lens, I could really care less about focusing times. then again, I don't want to want to wait too long to focus if I'm doing street photo.
    anyways, that shot from the 77 is really nice! if the 31 performs like that, I'll be happy!:)
     

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