Sigma 19 or 30 for Landscapes

Started Apr 10, 2013 | Discussions
svgklingon
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Sigma 19 or 30 for Landscapes
Apr 10, 2013

So I know the easy answer is "both". But I'm more curious if it's even worth either lens for landscape photos.

I am going to Yellowstone and then climbing the Grand Teton in June. I plan to bring my Nex 6 with me and thought one of these primes might be a nice, lost cost addition to my 16-50 kit lens and the SEL55-210 I have.

There have been a lot of posts lately about the 19 and 30 and I like the results I've seen. I just don't know if the 1 stop improvement over the kit lens is worth it. For the $150 for one of those lenses I could probably get a legacy manual lens off ebay and an adapter.

Just thinking out loud here. Any advice is appreciated.

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viking79
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Re: Sigma 19 or 30 for Landscapes
In reply to svgklingon, Apr 10, 2013

svgklingon wrote:

So I know the easy answer is "both". But I'm more curious if it's even worth either lens for landscape photos.

I am going to Yellowstone and then climbing the Grand Teton in June. I plan to bring my Nex 6 with me and thought one of these primes might be a nice, lost cost addition to my 16-50 kit lens and the SEL55-210 I have.

There have been a lot of posts lately about the 19 and 30 and I like the results I've seen. I just don't know if the 1 stop improvement over the kit lens is worth it. For the $150 for one of those lenses I could probably get a legacy manual lens off ebay and an adapter.

Just thinking out loud here. Any advice is appreciated.

I would just use the kit, I think even the 16-50 is pretty good at 20mm.  You will definitely want the 50-210mm.  I would say get the 19 or 30mm f/2.8 if you want to make the large prints, but even the kit lens should do decent at those settings at f/7.1 or so.  The Sigma lenses will be better if you want to shoot at larger apertures of course.

I would think more interesting would be to get the 10-18mm or maybe a 35 or 50mm f/1.8 for lower light situations.  Could get a legacy 50mm f/1.8 and adapter for probably $50 to $100 no problem.  I recommend the Olympus OM 50mm f/1.8 as a nice compact solution (the OM50mm f/1.8 and adapter are about the same size as SEL 50mm f/1.8).  All the 50mm f/1.7 or 1.8 lenses are pretty decent, not many bad ones out there.

An alternative could be to get a 300mm f/4 or so lens for Yellowstone.  These might be more expensive though.  Looks like you can get a Canon FD 300mm f/4 for less than $200.  This would likely be better than your 50-210mm and have some extra reach for wildlife.  Maybe even an older 400mm f/5.6.  Make sure you get a good brand on these though, the cheapies aren't any good.

Really, look at what you need and what type of shooting you will do.  As you say, the 19 or 30mm might be a bit of an overlap with what you have, if you don't really need the best image quality at the corners at larger apertures, than the kit is likely fine.

Eric

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Yezariael
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Re: Sigma 19 or 30 for Landscapes
In reply to svgklingon, Apr 10, 2013

For landscape I wanna have it as wide as possible... so in my eyes the 1650PZ is the best of your choices... Personally, I bought the 1018f4 for landscape shooting Usually you wanna use f8 and up for DOF, so a fast lens only helps in bad light...

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svgklingon
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Re: Sigma 19 or 30 for Landscapes
In reply to viking79, Apr 10, 2013

This is the great advice I come here for. I could get a Canon FD 300mm f4 and 50mm f1.5 plus the Fotodiox adapter for less than $300 on ebay. Seems worth saving for me.

So my next question is, how easy is it to learn to get accurate focusing with the focus assistant for a noob like me?

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viking79
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Re: Sigma 19 or 30 for Landscapes
In reply to svgklingon, Apr 10, 2013

svgklingon wrote:

This is the great advice I come here for. I could get a Canon FD 300mm f4 and 50mm f1.5 plus the Fotodiox adapter for less than $300 on ebay. Seems worth saving for me.

So my next question is, how easy is it to learn to get accurate focusing with the focus assistant for a noob like me?

A moving subject always requires more practice, and I think the trickiest thing is to keep your shutter speed high enough.  Without a tripod you would probably want to set the camera to S mode and set the shutter speed at 1/500+ for the 300mm.

Set your focus peaking and set one of the soft buttons for manual focus assist (zooms in when you press it) then just turn the focus ring until things are sharp.  If you are on a tripod, set the 2 second self timer so vibrations from touching the camera can die down before it takes the shot.

The focus peaking will be really useful for visualizing the field of focus.  You can do this with the monitor too, but difficult in harsh lighting, the focus peaking really makes it stand out.

Eric

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trax87
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Re: Sigma 19 or 30 for Landscapes
In reply to viking79, Apr 10, 2013

I would just use the kit, I think even the 16-50 is pretty good at 20mm.  You will definitely want the 50-210mm.  I would say get the 19 or 30mm f/2.8 if you want to make the large prints, but even the kit lens should do decent at those settings at f/7.1 or so.  The Sigma lenses will be better if you want to shoot at larger apertures of course.

I would think more interesting would be to get the 10-18mm or maybe a 35 or 50mm f/1.8 for lower light situations.  Could get a legacy 50mm f/1.8 and adapter for probably $50 to $100 no problem.  I recommend the Olympus OM 50mm f/1.8 as a nice compact solution (the OM50mm f/1.8 and adapter are about the same size as SEL 50mm f/1.8).  All the 50mm f/1.7 or 1.8 lenses are pretty decent, not many bad ones out there.

An alternative could be to get a 300mm f/4 or so lens for Yellowstone.  These might be more expensive though.  Looks like you can get a Canon FD 300mm f/4 for less than $200.  This would likely be better than your 50-210mm and have some extra reach for wildlife.  Maybe even an older 400mm f/5.6.  Make sure you get a good brand on these though, the cheapies aren't any good.

Really, look at what you need and what type of shooting you will do.  As you say, the 19 or 30mm might be a bit of an overlap with what you have, if you don't really need the best image quality at the corners at larger apertures, than the kit is likely fine.

Eric

I don't mean to take away from the OP's thread, but as a new NEX 6 owner this is a very relevant thread for me.  I have both the 16-50pz and the 55-210.  I was planning to buy the Sigma 2 lens kit at B&H, but have been wondering if that is the best way to spend that $200.  I am looking for a basic lens set that will work for typical situations and travel -- next trip is Florida where I will be doing things both inside and out (wildlife, beaches, street/city shooting and museums).

Do the Sigmas have a place or might I be better off trying some legacy glass? At $200 for 2 good primes, the Sigmas seem hard to beat, but as pointed out, there is some overlap and I would really like a faster lens than the kit for lower light/indoor use.

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svgklingon
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Re: Sigma 19 or 30 for Landscapes
In reply to trax87, Apr 10, 2013

Doesn't bother me one bit. I'm hoping you and I get lots of responses. I'm really on the fence about the Sigmas. I like the pictures I've seen and I think either one would make a good first prime for me. I just don't know if it's what I really need right now.

I'm learning so I'd like a fast prime so I can really experience using big apertures and playing with DOF. The nice thing about the Sigmas is the auto focus and not having to use an adapter. But I can get a very fast 1.4 Canon 50mm on ebay for $60 and the adapter for $25 but then I have to learn to use the Focus Peaking. No big deal, I've played with it a little and it's easy enough to use but you can't use it with anything that's moving.

No easy answers it seems. Thanks for hopping onboard the thread.

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SimonOL
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Re: Sigma 19 or 30 for Landscapes
In reply to trax87, Apr 10, 2013

trax87 wrote:

I don't mean to take away from the OP's thread, but as a new NEX 6 owner this is a very relevant thread for me.  I have both the 16-50pz and the 55-210.  I was planning to buy the Sigma 2 lens kit at B&H, but have been wondering if that is the best way to spend that $200.  I am looking for a basic lens set that will work for typical situations and travel -- next trip is Florida where I will be doing things both inside and out (wildlife, beaches, street/city shooting and museums).

Do the Sigmas have a place or might I be better off trying some legacy glass? At $200 for 2 good primes, the Sigmas seem hard to beat, but as pointed out, there is some overlap and I would really like a faster lens than the kit for lower light/indoor use.

The Sigma lenses certainly have their place. They give very sharp results (corner to corner) are very light weight and cheap compared to other e-mount lenses. As previously mentioned in this thread, they're ideal if you want to make big prints or like pixel peeping.

They're not great for low light conditions - part of the reason they are relatively cheap is that they do not have OSS which is worth a couple of stops of aperture (or more) in terms of being able to hand hold the camera at slower shutter speeds and get acceptable results.

For low light, the E35 and E50 lenses are much better choices if you need auto focus, light weight and compact dimensions. But, you pay much more for them.

If you can deal with manual focus and can accept more bulk, legacy lenses can be a good option. There are some really great lenses out there which can still be cheap (for example, the Konica 50mm f/1.4 which often sells for around $80, so less than $100 including an adapter. This is far from the cheapest option, but is underrated IMO).

Sometimes, there's no substitute for the convenience of auto focus; you need time to develop the skills to use legacy lenses effectively, and sometimes you just don't have the time.

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bill hansen
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Re: Sigma 19 or 30 for Landscapes
In reply to svgklingon, Apr 10, 2013

Yellowstone means wildlife, and you'll be surprised how much of it is *not* distant - bison and elk in particular, but you can get lucky and see grizzlies and cubs reasonably close this time of year (be very careful!!). OTOH - some wildlife is distant, so maybe rent a good 300 to 400mm lens. That won't be too long a focal length.

For focusing that long lens - practice, practice, practice before your trip.

For the scenic, I agree that WA is mandatory - 20mm is usually wide  enough  for either Yellowstone or Tetons. If you have room in your kit for an ultra WA, you'll probably use it a few times. Consider renting.

When climbing in Tetons, that little 1650 should be ideal. Stop it down a bit. Think about taking along  CP and a ND filters for your wide angle lens(es).

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Caris
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Re: Sigma 19 or 30 for Landscapes
In reply to svgklingon, Apr 10, 2013

I don't think you need a fast manual prime ( especially a 50mm one ) for your trip.

Since you will be shooting mainly landscapes, you would be much better off with the 19mm Sigma or even better, the 16mm + the wide angle converted ( 12mm effectively ). Stop it down to f8-f11 and you will get good results for landscape. This is you cheapest and not so bad wide angle option.

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Astrophotographer 10
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Re: Sigma 19 or 30 for Landscapes
In reply to Caris, Apr 10, 2013

Using a Nex I get great results with the sweep panorama function. Set it up so it will sweep with the camera in portrait orientation. It may take some slight practice and I find the Sony version not as good as the Fuji version but it makes for some wonderful images.

That way a 30mm prime would be quite wide.

Greg.

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daddyman
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Re: Sigma 19 or 30 for Landscapes
In reply to trax87, Apr 10, 2013

My landscape kit  (with 5N) consists of the 19, 30, and Konica 50/1.4.

Mike

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rogjil
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Re: Sigma 19 or 30 for Landscapes
In reply to daddyman, Apr 10, 2013

Yep same here the 2 Sigmas and a Minolta MD 50 f1.4. For $200 you cannot go past the Sigma lenses. Sometimes it is nice to use Autofocus.

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amicah22
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Re: Sigma 19 or 30 for Landscapes
In reply to svgklingon, Apr 10, 2013

I did the Tetons, yellowstone, and Byrce mostly with the 30mm, I only pulled out my m43 and 9-18 for yellostone and you have the 16-50.  Should be fine and its much sgarper than the 18-55 kit (I do not own the 16-50).

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trax87
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Re: Sigma 19 or 30 for Landscapes
In reply to svgklingon, Apr 10, 2013

Thanks.  Seems like we are pretty much in the same boat, then.  I said "I have" a NEX 6, but actually it arrives tomorrow along with the 55-210 lens.

I decided to order the Sigmas.  I did this primarily to buy myself some time.  Now that the new Sigmas are starting to become available, I suspect the old ones will eventually sell out and I have found myself having waited just a little too long on more than one occasion.  Now I'll have a few weeks to mull it over (of course used lenses will always be available).

Sooner or later I know I am going to try a piece of legacy/manual glass with an adapter, but I think while I am learning to use a manual lens, I may still want something with auto focus.  The Sony 35/1.8 probably makes the most sense for me, but its price is a little steep and I keep thinking it will drop after it has been out for a little while.   Decisions, decisions...

Good luck!

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trax87
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Re: Sigma 19 or 30 for Landscapes
In reply to SimonOL, Apr 10, 2013

The Sigma lenses certainly have their place. They give very sharp results (corner to corner) are very light weight and cheap compared to other e-mount lenses. As previously mentioned in this thread, they're ideal if you want to make big prints or like pixel peeping.

They're not great for low light conditions - part of the reason they are relatively cheap is that they do not have OSS which is worth a couple of stops of aperture (or more) in terms of being able to hand hold the camera at slower shutter speeds and get acceptable results.

For low light, the E35 and E50 lenses are much better choices if you need auto focus, light weight and compact dimensions. But, you pay much more for them.

If you can deal with manual focus and can accept more bulk, legacy lenses can be a good option. There are some really great lenses out there which can still be cheap (for example, the Konica 50mm f/1.4 which often sells for around $80, so less than $100 including an adapter. This is far from the cheapest option, but is underrated IMO).

Sometimes, there's no substitute for the convenience of auto focus; you need time to develop the skills to use legacy lenses effectively, and sometimes you just don't have the time.

Thanks for that.  As I mentioned above, the E35 probably makes the most sense for me, but I am having a hard time with the asking price.  On the other hand if it will give me the low light ability that I need from time to time, like in museums or places where you can't use a flash, maybe it's worth it.

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bill hansen
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Re: Sigma 19 or 30 for Landscapes
In reply to trax87, Apr 11, 2013

IF you are careful as you start to practice manual focusing, you'll find that it's a lot of fun, and very satisfying. Manual focusing gets a lot easier and a lot faster as you practice.

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rogjil
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Re: Sigma 19 or 30 for Landscapes
In reply to trax87, Apr 11, 2013

You could get the 2 Sigmas and a good lightweight tripod for the price of the Sony E 35.

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npires
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Re: Sigma 19 or 30 for Landscapes
In reply to rogjil, Apr 11, 2013

I got the 16mm + Ultra wide and the Sigma 30mm.
For most landscapes (or cityscapes I tend to shoot) I use the 30mm. It's sharp corner to corner but feel the 16mm + Ultra wide is too wide and makes certain objects appear too far away. However as the 19mm is sharp edge to edge and if you're shooting standing closer to your landscapes I'd be more inclined to choosing that.
Here's an example of what I've done with the 30mm however.

Istanbul with Sigma 30mm

If the above photo was taken with the 19mm you'd have to crop further in to get the same detail and the picture wouldn't look as nice IMO. 30mm seems to be a good focal length even for landscapes.

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bill hansen
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Re: Sigma 19 or 30 for Landscapes
In reply to Astrophotographer 10, Apr 11, 2013

Good to know that the NEX sweep pan can be done in portrait orientation. I didn't know that. Some limitations - only JPEG, only EC and WB control available - but for quick work, it's a very nice thing to have. Do you use a tripod and level to make your pans, or do it handheld?

I see there's little control over

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