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Old Dec 13, 2007, 10:19 AM   #1
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I just learned that I will be a grandfather next year. I have a K10d and will need a low light portrait lens. I'm considering the Sigma 70mm f/2.8 Macro. Does anyone have any experience with this lens? Any other suggestions? Please help. Thanks.
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Old Dec 13, 2007, 10:50 AM   #2
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jeffm wrote:
I just learned that I will be a grandfather next year.

Something that might be worth considering is a 50mm f1.7 lens. On the K10D it becomes a superfast 75mm SLR equivalent. Could be useful for those low-light pics where you don't want to use flash.

That said, what do I know - I keep getting outbid on ebay!

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Old Dec 13, 2007, 12:15 PM   #3
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Thanks for the input.
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Old Dec 13, 2007, 1:38 PM   #4
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It might be a little difficult to use 70mm indoors. You might want to consider the 50mm f/1.4. If you have a bit more money to spend, you could go a bit wider and get the 43mm f/1.9 limited.

I have used the 50mm f/1.4, and find it's just about the right length to photograph my niece.

- Jason
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Old Dec 13, 2007, 1:43 PM   #5
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My vote is the 50mm f1.4, I have the FA version and it is a superb low light lens (and a short tele on a DSLR).

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Old Dec 13, 2007, 3:36 PM   #6
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Hi Jeff,

The Sigma 70 macro is a very new lens, and I don't know if you'll find a lot of first hand experience with it. As tested, it appears to be a very sharp lens, and with the focus limiter, it would probably be a great lens, but I think that I'd find it limiting in framing versatility.

70mm has an equivalent FOV (Field of View) of a 105mm in 35mm film terms. This is a medium telephoto/portrait length that might be very good for head and bust type shots of adults, and whole body shots for babies, but you'd have to be about 4-6 feet away to get these. It might be difficult to get shots of the parents holding the baby in a smallish room.

The fast 50s will give you 1-1.5 stops for low light shooting and will cost you considerably less, but suffer from the same framing versatility, being a prime. There are also known focusing issues with very fast lenses that have been addressed by both C and N in their newest pro level bodies. Good high ISO performance can pretty much eliminate the speed advantage, and the focusing issues might not be enough to eliminate them from consideration though, IMO.

As I get on in years, "zooming with your feet", while a nice "purist" notion, has become increasingly less practical. My recommendation would be a fast 28-70 zoom. The choices are (in AF lenses), the Tamron 28-75 f2.8 XR Di, the Sigma 28-70 f2.8 EX, the Tokina 28-70 f2.6-2.8 AT-X Pro or Pro II, and last but not least, the Pentax FA* 28-70 f2.8. All, except for the Pentax, are in the same price range as the Sigma 70 Macro, and all are excellent performers.

I personally chose the Tamron (my first AF lens purchase after getting the kit lens with my DS). This is my go-to lens for people, from full-length to head shots, and the focal length range is a favorite of event and wedding photographers, with good reason.

Since you have some time before your grandchild makes an appearance, I'd spend some time experimenting with different focal lengths keeping possible scenarios of shooting the baby and parents in mind. You can also experiment with the camera's flash to see if it will give you the results that you want. If you want versatility in lighting, you might consider getting an external flash, and possibly some good flash modifiers (bounce and diffusers). IMO, experience is the most important element to good photography, and digital allows us to gain that experience at virtually no cost. It's much better to waste a lot of digital frames preparing in advance of an important event than to waste time and priceless moments figuring it out when it really counts. Anyone can get good snaps with just about any camera nowadays, but I would much prefer to capture lifelong memories with images that I can be proud of.

Congrats on the news of your grandchild. It'll be great to be able to offer your family a photographic record of the early years as I'm sure that they will have their hands full just adjusting to being new parents.

Just my $.02 worth (and maybe a couple more. . . :-) )

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Old Dec 13, 2007, 4:20 PM   #7
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Thank you all for your wonderful and informative input. It's nice to know that there is a means to obtain valuable, bias free info on photo equipment.
- Jeff

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Old Dec 13, 2007, 7:47 PM   #8
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30 year old M50/1.4, no IS on the DS, handheld. a birthday sequence in a dim restaurant.

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Old Dec 13, 2007, 9:34 PM   #9
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Hi jeffm

I'll have To agree that the 50mm f1.4 is a great lense. I have not only the FA , but i also have the M Version.
Another possibility might Be the Pentax 35MM F2.0 . Never Owned one, but I have heard good things about it.


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Old Dec 14, 2007, 12:46 AM   #10
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Newborns have very sensitive eyes-my newest grandchild is 13 days old. Took this last nite-DS with DA 40 2.8 ISO 1600 WB=tungsten-hand held.
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