Posted by Kate Phizackerley on Sunday, May 20, 2012

Over the past couple of weeks I have picked up two lenses for the camera -  both second hand.  One was very cheap and the other an OKish price.  The truth is I don't really need both and if I keep one I ought to sell a lens I already have.

The cheap one, and the first acquisition was a big Sigma 24-70mm f2.8 shown on the right.  The second was a 30mm fl1.4 prime shown below.  I'd not got any other Sigma lenses.  The only one I had I gave to my brother.  I am not a huge fan of Sigma lenses and they can be hard to sell second hand.  Ordinarilly I wouldn't touch these two but they are EX lenses - that's Sigma better lenses.  So why two lenses? Well the thing it is is not clear which one is best for me and in some ways the easiest is to own both for a time and then sell whichever doesn't work out. I should be able to make a profit if I sell the 24-70 and maybe a small loss if I sell the 30mm.   

They have different virtues.  The 24-70mm as a zoom is very flexible but it is big and heavy, really quite heavy.  It's not a lens to take on holiday.  In contrast the 30mm is much lighter, although as a durable, metal-cased lens its not as light as some of the cheap plastic ones.  As a prime it is, of course, less flexible because it doesn't zoom.  It sits within the range of the 24-70mm so is somewhat redundant.  Apart from the fact that it is light enough to take on holiday (it will be coming to Spain with me soon I think) and it is fast.  Fast in that it is f1.4 so it can be used in very dark places without a flash and I take a lot of photographs in museums so I need something fast - or something with VR.  (Something fast and with VR would be ideal but that is not something which yet exists in a wide-angle lens and, even if one is produced, it would probably be unaffordable.) 

The 24-70 is also a decent option for macros and I didn't have a good macro lens.  The 30mm might not be too bad either.

Both get mixed bad reviews.  Many people love them but Sigma quality control doesn't seem to be great at all so there are also a lot of poor copies floating around out there and the danger of buying second hand is that one might pick up one of those.  They will need trying out - and hopefully we will get some good weather over the next week or so to enable that.

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