Vivitar 28mm Minolta 28mm & Sigma 30mm - roving lens test

Discussion in 'Adapted Lenses' started by Jefenator, Dec 30, 2012.

  1. Jefenator

    Jefenator TalkEmount Top Veteran

    876
    Nov 23, 2012
    Oregon, USA
    Jeff
    I'm trying out this new concept: the roving lens test. Instead of using my tripod in a tightly controlled environment like a good boy, I take a few similar lenses out on a walk and shoot various scenes much as I would normally. I use all 3 lenses each time to see how they compare in a real-life scenario. (All the while I'm getting my exercise and running some errands - how's that for multitasking?)

    Up for bat are a Vivitar Close Focus 28mm, Minolta MD W Rokkor-X 28mm and the Sigma 30mm EX DN. All 1:2.8.

    The differences for landscape use are largely subtle (mouse over to see which is which).

    landscape1-vivitar. landscape1-minolta. landscape1-sigma.

    Particularly in the center, the 3 are surprisingly close.

    vivitar-minolta-sigma-center1.
     
  2. Jefenator

    Jefenator TalkEmount Top Veteran

    876
    Nov 23, 2012
    Oregon, USA
    Jeff
    Landscape 2

    Curiously, when stopped down the Vivitar kept exposing 1/3 stop brighter than the others.

    landscape2-vivitar. landscape2-minolta. landscape2-sigma.

    The 3 lenses fare somewhat differently in the corners. The Sigma is always rock solid, the Minolta is so-so and the Vivitar consistently comes in last (at least for extreme pixel peeping purposes).

    vivitar-minolta-sigma-corner1.
     
  3. Jefenator

    Jefenator TalkEmount Top Veteran

    876
    Nov 23, 2012
    Oregon, USA
    Jeff
    Another Center Crop Comparison

    Even when using a tripod, I find operator error can be a real big variable. (Even focusing for landscapes!) But when I run a test over an over, trends will emerge. Here's another instance where the 3 lenses all did pretty good in the center.

    vivitar-minolta-sigma-center2.
     
  4. Jefenator

    Jefenator TalkEmount Top Veteran

    876
    Nov 23, 2012
    Oregon, USA
    Jeff
    One More Landscape Comparison

    This time, I bumped the exposure from the Vivitar down, so I could compare the 3 frames more directly in terms of color, contrast, etc...

    landscape3-vivitar. landscape3-minolta. landscape3-sigma.

    Many of the nuances are a bit beyond my ability to spot and describe. I'd say the Sigma is the most clinical and the Minolta has some good character.

    Again, the Sigma easily leads the pack in the corners:

    vivitar-minolta-sigma-corner2.
     
  5. Jefenator

    Jefenator TalkEmount Top Veteran

    876
    Nov 23, 2012
    Oregon, USA
    Jeff
    Full Body BOKEH

    To simulate how each lens might isolate a human subject with most of his/her body in the frame, I shot a tree trunk wide open from a few yards back.

    full-body-bokeh-vivitar. full-body-bokeh-minolta. full-body-bokeh-sigma.

    I'd say I prefer the Minolta BOKEH, by just a hair. The Sigma definitely has the most sharpness and contrast, wide open.
     
  6. Jefenator

    Jefenator TalkEmount Top Veteran

    876
    Nov 23, 2012
    Oregon, USA
    Jeff
    Portrait BOKEH

    LOL - I'm not done quite yet! Another simulation, this time for isolation in a head-and-shoulders portrait. (Should really get a mannequin head for this... or even a real person!)

    portrait-bokeh-vivitar. portrait-bokeh-minolta. portrait-bokeh-sigma.

    Again, I prefer the Minolta just ever so slightly (could probably fool me in a blind test). Obviously this type of thing is not going to be the forte of any slow-ish wide angle lens.
     
  7. Jefenator

    Jefenator TalkEmount Top Veteran

    876
    Nov 23, 2012
    Oregon, USA
    Jeff
    Still Life BOKEH

    still-life-bokeh-vivitar. still-life-bokeh-minolta. still-life-bokeh-sigma.

    Same take as the other BOKEH tests: none are that great - maybe the Minolta is just a tad better?
     
  8. Jefenator

    Jefenator TalkEmount Top Veteran

    876
    Nov 23, 2012
    Oregon, USA
    Jeff
    Overall Pros/Cons

    The Vivitar is very compact for a 35mm SLR lens and true to its name, it does indeed focus nice and close: up to 1:5. It was also very cheap! Corner performance lags behind the other test subjects, though not enough so to be a problem in many cases - can you spot the difference outside the 100% samples?

    The Minolta is the bulkiest. (Still fits in the leather body case, though...) It focuses the least close, but 1' isn't too bad for a normal-range lens (just shy of 1:7). The field curvature makes it a pain in the butt sometimes, particularly with the subject placed near the edge (as I often do). It is capable of some very nice renderings, though. I'd say its greatest asset is a certain subtle character it has in common with my other old Minolta primes. "Smoky" is the best term I've come up with for it.

    If clarity at f/2.8 and/or corner resolution is of major concern, the Sigma is the clear leader. It is also dramatically smaller and lighter - my NEX feels like a whole different camera with it on. Focusing by wire isn't my favorite way to go, but it does get the job done and having EXIF data is always handy. Oh, right, and it also supports AF, which I actually use from time to time.

    Thanks for reading! :)
     
  9. Deadbear77

    Deadbear77 TalkEmount Hall of Famer

    Sep 14, 2012
    Northeast Ohio
    Kevin
    Good stuff here.
     
  10. Bimjo

    Bimjo Super Moderator

    Oct 28, 2011
    Washington State
    Jim
    Very nice comparisons. Thanks for taking the time to share. :)
     
  11. NickCyprus

    NickCyprus Super Moderator

    Oct 11, 2012
    Cyprus
    Nick
    +1 ;)
     
  12. Dioptrick

    Dioptrick TalkEmount All-Pro

    Feb 4, 2012
    New Zealand
    +1

    Thank you Jeff!
     
  13. addieleman

    addieleman Passionate amateur

    Nov 13, 2012
    Netherlands
    Ad Dieleman
    Excellent real-life test, thanks! I've been wondering how the Sigma 30mm compares to the Minolta 28mm lenses. Especially the Minolta seems to suffer from CA in the corners, but even after correcting that the Sigma will be better. This 30mm Sigma shows very comparable performance to the Sigma 19mm I have: rock-solid performance across the frame. I already knew Sigma knows how to make lenses, but these are simply out-of-this-world value for money IMHO.
     
  14. Frank Teurlings

    Frank Teurlings TalkEmount Regular

    182
    Dec 10, 2012
    Netherlands
    Thanks for the award and the effort to do this. I am happy with Sigma.