Sigma 30mm F1.4 DN DC Lens was announced in February 2016.
First of all, let’s talk about the Sigma 30 millimeter focal length. 30 millimeters on a crop size sensor is going to be 45 millimeter equivalent if it was on a full-frame sensor. What that means is that Sigma 30mm isn’t technically a wide lens and it’s definitely not a telephoto lens it’s somewhere in that mid-range.
A lot of people say that a 50mm is kind of the way that we see the world so 45mm is pretty close. For that reason this is one of my favorite lens for us to take portrait photos and to do street photography. Because as you’re out walking the street this is going to give you a very similar kind of view. The way that this focal length deals with compression is quite flattering and natural like I said the way that we kind of see the world.
Body and Build Quality
Another great thing about the Sigma 30mm lens is the build quality and the size of it. Like its counterpart the 16 millimeter, Sigma made this 30mm lens almost all metal. There’s a little bit of plastic on the front but it’s not a whole lot. The focus ring has a rubber grip on it which is really nice and it’s super smooth.
In previous versions of the firmware, there was a problem with the manual focusing but they seem to have fixed that with a firmware update. If you’re having trouble with the Sigma 30mm lens make sure you go update the firmware. Tthe Sigma 30mm is not a huge lens which is super nice especially if you’re doing street photography with it. It’s a little bit less conspicuous.
Image Quality and Sharpness
Now of course what wouldn’t be a lens review if we didn’t talk about quality and sharpness. When the Sigma 30mm lens first came out it was kind of a big deal. Because on DXOmark.com it was the top rated lens for Sony E-mount APS-C sized cameras. It had the highest overall score and I’m pretty sure the highest sharpness rating as well.
In my personal opinion, the colors and the sharpness that the Sigma 30mm lens produces make this one of my favorite lenses that I’ve ever used. Even with the aperture at F1.4 to get that nice creamy bokeh the sharpness is incredible from corner to corner. Unfortunately, I don’t have any lenses in a similar focal range to do a full comparison with like the Sony 35mm. So we’re just gonna have to go off of what DxOmark says for now.
One place that I can compare the Sigma 30mm lens to other similar lenses is in the price range. This lens is $339 USD which equals about $447 Canadian if you’re from the great white north. Which is at least a hundred dollars cheaper than any of the competitors in the same kind of category. So bang for buck this thing is incredible considering that it outperforms them in sharpness and in the rating on DxO mark and it’s way cheaper.
Now we have to talk about the incredible F1.4 aperture on the Sigma 30mm lens. Which is a step above everything else in this focal range. Having that wide of an aperture makes this lens great at low-light and it’s pretty incredible how sharp it still is all the way through the frame at F1.4. It’s got nine aperture blades and it has the most amazing looking bokeh in the background of your shots. Giving you such great separation from the foreground and from your subject that it makes every shot look pretty amazing.
The autofocus is definitely reliable and steady. I’ve really had no problems with the autofocus on the Sigma 30mm lens. It focuses pretty much as well as any of my Sony lenses more than capable in any situation that I’ve ever tried to put it through. There have been a couple of cases where I’ve missed focus in really low light situations but that will happen with pretty much any lens.
The manual focus has been fixed on the Sigma 30mm lens. This was a pretty widely known thing and when I first got this lens it was the only con that I really had with it. That the manual focus was kind of weird and in a firmware upgrade luckily they have fixed it. Now I have no problems with it. It’s still focus by wire as all these lenses are. If you’re not into that just a warning. But if you’re used to focus by wire it does a great job. The focus ring is nice and smooth and like I said it’s got that kind of rubber grip on the outside so it’s nice to use.
One of the things that is going to turn people off of the Sigma 30mm lens unlike its competitor the sony 35mm it doesn’t have optical SteadyShot in it. So there is no stabilization in this lens. If you’re a shooter on the a5000 a5100 a6000 or a6300 you want to be a little bit careful with this when you’re shooting video especially. Because potentially you could get those little bits of micro jitters in your hands. The longer the focal length the more you might see it. Compared to the 16mm you’re going to see that little hand shakes a little bit more on the 30mm.
The potential ways that you could get around that, for example, use a tripod, put a strap around your neck and pull it tight, or if you don’t have a strap tuck your arms in and shoot that way, and then you won’t get as much shake in your footage.
Now that being said if you are a gimbal shooter or if you use a stabilizer the Sigma 30mm lens is going to pair perfectly with your camera. Even if you have an a6000 or a6300 or any camera without in body stabilization this is going to pair nicely with those gimble’s and stabilizers and get you really nice smooth footage. Especially with the small size and light weight it’s not gonna hurt your gimbal motors at all.
If you’re on a 30mm lens and you want something wider you’re gonna have to put a wider lens on. If you’re shooting JPEGs or if you’re shooting video and you want to zoom in you can actually use Sony’s clear image zoom and get a really great quality shot. I honestly don’t use this feature much because I shoot raw and it also doesn’t work when you’re shooting in slow motion. Generally, I’ll just move closer or I’ll swap it out for a zoom lens. This is pretty much the same predicament that you would run into if you’re using any prime lens versus any zoom lens.
Who Should Buy This Lens
Now the final question is should you buy this lens, is it worth it, who’s it for? In my opinion, this is a great all-around lens. I love to use it for portraits, for street photography, for video work. I love to get my b-roll sequences with it. It’s a really versatile lens.
If you’re a video shooter and you’re looking for a great mid-range lens. Especially if you have a Sony a6500 with the in-body stabilization or you run on a gimbal a lot of the time this is a fantastic lens. The only time that I would say you might want to consider the 35mm Sony over this one is if you run a a6000 or a6300 and you’re worried about that shake. Honestly, I use it on my a6000 all the time and I never really have too much problem. I just keep that in mind and usually, I’ll run it either on a tripod or like I said on a gimbal.
So if you’re someone who shoots street photography or portraits this is probably a great lens for you. If you want to get that creamy bokeh in the background and you’re trying to upgrade from the kit lens this is probably for you.
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