Sigma 30 or SEL50? Or?

Discussion in 'Sony Alpha E-Mount Lenses' started by nighttrain, Mar 7, 2015.

  1. nighttrain

    nighttrain TalkEmount Regular

    Dec 9, 2014
    I'm looking for a faster, sharper native lens for my a5000. I have the 1650 and 55210 kit zooms. I like the IQ of the 55210 better, but I shoot a lot of landscapes. The 1650 is decent at 25-35mm, but it would be nice to have something with better color and sharpness. I'm currently considering the SEL50 1.8 or Sigma 30 2.8.

    Leaning toward the Sigma. The Sony is probably too narrow, but the IQ, 1.8, and OSS make it tempting. Before I decide, I thought I'd ask for feedback here. Also, are there any other good alternatives in my price range (about $250)?

    I know lenses can perform differently on different cameras, so it may be worth mentioning I'm planning to pick up an a6000 in a few months.
  2. davect01

    davect01 Super Moderator

    Aug 20, 2011
    Fountain Hills, AZ
    Real Name:
    There is a big difference in range between the 30mm and 50mm, and f2.8 versus f1.8.

    I myself love the 50mm for the extra F-stop and great images, but I do not have the 30mm Sigma so I can not compare.
  3. dragion

    dragion TalkEmount Top Veteran

    May 8, 2014
    Boston, MA
    Real Name:
    I know that it is a bit over the stated amount, but why not consider the Sony SEL35F18?
    I think it would be the lens you are looking for.
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  4. WNG

    WNG TalkEmount All-Pro

    Aug 12, 2014
    Arrid Zone-A, USA
    Real Name:
    As Dave has stated, these two lenses are quite different when used to take the same subject. Depending on your type of landscape photography, the 30mm will have the edge being wider. If the type of landscape is wide and distant, the 50mm will not be too narrow.

    I have all 3 of the Sigma offerings, and the SEL5018. They all have their strengths and weaknesses. The crop factor of 1.5 yields the 30 and 50 to be 45 and 75 respectively. I find that I reach for my 19mm Sigma more often for landscapes than my 30. The 30 has better resolution, but too long at times.
    The strength of the 50 is its f1.8. Low light or night landscapes and it'll shine when the Sigmas can't get that shot. The 60 is just too long and rarely sees use.

    From my experience, for my composing preferences, I desire a lens of a length between the 19 and 30. As fast as the 50. I settled on a 24mm f2.5 manual focus Tamron....for now. ;)

    If you are certain your landscape shoots are covered by 30 to 50mm, I'd broaden the choices to include considering the 35mm f1.8, and Zeiss Touit 32 mm f/1.8.
    The Sony 35mm is supposedly center sharp due to its unusual front element. Designed as a portrait lens. But the samples posted here show the edges are just as good. The Touit renders remarkable images. Both will give you the additional speed of 1.8.

    Bear in mind, you're going to have to dish out for the benefits of both. ~$450 for the 35mm f1.8, which can buy you both the Sigma 30 and the Sony 50!

    Ah, looks like dragion already posted the 35mm as an option while I was typing. ;)
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  5. jai

    jai TalkEmount Top Veteran

    Feb 4, 2013
    You can try going for a walk with your kit lens stuck on 50mm?

    And/Or go through all of your favourite photos that you have taken, and tally up the focal length each one was shot at. This might help you decide?

    But I think 30mm is the way to go (or look for 2nd hand 35mm F1.8) because down the track you can replace the kit with a 19mm Sigma and have the perfect 3 lens setup.

    I travel with a Sigma 19mm, Sony 35mm F1.8 and 55-210mm and it's a great combo. Covers all the most useful focal lengths and situations, no overlap.
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  6. ztryfe

    ztryfe TalkEmount Veteran

    Aug 19, 2014
    Real Name:
    I would pick the sel20f28 for maximum portability + you can get the fish eye and UWA adapters (but if you do, please get the silver ones, the newly announced black finish is just that) .
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  7. ztryfe

    ztryfe TalkEmount Veteran

    Aug 19, 2014
    Real Name:
    Sorry to double post, but here is a great comparison I just found (and it was just posted last week!) about the sel16 vs the sel20, you can see what you can get with the SEL20 and the dirt cheap UWA adapter :
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  8. -et-

    -et- TalkEmount Veteran

    Jan 26, 2013
    Southern California
    Real Name:
    I have both of these lenses, and find both of them very satisfactory. IMO, a choice between them should be made based upon how you plan to use the lens. If you are shooting a high percentage of landscapes, you should probably be using a tripod for most of those images, so the faster speed and OSS of the Sony 50mm would not be a big factor. In my personal experience with my NEX-6, the IQ of the Sigma 30mm is very competitive with that of the Sony 50mm, and I find its field of view to be a better choice for most of MY landscapes. (YMMV.)

    I also have the Alpha-mount Sony 35mm f:1.8 (which is much cheaper than the e-mount 35mm f:1.8) and find that it works very well on my NEX-6 when used with the LA-EA2 adapter. Of course, if you need to buy the adapter, the savings is not there. I already had a number of Minolta lenses, plus the Alpha-mount 35mm Sony lens, so buying the adapter was a no-brainer for me. Having said this, I find that the 35mm is too long for most of my landscape images, so I would still think that the 30mm Sigma would be the best of these three lenses for you, based upon your description of what you want to do.

    - Tom -
  9. Hawkman

    Hawkman TalkEmount Top Veteran

    Sep 10, 2013
    Virginia, USA
    Real Name:
    Last year I had a similar dilemma. I started a thread asking a similar, but more general question about preferred focal lengths. But I did have the Sigma 30 and the SEL50 in mind throughout.

    I ended up with both. First, at the end of the summer I picked up an SEL50 on sale $50 off. Then, at the start of December, I picked up the Sigma 30 on an Amazon GOld Box deal for $149. And I like both.

    But I have to say that I prefer the "rendering" of the SEL50, its bokeh, and the ability to frame nice close portraits of my favorite subjects, my dogs Katie and the dearly departed Darci, not to mention other portrait-length shots.

    I like the field of view of the Sigma 30 better for other more general uses, but I am still warming up to its "rendering." I thought I saw some color fringing in my copy and that put me on guard for awhile with it.

    Which you would prefer would be, of course, more of your own personal preference. Is a tighter portrait field of view, with good bokeh and nice low-light performance your preference? Or does a more "normal" field of view with still-decent low-light and just generally good sharpness appeal to you more? They are both great values and together they make an excellent value-oriented duo.
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  10. Hobbesva

    Hobbesva New to TalkEmount

    Mar 1, 2015
    I too have both the SEL50F18 and the Sigma 30mm 2.8 Art for my A6000 and couldn't be happier. Throughout my many years of being involved in photography , I have owned some really expensive "boutique" lenses for other camera systems. With that said, The SEL50F18 is without a doubt my favorite lens ever. It is super sharp and has very beautiful bokeh. The Sigma 30mm 2.8 (my 3rd favorite lens ever) is just as sharp as the SEL50F18. But it slightly lacks (ever so slightly) in the bokeh arena. To echo some of the previous replies, since they are both stellar lenses it comes down to the FOV that you need. If I had to choose one (considering that I don't own any native zooms), I would have to choose the Sigma 30mm. With its 45mm equivalent FOV, it is an excellent general purpose lens that should get you through most situations. There are times that I find that the SEL50F18 is too "tight".
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  11. nighttrain

    nighttrain TalkEmount Regular

    Dec 9, 2014
    Thanks, everyone, for your suggestions. I've been impressed with many of the SEL5018 photos I've seen here and elsewhere. But I think a different lens makes more sense for me. I'd be much more likely to use the Sigma 30. Might also look for a recent black sample of the 1855 to have an alternative to the 1650. Eventually, I'd like to replace the 1650 with a SEL18105 but it's out of my budget at the moment.
  12. jimmoore

    jimmoore TalkEmount Regular

    Aug 8, 2013
    Ledbury UK
    Real Name:
    If it is any help I find the sony 35 fine for open area landscapes, and the 20 for buildings and smaller areas. I just dont use the short zoom any more.
    So from that I would say that you would be good with the Sigma 19 and 30.
    Just my take in it.
  13. HabsFan

    HabsFan TalkEmount Veteran

    Apr 10, 2013
    Ontario, CAN
    I'd say if you can stretch up to about 300, you might be able to get a used Sony 35mm 1.8 OSS. If sharpness is your main concern, and don't really need the 1.8 aperture. Go with the Sigma.

    The Sony is very usable at 1.8 and starts to get really good by 2.2. If you plan on shooting video, the Sony has silent focusing and OSS which will help smooth out some jitters. It also has better contrast and flare resistance. I've had both and sold the Sigma mostly because I could not use it for video because of the focus noise.

    You will be happy with the Sigma for sure when compared to the kit lens. You can use it wide open, it's plenty sharp. Only issues I had were video noise and flare/CA. If you think you will use it more for landscapes, it is a bit wider so that helps in tight situations. I love the Sony but it's still a little limiting for me as my default go to lens.

    Personally, I'm not a huge fan of 50mm on APS-C for a first fast prime. They are OK for portraits although you still have to get pretty close to someone to fill the frame with their head and shoulders. If you want to shoot a couple of people standing or at a table indoors, you will need a fair amount of room to back up. It's a bit of a in between focal length for me so I find I would switch it out pretty often. Other people get much more use out of it so it depends what you typically shoot. Most photo software will let you search/sort by focal length. This would give you a clue as to which lens might fit your shooting style.
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  14. dannat

    dannat TalkEmount Regular

    Jun 22, 2014
    i find 50mm lens of APS-c a bit long for most uses -it really is a portrait lens, for general street/landscape i find 30mm much more useful; i dont care for IS until you get near 100mm+
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  15. Amamba

    Amamba TalkEmount All-Pro

    Apr 13, 2013
    SE MI
    For landscapes and general shooting on wider end, get Sigma 19.

    For general walkabout, very sharp lens with some low light improvement over your kit, get Sigma 30.

    For portraits and low light situations, Sony 50.

    Of the three, 30 is the sharpest and more useful in different situations; 50 is the portrait king and low light excellence but too wide for landscapes most of the time; 19 is like 30 but a tad longer physically, not as sharp (although the sharpness difference between all three is almost invisible) and makes sense, to me, only if you shoot in that range a lot. If I could get a lens in a 26-28mm range that was like 50mm optically (sharpness, colors and bokeh) and had stabilization, it would be my favorite prime. Sony 35 is too long to justify the price, unfortunately.

    I went with 50+30, used they can be had together for $350 or less if you're lucky.

    If I had been shooting more landscapes and less portraits, 19+30 would make more sense. $300 used together.
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  16. mnhoj

    mnhoj TalkEmount Regular

    Aug 19, 2013
    I never was a wide mid zoom guy. But, for landscapes and F8 I don't think there is much that can be improved by the primes mentioned.
    They're better but the advantages can be quickly and almost fully compensated for in post.
    Wide open? No contest.

    That said, I really like the NEX system for the Sigma primes.
    If you don't need faster than F2.8, they may be the best value in camera equipment today.
    Add a Rokinon 12mm F2 and it's definitely the best imo.

    I'd start with a used 30 if you can. If you don't like it sell it and move on.
    My guess is that you may find yourself with others down the road.

    Best of luck.
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