Showcase Sigma 30mm f/1.4 DC DN Contemporary

Hawkman

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Just an FYI, forum member @Jman13 has posted a good, real world review of the Sigma 30mm f/1.4 DC DN on his excellent blog, Admiring Light:
Review: Sigma 30mm f/1.4 DC DN (Sony E-Mount) - Admiring Light

I hope he will excuse/allow me to quote from his conclusions:

The Sigma 30mm f/1.4 is a lens that generally performs well for its price point, but it falls short of the outstanding performance of the Art series Sigma mirrorless primes. If you’re shooting closer up, the lens is plenty sharp with nice bokeh and a nice rendering. It’s also a well-built lens that feels notably better than its $339 price would suggest. If you plan on using this lens mostly for shooting people or for street work, I think you’ll be very pleased with the 30mm f/1.4. It does a very nice job in these situations, producing images with a really nice look.

Unfortunately, it’s less useful as a landscape lens, as field curvature becomes very strong at far focus distances, limiting edge sharpness near infinity. There’s also some chromatic aberration and flare that can show in images.

In general, from my limited usage so far (and he is a much better photographer than I am), I would have to agree with most of his points throughout the review (except the one about the loose hood - I've found that while it is easy to snap in and out of place, I like that ease compared with the overtight locking of the hood for my SEL18105G... that one is a bear to get on and off the lens), and I've highlighted the one that matches my expectations for the lens when I chose to purchase it. It is also interesting that he makes note of field curvature at far focus distances, as Ad suspected some field curvature from some of my sample photos. So if you are looking for a landscape APS-C 28-35mm prime, this is probably not it. And yet... it's a good reason to keep the inexpensive Sigma 30/2.8 Art around for landscape shots (which I admittedly don't do much of).
 
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pmd5700

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Has had one had a chance to compare it with the Sony 28/2? I have the currently but this looks like it could be almost as good but faster, so it will be better for low light/indoors.
 

Hawkman

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I don't have the Sony FE 28/2, but I believe that some reviews have compared it to the Sigma 30/1.4 on APS-C.

I compiled a list of Sigma 30/1.4 reviews that I posted to a new blog I started ( Review Round-up: Sigma 30mm f/1.4 DC DN Contemporary ), and I think that Davin Lavvika's video review -
- compares the 30/1.4 to the 28/2.

As an aside, not long ago (after I compiled my list of reviews) DxOMark reviewed the Sigma 30/1.4 and gave it top marks for APS-C lenses on the a6000. ( Sigma 30mm f/1.4 DC DN C lens review: Sony E top-ranking prime | DxOMark )
DxO does rather technical reviews and some don't put a lot of stock in their numbers, but it is certainly another data point for consideration.
 
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The A6500 with its touch-screen AF has rekindled my interest in this lens: maybe this would be a great sheetshooter's combo. Downloaded and imported your full-res shots into my Lightroom catalogue; thanks again for providing full-res shots, very helpful.
 

Hawkman

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The A6500 with its touch-screen AF has rekindled my interest in this lens: maybe this would be a great sheetshooter's combo. Downloaded and imported your full-res shots into my Lightroom catalogue; thanks again for providing full-res shots, very helpful.
I'm going to go out on a limb and presume you are referring, at least in part, to the images I've posted on this thread. If so, you are more than welcome Ad.

I always (or almost always) upload full-res shots to my Flickr account and link those here, for at least the reason that they can then serve as an additional online "backup" of photos I think are among the better I have produced or are otherwise interesting and worth sharing. I also have tried to include all my shots taken by particular lenses in separate "albums" on Flickr for those lenses, as well as in some albums by subject matter or event. I hope that might help with providing a somewhat diverse set of shots for review for this lens. That all said however, I'm frankly not sure if my photos necessarily represent a good sampling for this lens - or any lens for that matter.... I'm afraid that my photography - with a few exceptions - is rather... pedestrian. (And that's not a fishing expedition for compliments.)

I do agree (thus my tag of your post) with your thoughts on the A6500, in my case for both the touch-screen AF functionality AND the 5-axis IBIS, on top of all the other feature upgrades over the a6300 and a6000. If I had the budget for it (which I don't in part because I spent it on the Sigma 30/1.4, Sony 18-105/4G and Rokinon 12/2), I'd being pre-ordering the a6500 right now! I think the touch AF and IBIS would help me get more keeper results from a number of my lenses.
 
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I'm going to go out on a limb and presume you are referring, at least in part, to the images I've posted on this thread. If so, you are more than welcome Ad.
...
That all said however, I'm frankly not sure if my photos necessarily represent a good sampling for this lens
Indeed I downloaded your stuff, the mix of subjects and apertures provide a good impression of what the lens can do IMHO. I usually go to Pixelpeeper for image samples but they don't offer anything on this lens. I evaluate image samples in a simple way: if the full-res image shows something I'd be happy about if I made it myself, it's obviously possible to get satisfactory results from the lens in question. The next challenge is to find a good copy of that lens for myself.
 

Hawkman

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Originally posted this on another thread, but thought it ought to go here as well:

Okay, this is going to be a pic-heavy post, and all the pics will be boring, non-artistic "test shots" using a chart and a "test scene" I concocted. All done in my house in the room I am using as a sort-of-studio - it's otherwise used just as storage and has a nice set of light blue walls that make a decent background, plus I can close the doors and the flashes won't freak out Katie with her thunder-and-lightning-anxiety.

So, without further ado, a comparison of the Sigma 30mm f/2.8 DN Art and the Sigma 30mm f/1.4 DC DN Contemporary. (Note: All images are SOOC JPEGs - although I shot RAW+JPEG - and are unedited, AWB, and focused using AF on the center of the image unless otherwise noted, and then uploaded to Flickr. The full resolution versions, for a better detail comparison, are available to view/download from Flickr.)

First up, a set of shots with an ISO 12233 chart from Cornell. In these shots, the only light is provided by two Flashpoint 198 LED Bicolor lights (set at 5500K and max brightness/power) placed on either side and slightly above the chart affixed to the wall. I did my best to level the chart and camera and to align the camera to the chart, particularly the 3:2 markers. The Sigma 30/1.4 has noticeable distortion (which is software-corrected in camera and various RAW software including macOS Photos) which made aligning it a bit more difficult.

--f/1.4 (Sigma 30/1.4 only)
View attachment 77732DSC00660 by SRHawk64, on Flickr

--f/2.0 (Sigma 30/1.4 only)
View attachment 77733DSC00661 by SRHawk64, on Flickr

--f/2.8
Sigma 30/2.8 at f/2.8
View attachment 77734DSC00655 by SRHawk64, on Flickr

Sigma 30/1.4 @ 2.8
View attachment 77735DSC00662 by SRHawk64, on Flickr

--f/4
Sigma 30/2.8 @ f/4
View attachment 77736DSC00656 by SRHawk64, on Flickr

Sigma 30/1.4 @ f/4
View attachment 77737DSC00663 by SRHawk64, on Flickr

--f/5.6
Sigma 30/2.8 @ f/5.6
View attachment 77738DSC00657 by SRHawk64, on Flickr

Sigma 30/1.4 @ f/5.6
View attachment 77739DSC00664 by SRHawk64, on Flickr

--f/8
Sigma 30/2.8 @ f/8
View attachment 77740DSC00658 by SRHawk64, on Flickr

Sigma 30/1.4 @ f/8
View attachment 77741DSC00665 by SRHawk64, on Flickr

--f/11
Sigma 30/2.8 @ f/11
View attachment 77742DSC00658 by SRHawk64, on Flickr

Sigma 30/1.4 @ f/11
View attachment 77743DSC00666 by SRHawk64, on Flickr

In general, I think they compare closely in sharpness, with the 30/2.8 perhaps having an edge out at the corners. In terms of CA, the 30/2.8 doesn't seem to have anything noticeable at any aperture that I can make out - maybe a little at 2.8, but it's all gone stopped down. The 30/1.4 has noticeable CA wide open and up to f/2.8 or 4, and even a little near the corners up to f/5.6 or 8, but it's not too bad in my estimation beyond f/2.8.

-- -- --

Now a "test scene" to gauge color. Again, I have the a6000 set to AWB, RAW+JPEG, and these are unedited SOOC JPEGs. And I used AF again, but with the focus set to spot on the word "Bonus" on the Crayola box. For lighting, I again used the two Flashpoint 198 LED lights, but this time set to middle or low power and used a Flashpoint Zoom TTL R2 flash (equiv. to Godox TT685S) off-camera, above and behind the camera, bounced off the ceiling, and triggered on TTL by a Flashpoint R2-Ts transceiver (equiv. to Godox X1T-s) to fill in the scene and keep the ISO and shutter speed constant. As a novice at off-camera wireless flash photography, I think I must be doing something wrong as the light levels drop as I stop down the camera, which I thought shouldn't happen with TTL... maybe it's the bouncing throwing off the TTL, or I have something setup wrong. Anyhow...

--f/1.4 (Sigma 30/1.4 only)
View attachment 77744DSC00694 by SRHawk64, on Flickr

--f/2.0 (Sigma 30/1.4 only)
View attachment 77745DSC00693 by SRHawk64, on Flickr

--f/2.8
Sigma 30/2.8 at f/2.8
View attachment 77746DSC00695 by SRHawk64, on Flickr

Sigma 30/1.4 @ f/2.8
View attachment 77747DSC00692 by SRHawk64, on Flickr

--f/4
Sigma 30/2.8 @ f/4
View attachment 77748DSC00696 by SRHawk64, on Flickr

Sigma 30/1.4 @ f/4
View attachment 77749DSC00691 by SRHawk64, on Flickr

--f/5.6
Sigma 30/2.8 @ f/5.6
View attachment 77750DSC00697 by SRHawk64, on Flickr

Sigma 30/1.4 @ f/5.6
View attachment 77751DSC00690 by SRHawk64, on Flickr

I didn't bother to stop down any more for this test scene. And... not sure what conclusions to draw from this, which begs the point of why I performed this last test. Generally speaking, I think the color quality provided by both lenses appears similar. As or flesh tones... I'm not sure this test shows anything definitive.

That said, in the subjective realm, I can say that while I too was never thrilled with the "character" of the shots I got from the Sigma 30/2.8 DN Art, I have been very pleased with my results so far from the Sigma 30/1.4 DC DN C. Perhaps that reflects my bias towards the lens that provides the wider aperture and thus is the "fastest", enabling good low-light performance.

Oh, and both lenses seem to start up in about the same time on my a6000 - both were very fast to do so in my humble estimation... far faster than on my older a3000.

Well, that's all I have for now. Hope this helps someone.
 

newst

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Just thought I would add some 'real world' shots using the Sigma on an A6500. While I suspect it wouldn't be a very good lens for landscape work it has excellent potential for other uses. In my opinion it is a great value choice.

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dlhomesolutions

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Shot on the A7ii
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On the a6500. Taking advantage of being able to shoot in the low room light, and the shallow depth of field for those kitten eyes. (Although maybe I should have got the nose in focus too). As you can see from my avatar, it became a favourite snapshot of mine.

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I get the focus hunting with this lens too. In lower light. When it happens, it is really annoying: it goes backwards and forwards around the actual focus point for ever. I'd rather it just failed to focus.

I like that this lens allows me to get quite close, as in this shot. It is the lens most on my camera in the house, garden, or out and about. I guess it is my "standard" lens, and about the right focal length for that on APS-C.

Took this lens away for a few days in the hills recently. The other lenses didn't get used at all.
 

Black Elk

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Hawkman. Nice pictures. I believe you have a keeper. Too often we measure something with a micrometer and then cut it with a chainsaw. All that really matters is that you are pleased with the lens and it meets your needs.
 

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