Sigma 30mm old (EX DN) vs new (Art) - wow... if this is right

Discussion in 'Sony Alpha E-Mount Lenses' started by Amamba, Mar 10, 2017.

  1. Amamba

    Amamba TalkEmount All-Pro Subscribing Member

    Apr 13, 2013
    SE MI
    I just ordered a new A6000 body (the price is very tempting) and one of the advantages - supposedly - is that my Sigma 30/2.8 is going to start up sooner on it.

    I was also thinking about the relatively new Sigma 30/1.4 - so I decided to compare it to 2.8 using DXOMark. For the kicks, I've also added the newer 2.8 (Art) to the comparison.

    Looking at the sharpness field maps at different apertures, the 1.4 seems close but a tad sharper at the edges - which is no surprise.

    What was completely unexpected, however, is what seems like a markedly worse performance from the newer 2.8, especially at the edges and in the corners. Don't know if this is just a fluke with the copy that they had. All three were tested on A6000.


     
  2. WNG

    WNG TalkEmount Hall of Famer

    Aug 12, 2014
    Arrid Zone-A, USA
    Will
    Something wrong with the links.
     
  3. Amamba

    Amamba TalkEmount All-Pro Subscribing Member

    Apr 13, 2013
    SE MI
    My bad... should be fixed now.
     
  4. Hawkman

    Hawkman TalkEmount All-Pro

    Sep 10, 2013
    Virginia, USA
    Steve
    It has always seemed like the DxO rating of the newer Art version of the Sigma 30/2.8 DN for E-mount was something of an outlier from other reviews and tests, as I recall. Most other reviews and tests - and the experiences of several on this forum I believe - have indicated that the new Art lens is optically the same as the older EX version. As such, not knowing more about DxO's test process and how many samples they use, I suspect sample variation as the most likely culprit. That said, and recognizing there is sample variation in any lens including the new Sigma 30/1.4, I am quite happy with the 30/1.4 and use it far, far more than the 30/2.8 Art which I also have.
     
  5. Amamba

    Amamba TalkEmount All-Pro Subscribing Member

    Apr 13, 2013
    SE MI
    Can you elaborate on the differences ? The main reason I was investigating 1.4 is that I have some issues with 2.8 (mainly, slow focusing, slow start up (althought it may be fixed once I get my A6000), goofy skin colors under some lighting, and a useless focusing ring. And the tendency to flare. Otherwise, it could make a great all-around walkaround pime. (Althought I'd be far happier if Sigma did a 24mm one).

    Just wondering what are the biggest differences are vs 1.4 to justify 2.5x the price.
     
  6. Hawkman

    Hawkman TalkEmount All-Pro

    Sep 10, 2013
    Virginia, USA
    Steve
    As I mentioned, I haven't really used my 30/2.8 much since getting the 30/1.4. But since the weather is turning chilly again this weekend, perhaps I'll do some more comparison testing around the house between the two.

    There are of course the obvious spec differences: with the new 30/1.4 having a f/1.4-16 aperture range vs. a f/2.8-22 on the Art; and the 30/1.4 supporting far more (all, I believe) of the a6000's PDAF autofocus modes across most of the frame (for the a6000, but perhaps not as much for the a6300/6500), rather than only supporting PDAF in the very center for the 30/2.8.

    Plus, not to be picky (but I often am), at the moment, with the 30/2.8 listing new at US$199 and the 30/1.4 at US$339 (which was also its release price), the price difference is now less than 2x (though the 30/2.8 was going for $169 for quite awhile following the 30/1.4's release).

    That said, I'll update when I've done some more comparison testing.
     
    Last edited: Mar 10, 2017
  7. Amamba

    Amamba TalkEmount All-Pro Subscribing Member

    Apr 13, 2013
    SE MI
    Thanks.

    To be brutally honest, I just can't seem to love the Sigma 2.8 primes on E mount, no matter how hard I try :(

    I find myself reaching for the Toyo 28/2.8 over Sigma 30 even though the Sigma is supposed to produce better shots.

    There's just something in the rendering of Sigma primes that makes me go "meh".

    Which is a shame, since the 30mm is clinically sharp and tiny.

    I used to shoot a Sigma zoom on Canon, and it was very good with a character. And that's what I think the 30/19 f2.8 seem to lack - a character...
     
  8. Hawkman

    Hawkman TalkEmount All-Pro

    Sep 10, 2013
    Virginia, USA
    Steve
    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)
    33279783811_d7403343b2_b. DSC00660 by SRHawk64, on Flickr

    --f/2.0 (Sigma 30/1.4 only)
    33279785091_eb384ef7aa_b. DSC00661 by SRHawk64, on Flickr

    --f/2.8
    Sigma 30/2.8 at f/2.8
    33367425086_389e87c233_b. DSC00655 by SRHawk64, on Flickr

    Sigma 30/1.4 @ 2.8
    33279786391_615afea0f4_b. DSC00662 by SRHawk64, on Flickr

    --f/4
    Sigma 30/2.8 @ f/4
    33279779021_46ac991498_b. DSC00656 by SRHawk64, on Flickr

    Sigma 30/1.4 @ f/4
    33279787881_17b3ff6e2f_b. DSC00663 by SRHawk64, on Flickr

    --f/5.6
    Sigma 30/2.8 @ f/5.6
    33279780041_c6ca8270f2_b. DSC00657 by SRHawk64, on Flickr

    Sigma 30/1.4 @ f/5.6
    33025163920_16c62f6352_b. DSC00664 by SRHawk64, on Flickr

    --f/8
    Sigma 30/2.8 @ f/8
    33279780371_7ee200c390_b. DSC00658 by SRHawk64, on Flickr

    Sigma 30/1.4 @ f/8
    33025165380_775e3cd4ac_b. DSC00665 by SRHawk64, on Flickr

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

    Sigma 30/1.4 @ f/11
    33025165710_382541f147_b. DSC00666 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)
    33367447866_26cc1a9144_b. DSC00694 by SRHawk64, on Flickr

    --f/2.0 (Sigma 30/1.4 only)
    33279807131_0988aa9c75_b. DSC00693 by SRHawk64, on Flickr

    --f/2.8
    Sigma 30/2.8 at f/2.8
    33252392272_d2c3fdcf67_b. DSC00695 by SRHawk64, on Flickr

    Sigma 30/1.4 @ f/2.8
    33279805991_dcbd50d0f4_b. DSC00692 by SRHawk64, on Flickr

    --f/4
    Sigma 30/2.8 @ f/4
    33252393402_a9ae0e3795_b. DSC00696 by SRHawk64, on Flickr

    Sigma 30/1.4 @ f/4
    33279804871_5f0329f281_b. DSC00691 by SRHawk64, on Flickr

    --f/5.6
    Sigma 30/2.8 @ f/5.6
    33252394922_33d3684c5a_b. DSC00697 by SRHawk64, on Flickr

    Sigma 30/1.4 @ f/5.6
    32593847813_39c60c8671_b. DSC00690 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.
     
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  9. Amamba

    Amamba TalkEmount All-Pro Subscribing Member

    Apr 13, 2013
    SE MI
    Thanks !!! This is very informative. If not definitive...

    I will receive my A6000 tomorrow, so this will let me solve at least one question (the startup speed).

    Still on the fence regarding the IQ...
     
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  10. Amamba

    Amamba TalkEmount All-Pro Subscribing Member

    Apr 13, 2013
    SE MI
    Well, my A6000 came today and it indeed starts up much faster with Sigma 30. And this lens hasn't been updated to the latest firmware yet, so there may even be some room for improvement. Now on to the IQ torture test :)
     
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