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The Sigma 30/2.8 from an adapted lens users perspective

Discussion in 'Sony Alpha E-Mount Lenses' started by dixeyk, Feb 16, 2013.

  1. dixeyk

    dixeyk TalkEmount All-Pro

    Jun 18, 2012
    Bellingham . WA
    Kevin
    I have made no secret about the fact that I think the Sigma 30 is a very good lens. I've had of three of them each time coming to the conclusion that it's not for me because I prefer MF to AF but a very good lens nor the less. During this past Sigma sell off in advance of the new models arriving I picked up a Sigma 30 and a Sigma 19 (although I bought them separately, I got the deal prices). The Sigma had been sitting unused like it usually does because I use my Rokkors, Vivitar or Pen-F lenses instead. Today I thought I'd take the Sigma out and make the best of it I could. The first part of the day went about the way it always does then something happened. I was shooting an image of a couple of spiky leaves against a very busy background and the Sigma kept trying to focus on the background. Not too surprising. I've seen this before on a number of cameras so I didn't really feel it was some sort of serious flaw, just a bother. So I decided to manual focus it instead. I'm not at all sure that I have even attempted to do this before (surprising given my affinity for legacy lenses) and much to my surprise it worked wonderfully.

    Now the Sigma is a focus by wire and it's not anything like focusing a manual focus lens but even with that handicap there were somethings that made the experience fun. The Sigma peaks really well and I had never noticed that before but when you start to MF, the auto magnify kicks in, and viola you can quickly focus. Also, you can tweak it so the AF realizes what you ARE wanting to focus on and then the AF kicks in to help. Finally, the AF speed is a lot better than I remember it being. The reason I think is the fact that I updated the firmware on the 5n to 1.0.2 (I had just updated it to 1.0.1 a few weeks ago) and in all honesty I found the AF to be perfectly acceptable for a day of walking about with my son grabbing shots fo whatever caught my fancy.

    Then I get back and was reminded that the color the Sigma produces is very VERY pleasing and it is one SHARP lens. The image below is from this morning.

    8480740014_b6a516eac2_b.
    Render Unto Caesar by dixeyk, on Flickr

    THIS is a 100% crop of that image.

    [​IMG]

    Tell me that aint sharp. This was 1/60th @f3.2 - ISO 500

    The Sigma is a real pleasure to walk around with. It's reasonably fast (now), the IQ is terrific, and while it might not be the handsomest lens it's way better than it has a right to be for $100. IQ wise I think it's every bit as good as my Pen-F 38. It's not as fast but I wouldn't at all surprised to see it match the Pen 38's sharpness at all the apertures they share. AND...if you fancy manual focus it peaks well and if you're willing to deal with focus by wire it can pretty fun.

    Having come from m43 prior to the NEX I would even go so far as to say that the Sigma 30 is almost as sharp as the Olympus 45/1.8, has similarly nice OOF areas and better color than that much loved lens at $200 less. I'm looking forward to the 19 getting here sometime next week. If it performs as well as the 30 I could see them being great travel kit. In fact I have some traveling for work coming in the next few months. I'll put it to the test and report back.

    I think I'll keep the Sigma 30 this time. No more selling it off.
     

    Attached Files:

  2. Jefenator

    Jefenator TalkEmount Top Veteran

    876
    Nov 23, 2012
    Oregon, USA
    Jeff
    Same boat here - thought about selling but I use it too darn much! :)
     
  3. dixeyk

    dixeyk TalkEmount All-Pro

    Jun 18, 2012
    Bellingham . WA
    Kevin

    Attached Files:

  4. Rich

    Rich TalkEmount Veteran

    253
    Nov 20, 2012
    Salisbury UK
    Richard
    For what they cost to buy and the quality of image that they return, they are well worth keeping even if you don't use them much in my opinion.
     
  5. nianys

    nianys TalkEmount All-Pro

    Aug 23, 2012
    France
    Kevin as you know I was not a fan of the Oly 45/1.8 because of a very characterless and clinical rendering, but I can't agree that the OOF areas of the 30/2.8 DN compare with that of the Oly. The blur is WAY more pronounced with the Oly and it's actually brilliant for portraits, while the Sigma was never usable for me for being to slow in max aperture. The Oly is actually able to melt backgrounds away, while they're still pretty defined with the Sigma.
    Not saying it's not a great lens, a lot of folks seem to like it. For me it was open box, try out, yawn, put back in the box, list, sell.
     
  6. Poki

    Poki TalkEmount Hall of Famer

    Aug 30, 2011
    Austria
    Why, oh why do most people think focus by wire is a bad idea? I actually think it's a brilliant idea! The focus throw adjusts depending on how fast you turn the ring and the focus rings are usually less stiff to turn - at least on cheap lenses compared to the SLR competition.

    Biggest flaw? Focusing to infinity at night for starscapes / night landscapes.

    To the bokeh: I'm not a fan of the bokeh I see here. But then again, this is a very subjective matter.
     
  7. Frank Teurlings

    Frank Teurlings TalkEmount Regular

    182
    Dec 10, 2012
    Netherlands
    Thus, to each his own opinion and user experience. It just depends where you the border lay.
     
  8. dixeyk

    dixeyk TalkEmount All-Pro

    Jun 18, 2012
    Bellingham . WA
    Kevin

    The Sigma is not a lens I would suggest for someone rimarily interested in portraits. That however doesn't make it any less useful a lens. While the Olympus 45 is a great lens it has a MFD that feel like it's about 20 feet so for me it's not a lens I like. I shot a lot of images with that Olympus 45 and I don't know that I agree that it's that much better than the Sigma. Of course it has the benefit of being faster and capable of smooth creamy OOF areas because it can shoot at 1.8 when wide open but stopped down to 3.2 or 5.6 I don't think the bokeh is all that different. Then again I don't favor portraits so I may not be nearly as sensitive to that as you are.
     
  9. nianys

    nianys TalkEmount All-Pro

    Aug 23, 2012
    France
    For someone who doesn't "favor portraits", you've delivered more than your share of stunning ones, lol..
     
  10. WoodWorks

    WoodWorks Super Moderator

    Dec 12, 2012
    Ashland, OR, USA
    David
    For some reason the Sigma and I just never clicked. But I always enjoy seeing how others here use it so well. It's yet another thing I love about this place. I can go on and on about how much I like the 16-50, and no one here has felt the need to drop a turd in my punch bowl.

    De gustibus non est diputatem
     
  11. teefin1

    teefin1 TalkEmount Top Veteran

    618
    Sep 7, 2012
    I'm a portrait fan, also a fan of the Sigma 30 on the Nex. I've had a 5n, a C3 and three 7's, all gone; the Sigma I want to keep (for thr next NEX). It really is sharp, contrasty and the IQ is stellar.You have a lot of portraits of your son in b & w; he has the most beautiful colour eyes.
     
  12. dixeyk

    dixeyk TalkEmount All-Pro

    Jun 18, 2012
    Bellingham . WA
    Kevin
    LOL, I suppose I do. I didn't mean that to sound catty (sorry if it came out that way) I just don't think of myself as someone that shoots portriats. I like getting close in so that is the thing I look for and the Sigma does a decent job of it so I tend to like close focus and sharp and OOF backgrounds all look pretty similar to me (unless they are really terrible). I also don't shoot wide open much so I'm bokeh challenged.

    Let's just say my ability to distinguish good OOF backgrounds is less finely tuned than most. FWIW I post more portraits here just to keep up with you (and teefin1). Your stuff is just incredible so I need to post them just to keep in the game...at least a little bit. :biggrin:.
     
  13. dixeyk

    dixeyk TalkEmount All-Pro

    Jun 18, 2012
    Bellingham . WA
    Kevin

    I'm on a BW kick right now. He does have pretty cool eyes. They're gray blue and change depending on mood (like dad). I really should do some color of him too.
     
  14. teefin1

    teefin1 TalkEmount Top Veteran

    618
    Sep 7, 2012
    I do love black and white....but with eyes like that.... :)
     
  15. dixeyk

    dixeyk TalkEmount All-Pro

    Jun 18, 2012
    Bellingham . WA
    Kevin
    I can appreciate that. When I used m43 cameras I never clicked with the PL25. I know that'll sound like heresy to some (Claire?) but I just never found myself wanting to use it. No doubt it's a great lens but for me it was about as exciting as a sister kiss. I'm not even sure what it was I didn't like. The PL45 OTOH is a lens that I loved. In the end it comes down to our personal preferences, quirks and how we like to shoot.

    Are you talking about the 16-50 PZ? I hear that's a fun lens.
     
  16. nianys

    nianys TalkEmount All-Pro

    Aug 23, 2012
    France
    Ooh ooh, now sister kiss, that could be exciting to some... Ok, maybe I'm a bit twisted, who knows ;) yep, the PL25 is my big m4/3 love, actually I JUST shot it alongside with the SEL35. Pretty hair pulling results. The NEX chip is very obviously better than the GX-1's, but the PL is also very obviously better than the SEL, by a couple of miles, too ! So here am I, wanting to screw the PL on the NEX, LOL...
     
  17. nianys

    nianys TalkEmount All-Pro

    Aug 23, 2012
    France
    Oh, and Kevin yes, please some color shots of the young man's eyes !!
     
  18. WoodWorks

    WoodWorks Super Moderator

    Dec 12, 2012
    Ashland, OR, USA
    David
    Yes, that's the one. I know it's next to useless for someone who favors portraits, but for a mostly landscape shooter like me, it's a jack of all trades (and master of none). I guess I tend to overlook the shortcomings of any particular lens if it comes in handy is so many different situations. It's the one-trick ponies that end up gathering dust on my shelves.
     
  19. dixeyk

    dixeyk TalkEmount All-Pro

    Jun 18, 2012
    Bellingham . WA
    Kevin
    How very continental...remember I'm from the colonies, we're much less "worldly" :eek:
     
  20. dixeyk

    dixeyk TalkEmount All-Pro

    Jun 18, 2012
    Bellingham . WA
    Kevin
    Landscape = Earth portraits. It's all matter of HOW you frame it. :laugh1: