The Sigma Enigma

Discussion in 'Sony Alpha E-Mount Lenses' started by dixeyk, Nov 14, 2017 at 1:48 AM.

  1. dixeyk

    dixeyk TalkEmount All-Pro

    Jun 18, 2012
    Bellingham . WA
    Kevin
    I just picked up a Sigma 19/2.8 and as I am playing with it I have started to wonder if Sigma lenses are actually good or are they simply benefitting from the fact that there aren't a whole lot of affordable lenses for Sony.

    So let me be clear to start this off, I don't think the Sigma 19 is a bad lens at all, but I am wondering if it can really be called a good lens? It's kinda slow, the AF is decent, the build seems durable (unlike the Olympus 45/1.8) and the IQ is perfectly serviceable. Clearly the Sigma 19 is capable of producing nice images but I also think the main reason that folks buy it is because it's cheap. That's why I bought it and with that in mind I would say I'm happy with the purchase.

    Admittedly I only have experience with the Sigma 19/2.8 and 30/2.8 (on m43 and E-Mount) and while I never regretted having them I can’t say that I would specifically choose to use them over any other lens. They were always the default choice when I needed AF. So, are they good? If you have a Sigma lens do you like it and is it for reasons other than it being affordable or the only option out there?
     
    Last edited: Nov 14, 2017 at 3:17 AM
  2. addieleman

    addieleman Passionate amateur Subscribing Member

    Nov 13, 2012
    Netherlands
    Ad Dieleman
    I bought the Sigma 2.8/19 and 2.8/30 for my NEX-6 at the time. The 19mm sample had some asymmetrical sharpness which didn't work out well in landscapes, so I sold it; a good sample would have been OK for me. Later on I bought the Sony E 4/10-18 so I had no reason to go after another Sigma 19mm. I still have the 30mm and I'll keep it for when I might buy another APS-C body: it's image quality is excellent even wide-open. I once made a shot that looked a bit peculiar, sharp but with unexpected unsharpness further out; I discovered I'd left it at f/2.8 instead of the intended f/8. Sure, it's AF isn't the fastest because it's only contrast detect AF and build quality is as expected for a lens of this price class. It beat all the legacy 28mm lenses I tried at the time, so for me this AF lens was a steal.

    You're obviously a bit disappointed and I think image quality for your subjects won't be that different from a good legacy lens because edge and corner sharpness won't matter very much. IMHO the 30mm's advantages are convenience of autofocus and EXIF lens data paired with excellent image quality across the frame. You should be able to sell them without too much of a loss.
     
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  3. fractal

    fractal TalkEmount Hall of Famer Subscribing Member

    Jun 17, 2014
    Southeastern PA
    Chris
    I've said it a few times here. Those Sigma lenses are good for the price but overall average lenses. Yes the 30mm is sharp but I agree with these comments for Photojotting.com.

    Sigma NEX 30mm F/2.8 EX DN Review - Photo Jottings

    Flare and ghosting control is poor; I see magenta streaks and loss of contrast when the sun is in the image, or just outside the image. A large green blob shows up too when the sun is towards the center. Viewing your images on your camera screen may not always show this stuff, it’s much more noticeable when you get home and look at the pictures on a large screen. Use you hand to block the sun from the front element, otherwise you’ll be sorry.


    Lateral color fringing.

    Lateral color fringing is noticeable along the sides of the image, this is about as bad as it gets. Some cameras will automatically remove this, so you won’t see it. This crop is from the last 700 pixels of the image at the middle left side.


    Still think you should save up for the Sony Zeiss 24mm 1.8.
     
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  4. dixeyk

    dixeyk TalkEmount All-Pro

    Jun 18, 2012
    Bellingham . WA
    Kevin
    I'm more surprised that given the lens options available from Fuji, Panasonic and Olympus (and Sony's own A-Mount lenses) that the E-Mount lens options aren't better than they are. What it looks like to me is that Sony has pretty much abandoned APS-C cameras with all of their efforts going to FF. I can understand that decision from a business perspective but it does kinda for the consumer.

    As for me, I didn't come back to Sony for their lenses so it's more a curiosity than anything else. As for the Sigma 19, I had one before so it's not that much of a surprise. I wanted a WA prime and it was either the Sigma or Sony 20. I'm sure it'll be fine.
     
    Last edited: Nov 14, 2017 at 8:18 AM
  5. dixeyk

    dixeyk TalkEmount All-Pro

    Jun 18, 2012
    Bellingham . WA
    Kevin
    I don't see myself spending $800 on something like the Zeiss 24 (as good as it is). I'm perfectly happy to use my adapted 24's. The only reason I bought the Sigma 19 was that I wanted to have a WA lens and didn't want to spend the money for a nice adapted 20/21 like the Hexanon 21/4. I'll use the Sigma 19 for a while and see if it works out, it was pretty cheap so I can always sell it for close to what I paid for it.
     
    Last edited: Nov 14, 2017 at 8:18 AM
  6. fractal

    fractal TalkEmount Hall of Famer Subscribing Member

    Jun 17, 2014
    Southeastern PA
    Chris
    There are plenty on EBAY used in good condition going for around $650-675, and like the Sigma you could always sell it for around that much. You'll end up enjoying that lens much more and with it's close focusing distance and magnification ratio of 1:4 combined with the cropping ability of the NEX-7 it serves very well as a "macro" lens. Incredibly versatile lens that could take the place of 3 others.

    OK - that's it. I promise no more pushing of the 24mm ZA. lol!
     
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  7. dixeyk

    dixeyk TalkEmount All-Pro

    Jun 18, 2012
    Bellingham . WA
    Kevin
    LOL...believe me, you're not the only one that as told me this. I have a good friend that is always singing the praises of the 24. I am sure I would love it but unless I come into a windfall it's not something I will be getting anytime soon.

    I have to say that looking at Sony's lenses offerings has kinda made me regret selling my Fuji gear.
     
    Last edited: Nov 14, 2017 at 8:45 AM
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  8. grillec

    grillec TalkEmount Regular

    148
    Mar 19, 2015
    I've bought the first edition of 30mm/19mm for my Nex-5N because there wasn't another options in glasses except perhaps for the Sony 16mm(12mm)/2.8 and the 50mm/1.8 OSS. In contrast to the 50mm/1.8 OSS the Sigma lenses got never a firmware update for better PhAF performance.
    I own the Sigma DP2 and DP1 Merrill - and here the 19mm is the weaker one, too, but I never never shouldn't compare the images here between the Sony and the Sigma ones. That's not fair play. And additionally now I rarely use APS-C lenses for my Sony cameras anymore.
    Sony doesn't care enough about developing a APS-C lens range like Fuji.
     
  9. dixeyk

    dixeyk TalkEmount All-Pro

    Jun 18, 2012
    Bellingham . WA
    Kevin
    I get that Sony is putting all the effort into their FF line but it sure would be nice if they put a little effort into some APS-C lenses. I understand that we can always use the FF lenses on an APS-C body but they are both large and expensive so that leaves some folks out. What I find most interesting is seeing Sony position themselves as an alternative to Canon and Nikon with their FF bodies.
     
  10. davect01

    davect01 Super Moderator Subscribing Member

    Aug 20, 2011
    Fountain Hills, AZ
    Dave
    Ya, I get it from Sony's point of view. Why build a lens that only a portion of the available E-Mount owners can use when everyone can use FF?

    But with Sony's emphasis on only making $1500-3000 top notch FF lenses, it leaves many of us looking elsewhere.
     
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  11. dixeyk

    dixeyk TalkEmount All-Pro

    Jun 18, 2012
    Bellingham . WA
    Kevin
    Pretty much. I look at Fuji and I have no doubt that Sony COULD develop lenses that are very similar in size and quality to the Fuji f2 lenses (like the 18/2, 23/2, 35/2 and 50/2) if they wanted to. They just don't seem to want to.
     
  12. bdbits

    bdbits TalkEmount Top Veteran

    959
    Sep 10, 2015
    Bob
    Spot on. They are not competing with m4/3, and their allocation of lenses between APS-C and FF is not all that different from Canikon really. Nor do I see this changing anytime soon.

    For the Sonys and Canikons of the photographic world, APS-C is the gateway drug to full frame. ;)
     
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  13. dixeyk

    dixeyk TalkEmount All-Pro

    Jun 18, 2012
    Bellingham . WA
    Kevin
    That too bad as I don’t see myself buying any version of A7 or A9. I never have liked the faux SLR Design and after borrowing an A7II from work I think that if I wanted AF it would be back to Fuji
     
  14. fractal

    fractal TalkEmount Hall of Famer Subscribing Member

    Jun 17, 2014
    Southeastern PA
    Chris
    The fuji 23mm f/2 is $400, the Sony 28mm f2 is $450 (full-frame).

    The fuji 35mm f/2 is $400, the Sony 35mm OSS 1.8 is $450.

    The fuji 50mm f/2 is $450, the Sony SEL 50mm OSS 1.8 is $250.

    The Sony set is less, has 2 faster lenses and the Sony 35 & 50 are stabilized unlike the Fujis. The only thing missing is a fast wide, but the Sigma 16 1.4 is rumored to cost around $400.

    I had the 35mm and thought it was a fine lens and still have the SEL 50mm and always loved its rendering.
     
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  15. dixeyk

    dixeyk TalkEmount All-Pro

    Jun 18, 2012
    Bellingham . WA
    Kevin
    I think your comparison leaves out a few things. You compare the Sony 28/2 with the 23/2. The appropriate comparison is the 27/2.8. The Sony that fills the same spot as the Fuji 23/2 is the Sony/Zeiss 24/1.8. I think that changes the costs quite a bit. Also the Fuji 23/2, 35/2 and 50/2 all have silent motor AF, solid builds, aperture rings and are weather sealed. When I hold a Sony lens like the 50/1.8 in my hand it feels like a toy compared to the Fuji 50/2. So yes, I would love it if I could get compact Sony lenses with aperture rings and a nice solid build and an affordable price. Sony has lenses that are roughy equivalent in focal length but they're not the same.

    As far as the quality of the lenses, the Fuji lenses that I had were all optically excellent. I have experience with the Sigmas and the Sony 50/.18 and none of those lenses is in the same league IMHO. That said, I do like the 50/1.8 OSS. From the images I have seen of the Sony 35 (and briefly using one a while back) it doesn't seem to be all that much better optically than the Sigma 30/2.8 That said, I defer to you as you owned one.
     
    Last edited: Nov 14, 2017 at 10:19 PM
  16. dixeyk

    dixeyk TalkEmount All-Pro

    Jun 18, 2012
    Bellingham . WA
    Kevin
    I think it’s important to mention that while I do like Fuji lenses I happily sold my Fuji kit (lenses and all) to buy a Sony.

    For me the promise of mirrorless was always small impact bodies and lenses (like the Leica CL). I think the best example of that is probably m43. I still think the Panasonic 14/2.5 and 20/1.7 are great examples that. I think that Sony is getting away from that a bit and I think there FF lenses are especially so.
     
    Last edited: Nov 14, 2017 at 11:12 PM
  17. fractal

    fractal TalkEmount Hall of Famer Subscribing Member

    Jun 17, 2014
    Southeastern PA
    Chris
    The Sigma 30 2.8 is sharp, but so is the Sony 35 1.8. After that, the Sony lens beats the Sigma in every other aspect; it's faster, much better bokeh, much better CA and flare control and overall rendering. Plus the Sony is stabilized. I personally feel the 35 is an underrated lens.

    It's apparent that Sony's strategy for APS-C was to go with stabilized lenses and more electronic controls, while Fuji was to make their lenses a bit more compact and solid (but heavier) and traditional manual controls. I've never shot Fuji but always appreciated their approach. So really apples and oranges. Some may say Fuji doesn't make comparable stabilized and lighter primes like Sony - for sure though Fuji has a much broader lineup of cropped lenses - but only because they don't have a FF line. If I were to decide I only wanted to shoot crop and video wasn't really that important I would probably end up with Fuji. Then again, it's my understanding that older lenses adapt better to E-mount
     
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  18. dixeyk

    dixeyk TalkEmount All-Pro

    Jun 18, 2012
    Bellingham . WA
    Kevin
    I agree. I think the 35 gets a bad rap but I think that is perhaps because of its price and maybe because the Sigma 30/1.4 is about the same price and it is sharper and faster. The value of OSS really depends on how you use it. I never found it that useful for me but I know folks for whom it is very important.

    I think your assessment of Fuji is pretty much spot on. They have zero interest in FF (hence their medium format camera) and while I have heard that they are working on some sort of IS they certainly don't have it now. They do make nice gear and if you are not interested in video they can be very attractive. I would also add "if you're not interested in adapting lenses" as well. I shot Fuji for about a year and my experiences that its a much nicer platform with native lenses than with adapted lenses. I never liked their implementation of focus peaking and while you can successfully shoot adapted lenses it is far easier to do so on a Sony body. I also think that despite their use of dials and a very analog feel to their controls I find that my NEX bodies are more comfortable.

    The biggest reason however for me to switch back to Sony was that I think the Sony bodies produce better images with adapted lenses. For whatever reason the results I got using my Nikkors and Minoltas was significantly better on the Sony body than on the Fuji (and I did shoot the X-P1 and NEX 5n at the same time to compare). The Fuji did have some significant advantages when it comes to low light but in good light the difference was noticeable. Even though I would love to have Fuji-like lenses available for Sony (aperture rings, compact and solid) I'm much happier with the Sony as a platform.

    If you want video there is no comparison, you're better off looking at Sony or Panasonic IMHO.
     
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  19. dixeyk

    dixeyk TalkEmount All-Pro

    Jun 18, 2012
    Bellingham . WA
    Kevin
    @fractal@fractal - do you have any shots that you really like from the 35? Something that you feel shows off its strengths?
     
  20. Jazzer

    Jazzer TalkEmount Veteran Subscribing Member

    370
    Nov 6, 2012
    New York
    Larry
    This thread and the last several posts (including this one) piqued my interest. I have been happily shooting my A6000 for about 3 years now, but have really wanted to upgrade to something a bit "better", particularly build quality and EVF. I think about going to FF, but really what attracted me to mirrorless to begin with was compact size and FF certainly gets away from that. The A6500 has a lot of upgrades that would be great, but to keep the kit on the smaller side, I need to stick with APS-C lenses and that seems to be going nowhere in Sony land. I don't really care much about video and have only one adapted lens that I don't really use and am unlikely to buy more. So is Fuji my answer?