LensTip.com

Lens review

Sigma 30 mm f/1.4 EX DC HSM

18 August 2009
Arkadiusz Olech

11. Summary

Pros:
  • very sturdy, short and compact body,
  • very good or even great image quality at the center of the frame,
  • good anti-reflection coatings make working against bright light excellent,
  • fast and noiseless autofocus in HSM version,
  • abounding equipment,
  • 3-year warranty (for some extra charge possible to extend on another 2 years),
  • good parameters and quality/price ratio.

Cons:

  • poor image quality at the edge of the frame,
  • random accuracy of focus mechanism,
  • chromatic aberration should be slightly smaller,
  • too high distortion for these lens parameters,
  • very large astigmatism,
  • noticeable coma.

I’m glad we’ve reached a moment in which the test of this lens, on all five mounts, appeared at our website. Its presence is important for a few reasons. First of all, it’s one of the few lenses which can be enjoyed by owners of all DSLRs with small sensors, thus making the comparison of the results obtained on different detectors very instructive. Second of all, the fact of using this lens when doing our camera tests made its thorough test a compulsory thing. I’m ashamed that our Readers had to wait so long for it. Sigma 1.4/30 was originally a lens designed for DSLRs of APS-C sensor and this way being a convenient equivalent of classic analogue 50s. The designers of Sigma’s optics shouldn’t be happy too much with their work, and that’s because of edges of the angle of view. Other lenses of 28-35 class designed for a 35-mm film perform much better. On the other hand, it’s no wonder, as they’re supposed to work with detectors 1.5-2 times larger, so a smaller APS-C/DX or 4/3 sensor doesn’t demand much in terms of optics. This doesn’t absolve Sigma’s designers of attention of image quality. If Sigma’s designed for DSLRs of small sensors, doesn’t need to give a good image at 24x36 mm area, but should at a sensor of APS-C/DX. And, that it doesn’t, we can observe when comparing it to other lenses whose focal lengths start in the range 28-35 mm.


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If we add noticeable coma, large astigmatism, somewhat oppressive vignetting and noticeable chromatic aberration to all this, the legitimate question arises whether it’s worth to spend 1400 zl on Sigma. Only, this isn’t the full picture. Firstly, Sigma is really great at the center of the frame, giving us results usable even at the maximum aperture. Secondly, for a reasonable price it gives us a high build quality, excellent warranty conditions and an ultrasonic autofocus motor in case of Canon, Nikon and Olympus. And the most important thing. This lens doesn’t really have much competition. There are lenses of similar focal length and the same brightness, e.g. Canon 1.4/35L, Leica 1.4/25 or Sony 1.4/35, which cost three times as much as Sigma does. There is Canon 1.8/28, but its price isn’t much lower than Sigma’s, and the parameters are worse. There is Pentax smc P-FA 31 mm f/1.8, but we can describe it the same as Canon – more expensive and with worse brightness.

Amateurs, as an alternative, only have lenses of 2/35 class, then, which are found in most producers offer. Unfortunately, they’re not much cheaper than Sigma and often are worse made, none of them has an ultrasonic autofocus motor and none of them has either the f/1.4 brightness or the good warranty.

At the end, I’m going to repeat what I wrote in the summary. I’m surprised that Sigma why it’s only Sigma that came up with the idea of making this lens, as an appliance of these parameters will be useful to any owner of a DSLR with a small sensor.


Sample shots:

Sigma 30 mm f/1.4 EX DC HSM - Summary Sigma 30 mm f/1.4 EX DC HSM - Summary Sigma 30 mm f/1.4 EX DC HSM - Summary
Camera: Canon 20D
Parameters: 30 mm, f/8.0, exp. 1/1000 sec., ISO 200
File: JPG, 3504x2336 pix, 2.8 MB
Camera: Canon 20D
Parameters: 30 mm, f/5.6, exp. 1/640 sec., ISO 100
File: JPG, 3504x2336 pix, 2.5 MB
Camera: Canon 20D
Parameters: 30 mm, f/1.4, exp. 1/6400 sec., ISO 100
File: JPG, 3504x2336 pix, 2.0 MB
Sigma 30 mm f/1.4 EX DC HSM - Summary Sigma 30 mm f/1.4 EX DC HSM - Summary Sigma 30 mm f/1.4 EX DC HSM - Summary
Camera: Canon 20D
Parameters: 30 mm, f/1.4, exp. 1/2000 sec., ISO 200
File: JPG, 3504x2336 pix, 2.3 MB
Camera: Canon 20D
Parameters: 30 mm, f/2.0, exp. 1/640 sec., ISO 200
File: JPG, 3504x2336 pix, 2.2 MB
Camera: Canon 20D
Parameters: 30 mm, f/6.3, exp. 1/1600 sec., ISO 200
File: JPG, 3504x2336 pix, 2.7 MB
Sigma 30 mm f/1.4 EX DC HSM - Summary Sigma 30 mm f/1.4 EX DC HSM - Summary Sigma 30 mm f/1.4 EX DC HSM - Summary
Camera: Nikon D200
Parameters: 30 mm, f/1.4, exp. 1/800 sec., ISO 200
File: JPG, 3872x2592 pix, 4.2 MB
Camera: Nikon D200
Parameters: 30 mm, f/2.0, exp. 1/500 sec., ISO 200
File: JPG, 3872x2592 pix, 4.2 MB
Camera: Nikon D200
Parameters: 30 mm, f/2.0, exp. 1/1250 sec., ISO 200
File: JPG, 3872x2592 pix, 4.1 MB
Sigma 30 mm f/1.4 EX DC HSM - Summary Sigma 30 mm f/1.4 EX DC HSM - Summary Sigma 30 mm f/1.4 EX DC HSM - Summary
Camera: Pentax K20D
Parameters: 30 mm, f/2.0, exp. 1/4000 sec., ISO 100
File: JPG, 4672x3104 pix, 9.8 MB
Camera: Pentax K20D
Parameters: 30 mm, f/1.4, exp. 1/1000 sec., ISO 100
File: JPG, 4672x3104 pix, 7.8 MB
Camera: Pentax K20D
Parameters: 30 mm, f/2.8, exp. 1/4000 sec., ISO 100
File: JPG, 4672x3104 pix, 10.9 MB
Sigma 30 mm f/1.4 EX DC HSM - Summary Sigma 30 mm f/1.4 EX DC HSM - Summary Sigma 30 mm f/1.4 EX DC HSM - Summary
Camera: Pentax K20D
Parameters: 30 mm, f/2.0, exp. 1/250 sec., ISO 100
File: JPG, 4672x3104 pix, 11.0 MB
Camera: Pentax K20D
Parameters: 30 mm, f/2.0, exp. 1/3200 sec., ISO 100
File: JPG, 4672x3104 pix, 10.4 MB
Camera: Pentax K20D
Parameters: 30 mm, f/2.0, exp. 1/40 sec., ISO 400
File: JPG, 4672x3104 pix, 9.9 MB
Sigma 30 mm f/1.4 EX DC HSM - Summary Sigma 30 mm f/1.4 EX DC HSM - Summary Sigma 30 mm f/1.4 EX DC HSM - Summary
Camera: Sony A100
Parameters: 30 mm, f/2.2, exp. 1/4000 sec., ISO 100
File: JPG, 3872x2592 pix, 3.8 MB
Camera: Sony A100
Parameters: 30 mm, f/1.7, exp. 1/1000 sec., ISO 100
File: JPG, 3872x2592 pix, 2.4 MB
Camera: Sony A100
Parameters: 30 mm, f/2.5, exp. 1/2000 sec., ISO 100
File: JPG, 3872x2592 pix, 2.8 MB
Sigma 30 mm f/1.4 EX DC HSM - Summary Sigma 30 mm f/1.4 EX DC HSM - Summary Sigma 30 mm f/1.4 EX DC HSM - Summary
Camera: Sony A100
Parameters: 30 mm, f/5.0, exp. 1/1600 sec., ISO 100
File: JPG, 3872x2592 pix, 2.8 MB
Camera: Sony A100
Parameters: 30 mm, f/2.8, exp. 1/2500 sec., ISO 100
File: JPG, 3872x2592 pix, 3.7 MB
Camera: Sony A100
Parameters: 30 mm, f/2.0, exp. 1/800 sec., ISO 100
File: JPG, 3872x2592 pix, 2.5 MB
Sigma 30 mm f/1.4 EX DC HSM - Summary Sigma 30 mm f/1.4 EX DC HSM - Summary Sigma 30 mm f/1.4 EX DC HSM - Summary
Camera: Olympus E-3
Parameters: 30 mm, f/4.0, exp. 1/250 sec., ISO 100
File: JPG, 3648x2736 pix, 4.0 MB
Camera: Olympus E-3
Parameters: 30 mm, f/3.2, exp. 1/250 sec., ISO 100
File: JPG, 3648x2736 pix, 4.1 MB
Camera: Olympus E-3
Parameters: 30 mm, f/6.3, exp. 1/250 sec., ISO 100
File: JPG, 3648x2736 pix, 4.2 MB
Sigma 30 mm f/1.4 EX DC HSM - Summary Sigma 30 mm f/1.4 EX DC HSM - Summary Sigma 30 mm f/1.4 EX DC HSM - Summary
Camera: Olympus E-3
Parameters: 30 mm, f/1.4, exp. 1/1600 sec., ISO 100
File: JPG, 3648x2736 pix, 1.9 MB
Camera: Olympus E-3
Parameters: 30 mm, f/2.0, exp. 1/800 sec., ISO 100
File: JPG, 3648x2736 pix, 2.0 MB
Camera: Olympus E-3
Parameters: 30 mm, f/4.0, exp. 1/200 sec., ISO 100
File: JPG, 3648x2736 pix, 2.0 MB




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