Lens review

Sigma 30 mm f/1.4 EX DC HSM

18 August 2009
Arkadiusz Olech

3. Build quality

At the beginning we need to emphasize that Sigma 1.4/30 looks differently for all mounts and not only because of different bayonets. At the first glance, Sigmas can be divided into two groups. One are the mounts of Canon, Nikon, Olympus and Sigma, which have an HSM mechanism, making the lens larger in dimensions (diameter), and a distance scale placed behind a pane of glass. The other one is the mount of Sony and Pentax, where there’s no HSM mechanism, which makes it smaller and the distance scale is drawn directly on the body of the lens just under the ring for manual focusing.

Sigma 30 mm f/1.4 EX DC HSM - Build quality

Even among this uniform group of lenses equipped with HSM we see some differences. For example, the switch of focusing mode (AF/MF) is found in the version for Canon, Olympus and Sigma, but not in the version for Nikon.

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Sigma 30 mm f/1.4 EX DC HSM - Build quality

In terms of build quality, Sigma belongs to the highest series of this producer, marked with an EX symbol. The lens makes a solid impression, it has a metal bayonet, metal and black body and a proper ring for manual focusing, whose work gives no reasons to complain about. It distinguishes Sigma positively compared to some other analogue equivalents in which this ring can only be called a dummy. Focusing doesn’t make the lens grow in dimensions, and owing to this we’re dealing with a non-rotating filter thread of 62 mm diameter.

Sigma 30 mm f/1.4 EX DC HSM - Build quality

It’s worth to add here that Sigma, as an equivalent of an analogue 50, is not a small lens. On the other hand, its size depends on perspective from which we look. This table shows the comparison of Sigma to Nikkor 1.4/50, Pentax 1.4/50 and Sony 1.4/50. You can easily see than, although designed for a smaller sensor, Sigma is noticeably bigger and heavier than its full-frame equivalents. On the other hand, when we make a comparison to full-frame instruments equipped with an ultrasonic autofocus motor, or to Leica, Sigma is smaller. You can easily see that from another table.

Sigma 30 mm f/1.4 EX DC HSM - Build quality

The internal construction comprises of 7 lenses set in 7 groups. To ensure good image quality, even at the maximum aperture, one aspherical and two low-dispersion lenses were used: SLD (Special Low Dispersion) and ELD (Extraordinary Low Dispersion). Additionally, inside we find an 8-blade diaphragm to form the minimum aperture of f/16.

Sigma 30 mm f/1.4 EX DC HSM - Build quality

The producer ensured that the buyer, in the set, gets a lens hood and an elegant and hard casing. As with all EX lenses, as a standard, we get a three-year warranty which, for some extra charge, can be extended on another two years.

Sigma 30 mm f/1.4 EX DC HSM - Build quality