I just returned from a week long trip to Northern California where I had an opportunity to drive once again along California State Route #1 from Los Angeles to California, visit Yosemite National Park and to explore San Francisco Bay area.
Also, I was excited to test a new piece of equipment I purchased only two days before my departure, the Sigma 30mm F1.4 prime lens.
Since I switched from a Canon DSLR to a Sony Mirrorless I’ve been looking for a fast prime lens, the equivalent of 50mm focal length on a full frame sensor. I wanted a compact lens with a native Sony E-mount, designed for APS-C sensor and faster than F1.8. For 18 months I could not find anything that fit my criteria.
When Sigma announced a brand new 30mm F1.4 prime designed for APS-C sensor I ordered it right away without waiting for reviews. I decided to run it through the typical scenario of my photography trip and see for myself if I liked it and wanted to keep it.
First of all, I did not have high expectations for the lens because it was released under a Contemporary label which is Sigma’s budget line compared to high-end Art series. Plus, the price tag of $330 was a bit suspicious because it was way below the competition.
Below are the selected specifications of the lens, the ones I find to be the most important for my needs. For the complete specs visit Amazon:
- Weight 9.35 oz (265 g)
- Dimensions (DxL) Approx. 2.55 x 2.89″ (64.8 x 73.3 mm)
- Focal Length 30mm. Comparable 35mm Focal Length: 45 mm
- Aperture Maximum: f/1.4
- Camera Mount Type Sony (E Mount for NEX)
- Format Compatibility APS-C
- Filter Thread Front: 52 mm
The first surprise occurred when I received the lens. I recognized that it was smaller than I expected, lighter and extremely well built.
Because I liked the built quality a lot I was intrigued to see what quality of images the lens produced, the speed and accuracy of focus and the quality of bokeh (out-of-focus parts of photo)
Here are my observations after using the lens for one week.
The focus accuracy and speed are good. Since I purchased this lens for travel portraits and not for action sports, I am completely satisfied with focus performance.
The vignetting and barrel distortion are visible at f1.4 but it is on a par with the fast primes from Canon and Nikon. Plus, every photo gets Lens Correction Profile embedded into metadata and it is extremely easy to fix barrel distortion and vignetting in Lightroom or Photoshop.
Same goes for the Chromatic Aberration. In some situations it is prominent but it is easy to fix it in Lightroom.
It looks that the quality of the bokeh is pleasant but I still need more time to make the final decision. It looks if in some cases I really like it but not so much in others.
This is the review in progress. I will be adding more examples in the future and I hope it will help you to make a decision if you want this lens or not.
What I can tell now is that I am definitely keeping Sigma 30mm F1.4 and I am very excited to finally have a lightweight, fast prime in my bag. Now I have no more excuses to neglect travel portraits.
My Mirrorless Lens Travel Kit
As you can see the new Sigma 30mm F1.4 is slightly smaller than Sony 16-70mm but a bit bigger than Sony 10-18mm.