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Keywords: Sigma Canon Nikon Four-Thirds Mid Prime DC APS-C HSM Tested


jedy

Registered: February 2013
Posts: 2
Sigma 30mm f/1.4 EX DC HSM review by jedy
Review Date: 2/16/2013 Would you recommend the product? Yes | Total Spent: $350.00| Rating: 9 

 
Pros: Depth of field, pleasing bokeh, full time manual, HSM, case and hood included
Cons: Chromatic aberration, APS-C only, vignetting

Got this for my 600D to get a 'normal' lens as I deemed it better than Canon's 28mm. Very impressed with it. Some of the cons like chromatic aberration and vignetting are found on a lot of fast primes so not really a fault of this particular lens only. The inclusion of a soft lens case and lens hood (as with all Sigma lenses) is a definite bonus and played a big part in me buying this over Canon's 28mm.


Although I said I'd recommend this lens, with the new 30mm due out any time now, I'd recommend waiting for that one as it's compatible with the new usb dock and is supposed to have better handling of CA.
makcv113

Registered: August 2012
Posts: 8
Sigma 30mm f/1.4 EX DC HSM review by makcv113
Review Date: 1/1/2013 Would you recommend the product? Yes | Total Spent: $350.00| Rating: 8 

 
Pros: Fast aperture, semi fast focusing for my needs, sharp
Cons: Soft wide open, smallest aperture is f16

*UPDATE* My latest music video was shot with the Canon 50mm 1.8 and Sigma 30mm 1.4. The 30mm was primarily used for most shots except when it was focused closer to the artist's face (50mm used there). Recorded with a Canon 60D at ISO 3200 at 1.4 most of the time, this lens saved the night for sure! A keeper!
Video here: http://youtu.be/RYTmwl3w_eE


Also I did a PSA solely with this lens on a 60D. Studio lights were used, I believe my ISO was set at 400 and recorded wide open at 1.4. Pretty good!
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q5vRo_DY6kg


Visit my FB page to get updates on new videos and specific gear used so you know how it was shot. Also feel free to ask questions about anything camera/video/photo related.
http://www.facebook.com/MAVPMedia
http://www.youtube.com/user/MAVPMedia


I bought this recently because I wanted a 50mm equivalent for my Canon 40D. It was either this or the Samyang 35mm 1.4 for video, but since I was a photography guy first, I just the Sigma with its AF. Bokeh is okay. There is distortion. I also have the Canon 50mm 1.8 that I used to use more often. I'm liking this Sigma right now.


Here's some shots with the lens most likely wide open at 1.4:


http://www.flickr.com/photos/mlaphotography/sets/72157632800390892/


http://www.flickr.com/photos/mlaphotography/sets/72157632720048442/


http://www.flickr.com/photos/mlaphotography/sets/72157632404865475/


http://www.flickr.com/photos/mlaphotography/sets/72157632775569448/


**UPDATE** I'm now using this on a 60D. Here are some recent photos taken with it. Settings are viewable.


http://flic.kr/s/aHsjEx3AtV
mononoke_

Registered: December 2012
Posts: 2
Sigma 30mm f/1.4 EX DC HSM review by mononoke_
Review Date: 12/29/2012 Would you recommend the product? Yes | Total Spent: $500.00| Rating: 8 

 
Pros: Solid build, sharpness even wise open, smooth and precise manual focus ring, good autofocus, excellent value for money
Cons: Field curvature, large coma wide open, AF can be inconsistent - extra care needed

Bought in in spite of negative reviews that dominate the net, mainly for the lack of alternatives in fast normal primes for APS-C segment. Fastest lens I had before this purchase was f2.8 60mm. At first I couldn't get good results out of it yet somehow I was hesitant to return it back and kept on practising. AF wasn't consistent and I don't have AF adjust on my Canon 40D. After awhile I have learned few things:
- AF is very accurate and consistent if it slews from close focus onto the target, and very inconsistent vice versa. It only takes a quick spin of the focusing ring towards the close focus just before the AF (allow to focus only once).
- Focus pane is somewhat spherical with corners coming in closer. Therefore to get sharp focus in corners, one has to focus in the corner and recompose. With smaller apertures, one would need to focus slightly past the subject in the centre to bring in the corner into focus field.
-Keeping the above points in mind, it is possible to get sharp (corner to corner) images even @ f2!
-Field curvature sometimes plays an advantage - brings in foreground objects into focus in landscape photography
-@ f1.4 sharpness is very good, but coma is visible in high contrast scenes and can look unpleasant. Overall, very usable @ f1.4
-Excellent sharpness and contrast @f1.8 - f2.0
-Maximum sharpness achieved at f2.8!


Things I don't like:
-Coma is somewhat bothersome wide open
-OOF highlights bokeh sometimes produces 'onion' effect
-Requires extra care when auto focusing





All in all - It wasn't a love from a first sight, but I grew to love it. Once you learn it's character and quirks, it starts to shine. Highly recommended for persistent users on a budget.
dugong5pm

Registered: October 2012
Posts: 51
Sigma 30mm f/1.4 EX DC HSM review by dugong5pm
Review Date: 10/9/2012 Would you recommend the product? No | Total Spent: $450.00| Rating: 6 

 
Pros: 30mm, fast f/1.4, build quality
Cons: IQ, soft

There are few manufacturers that provide us with 30mm (45mm equiv in FF). It's one of my favorite. This lens comes with a nice build quality. It feels rock solid, a little bit better than other budget normal primes. You also get a f/1.4 for the price. seems pretty unbelievable.


When it gets to the real use, the f/1.4 won't be much usable, since it produces soft images (even in the center). This lens starts to give better results when stopped down by 2 stops, bringing you into a f/2.8 lens. Hey, why am I buying a f/1.4 if I should use it on f/2.8?? You'll get better value by buying other 35/1.8 or 35/2 if the f/1.4 is only a gimmick.


For me, this lens is simply not a keeper. I bought it, shoot with it, and sold it right away.
Don't compare it to the Sigma 30mm f/2.8 DN which is almost perfect (for me). This 30/1.4 and the 30/2.8 are two different worlds. (the 30/2.8 is a small wonder for mirrorless system).
Photografer

Registered: October 2012
Posts: 5
Sigma 30mm f/1.4 EX DC HSM review by Photografer
Review Date: 10/2/2012 Would you recommend the product? Yes | Total Spent: $400.00| Rating: 10 

 
Pros: Super sharp
Cons: nice colors

Nice lens for that price
patricius6

Registered: January 2012
Posts: 4
Sigma 30mm f/1.4 EX DC HSM review by patricius6
Review Date: 4/6/2012 Would you recommend the product? Yes | Total Spent: $500.00| Rating: 10 

 
Pros: SUPER ON f/1.8, PRICE
Cons: non

My lens for interior
flyryd

Registered: January 2012
Posts: 1
Sigma 30mm f/1.4 EX DC HSM review by flyryd
Review Date: 1/21/2012 Would you recommend the product? No | Total Spent: $515.00| Rating: 7 

 
Pros: fast accurate AF for non-hsm
Cons: NO AF/MF switch, noisy AF, spinning focus ring, wrong Exif data.

Sony mount sigma 30 1.4


pros: build quality is good, no more crinkle paint, comes with hood, image quality is good, fast auto-focus.


cons: AF is noisy, the focus ring rotates when you auto-focus, but the biggest con for me was that the AF/MF switch is missing! switching from AF to MF requires you to go into the camera settings.
also the lens is giving the wrong EXIF data.
grafvonwollerau

Registered: December 2010
Posts: 1
Sigma 30mm f/1.4 EX DC HSM review by grafvonwollerau
Review Date: 12/30/2010 Would you recommend the product? Yes | Total Spent: $300.00| Rating: 9 

 
Pros: Low light capabilities, IQ, Works on APS-H (only F1,4-F2,8)
Cons: Back focus, loud focus (despite HSM)

My favorite lens for low light, family trips, theatre front row shoting! (for back row I prefere the Canon 85mm F1.8)
Happily the backfocus was correctable by my camera (EOS 7D).
That make it a perfect lense!
I find it even sharp from corner to corner even wide open. (unsharp mask in PS; radius 1 Px, 100%, 0 threshold)
The focus can be loud, when it's needed to go from macro to infinity. But its fast enough almost everything.
The built quality isn't perfect, the manual focus ring wobble a bit, but I dont mind as long as IQ is very good. ;-)
I bought it used from Ebay for 300 Bucks.


P.S. It works on APS-H! (only F1,4-F2,8) Iv tested the lens on a EOS 1D MKII but be prepared to so corner softnes!!! The lenshood has to go then.
nima13195

Registered: December 2010
Posts: 2
Sigma 30mm f/1.4 EX DC HSM review by nima13195
Review Date: 12/27/2010 Would you recommend the product? Yes | Total Spent: $460.00| Rating: 10 

 
Pros: fast aperture, price to performance rate, excellent and precise focus
Cons: none

i use this with my own canon 1000d and 40d. I love the bokeh created with sigma 30mm.
CyranoB

Registered: November 2009
Posts: 3
Sigma 30mm f/1.4 EX DC HSM review by CyranoB
Review Date: 12/19/2009 Would you recommend the product? Yes | Total Spent: $600.00| Rating: 8 

 
Pros: Good Normal lens. Nicely built. Relatively light. Fast.
Cons: APS-C/DX only.

I bought this lens mainly to have a normal lens on my Canon 7D for general walk around. I quite happy with it.
The build quality is quite good for the price. AF is fast (at least as fast as my Canon 50 1.4). Basically a good general purpose fast lens (which can also be used for portrait but for this I usually prefer the 50 1.4).
CA, distortion and vignetting are ok, but nothing stellar for a prime lens.


Some samples:
http://www.flickr.com/photos/eddie_pick/4136465159/
http://www.flickr.com/photos/eddie_pick/4110539748/
http://www.flickr.com/photos/eddie_pick/4136066675/


A portrait:
http://www.flickr.com/photos/eddie_pick/4136044997/


Overall I highly recommend it for those seeking a fast normal lens on an APS-C/DX body.
DH

Registered: September 2009
Posts: 3
Sigma 30mm f/1.4 EX DC HSM review by DH
Review Date: 9/25/2009 Would you recommend the product? Yes | Total Spent: $543.00| Rating: 9 

 
Pros: sharp as it should be, nice bokeh, goog quality
Cons: wide open a little unsharp, but not as bad as competition

I use this lens on a Canon 50D. I am very pleased. It is sharp and unsharp at the moments i do want it. No problems with back or front focusing. just a very nice lens and better then the canon 28/1.8
Eljolras

Registered: September 2009
Posts: 1
Sigma 30mm f/1.4 EX DC HSM review by Eljolras
Review Date: 9/4/2009 Would you recommend the product? Yes | Total Spent: $500.00| Rating: 7 

 
Pros: Usable wide open, very large aperture, balaced with XSI, compact, great price/performance ratio
Cons: It's a DC lens so no FF support, Corners are visibly soft in any aperture

First of all this is not a prime you should always use on your camera. I have Tamron 17-50 F2.8 also and I can say Tammy beats this fat kid at F2.8, F4.0 etc. This is a very special lens and you should consider it that way. No it's not a lens for nature (corners are really soft) or portrait photography IMO (30mm is not a good focal length for portrature). So what is this chubby for then? This lens is for Low Light photography guys. If you are gonna use it with F2.8 no do not buy it. Buy Tammy instead plus you have variable focal length. But for indoor photos in general, baby or kid photos, concert photos etc. Where you don't wanna use (or you are not allowed to) use flash this gem rocks! You can take very usable photos even wide open and at F2.0 or F2.2 it really differs and gets better. So no it's not a perfect lens. But it has really important flaws though, in it's own kingdom, this king rules with pride.


p.s. Consider it there is no real alternative product to this lens in this price segment. So if you are sure this is your lens then buy it.
amelo1414

Registered: May 2009
Posts: 2
Sigma 30mm f/1.4 EX DC HSM review by amelo1414
Review Date: 5/31/2009 Would you recommend the product? Yes | Total Spent: $380.00| Rating: 10 

 
Pros: 1.4 is a unique world, bokeh and low-light heaven. Affordable entrance into such a unique and privileged world. And yet, incredible build, light-weight, HSM, Sigma warranty, hood and pad included, gorgeous color rendition. “Normal”/”Human” perspec
Cons: a few models may have front-focusing issues, odd 62mm filter, corner to corner sharpness reached until f8.

There exist some photographic experiences difficult to capture in words. Some may have always wished to photograph at the 10mm range, others at the 400mm range. I have always wished to see through the camera what I see though my eyes; what could be termed the “human perspective”. The 30mm sigma 1.4 becomes the 50 mm “normal” lens in crop-sensor (1.6x) cameras such as the Rebel series. But besides the excellent build, gorgeous color rendition, wonderful HMS for spot-on focusing and solid construction, the lens opens the path to real low-light work and absolutely beautiful bokeh possibilities. Can you tell this is my first 1.4 lens?


Of course there is the venerable Canon 35 2.0 which is more affordable (unless you can get a good sigma copy used, and they CAN be found), lighter, and extremely sharp but its bokeh leaves too much to be desired and its being 35 rather than 30 makes it a bit tighter than the real “human perspective”. On the other hand, for a serious comparison between the hugely admired but outstandingly expensive Canon 35 1.4 and the Sigma 30 1.4 (at least 3x less expensive than the Canon) the best option is to look at the results provide by lightrules at pbase:
http://www.pbase.com/lightrules/30v35_2nd


If you are into the human perspective, if you are into street photography, if you are interested in beautiful bokeh, if you have been touched by the history of the “normal” or “human perspective” lens, then the purchasing of a Sigma 30 1.4 is really a no-brainer. There is just something powerful about moving around knowing that many previous photographers employed this very focal length all their lives (Cartier-Bresson in particular, see http://www.kenrockwell.com/leica/cartier-bresson.htm).


++++++++++


PS. For an example of the differing focal lengths and aliens see:
http://www.hash.com/users/jsherwood/tutes/focal/focal.html
xiod

Registered: January 2009
Posts: 2
Sigma 30mm f/1.4 EX DC HSM review by xiod
Review Date: 1/23/2009 Would you recommend the product? Yes | Total Spent: $360.00| Rating: 10 

 
Pros: aperture, 30mm for crop, solid, fast AF, sharpness, CA, nice blend, really pleasant bokeh rendition
Cons: EX matte finishing starts to fly away

must have lens for cropped sensor
excellent resolution starting from f1.4
have got a moire over the hair with portrait shots on f1.4 - f2.0 (resolution of lens outperformed resolution of camera), in f4.0..f11.0 as sharp as blade, very nice bokeh rendition - soft and sweet, nothing like classical 50\1.8 "gears" and "circles"
great cobination of focal range and aperture - fully replaced even my very first kit lens, great for portrait shots, has a little barrel distorsion negligible for real shots and easy to fix if neccessary


p.s. a lot of people speaking about sigma quality variation, my own is 1st sample with no extra choice


recommend a lot!
jobodaho

Registered: December 2008
Posts: 1
Sigma 30mm f/1.4 EX DC HSM review by jobodaho
Review Date: 1/3/2009 Would you recommend the product? Yes | Total Spent: $370.00| Rating: 10 

 
Pros: Sharpness where it counts, light weight (this is relative), focusing accuracy on my copy, and great bokeh. If you get a good copy you will love it.
Cons: None worth complaining about, it vignettes (correctable and typical for this type of lens), has some CAs (shoot RAW if you care about it), and people complain about corner sharpness, but if you are trying to get corner sharpness at f/1.4 your probably jus

This is a great lens, lets get that out there. Someone mentioned that it is a photographer's lens, and I agree wholeheartedly. This lens is PERFECT for indoor shooting, people shots, and as a general walk around lens. The shallow depth of field for a normal lens on a DX body is awesome, and can really create some beautiful images. You will love this lens if you prefer to go out and take pictures instead of shooting test charts. I don't need a chart to tell me its center sharpness is superb, because it blows away my old Nikkor 50mm f/1.4 D. If you are creating beautiful images, then chances are you corners will be out of focus anyways.


People also complain about focusing issues, I can say that my copy is right on the money on my Canon 40D, and being in correct focus is way more important than corner sharpness. The focus is sure footed and pretty snappy, although not quite as quick as my Canon 70-200mm f/2.8 L, it is more than adequate for all uses.


If you are looking at the alternatives to this lens on the Canon side, like I was, then in my opinion you won't find a better offering for the money. The Canon 28mm f/1.8 and 35mm f/2 are both fine lenses, but share similar or worse image quality and are built worse and about a stop slower. If you have the money to jump to the "L" alternatives then more power to you, as I am sure they are better than this MUCH cheaper alternative, but the price/performance isn't worth it to me on a DX camera.


So in conclusion I have been really impressed with my copy of this lens and I highly recommend it for those seeking a fast normal lens.
Renato

Registered: January 2009
Posts: 5
Sigma 30mm f/1.4 EX DC HSM review by Renato
Review Date: 1/1/2009 Would you recommend the product? Yes | Total Spent: $400.00| Rating: 10 

 
Pros: Well built, Great Boke`, Fast focus, Beautiful picures!!!
Cons: it's not F0.9

I have always loved fast 50s and had many of those in several brands, so it was natural that this very well made lens would end up (permanently) on one of my Nikons. I love the sharpness and the vivid colors this lens delivers from wide open. the boke` is very natural almost leica like. For the price you just cannot go wrong it truly is a special lens.
tthomsen

Registered: December 2008
Posts: 4
Sigma 30mm f/1.4 EX DC HSM review by tthomsen
Review Date: 12/24/2008 Would you recommend the product? Yes | Total Spent: $390.00| Rating: 7 

 
Pros: Very high center resolution, very good color reproduction and contrast
Cons: Noticeable loss of corner resolution at f2.0 and larger, noticeable chromatic aberration in the corners at all apertures

My copy has on the Sony DSLR-A300 a center resolution of more than 2100 LPH from f1.4 to f8.0. The corner resolution starts at around 1400 LPH at f1.4 and is going up to 1600 LPH at f8.0. When compared to the very good Sony Carl Zeiss Vario-Sonnar T* DT 16-80mm f/3.5-4.5, the Sigma is slightly better at 30mm/f4.5, but not really that much.


Where the lens shows mediocre performance is in chromatic aberration. It is not noticeable in the center, but is noticeable in the corners throughout the complete aperture range. I did not notice any distortion, vignetting or flare that is worth mentioning. Color and contrast are natural and quite attractive. Out-of-focus blur is, for my taste, very nice. Build-quality is excellent. Focusing is fast and accurate, even at large apertures and low-light conditions.


My first copy was actually defective, i.e. had unacceptable optical performance. Sigma acknowledged the technical defect. Since I bought the lens abroad, they required a proof that the lens was legally imported. Only then they exchanged the lens.


One practical note: The Sony DSLR-A300 does not choose aperture values lower than f2.0 in "Program" or "Auto" modes. If you want to use them, you have to switch to "Aperture" or "Manual" modes and set those values manually.


I bought this lens as a complement to my Sony Carl Zeiss Vario-Sonnar T* DT 16-80mm f/3.5-4.5 for low-light situations. The Sigma meets exactly this demand. The loss of corner resolution and the chromatic aberration in the corners are usually not that noticeable at wide-aperture shots, since those areas are usually out of focus anyways. As a result, the faults of this lens are acceptable for me. However, I would have expected a better performance in those areas from a prime lens with this price tag. Probably, Sigma put more effort into the excellent build quality than optical performance.
Thoppa

Registered: December 2008
Posts: 12
Sigma 30mm f/1.4 EX DC HSM review by Thoppa
Review Date: 12/15/2008 Would you recommend the product? No | Total Spent: $400.00| Rating: 7 

 
Pros: fast dx standard
Cons: smeared (not blurred) bokeh, focus issues

This lens has lots of good points. However, I bought it hoping it would have great blur and sadly it distorts the blur ever so slightly (either re-shaping or smearing depending on the highlight and/or edge) and creates faint ghosts/halos towards the corners. It is not unpleasant but it isn't entirely natural either.


Focus accuracy was an issue too, with front focusing on my D90 with close (less than 3m) subjects.


It over-exposed by about 1/3 stop but that was no big deal.


The lens was not faulty but it just didn't meet my expectations so I sold it on Ebay.
TomInJax

Registered: November 2008
Posts: 1
Sigma 30mm f/1.4 EX DC HSM review by TomInJax
Review Date: 12/4/2008 Would you recommend the product? Yes | Total Spent: $450.00| Rating: 10 

 
Pros: Sharp-sharp center, great for low light, portrait lens
Cons:

I moved from a Pentax system to a Nikon system recently and was looking for a "normal" lens for my new D300. I wanted a fast, low light lens and was introduced to this lens.


At first I was skeptical. On a couple lens review sites, this lens didn't score extremely high for some reason. After examining the test data, I understand that it is because the corners are soft until the lens is stopped down a bit. I am more interested in center sharpness. This lens is extremely sharp in the center area. I would say that it out-resolves the D300 sensor in the center. It really doesn't get soft until you get about 3/4 of the way to the corners. And even then, if you stop down to f8 - is is sharp from corner to corner.


I have read some negative reviews about this lens from some folks that must not know much about depth of field (DOF). With this lens, the DOF is shallow of course! Especially close up to your subject. If you think an f/1.4 lens has shallow DOF, try an f/1.2 lens!


Anyway, it is a remarkable lens and I highly recommend it. I am a pixel peeper, and I like it. So I am sure that most everyone will like it too - providing you understand how to shoot with a fast, shallow DOF lens.


Compare the SLR Gear evaluations of this lens and the Carl Zeiss 28/2! The highly rated Zeiss 28 is about $1200US, while the Sigma is about 1/3 the price! And the Sigma is auto-focus, while the Zeiss is manual focus.


Edit: After reading some posts that gave a 2 or 3, I had to raise my rating from a 9 to a 10. These folks really shouldn't be rating lenses if they don't understand how to use them properly. (Not the posts that had defective lenses.)
celestialmy

Registered: July 2008
Posts: 1
Sigma 30mm f/1.4 EX DC HSM review by celestialmy
Review Date: 7/1/2008 Would you recommend the product? No | Total Spent: $425.00| Rating: 3 

 
Pros: Great bokeh
Cons: Slow and bad focusing, Quality control

Maybe it is just my luck. Got one copy and found the image is a bit soft on my 40D.


Brought back to vendor and do a comparison with another 2 copies. Found that 1 copy front focus, 1 back focus and 1 generally soft (my original copy).


Took back my original copy hoping that the internal part is still tight (that is what the vendor told me) and will be loser after more usage.


Barely 12 hour after that, the lens makes a loud squeaking sound when focusing from infinity.


After that, i returned it and have serious doubt on the QC because 3 out of 3 lens is not performing consistently.


Again, it might just be my luck. Just make sure you do lots of testing on different copies before you decided on one.
umberto

Registered: May 2008
Posts: 4
Sigma 30mm f/1.4 EX DC HSM review by umberto
Review Date: 5/30/2008 Would you recommend the product? Yes | Total Spent: $440.00| Rating: 9 

 
Pros: Crystal clear images
Cons: Quite tricky to use

Great picture clarity but can get tricky on focus for D40 due to shallow DOF.
Great for indoor shots with true color reproduction!
Jesper

Registered: March 2008
Posts: 1
Sigma 30mm f/1.4 EX DC HSM review by Jesper
Review Date: 3/23/2008 Would you recommend the product? Yes | Total Spent: None indicated| Rating: 9 

 
Pros: Sharp, fast, well built, good dynamic range
Cons: I am not prone to use my other lenses after I bought this one

I own an Olympus E410 four thirds camera with two kit lenses. This lens is my first "second" lens.


The first 100 shots were awfully soft and out of focus. But this was my first attempt at shooting inside in natural low light situations.


A couple of 100 shots more and this lens performs beautifully. I have now tamed the lens and is able to use it optimally under almost any condition.


I can see that it gives me more dynamic range than with the kit lenses. The kit lenses burn out the sky more often. This lens is almost not prone to this. At first I thought the camera was to blame. But I can see now that you get what you pay for.


Landscape and portrait shooting is a delightful experience with this lens. I have stopped using my flashlight.


I can very much recommend this lens


Take your time getting to know the performance of this lens and it will serve you well.
perky

Registered: February 2008
Posts: 1
Sigma 30mm f/1.4 EX DC HSM review by perky
Review Date: 2/21/2008 Would you recommend the product? Yes | Total Spent: $500.00| Rating: 9 

 
Pros: Very practical lens, fast, small, solid image quality
Cons: Sigma quality control, minimum focusing distance, barrell distortion, field curvature, some CA

Sigma 30/1.4 is a lens for photographers, not for pixel peepers expecting super sharp corners wide open.


My copy of the lens is the second one I got - the first one had decentering problem. The current copy has served me now for a year or more, and has served me well, once I learned the lens and that took some time.


Let's begin with the contruction of the lens. I like the included lens hood, the basic solid contruction of the lens, focus distance window (though would like to have 3m or 4m marked between 2m and infinity and a IR focus spot), metal mount and focus ring. What is not good, in my copy of the lens, is the ugly sound it makes when focusing when tilted about 20 or more degrees up or down. When the lens is level, focusing is silent.


About focusing - this lens can be problematic, especially if your camera has as bad AF-system as for example Canon 350d (Rebel XT) has. I do actually have this camera and this copy of the lens focuses quite a bit better than what I would expect, pretty much every picture is in focus. Lucky me, I didn't even have to send the lens+camera for calibration.


Image quality:


I'll begin with field curvature. This lens has plenty of it - the edges are focused closer than the center, quite a bit closer, so if you plan to take group pictures, you may need to stop down a bit more than you'd like to. This also contributes somewhat to the test results you'll find in the net - shooting a test chart at close distance will produce worse results than shooting real life objects. The field curvature does provide an advantage too: focus and recompose works really well with this lens!


Sharpness is stunning in the center area (maybe 85% of the image) even wide open. Contrast is good wide open. At f2 contrast turns excellent and sharpness improves slightly in the center (not much room there for improvement, at least using 8M pixel camera). Stopping down more doesn't really do much to center sharpness or contrast, at least not on a 350d, except beyond f11 when sharpness starts going down, though remaining perfectly usable even at the minimum aperture of f16.


Edge and corner sharpness has always been a matter of controversy with the Sigma 30. Pixel peepers complain how the corners never get as sharp as the center, while actual photographers seem to enjoy shooting with the lens regardless. What is the truth? I will tell you Smile First of all, there is the issue of field curvature I mentioned earlier. Second, I simply do not understand what is so important in the corners of the image when one is shooting wide open? Is one shooting landscapes at f1.4? The areas where interest lies in the images are sharp with this lens wide open. The corners at f1.4? Yes, they stink, and are absolutely useless, but really, who cares?


Anyhow, corners do get better at smaller apertures. Now, there is one more thing about the edges and corners - at close to medium distances they are far better than near the horizon for example. In my opinion, this is not a big deal, as when I shoot landscape, the corners either have some foreground object, or clouds/sky, in either case the lens performs well at approperiate apertures - something like f9 to f10 seems to be the optimum for landscape shooting. The only minor problem is. that even with small apertures, the extreme left and right edge do remain rather average at long distance, perfectly all right, but not great like the center area.


Barrell distortion is rather heavy for a prime, though it seems to vary vis-à-vis focusing distance - the closer you focus, the more barrell distortion you should expect. In my landscape shots I've not seen any distortions ever, not once, but occasionally shooting something much closer does induce quite a bit of this flaw. Pixel peepers may find shooting brick walls to be another rewarding source of complaint about this lens.


Flare is very well under control, especially considering that it is a f1.4 lens, even in contra light situations. Sun in the image should not be a problem.


Chromatic aberrations are something you need to take care in post processing as you will lose some sharpness otherwise. Both red/cyan and blue/yellow may need fixing in post processing.


Bokeh - usually smooth and creamy, even at medium apertures. However, some kind of backgrounds, like patch of leaves against the sky, may cause non-pleasing triangular highlights. Usually not a problem, but some might find it irritating - I am sure there are plenty of examples of this in the net for you to see.


Vignetting, according to all the test sites, is heavy, though I've not found this to be the case in real life phography. There is some vignetting at the wider apertures, but nothing really worry about.


In summary, Sigma 30/1.4 is a rewarding lens, a great tool for a photographer who is interested in a lens that functions well in practical circumstances, in the field. It has it's own character which should be understood - understading the basics of photography does the trick: when shooting landscapes, you use a small aperture, when shooting people, a larger ones. Pixel peepers will find the fluffy clouds in the corners to be hopelessly soft when they shoot landscapes at f1.4, but no photographer will notice this and this lens is built for the real photographers.
lextalionis

Registered: October 2007
Posts: 82
Sigma 30mm f/1.4 EX DC HSM review by lextalionis
Review Date: 2/15/2008 Would you recommend the product? Yes | Total Spent: $320.00| Rating: 8 

 
Pros: The lowest cost 1.4 prime...
Cons: ...see the pros statement...you get what you pay for.

It's a decent lens, but it's soft around the edges at open apertures...I find stopping down 2 stops gives better performance.


Here are some sample shots taken with a Nikon D40X:


Sigma 30mm f/1.4 EX DC HSM Lens Photo Samples


-Lex
EF-S10-22

Registered: July 2007
Posts: 20
Sigma 30mm f/1.4 EX DC HSM review by EF-S10-22
Review Date: 7/31/2007 Would you recommend the product? Yes | Total Spent: None indicated| Rating: 2 

 
Pros: center sharpness
Cons: urine color , AF speed and accuracy, old and stupid design

Bad color , bad design , very gaudy taste of body.


The gold line is so funny, I got it free from my dad and used it and returned it to my dad.



The color is horrible and the AF is super slow .


But its center resolution is nothing short of amazing.
billrogers945

Registered: May 2007
Posts: 4
Sigma 30mm f/1.4 EX DC HSM review by billrogers945
Review Date: 5/8/2007 Would you recommend the product? Yes | Total Spent: $420.00| Rating: 8 

 
Pros: Focal length, speed, price.
Cons: For my purposes and for the price, none.

I purchased this lens because of its f/1.4 speed and its reasonable price. I am quite pleased with its performance, and I highly recommend it.


The field of view on a Nikon DSLR with a 1.5 factor is perfect for me.


Buying this lens has allowed me to use my backup Nikon D70 more effectively. I typically shoot an event using a Nikon D200 with a Nikkor zoom lens and SB-800 strobe/s, and a Nikon D70 with the Sigma 30mm lens and the ISO set to 800 or 1600. This allows me to capture both flash and available light photos quickly.
Wolfini

Registered: January 2007
Posts: 10
Sigma 30mm f/1.4 EX DC HSM review by Wolfini
Review Date: 4/19/2007 Would you recommend the product? Yes | Total Spent: $400.00| Rating: 8 

 
Pros: f1,4, size, HSM, build, general IQ
Cons: AF, corner sharpness

I bought this lens for available light pics in social situations like parties etc. For this purpose it works well, and even at 1,4 I can get super sharp pics.


Unfortunately the AF is a bit hit and miss in low light. I would say I get 80% usable pics in low light, or 30% very sharp. That´s not so bad in my view, I just take more Wink


In good light the AF is much more reliable, though with very large apertures you get AF-misses as well.


The corners are very soft at large apertures, but so far that was no problem, as usually the center is more important than the corners when taking pics in bad light. The soft area gets smaller when stopping down, but is fully gone only at f11.


I had the Sigma 24/1,8 EX before, and the 30 fits my needs much better (sharpness wide open, AF, size). The 24 is much softer wide open, but the corners clear up sooner and are great from 2,8 or f4 on.


I can only recommend this lens when the large aperture is needed und often used in available light situations, whereas for a real "normal" lens the drawbacks (AF; corners) might be annoying.
matthewporter

Registered: August 2006
Posts: 12
Sigma 30mm f/1.4 EX DC HSM review by matthewporter
Review Date: 1/15/2007 Would you recommend the product? Yes | Total Spent: $513.00| Rating: 9 

 
Pros: Fast and responsive AF, Huge aperture, Good price, Quality Construction and case.
Cons: Minimum focus distance

Actual amount paid: £265(GBP)


This lens was primarily bought for poorly illuminated indoor sports photography where direct access to the competitors is possible. The big aperture allows me to capture fantastic pictures at high shutter speeds without having to boost the ISO and the useful focal length has leant itself to a variety of different shots.


I have found the AF very responsive when taking pictures of small pets and it is also possible to override after it has focussed without having to deactivate the auto focus.


The construction is solid and the exterior looks good. The lens comes complete with hood and a well-made padded bag. As mentioned in other reviews, replacing the cap is a bit awkward with the hood on but can be done.
hbcc100

Registered: January 2007
Posts: 6
Sigma 30mm f/1.4 EX DC HSM review by hbcc100
Review Date: 1/14/2007 Would you recommend the product? Yes | Total Spent: None indicated| Rating: 0 

 
Pros:
Cons:

This is a great lens for taking pictures of pets, children and indoor sports without using the flash. It is solidly built and I haven't had any problems with the focussing so far like some other reviewers. I find the focal length very useful for pictures within a room, but it would not be so good for sports where you can't get very close to the competitors. My only complaint is how difficult it is to remove and put back the lens cap with the hood on.
Hawki

Registered: January 2007
Posts: 4
Sigma 30mm f/1.4 EX DC HSM review by Hawki
Review Date: 1/12/2007 Would you recommend the product? Yes | Total Spent: $385.00| Rating: 8 

 
Pros: Build Quality, Sharpness, Great Contrast
Cons: none yet

I wanted a lens primarily for indoor museum and gallery low light photography.
This lens consistantly delivers at every aperture with sharp almost 3D images. Color and contrast are very good.
The build quality is typical Sigma EX and that means great finishes, fit and feel. Some don't like the weight of this lens, but to me if feels well made and rugged.
six100

Registered: January 2007
Posts: 10
Sigma 30mm f/1.4 EX DC HSM review by six100
Review Date: 1/8/2007 Would you recommend the product? Yes | Total Spent: $410.00| Rating: 9 

 
Pros: Impressive image quality. F1.4!! EX finish and Q. ultra-silent HSM. Hood & pouch included. Lightweight.
Cons: Border sharpness could be better (for a prime). Cropped factor only. Produces some vignetting even on the 30D (below F2.8)

(Canon mount)


This beauty IS my first prime and I have to say, I will never regret for the day I bought it.


Got the chance to shoot so many pictures with it and in so many different situations: Portrait, Lansdcape, indoors/outdoors and it simply works great all the time.


First of all, the fact that it is F1.4 lets you shoot almost everywhere-anytime you want. It image quality is excelent overall though borders are a bit to soft for a prime. That, and the fact that it produces some slightly noticeable vignetting below F2.8 are the only two image quality issues, but believe me, they are not THAT bad as they sound as neither of those weakneses are very pronounced.


The box includes a lens hood and a pouch (very handy). 62mm filter thread is OK for the filters are not that expensive on that size.


As usual Sigma's EX & HSM are a killer combination. You'll love this lens. I only wish it would be FF compatible so I would never have to sell it.


Some pics taken with it:


http://www.deviantart.com/deviation/41259379/


http://www.deviantart.com/deviation/40341778/


http://www.deviantart.com/deviation/37346657/


http://www.deviantart.com/deviation/40767919/


http://www.deviantart.com/deviation/40178302/
xnecrontyrx

Registered: January 2007
Posts: 3
Sigma 30mm f/1.4 EX DC HSM review by xnecrontyrx
Review Date: 1/6/2007 Would you recommend the product? Yes | Total Spent: $343.00| Rating: 9 

 
Pros: Great Sharpenss, Solid Bokeh, Good Construction, Fast-Silent AF
Cons: Focus can be hunty more than I would like

I own the Nikon version. An excellent piece of glass! This has mostly replaced my 50mm f/1.4 for all the same uses. Getting used to the view of the lens can be awkward at first, but it is well worth the effort. This lens is fantastic at indoor parties, you can easily spend the whole night hand held.
gadgetguy

Registered: May 2006
Posts: 62
Sigma 30mm f/1.4 EX DC HSM review by gadgetguy
Review Date: 1/5/2007 Would you recommend the product? Yes | Total Spent: None indicated| Rating: 9 

 
Pros: "normal" on a APS-C DSLR, great IQ
Cons: APS-C only

I tried out this lens in my search for a "normal" lens for my 20D. I compared the Canon 28/1.8, 35/1.4L and this. Truthfully, the're all within range of each other in image quality.


The 35L edges out a little bit (it should - it's 3x the price of the other two!), and has superior build. I'd put this lens next, but it loses out some points in being APS-C only (I still use film cameras and will go full frame soon).


Build quality is superb (as with all in Sigma EX line). If you can live with the APS-C crop, then you won't regret this buy.
silverbluemx

Registered: November 2006
Posts: 16
Sigma 30mm f/1.4 EX DC HSM review by silverbluemx
Review Date: 1/4/2007 Would you recommend the product? Yes | Total Spent: $340.00| Rating: 9 

 
Pros: Very fast (aperture) standard lens for APS-C DSLR, HSM, good build quality.
Cons: A little heavy and large, soft at full aperture.

This lens is the perfect standard lens for an APS-C DSLR.
It has a useful equiv focal lenght (~45mm), a large aperture (1.4), a good ultrasonic focus motor and is well built.
At full aperture, this lens is quite soft, and the corners are a bit disapointing even at f/5,6. But this softness isn't really a problem when you consider the fact that this wide aperture allows for low-light shots that are simply impossible with any slower lens (or they would require flash). In event shooting, this lens at f/1.4 and ISO 1600 open incredible possibilities.
Build quality is very good, the lens feels solid in hand, maybe because of its weight. About the weight, I think this lens is a little bigger and heavier than what we would expect from a 30mm, it comes maybe from the HSM motor.
Because of this HSM motor, focussing is fast, silent, and full-time manual focussing is convenient.


In conclusion, a very good lens for low-light photography. With it, you will hardly ever need your flash!
Scooter

Registered: December 2006
Posts: 1
Sigma 30mm f/1.4 EX DC HSM review by Scooter
Review Date: 12/28/2006 Would you recommend the product? Yes | Total Spent: $470.00| Rating: 9 

 
Pros: Fast (as in fast aperture) and fast (as in fast focussing)
Cons: Not really cheap (in Germany), not really small.

This is currently my only lens on a Nikon D50, bought to produce photos of my little daughter indoors without a flash. And in this role both camera and lens perform just great.
OK , I had to (re-) adjust somewhat to the shallow DOF when shooting wide open, but the results justify that.
AF performance is stunning. You can turn off the AF assist completely. If you can see with your eyes what you are shooting the AF locks without hunting.
I admit that I'm not the pixel peeper type. So far I didn't verify whether my copy is sharp to the corners. As long as I'm pleased with my results I don't care.
Tomti75

Registered: December 2006
Posts: 13
Sigma 30mm f/1.4 EX DC HSM review by Tomti75
Review Date: 12/1/2006 Would you recommend the product? Yes | Total Spent: $370.00| Rating: 8 

 
Pros: Fast f:1.4, "normal" focal length for DSLR, build quality, very sharp (center wide open, borders past f:2-2.5), silent and fast focus
Cons: Focus accuracy can be a problem sometimes, a little on the heavy side for a "normal" prime

Like many others, looking for a "normal" prime on a 350D, I hesitated quite a long time between this lens, the Canon 35 f:2, and the Canon 28 f:1.8.


I first eliminated the 28 because of its IQ below f:2.8


As I needed a focal length a little on the wide side and more importantly f:1.4 (shooting concerts in small clubs, there is often no option but ISO 1600 and f:1.4) I was tempted by the Sigma. But I was a little scared by the apparently important number of bad copies of the Sigma (at least in forums...).


Before buying I tested a friend's Canon 35 f:2 during a few hours in various lighting conditions and was quite disappointed : soft at f:2 and a lot of chromatic aberrations 'till f:2.8...
I also shot a concert with the same friend's Canon 24L 1.4 which was too wide (and expensive) for me but damn' fast...


Finally all this made me choose the Sigma...
Luckily (?) I got a good copy, and I'm very happy with it.


Wide open, center sharpness is excellent, corners are softer, but nothing horrible for a f:1.4 lens (comparable with the Canon 50 1.4 for example). At f:2, 75% of the frame is sharp, and at f:2.8, no problem you can shoot a brick wall...


Contrast is good, but nothing exceptional either.


Focusing is silent and fast, but not that good in low light and can be inaccurate sometimes. Compared to modern USM Canon lenses, the difference is obvious, but it remains perfectly usable for low light shooting.


Overall, at the same aperture, the IQ remains a little lower than my Canon EF-S 60mm f:2.8 Macro, but the Sigma is 2 stop faster and you've got to keep in mind that the 60 is one of canon's best primes !


Bottom line, the IQ is very good, but the lens isn't perfect, mostly because of the focus accuracy.


But still, there is no competition for a fast "normal" prime for DSLR (at least at "normal" prices), and I will definitely keep this one (unless Canon decides to make an EF-S 30 1.4 USM as good as the 85 1.8 and at the same price level...)
janda

Registered: November 2006
Posts: 5
Sigma 30mm f/1.4 EX DC HSM review by janda
Review Date: 11/27/2006 Would you recommend the product? Yes | Total Spent: $350.00| Rating: 7 

 
Pros: Wide open: shallow depth of field and fast
Cons: Unreliable focusing

This lens is really mixed bag. When the focus hits the target it delivers brilliant results. But too often the focusing is all over the place. So even when results can be really good, usefulness is hindered by the need to take several shots just to be certain to get one good. I'm using it mainly indoors with Nikon d50, which is quite demanding for focusing. Outdoor I have got quite severe reflections when used it without hood.


Build quality seems to be ok, when comparing to other similarly priced lenses.


Manual focusing is next to impossible with my d50. It's my second copy, firs one back focused with AF.


Still, for Nikon there's nothing affordable to replace it. So try it before buying it, it might be great.
perpera

Registered: October 2005
Posts: 13
Sigma 30mm f/1.4 EX DC HSM review by perpera
Review Date: 11/26/2006 Would you recommend the product? Yes | Total Spent: None indicated| Rating: 7 

 
Pros: Great image-quality, great bokeh, acceptable fast AF, very sharp
Cons: unreliable AF

Bought it as a 'normal' for Canon 350D.
I love the image-quality, but AF performance is very frustrating.
A lot (30-50%) of the shots are out of focus. Even in sunshine aperture 8 or 11!
henris

Registered: November 2006
Posts: 8
Sigma 30mm f/1.4 EX DC HSM review by henris
Review Date: 11/25/2006 Would you recommend the product? No | Total Spent: $400.00| Rating: 5 

 
Pros: cheaper than canon 35 1.4
Cons: mine wasn't sharp at 1.4, could not focus well even after sending to sigma

My copy was horrible out of the box. It front-focused horribly. I made the decision to send it in to Sigma instead of playing roulette with the mail-order store. I sent it in twice to be fixed, and although it came back a little better, it could not focus at infinity. It produced sharp shots only up to six feet! It is an actual problem that several people have had, if you search other forums. I decuded to cut my losses and sell my lens.


Although Sigma works for many people out there, my personal experiences have led me never buy Sigma again. I'm sticking with Canon lenses.
Chemprof

Registered: November 2006
Posts: 4
Sigma 30mm f/1.4 EX DC HSM review by Chemprof
Review Date: 11/14/2006 Would you recommend the product? Yes | Total Spent: None indicated| Rating: 8 

 
Pros: Fast aperture, fast focus with HSM, best "normal" lens for D-SLR
Cons: Not as sharp as it could be...

This lens makes excellent low light images, especially if subject isolation is desired. Borders and edges are much less sharp - worse even than Nikon consumer zooms.
CajunMan

Registered: September 2006
Posts: 2
Sigma 30mm f/1.4 EX DC HSM review by CajunMan
Review Date: 11/13/2006 Would you recommend the product? Yes | Total Spent: $400.00| Rating: 10 

 
Pros: Large Aperture, Fast/Quiet AF, Great Image Quality, Nikon Version is "G-Type" Lens; Outstanding 50mm-Equivalent Prime Lens for Nikon DX
Cons: None

After researching the various offerings from Nikon and others, I purchased this lens to serve as a Portrait and general-purpose low-light lens. The published reviews have been very positive, which ultimately made my purchasing decision easier. [For those interested, I am utilizing this lens with Nikon's D2X top-of-the-line digital SLR.]


First off, bear in mind that this lens is intended to be a 50mm-equivalent, and is designed exclusively for Nikon DX digital SLRs. (All Nikon digital SLRs have a 1.5x "lens factor," due to the fact that the sensor is smaller than 35mm film.) Sigma states the following in the product specifications, but let me repeat it here: it is NOT designed for full-frame (e.g. 35mm) use!


In terms of comparable offerings from Nikon, they are: Nikon 28mm f/2.8D AF, Nikon 35mm f/2D AF, Nikon 50mm f/1.4D AF and 50mm f/1.8D AF. The two latter lenses are not really in the same category, as they are 75mm-equivalent on Nikon digital SLRs. The two former lenses are close in terms of focal length, so they are reasonable alternatives.


There are several key differences between Sigma's 30mm lens and Nikon's aforementioned 28mm and 35mm lenses. First up, Sigma's lens is equivalent to a Nikon "G-type" lens. Specifically, this means that Sigma's lens does not have a dial to set the aperture; instead, the aperture is set on the camera body. This is incredibly convenient, and allows one to quickly change the aperture while framing the picture in the viewfinder. Nikon's 28mm and 35mm lenses, in contrast, are the older "D-type" lens. Meaning, they both utilize an aperture dial.


The other key difference between Sigma's lens and Nikon's 28mm and 35mm, is that Sigma's utilizes a "Hyper Sonic Motor" for autofocusing. As a result, autofocus action is extremely fast and quiet. Nikon's 28mm and 35mm do not utilize a comparable technology, and instead make do with an older -- and slower/louder -- mechanism.


And finally, a word on optical quality. Because Sigma's lens is so super-fast optics-wise (i.e., the fast f/1.4 maximum aperture), depth-of-field can be extremely shallow. So shallow that, when taking a portrait at, say, 3 feet away, one can focus on the tip of the subject's nose -- with the rest of the subject's face slightly soft! (One might want to generally focus on the subject's eyes, but that is neither here nor there.) The point being, that when fully opened up at f/1.4 or f/1.7, it is easy to confuse the optical quality of the lens (which I have found to be outstanding!) with soft focus due to shallow depth-of-field. [For any newbies: this is a "feature" of fast aperture optics.]


Bottom line, the Sigma 30mm lens provides superb low-light performance (thanks to the fast f/1.4 maximum aperture), along with outstanding optical performance. It is highly recommended for any Nikon digital SLR owner who is looking for a 50mm-equivalent portrait/general-purpose lens. You will not be disappointed!
AdamT

Registered: January 2006
Posts: 1
Sigma 30mm f/1.4 EX DC HSM review by AdamT
Review Date: 1/27/2006 Would you recommend the product? Yes | Total Spent: $400.00| Rating: 9 

 
Pros: Wicked-sharp in center, solid build, FTM Focus
Cons: Soft in corners, needed calibration

The lens had a bad front-focusing problem on my 20D, but it came back perfect after Sigma's calibration. The lens is brilliantly sharp in the center even wide open and my copy isn't too bad on the sides/corners when stopped down. Wonderfully useful focal length on a crop camera. This is my weapon of choice for low-light portraits and group shots. The build is solid, like all EX lenses, and focus is silent and reasonably fast.
RMH

Registered: November 2005
Posts: 4
Sigma 30mm f/1.4 EX DC HSM review by RMH
Review Date: 12/1/2005 Would you recommend the product? No | Total Spent: $400.00| Rating: 6 

 
Pros: nice large aperture, good central sharpness
Cons: price, corner sharpness, slow focus

For Nikon owners this sounds like a bargain compared to the expensive 28mm f/1.4. But beware, it itsn't.
While it has good central sharpness, the corners are very soft and the autofocus is slow. The lens also lacks serious front and backfocussing sometimes.
I trade it for a sigma 18-50mm F/2.8 which is much better for the same price
chimpp

Registered: October 2005
Posts: 5
Sigma 30mm f/1.4 EX DC HSM review by chimpp
Review Date: 11/23/2005 Would you recommend the product? Yes | Total Spent: $450.00| Rating: 9 

 
Pros: Creamy bokeh, fast AF, very sharp, perfect focal length for a 1.5x crop
Cons: 62mm filters, more prone to CA than my other lenses, minimum focus distance not close enough, points of light in bokeh are not perfect circles

As a recent convert from zoom to prime lenses, I'm finding this lens to be permanently fixed to one of my D70 bodies. The other D70 has the 85mm f/1.4. This is the perfect pairing to my shooting style, which is strictly portraits and events and an aversion to wide angle and telephoto.


Compared to the 85mm, the Sigma is a bit softer at f/1.4. But the AF speed blows away the 85mm thanks to the HSM and has yet to hunt in low light unlike my Nikkor; this with the f/1.4 aperture makes this a great ambient-light lens. The Sigma shows CA more often than any of my other lenses. Points of light in areas of defocus appear more oval or oblong than circular--this can be annoying when there are a lot of points of light. This doesn't affect the typical blurred background except when there are concentrated light sources in the background.


With an f/1.4 aperture on this lens, you won't need a full-frame sensor to achieve a really narrow depth-of-field. Any less DOF and it'd be just a guessing game as to which eyelash from the nearest eye of your subject is in focus.


Closest focusing distance is 16 inches, which is a bit too far for those times I want to really want to fill the frame with the subject's face. That's when I'd have to pull out the other D70 that has my 85mm. So I use this lens for group shots and full-body shots and the 85mm for my headshots and candid facial expressions.


In conclusion: has three things you need for available-light photography--very wide aperture, HSM, and the wide focal length to let in more light. As a bonus, the lens is very sharp. Unfortunately, CA will sneak its way into more images than you'd like but it's not enough to keep me from using this. It's dethroned my 18-70 as the new permanent lens for one of my D70 bodies. For my kind of photography, I'm all set with an 85mm f/1.4 on one D70 and the Sigma 30mm f/1.4 on the other.
eosuser

Registered: November 2005
Posts: 1
Sigma 30mm f/1.4 EX DC HSM review by eosuser
Review Date: 11/6/2005 Would you recommend the product? No | Total Spent: None indicated| Rating: 3 

 
Pros: focal length, aperture
Cons: unacceptable corner softness

I tried four different instances of this lens (on an XT). On the first, the focus was off. The center was quite sharp. But on all of them, corner sharpness at f5.6 and f8.0 was much worse than corner sharpness on the Canon 17-85 zoom at f5.6 and f8.0. We aren't talking barely perceptible differences, we are talking thin lines disappearing entirely. Wide open, the performance was even worse.


From a comparatively heavy EU 450 standard prime lens, I expect that it at least matches the performance of a consumer-grade zoom when stopped down to f5.6 or f8.0.


No lens is entirely useless; this lens may be useful for portraits (be sure to put the face in the center and crop later) and getting very shallow DOF effects (where corner softness usually doesn't matter).


As a general-purpose available light lens, the Canon 35/2 is a better choice: sharper, lighter, cheaper. The extra f-stop on the 30/1.4 isn't all that useful for general purpose photography anyway because of the shallow DOF. That's compounded by a generally inconsistent focus from this lens.


Another option you might consider is the Sigma 24/1.8; it is a much better performer than this lens; unfortunately, it is also even bigger and heavier.


It is possible that there have been better batches of this lens. Some of the sample photos on the web have much better corner sharpness than what I saw. I have to admit that I would still love a lens like this, and I keep trying them out when I see one at a dealer, but no luck so far.
fstopjojo

Registered: November 2005
Posts: 9
Sigma 30mm f/1.4 EX DC HSM review by fstopjojo
Review Date: 11/2/2005 Would you recommend the product? Yes | Total Spent: None indicated| Rating: 9 

 
Pros: Excellent center sharpness, Fast f1.4, Tremendous contrast, Nice bokeh, Solid EX build, HSM and FTM, Price is right.
Cons: Not FF compatible, 16" MFD is tragic (should have been around 10").

My copy had to be sent to Sigma NY to get the focus adjusted due to front-focusing (on a 20D). But since its return, I couldn't be more pleased. The lens delivers excellent sharpness and contrast, and the bokeh is superb. The HSM isn't as fast as Canon's 85 f1.8 USM, for example, but it's still quite good. A normally functioning copy of this lens is simply hard to beat.


www.pbase.com/fstopjojo/lenstests
Andy

Registered: October 2005
Posts: 1
Sigma 30mm f/1.4 EX DC HSM review by Andy
Review Date: 10/25/2005 Would you recommend the product? No | Total Spent: $450.00| Rating: 3 

 
Pros: A lot less than Nikon's 28 f/1.4
Cons: Did not live up to its potential

I don't like having to post a negative review, alas the Sigma I got did not work well at all on my D2x. It must have been an early production unit as it suffered a focus issue wide open. All my images were soft where I wanted to use the lens most often. f/1.4 Thankfully I purchased it locally and my dealer was willing to take it back and send it off to Sigma.
andy497

Registered: October 2005
Posts: 1
Sigma 30mm f/1.4 EX DC HSM review by andy497
Review Date: 10/24/2005 Would you recommend the product? Yes | Total Spent: None indicated| Rating: 9 

 
Pros: Very sharp in the center
Cons: soft(er) in the corners

I love this lens as a "normal" lens on a D70. My testing has shown it to be sharper in the center than the Nikkor 50 f/1.8 at almost every aperture and often by an f-stop or more. However, it lags a bit in the corners, and my sample in particular is bad in the upper right. This is bad relatively speaking, as it still compares favorably with other lenses I own even in the worst sections.


I'm eager to see a test of this lens to see if mine is typical and/or if I should try to exchange it.
Azrifel

Registered: October 2005
Posts: 1
Sigma 30mm f/1.4 EX DC HSM review by Azrifel
Review Date: 10/20/2005 Would you recommend the product? Yes | Total Spent: None indicated| Rating: 9 

 
Pros: Sharpness wide-open, AF-speed, AF-silence, AF-accuracy, contrast, bokeh, color, size, weight
Cons: Bit of vignetting, bit of distortion, bit of corner softness, lens-cap cannot be put on or removed with the hood on.

I have the Nikon AF version.
This is the lens that spends the most time on my D70. I love the FOV, the brightness in the viewfinder and the results it consistantly produces.
No problems with AF accuracy or AF hunting.
The vignetting is easily compensated for with Nikon Capture's Vignetting Control tool and the distortion doesn't bother me much. There are some PT lens profiles that fit this lens, I have not yet checked if there is a specific profile for this lens.
My sample is sharp wide open and the corner softness is mild, sometimes hardly visible.
The thing that is irritating is the lens-cap. I am used to the caps of the 18-70 DX and 70-200 VR Nikkors. With those you can reach inside the hood and there is a system on the cap itself. Would be nice if that system was used on all lenses/caps.


 






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