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New Sigma 30mm f2.8 Review

Discussion in 'Open Discussion' started by Qwerty, Mar 5, 2012.

  1. Qwerty

    Qwerty Mu-43 Regular

    Jan 15, 2012
    I just got the new Sigma 30mm f2.8 lens today and did some quick tests with my E-P2 body.

    First here are some photos of the lens.

    Here is what the lens looks like, a unusually small front element and a large rear lens element.



    Found a nice standard 46mm metal lens hood on ebay for it for around $5 (unlike the Sigma 19mm it does not come with a lens hood) and added a 58mm pinch lens cap.


    On my E-P2 body



    Size compared to the Olympus 45mm f1.8


    A very lightweight and affordable kit, from left to right: Panasonic 14mm f2.5, Olympus 45mm f1.8, Sigma 30mm f2.8 and manual focus Olympus OM 100mm f2.8 MC


    Here are some tests outdoors at different distances. E-P2, ISO 200, processed with Adobe Camera RAW with default sharpening, 100% crops. I'm quite impressed, very usable wide open at f2.8, hitting its sweet spot at f5.6 with excellent edge performance.

    Test 1





    Test 2




    Test 3




    Bokeh test, shot wide open at f2.8. Pretty decent, no distracting elements or funny patterns, but not a bokeh monster either.


    Finally I photographed a part of my reef tank, handheld at f4.0. I focused on the tenticles of the Elegance Coral (the large green one) and they were tack sharp at 100%.



    I've been asked to comment on the autofocus. Its virtually silent. Even with no other noise in the room when I focus with the lens I really can't hear it doing so. The construction of the lens is internal focusing so its motor does not have to move an entire focusing helecoid, only one or two lens elements within the body - hence the silence. A bonus of this construction is that there are also less cavities for dust to make their way into the lens.

    In terms of focus speed from its closest to infinity it seems to be pretty decent, but then the E-P2 being an older body may not be the best one to judge focusing speed. The focus collar is nice an wide and its a focus-by-wire design like the Olympus 45mm. The collar does not seem to be as smooth as on my Olympus 45mm, but it does seem to be getting smoother with use. I have no issues with manually focusing using focus-by-wire.

    Here is an image (shot wide open at f2.8) showing the lens focused at its closest focusing distance, you can judge the resulting magnification. On a aside I notice spectral highlights in the bokeh are rendered as nice and round - see the round blob above my hand. Aperture blades on the lens are nice and rounded when the lens stops down rather than hex shaped.



    Excellent performance and a great price of only $199. The Panasonic 20mm f1.7 is a excellent lens but in terms of angle of view I find it too close to the 14mm for my tastes. If you shoot a lot in the 20mm to 30mm focal range, than get the Panasonic/Leica 25mm f1.4 for mission critical and low-light work instead. Alternatively if it's not your most used focal length and you need a good inexpensive small lens for the times that you do need something in this range in your camera bag, then I think the Sigma 30mm f2.8 makes an excellent buy.
    • Like Like x 60
  2. xdayv

    xdayv Color Blind

    Aug 26, 2011
    Tacloban City, Philippines
    thanks for posting this. How do you find the close focusing capabilities of this lens?
  3. aw614

    aw614 Mu-43 Regular

    Mar 19, 2011
    thanks for the review, how was the autofocus on it with your ep2? tempted to pick this up, and give my 17mm to my sister if she ever decides to go m43. (I know its such a different focal length, and I have a 14mm and 20mm, I just dont have good luck of selling so I just held onto it)
  4. shnitz

    shnitz Mu-43 All-Pro

    Pressing the "thanks" button doesn't quite convey the gratitude for the comprehensiveness of your post. Thank you very much for taking the time to do this! I'll have to keep my eyes on this lens, and be ready to pounce on the 19mm when it's released.
    • Like Like x 1
  5. Djarum

    Djarum Super Moderator Subscribing Member

    Dec 15, 2009
    Huntsville, AL, USA
    If this had been a 23-26mm lens, I would have been all over it. 60mm EFL is just not something I'm interested in.
  6. drewbot

    drewbot Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Oct 21, 2011
    Toronto, ON
    Canada Post mail box!!!!

    Am I wrong to guess you live in the GTA?
  7. Biro

    Biro Mu-43 All-Pro

    May 8, 2011
    Jersey Shore
    Don't forget, there's a 19mm version coming as well. Same price: $199. I'll bet NEX owners will be celebrating the arrival of these two new lenses from Sigma.
  8. pxpaulx

    pxpaulx Mu-43 All-Pro

    Jan 19, 2010
    The 905 area code should've answered that for you :) 
  9. AV Janus

    AV Janus Mu-43 Rookie

    Feb 23, 2012
    Nice and detailed review. Quite to the point.
    It is a surprisingly good lens.
    But its plastic look and 60mm FL leave me un interested.
  10. bryan

    bryan Mu-43 Regular

    Feb 27, 2012
    Thanks for the review, Sandeep!

    Can you comment on the AF speed and performance? Is the AF audible?

    Kudos to Sigma for stepping up to the plate and making more quality native lenses available for M43.
  11. RichDesmond

    RichDesmond Mu-43 Top Veteran Subscribing Member

    Nov 18, 2011
    Thanks very much for taking the time to test and post the results.

    By any chance, do you have a feeling for how it will compare to the kit zooms in sharpness? I would normally use a lens of this FL outdoors in decent light, so the speed increase over the zooms doesn't interest me much, but the size does. If it's sharper than they are it would be well worth having.
  12. Amin Sabet

    Amin Sabet Administrator

    Apr 10, 2009
    Boston, MA (USA)
    Great review! Looks like a good little lens.
  13. dhazeghi

    dhazeghi Mu-43 Hall of Famer Subscribing Member

    Aug 6, 2010
    San Jose, CA
    Thanks for the review, and in particular the images. Looks like Sigma did their work properly, and while it's not a fast or small as the Panasonic, it's definitely a nice option to have.

    Should be interesting to see what else they decide to come up with.

  14. drizek

    drizek Mu-43 Veteran

    Aug 5, 2011
    The review is nice and everything,

    but wow that is an amazing reef tank.
  15. playak47

    playak47 Mu-43 Veteran

    Nov 4, 2010
    Thank for the review. Good see there are other punjabis besides me on this board using mu-43 gear.
  16. Bhupinder2002

    Bhupinder2002 Mu-43 Hall of Famer Subscribing Member

    Lol .. How can u forget me?
  17. Qwerty

    Qwerty Mu-43 Regular

    Jan 15, 2012
    I've added an addendum to the original post discussing autofocus with a close focus sample image to address some of your questions.

    Just got into micro 4/3 a few months ago, wanted to test the waters first with a inexpensive E-P2 body used with my collection of manual focus primes. Loved the initial experiance and now moving to investing in AF primes and hopefully a OM-D body this summer.

    fyi my portfolio: http://www.singhbrar.com/photos/
    • Like Like x 2
  18. playak47

    playak47 Mu-43 Veteran

    Nov 4, 2010
    haha that was my next step, to confirm with you.
  19. mailman7777777

    mailman7777777 New to Mu-43

    Mar 8, 2012
    Nice review, and pics too. What camera/lens did you use for the shots of the lens.
    By the way, photos of hands look sharp with any lens ever made. That goes for shots of your feet when testing out a new camera too.

  20. htc

    htc Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Jan 11, 2011
    Agree, nice review. Thank you for that. But FL 60!?!? In my head there are no FL 60. I just don't know what to do with it. All my life FL 50 has also being like that. Funny actually ;-)
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