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Archive 2012 · Sigma 19mm f2.8 on NEX - Initial impressions
  
 
ebrandon
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p.1 #1 · p.1 #1 · Sigma 19mm f2.8 on NEX - Initial impressions


I seem to be one of the first people to get his hands on the Sigma 19mm f2.8 for NEX, so thought it would be good to share some initial impressions and images.

I've only used the lens for an hour, so these are preliminary observations and whatever images I could get with the NEX 5N in the hour between UPS delivery and sunset.

The lens is medium sized, about half the size of the 18-55mm kit lens or 50mm f1.8. It's high quality plastic, and comes with nice solid hood, a pinch cap which works well with the hood, and a nice pouch. The front element looks small.

It has large, smooth, manual focus ring which isn't moved by autofocusing, and can be rotated whether the camera is in AF or MF mode.

It autofocuses fairly quickly and very quietly.

Looking at the pictures when I got home, I had the following observations:
* The lens is very sharp even wide open
* It has richly saturated colors
* It's a fairly low-contrast / high-detail lens
* I didn't notice any vignetting
* The bokeh is quite decent

* The lens has strong barrel distortion in RAW
* It has a little bit of purple fringing at highlight edges in RAW
* My preliminary impression is that it has fairly pronounced field curvature

The NEX 5N jpg engine corrects both the barrel distortion and the PF. This lens is a no-brainer for JPG shooters, but RAW shooters should expect to correct at least the barrel distortion on almost every picture.

Here are few sample images:
Shot in RAW @ f7.1, quite heavily cropped and processed






Slightly cropped out-of-camera JPG @ f5.6






Out of camera JPG @ f4 showing both field curvature & jpg engine autocorrecting barrel distortion






Slightly processed uncropped RAW @ f8






Slightly processed RAW @ f4, vignetting added in post.






Processed RAW @ f3.2 showing bokeh






Cropped JPG @ f4






I'm comparing this lens to the Voigtlander 15mm f4.5, OM 18mm f3.5, Nikon AF-D 20mm f2.8, OM 21mm f2, Contax G 21mm f2.8, Canon EF-S 10-22mm, and Sony 16-80mm all of which I own(ed) and use(d) on NEX 5N.

I think this little lens holds it own, with a muted contrast/high detail rending all it's own, excellent ergonomics, and a ridiculously low price.



Apr 05, 2012 at 05:22 AM
deadwolfbones
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p.1 #2 · p.1 #2 · Sigma 19mm f2.8 on NEX - Initial impressions


Good stuff, thanks for the samples!


Apr 05, 2012 at 05:31 AM
sebboh
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p.1 #3 · p.1 #3 · Sigma 19mm f2.8 on NEX - Initial impressions


thanks a bunch! any chance for a pic of the lens on camera?


Apr 05, 2012 at 06:06 AM
joychris
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p.1 #4 · p.1 #4 · Sigma 19mm f2.8 on NEX - Initial impressions


Just ordered the 19 and the 30 ... f2.8, $200 and pretty sharp from samples posted, what's not to like?


Apr 05, 2012 at 01:36 PM
FlyPenFly
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p.1 #5 · p.1 #5 · Sigma 19mm f2.8 on NEX - Initial impressions


Is it better than the kit lens at F5.6?


Apr 05, 2012 at 01:43 PM
Jman13
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p.1 #6 · p.1 #6 · Sigma 19mm f2.8 on NEX - Initial impressions


Looks to be quite nice optically.

As a micro 4/3 shooter, I'm disappointed that Sigma developed these for NEX and then decided to just port them to m4/3...on that system they just don't make any sense. The 19/2.8 would make a nice wide normal, but there's already the outstanding 20/1.7 that is both smaller and a stop and a half faster. The 30mm is just in no-mans land on m4/3 (though, again, makes sense for NEX).

It's obvious Sigma can make high quality glass...I'm just hoping that they do a few dedicated designs for m4/3. If they don't, I'm at least hoping for some compact high quality telephoto designs, like a 50-150 f/2.8 that's smaller than their DSLR version.



Apr 05, 2012 at 01:49 PM
deadwolfbones
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p.1 #7 · p.1 #7 · Sigma 19mm f2.8 on NEX - Initial impressions


Dunno about the 30 being in no man's land on m4/3... at least in Pentax land the DA 40 2.8 Limited (60mm equiv) has been quite a popular lens for the last handful of years.


Apr 05, 2012 at 02:50 PM
Jman13
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p.1 #8 · p.1 #8 · Sigma 19mm f2.8 on NEX - Initial impressions


I guess for me, it doesn't make a bunch of sense considering the outstanding 25mm f/1.4 available (though for quite a bit more $$). I've never been a fan of 60mm, but that's a personal thing. Also, the f/2.8 aperture is a bit slow for a normalish prime. Odd, since I love 50mm equiv.


Apr 05, 2012 at 03:16 PM
deadwolfbones
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p.1 #9 · p.1 #9 · Sigma 19mm f2.8 on NEX - Initial impressions


It's definitely odd, but maybe not useless.


Apr 05, 2012 at 04:02 PM
genji
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p.1 #10 · p.1 #10 · Sigma 19mm f2.8 on NEX - Initial impressions


If you love ~60mm equiv (e.g. 57/1.2 Hexanon, 58/1.2 Rokkor, 60/2.8 Elmarit-R), then 30mm on m/4/3 is neither odd nor useless.


Apr 05, 2012 at 04:53 PM
 

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millsart
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p.1 #11 · p.1 #11 · Sigma 19mm f2.8 on NEX - Initial impressions


genji wrote:
If you love ~60mm equiv (e.g. 57/1.2 Hexanon, 58/1.2 Rokkor, 60/2.8 Elmarit-R), then 30mm on m/4/3 is neither odd nor useless.



True enough, but there is a bit of difference in what you can achieve with a 57mm f1.2 Hexanon or 58mm f1.2 Rokkor vs a 60mm equiv f2.8 on a m4/3 body.

Certainly far from useless of course, but perhaps not really all that exciting either.

I think offerings like the 25mm f1.4 or the 45mm f1.8 will appeal to far more buyers overall. While the Sigma 30 does have the advantage in price, I think that most who would care enough to want something other than the kit zooms in the first place would be willing to spend the money for the faster options.

Even at "just" $400 for the m4/3 mount, how many people really would say to themselves "what I'd really love is a 38mm and 60mm equiv prime, and I don't want it to be any faster than f2.8" ??



Apr 05, 2012 at 05:43 PM
sorney1
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p.1 #12 · p.1 #12 · Sigma 19mm f2.8 on NEX - Initial impressions


how does the quality of this compare with the sony pancake lens?
sorney1



Apr 05, 2012 at 08:26 PM
FlyPenFly
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p.1 #13 · p.1 #13 · Sigma 19mm f2.8 on NEX - Initial impressions


I'm sure its far, far better than the pancake 16mm.


Apr 05, 2012 at 08:49 PM
genji
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p.1 #14 · p.1 #14 · Sigma 19mm f2.8 on NEX - Initial impressions


millsart wrote:
True enough, but there is a bit of difference in what you can achieve with a 57mm f1.2 Hexanon or 58mm f1.2 Rokkor vs a 60mm equiv f2.8 on a m4/3 body.

Certainly far from useless of course, but perhaps not really all that exciting either.

I think offerings like the 25mm f1.4 or the 45mm f1.8 will appeal to far more buyers overall. While the Sigma 30 does have the advantage in price, I think that most who would care enough to want something other than the kit zooms in the first place would be willing to spend the money
...Show more

All excellent points but I deliberately included the 60/2.8 Elmarit-R in my group of ~60mm equivalent lenses because I was responding primarily to Jman13ís assertion that "30mm is just in no-mans land on m4/3" and to his reply to deadwolfbones' pointing out the popularity of the Pentax DA 40 2.8 Limited (60mm equiv):

Jman13 wrote:
I guess for me, it doesn't make a bunch of sense considering the outstanding 25mm f/1.4 available (though for quite a bit more $$). I've never been a fan of 60mm, but that's a personal thing. Also, the f/2.8 aperture is a bit slow for a normalish prime. Odd, since I love 50mm equiv.


I've never been a fan of 50mm and I love 60mm equiv. But, as Jman13 says, that's a personal thing.

I really detest, however, what I've come to regard as "the tyranny of the 50mm EFoV", a slavish and unimaginative adherence to the 50mm equiv as representing some ideal of "normality". The main consequence of this mode of thinking/looking is that the 40mm equiv and 60mm equiv focal lengths are then regarded as abnormal. To be fair to Jman13, it's clear that he doesn't believe this, given that he refers to the Panasonic 20/1.7 (40mm equiv on m4/3) as "outstanding", but it's an attitude that you see over and over again in various forum posts.

Upon what is this worship of the 50mm equiv based? The mythical belief that the perspective of the 50mm equiv lens matches the field-of-view of the human eye? The deification of Henri Cartier-Bresson as someone who captured his "decisive moments" using "only a 50mm lens"?

There's nothing magical about the 50mm equiv. At the time the first Leica was introduced, a 50mm lens for the new format was easier to design and less expensive to manufacture than a 40mm. Had that not been the case, the 40mm might have become the standard and people now would be complaining that "25mm is just in no-mans land on m4/3".

Interestingly, many of the popular fixed-lens rangefinder cameras manufactured in Japan during the sixties and seventies had 38mm, 40mm, or 42mm lenses. And, happily, Mr Kobayashi at Cosina Voigtlander is a fan of "abnormal" focal lengths, such as 40mm and 58mm. (The CV 58/1.4 is an excellent lens. Having used it on a Nikon D700, if it was available in Canon mount I'd buy one in an instant.)

Thanks for letting me get all that off my chest.



Apr 05, 2012 at 11:49 PM
theSuede
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p.1 #15 · p.1 #15 · Sigma 19mm f2.8 on NEX - Initial impressions


The >57mm <60mm lens on an SLR-type camera has a very specific meaning. It's very much easier to construct a 57mm+ lens with the back-focal distance needed due to the mirror-box than it is to do the same with a 50mm lens. If you want to do a 50mm lens with the classical ultron/planar layout you have to "compress" the back end to make it fit, and that effects performance by a noticeable amount.

Some new base constructions have surfaced in the last few years, that makes shorter, fast lenses available for a lot less money.

19mm seems just about perfect to me, since 28mm on a FF/FX camera is about as wide as I ever need. Wider than that enters the "synthetic perspective" region, which I think is very hard to pull off, and will look very "not-realistic" whatever mapping you chose. It can be very "striking", as the 14-24 on the Nikon system can show, or any of the newer super-wide zooms on APS - but there's no way around the "this is not realistic" feeling you get from looking at the images.



Apr 06, 2012 at 12:19 AM
ebrandon
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p.1 #16 · p.1 #16 · Sigma 19mm f2.8 on NEX - Initial impressions


sebboh wrote:
thanks a bunch! any chance for a pic of the lens on camera?


Here's a couple of quick snapshots for you.














Apr 06, 2012 at 01:51 AM
Jman13
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p.1 #17 · p.1 #17 · Sigma 19mm f2.8 on NEX - Initial impressions


It is very interesting how personal focal length preference is. I know some people love the 35mm focal length, while I've never liked it. I love 50mm, and I love 24mm, and I love 100mm.

Interestingly enough, at the telephoto end, overall, I am really not a fan of 85mm FF equivalent, yet even just a smidge longer, to 90mm equiv, is just fine. It's hard to describe, as the difference between 85 and 90 is extremely small, but it's enough that it drives me nuts to shoot with an 85, as it's just a little too short. 90-135 is my portrait wheelhouse, with 100mm being ideal.

So, consequently, being on m4/3 now, I love my Konica 57/1.2 as well, though it's equivalent to a 114mm lens on FF on my cameras. (which reminds me...I need to shoot some with that lens, I haven't used it in a while.)



Apr 06, 2012 at 02:00 AM
ebrandon
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p.1 #18 · p.1 #18 · Sigma 19mm f2.8 on NEX - Initial impressions


I find it amusing that this 19mm on NEX thread has morphed into a 30mm on m43 thread. But that's fine -- intelligent conversation is allowed to meander.

Anyway ...

This image is the Sigma 19mm at f5.6







I've made available f2.8 and f5.6 images of this scene taken with the:
- Sigma 19mm
- Sony / Zeiss 16mm-80mm alpha mount zoom
- Sony 18-55mm kit lens (new version that came with NEX 5n)

Full size out of camera jpgs are available near the end of this album, if anyone wants to pixel peep and report their findings. http://thebrandons.smugmug.com/Other/Samples-for-forums/

My take-away is that the Sigma 19mm is not brilliant at infinity, especially on the edges. It's much better as a close-to-medium distance lens.

Also there is very weird extreme vignetting happening with the 16-80mm on an LA-EA2 adapter. Does anyone have any ideas? I checked and the hood is not askew.




Apr 06, 2012 at 02:44 AM
Jman13
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p.1 #19 · p.1 #19 · Sigma 19mm f2.8 on NEX - Initial impressions


The 19 might not be a perfect lens, but it does look to be pretty good, especially given the price.


Apr 06, 2012 at 02:48 AM
plasticmotif
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p.1 #20 · p.1 #20 · Sigma 19mm f2.8 on NEX - Initial impressions


If it were faster, I'd be a bit more interested.


Apr 06, 2012 at 02:58 AM
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