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Sigma 30mm F1.4 EX DC HSM

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Reviews Views Date of last review
79 161900 Feb 16, 2013
Recommended By Average Price
91% of reviewers $386.98
Build Quality Rating Price Rating Overall Rating
9.13
8.88
8.9
113_small

Specifications:
Lens Construction: 7 Elements in 7 Groups
Angle of View: 45 degrees (SD format)
Number of Diaphragm Blades: 8 Blades
Minimum Aperture: F16
Minimum Focusing Distance: 40cm / 15.7 inches
Maximum Magnification: 1:10.4
Filter Size Diameter: 62mm
Lens Hood: DiaPetal Hood
Dimensions Diameter: 75.5mm X Length 59mm
2.97 inches x 2.3 inches
Weight: 430g/15.2 oz.


 


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dinoadventures
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Registered: Apr 12, 2005
Location: United States
Posts: 2162
Review Date: Sep 1, 2007 Recommend? | Price paid: $300.00

 
Pros: center sharpness, fast aperture, fast and quiet AF, very solid build, excellent handling, great warranty/service, price, good bokeh.
Cons:
edge sharpness, mild CA, not the smoothest focusing ring, some sample variation, hood mounting not the most secure, finish wears off a little bit (just this sample, my other one was fine)

This is my second copy of this lens. My first one was for Canon mount and you can read the review below. This one was for Nikon mount. I picked it up secondhand here on FM. So far, I like the handling of this one better than the Canon mount version (they're a bit different).

This copy exhibited some slight front focusing issues with close subjects. Also, the aperture blades formed an asymmetrical shape when stopped down past f/8. I took it on vacation to New York City and neither issue showed up in my images at all, whatsoever. I sent it in to Sigma for service upon my return anyway and in six business days it was returned to me repaired free of charge. Sigma service ROCKS. The lens is now better than ever, and is at least as good as my Canon mount version was.

The Sigma 30 performs exceptionally on my D2H and D50. In fact, on the D50, handling is pretty much ideal with this lens, very well balanced.

My only gripes are that the lens hood mounts a little looser than I'd like and so when I go to mount it on my Nikons it has a tendency to come loose. This is not a problem with Canon mount versions as they mount in a different direction. This copy also has a bit of wear to the finish on the bottom side but that doesn't affect anything. The focusing ring could also be a bit smoother to focus. Would I recommend this to Nikon users? Absolutely. If you need more edge sharpness, though, look to the excellent 35 f/2 because this one is built almost exclusively for speed.


Sep 1, 2007
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angelo todaro
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Registered: Aug 6, 2007
Location: United States
Posts: 0
Review Date: Aug 6, 2007 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $320.00 | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: Amazing performance for an affordable price.
Cons:
Please let me focus closer than .4M!

If this lens had a Leica logo on it, people would gladly pay $2000 for this level of performance at f/1.4! No, it doesn't equal Leica performance - but it comes VERY close - for alot less money - AND WITH AF. This lens was designed specifically to be used at f/1.4 and to have a subject somewhere in the center third of the image. Within those design constraints, it delivers. It is sharper at f/1.4 than the Nikon 28mm f/1.4 AF and MUCH sharper than Nikon's old-school 35mm f/1.4 MF lens. To achieve this performance, there are deliberate design compromises: It only covers an APS size sensor, and it is deliberately biased toward center sharpnessand constrast at the expense of corner sharpness. Sigma has taken a page from Leica's design engineers and created a purpose-built high-speed normal lens (see Noctilux) - one that really is meant to be used wide-open - ALL THE TIME. In other words - if you're going to use it primarily at f/2.8-5.6 - JUST BUY A ZOOM! I wish this lens said "Nikon" on it - but that won't stop me from using it - ALOT.

Aug 6, 2007
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ttheron
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Registered: Feb 28, 2006
Location: N/A
Posts: 1
Review Date: Aug 2, 2007 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: Excellent Colour, Focussing, Centre Sharpness, Size
Cons:
- Not so good at brewing coffee - Seriously, none for what you pay for

Got this one second-hand about a year ago, after it was apparently hand-picked out of a batch of (an arbitrary number between 4 and 8).
My lens of choice in almost all circumstances (except when I use my Canon 70-200 f4) on a 20D. I own the Canon 50mm f1.4 as well (upgraded from the 1.8), and I RARELY use it. The Sigma almost never leaves my camera!

Focusing is fast (Hunts far less than the canon 1.4 in low light), sharpness is very good at f1.4 and Skyrockets at smaller apertures. Fantastic for low light conditions and isolating subjects. 1.4 is tricky to focus at, but this is a limitation of the photographer, not the lens.

Slight softness around the edges at low aperatures, but I can live with that. Quality control might be an issue, so I suggest you buy this one in person and make sure you get a good copy (I tested a few and the focusing differs significantly)

I absolutely adore this lens, and I would suggest it to anybody who takes the time to ask...


Aug 2, 2007
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David C Palmer
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Registered: Jul 20, 2007
Location: United Kingdom
Posts: 0
Review Date: Jul 22, 2007 Recommend? | Price paid: Not Indicated

 
Pros: Relatively-small, lightweight, convenient focal length
Cons:
Beware possible quality control problems. Potential front-focus problems (at all apertures) on Canon cameras. Corner quality is poor. Bad "bokeh" (triangular highlights) resulting from misaligned diaghram blades on some models.

In response to a previous reviewer, any "fast" lens requires some degree of care with focussing because of shallow depth of field. That's exactly when many of us are attracted to these lenses. The main problem with this Sigma lens, however, is nothing to do with depth of field. It is to do with quality control, and "broken" auto focus (with the lens stopped down!) for distant subjects.

I regularly shoot at f/1.4 - using, e.g., the Canon 35mm f/1.4 L and 50mm f/1.4 lenses, using both a Canon EOS 20D and 5D. I love the control this gives me to isolate my subject and control background blur. I also like using longer lenses at wide apertures (e.g., 85mm f/1.8 and 135mm f/2 L). Again, one gets shallow depth of field, with pleasing results. I know how to handle these effects and use them regularly.

Wanting to have a convenient "50mm-like" focal length for my 20D camera, I went ahead and purchased the Sigma 30mm f/1.4 lens. I had read some rave reviews, but was completely unprepared for some many problems:-

1. Close-ups were great - at the centre of the field - but the corner quality isn't so good - quality drops off dramatically away from the centre. Check out the Sigma MTF charts and you'll see what I mean.

2. Out-of-focus specular highlights can show ugly triangular patterns - this may well vary from sample to sample. However, close inspection of the stopped down apertures on three different lenses - yes, THREE lenses - showed that the aperture blades aren't aligned correctly, giving a very distorted, almost triangular shape when stopped down, instead of an octagon. This has been well-documented by other users on the web (e.g., see the Canon lens forum on dpreview.com).

3. My biggest shock came when I took the lens outside and tried photographing distant subjects. All out of focus! This is nothing to do with shallow depth of field! I was using f/8 and upwards to f/16. Distant subjects - e.g, 10m to infinity - were, quite plain and simply out of focus. I returned the lens, but the second copy had the same problem. I returned the second copy to Sigma UK who also borrowed my camera so that they could "calibrate the lens to match the camera". I supplied some example photos and they _agreed_ with me that the lens was at fault. They could not fix the lens. Instead they sent me a copy from a newer batch. This did fix the focus-at-infinity issue, but had problems of its own...

4. Uneven image quality across the frame. The right-hand side of the images taken with copy #3 of this lens were fuzzier than the left- and central portions.

I am sure that there may be copies of this lens that are fine (apart from at the edges), but I would strongly warn potential customers to beware of Sigma's quality control. In particular, if you are a Canon user, you should be aware that Sigma reverse-engineers the Canon auto focus mechanism, and clearly _some_ Sigma lenses are not compatible with the auto-focus tolerance of _some_ Canon cameras.

If you're looking for a good lens in this focal length for a Canon camera, I'd strongly recommend giving the cheap Canon EF 35mm f/2 lens a go. It's not very-well built, but in my experience it provides fantastic image quality for the price and proved far more satisfactory than the more expensive Sigma lens.


Jul 22, 2007
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James Markus
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Registered: Jul 19, 2005
Location: United States
Posts: 4237
Review Date: Jul 21, 2007 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $335.00 | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: Excellent sharpness, quiet focusing, incredible bokeh, and a reasonable price.
Cons:
none

I think that perhaps a few of these reviews are not accurate because the lens does take some care to focus properly when wide open. Depending on distance to subject...it can be a very narrow DOF. However, if you learn to use the lens...the reward is very satisfying....truly a great lens. This is my only Sigma that I am stoke about...I own a 400mm that I rarely use, and I feel it isn't up to excellent standards. This lens is excellent. If you bother to read the reviews...it has better resolution numbers than the vaulted 28mm f1.4 Nikon lens that now garners $2500 + on the used market...in the center focus area. At the edges...it's softer. For a portrait lens it is super. I have used it at f5.6 and f8 for landscapes, and cityscapes with superb results.

Jul 21, 2007
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David C Palmer
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Registered: Jul 20, 2007
Location: United Kingdom
Posts: 0
Review Date: Jul 20, 2007 Recommend? no | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 3 

 
Pros: Small(ish), light(ish), max. aperture, build quality
Cons:
Severe front focus problems on Canon cameras, dire corner performance, uneven image quality

I really wanted to like this lens, but after 3 copies, including a factory calibration of the lens + camera, I had to give up.

I used this lens on a Canon EOS 20 D camera. The first two copies gave excellent quality for close ups, but dire results for distant shots. The problem turned out to be severe front focussing. Anything further than about 10 m away was out of focus.

My second copy of the lens went back to Sigma UK, together with my camera. They couldn't fix the problem, but sent me a new lens, which they tested on my camera. The front focus problem was fixed, but other problems emerged: as the MTF charts show, whilst the lens is sharp in the centre, its corner quality is lousy. Furthermore, I found that the image quality dropped off towards the right-hand side of the image.

After three copies, I gave up. The el-cheapo Canon 35mm f/2 lens is SO much better (and cheaper).

I've now moved to full-frame and am happily using all-Canon products. No more Sigma for me!


Jul 20, 2007
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Peter K
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Registered: Sep 12, 2006
Location: United States
Posts: 7
Review Date: Jul 18, 2007 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $350.00 | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: f/1.4, wonderfully sharp. quick focus. good color. great focal length for a 1.6 sensor. strong build.
Cons:
almost none worth mentioning -- maybe that the cap is hard to take on and off with the hood on.

I have the Sigma EX 50mm macro that I completely love, but there are two reasons I was interested in the 30mm. One, the 50mm focal length was too tight for non-macro shots and I was interested in a little wider aperature so I didn't have to use flash inside. Although having both 30mm & 50mm primes seemed a little over the top and I was hesitant to buy the 30mm, I'm extremely happy with the purchase.

In fact, the 30mm stays on my Rebel XT almost all the time. It is fun to work with, perfectly sized (and fits nice) on the XT and the pictures come out excellent . . . and the f/1.4 is awesome for low-light shooting. Even though I miss the zoom, I just don't ever use my Canon 20-35mm or 28-125 IS anymore. I'm going to sell them both.

I know some people have had problems with the focusing of this lens -- I never have had any (and I'd bet that 10% of the issues are people adjusting to the super shallow dof at wide aperatures). There have also been complaints of noise during focusing while pointing the lens towards the ground. I have experienced this when testing it out, but I don't ever recall it happening when I'm shooting, as I rarely take pictures of my feet.


Jul 18, 2007
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ivyinvestor
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Registered: Mar 17, 2006
Location: United States
Posts: 237
Review Date: Jul 4, 2007 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $339.00 | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: Resolution; light gathering; focus speed; focus accuracy; build; and, compactness.
Cons:
n/a

For the price, this lens can't be beaten. It offers a normal field of view for my pair of 30Ds. My copy *did* require a calibration (this is why it received a score of nine, and not a 10), but now it's sharp at 1.4, better at 1.6, and gorgeous from 1.8 and up. That said, I most often shoot in the range of 1.4 - 1.8.

Focus speed is great; accuracy is (nearly always) spot-on.

Handsome build quality.

It's a de-facto member of my trio of fun for trips/vacanzas (others are Canon's 10-22, and 70-300).


Jul 4, 2007
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ygan
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Registered: Jun 14, 2007
Location: Hungary
Posts: 0
Review Date: Jul 3, 2007 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 9 

 
Pros: normal lens for APS-C, beautiful bokeh, fast and silent AF, center sharpness, price, f/1.4
Cons:
corner softness, hard focus ring

There is no real alternative of this lens (Nikon 28mm f/1.4 price tag is horrible, N 35mm f/2 is another category, Sigma 28mm f/1.8 is slow, heavy, no HSM, focusing problems).
Fortunatelly this lens is very good normal lens and very fast. The one corner softness is not as bad as i mean, before i bought the lens, tolerable at wide open and ok from f/2.8.
Perfect for low light photography, portrait, landscape, etc.


Jul 3, 2007
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randomlinh
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Registered: May 15, 2004
Location: United States
Posts: 298
Review Date: Jul 2, 2007 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $350.00 | Rating: 8 

 
Pros: build quality, fairly fast AF, altho sometimes picky on the wider end.
Cons:
a little edge softness, IQ may not be at the prime levels

The EX line of sigma is amazing IMO. I love the feel and look. The 30mm only has an alternative in the 28mm from canon IMO, and IQ is pretty much on par. It's no 85mm f/1.8, but I wanted a prime in this range, and fast.

A 35L might be nice, but this isn't exactly my profession, it's a compromise I'm willing to deal with.


Jul 2, 2007
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LotsToLearn
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Registered: Jan 12, 2006
Location: Canada
Posts: 434
Review Date: Jun 26, 2007 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $300.00 | Rating: 9 

 
Pros: Build, focus speed, f/1.4, sharpness, price
Cons:
DC lens

I bought and have used this lens for indoor available light use. I have not been disappointed in the least. It is the perfect focal length on a crop body for my indoor use and it's large aperture is naturally built for available light photography.

My copy is sharp and focuses accurately even in dim lighting. Naturally the DOF that f/1.4 provides allows for alot of creativity and the need for decent technique.

The only 'off' thing I would mention is that my copy seems to produce slightly overly warm colours. Other than that, I have no issues with this lens and I'm glad because I read a lot of scary things before finally deciding to buy it anyway. I originally wanted the Canon 28mm f/1.8 but I'm very happy with this and the price was much better so I'm glad I did buy it.



Jun 26, 2007
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Xibalban
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Registered: Dec 1, 2005
Location: Finland
Posts: 109
Review Date: Jun 18, 2007 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 8 

 
Pros: fast, sharp and smooth bokeh
Cons:
not usable if switched to full frame at some point

I bought this lens right before my trip to The Gambia to use as my main lens. I got great results with it and it has become my favourite lens since then. Here are the pictures from the trip:

http://markuspuustinen.com/galleriat/07/02/the_gambia_experience/

Some of those have been taken with Tamron 90mm F2.8 but mostly with this Sigma.


Jun 18, 2007
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kevindar
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Registered: May 6, 2006
Location: United States
Posts: 2182
Review Date: Jun 18, 2007 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: very sharp in center, even at 1.4. fast hsm focusing. Nice solid built. Good price.
Cons:
softer in the corners especially considering its a prime.

bought this lens used on this forum. Was having focus problems (inconsistency) on my 350. Once I upgraded to 400, the focus is dead on 95% of the time. the sharpness in center is amazing. I have not had problems with flare, but use the hood all the time. the lens is not very sharp in the corners, and needs to be stopped down, so its not a great landscape lens. I understand people have had focus issues with the lens, and the person I bought the lens from stated his was back focusing until he sent it to sigma for calibration. Is it is now, I love this lens.

Jun 18, 2007
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dinoadventures
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Registered: Apr 12, 2005
Location: United States
Posts: 2162
Review Date: Jun 16, 2007 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $429.00 | Rating: 9 

 
Pros: Incredible center resolution, superb handling, very fast focusing
Cons:
Field curvature, some edge softness, purple fringing.

After worrying about this lens from all the people complaining about quality control issues with it, I decided to buy a copy from B&H (which was then local to me, so I could exchange it if it was unsatisfactory). The very first copy I looked at was optically perfect. Easily better than one sample of the Canon 35 1.4L I owned and about as good as another (better in terms of CA, center sharpness).
A superb lens. Arguably the most useful walkaround prime on a crop, and a fantastic lens for street/indoor photography.

I fully intend to purchase another one now that I've switched to Nikon mount.


Jun 16, 2007
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gyldenspjt
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Registered: Sep 4, 2005
Location: Denmark
Posts: 0
Review Date: Jun 14, 2007 Recommend? no | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 5 

 
Pros: Very fast lense.
Cons:
Flare at f/1.4

Example of the flare:
allan.lyngsdal.eu/Billeder/Vindens%20Aften/JPEG/IMG_0998.jpg

Watch the upper half of the building.


Jun 14, 2007
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Sigma 30mm F1.4 EX DC HSM

Buy from B&H Photo
Reviews Views Date of last review
79 161900 Feb 16, 2013
Recommended By Average Price
91% of reviewers $386.98
Build Quality Rating Price Rating Overall Rating
9.13
8.88
8.9
113_small


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