Sigma 30mm f/2.8 EX DN First Look Review

by on April 11, 2012

in Sigma

Sigma 30mm f/2.8 EX DN for Sony NEX

The Sigma 30mm f/2.8 EX DN is the closest thing to a “fast 50″ that we can get right now for Sony’s NEX models in the native E-mount.  I’ve been playing with it for a couple of days and, in short, I think it’s a nice complement to the 18-55mm kit lens.  At $199, it’s certainly a lens that NEX owners should consider adding to their kit.

Sigma 30mm Compared to Sony 18-55mm Lens

Sigma 30mm Compared to Sony 18-55mm Lens

The Sigma 30mm is considerably smaller than the 18-55mm kit lens; however, it’s not going to wow you with its compact size like some of the small Micro Four Thirds lenses, such as the Panasonic 20mm f/1.7 or the new Panasonic power zoom 14-42mm kit lens for the GX1.  Still yet, it’s a nice fit for the NEX cameras.

Sigma 30mm Compared to Panasonic 20mm f/1.7

Sigma 30mm Compared to Panasonic 20mm f/1.7

The focus motor seems to be fast enough.  It’s about on par with the kit lens in my short experience thus far, which is sufficient for me.  Contrast-detect AF always seems to have a little bit of a “pump” to it anyway and it’s no different with this lens.

Sigma 30mm EX Lens Case

Sigma 30mm EX Lens Case

Big kudos to Sigma for including a nice, padded lens case with the 30mm f/2.8 EX DN lens.  It has pads on the top and bottom inside and is quite robust overall.  You generally don’t see these kinds of accessories packed with a $200 lens.

Minimum focus distance is 0.98′ with a magnification of 1:8.1.  The Sigma 30mm sports a tiny filter thread of 46mm and is pretty lightweight at 135g (just under 5oz).  No image stabilization on the lens, which is a change-up for those accustomed to the benefit of such in the kit lens. The max f/2.8 aperture, however, makes up for some of that by offering higher shutter speeds in lower light.

Sigma 30mm f/2.8 EX DN on Sony NEX-C3

Sigma 30mm f/2.8 EX DN on Sony NEX-C3

I’ve said it before, but I’ll say it again, I really wish it was faster than f/2.8.  Don’t get me wrong, the f/2.8 is nice; however, when we’re at a 45mm equivalent focal length for a roughly 51-degree angle of view, I would prefer a more shallow depth of field.

FS100 with Sigma 30mm

FS100 with Sigma 30mm

I’ve taken several images with the new lens on a Sony NEX-C3 and spent some time using with the NEX-FS100.  Below are a few sample images to give you an idea of some of the snapshots it can produce.

Sigma 30mm f/2.8 EX DN Sample Image

Sigma 30mm f/2.8 EX DN Sample Image

Sigma 30mm f/2.8 EX DN Sample Image

Sigma 30mm f/2.8 EX DN Sample Image

Sigma 30mm f/2.8 EX DN Sample Image

While I’ve played around with the lens on the FS100, I haven’t really shot anything worth sharing, but will try to do so soon and pass that footage along.  I will note that the focus ring seems to be just as smooth as the kit 18-200mm focus ring.  However, I really hate the infinite focus ring throw when it comes to serious video use, which is a concern with every NEX lens I’ve used thus far.  That said, I have to remind myself that it’s a $200 lens and offers a great field of view and relatively shallow aperture.

Sony NEX-C3 with Sigma 30mm f/2.8 EX DN Lens

Sony NEX-C3 with Sigma 30mm f/2.8 EX DN Lens

I’ll have more on this lens later.  So far, the Sigma 30mm f/2.8 EX DN looks like a real winner for Sony NEX cameras as a fast walkaround lens.

The Sigma 30mm f/2.8 EX DN lens is available from Photography Bay’s trusted retail partner, B&H Photo, at the following link:

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