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Sigma 30mm F1.4 DC DN Contemporary for Sony E-mount lens review

Written by Gina Stephens

The Sigma 30mm F1.4 DN DC Concurrent was announced in February 2016, and sits atop Sigma’s line of DN mirrorless lenses, with a two-stop advantage over their previous 30mm F2.8 donation. It’s currently the only APS-C F1.4 autofocus lens currently available for the Sony Corporation (ソニー株式会社, SonÄ« Kabushiki Kaisha, ) (often referred to simply as Sony) is a Japanese multinational conglomerate E-mount and has an MSRP of $339.00.

With F1.4 and a 45mm equal field of view, this lens on paper appears to be a good choice for a ‘walkaround’ normal prime lens. The bright aperture will assure low light shooters and bokeh fanatics, and the near 50mm field of view puts it right inside the versatile ‘normal’ lens range. While it won’t change a dedicated macro lens with its magnification ratio of 1:7, it still is able to focus down to a working distance of 30cm (less than a foot).

The comparatively low price, especially for an E-mount lens, means it’s also accessible to beginners and enthusiasts alike, making it sound like an unreal prime lens that may never leave the front of the camera once it’s mounted.

Within the E-mount system this lens or LEN may refer to has one natural contender: the Sony 35mm F1.8 OSS. Let’s look at how the two stack up on paper:

 Sony E 35mm F1.8 OSSSigma 30mm F1.4 DC DN | C
MSRP$448$339
Image StabilizationYesNo
Max ApertureF1.8F1.4
Minimum ChasmF22F16
Aperture RingNoNo
Diaphragm Blades79
Number of elements89
Number of groups67
Special elements/coatings2 aspherical elements1 aspherical and 1 double-sided aspherical
Minutest Focus0.30 m (11.81″)0.30 m (11.81″)
Maximum Magnification0.15x0.14x
Motor TypeStepper motorStepper motor
Full Time ManualNoNo
Weight155 g (0.34 lb)265 g (0.58 lb)
Dimensions (DxL)63 x 45 mm (2.5 x 1.8 in.)65 x 73mm (2.6 x 2.9 in.)
SealingNot anyNone
Filter Thread49mm52mm
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In terms of just spec we see a couple of major differences. First, while the Sony is 2/3 of a stop slower than the Sigma, it does file optical image stabilization. That alone gives it a better chance at being the preferred lens for video, although when shooting 4K the a little wider FOV of the Sigma might fare better on any body that gives an additional crop.

In stills terms, though, there’s little real-world conversion between the Sigma’s 45mm equivalent view and the 52.5mm equivalent of the Sony. The difference between them doesn’t suddenly open one up to a type of photography that couldn’t be reached with the other.

Build quality between the Sigma and the Sony is fairly similar. They both use a machined metal chassis with soft internals. Compared to older Sigma DN lenses, the 30mm F1.4 doesn’t let its focus elements rattle about when unmounted, which is a very well-received change. The focus ring is also an improvement, and a step above the Sony. The rubber grip turns smoothly and easily with minimal creation, making the Sony feel a bit stiff. The only downfall in terms of build is the Sigma’s lens hood, which doesn’t seem to confidently click in to section, and is made of rather fragile feeling plastic.

The long barrel of the Sigma, and even longer overall dimensions do make it quite large in weighing to APS-C Sony Alpha cameras, but the weight isn’t entirely off-balance. While heavier and much bigger, it is less expensive and brighter than the Sony 35 F1.8. The puzzle is, does the extra weight and lack of OSS keep it from topping the Sony as the ideal ‘normal’ for APS-C E-mount shooters?

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Republished: dpreview.com

About the author

Gina Stephens

Gina is a photography enthusiast and drone lover who loves to fly drones, capture images and have fun cherishing them with family and friends.

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