Sigma 30mm F2.8 DN Art

Sigma is one of the few manufacturers who produces AF lenses for Sony E-mount cameras. The 30mm F2.8 DN Art is a compact prime for Sony APS-C cameras. It has been on the market for a while, but is still one of the most popular lenses due to the combination of high image quality and reasonable price.

Specifications

  • format: APS-C
  • focal length: 30mm (~45mm FF equivalent)
  • aperture range: F2.8 – F22
  • lens design: 7 elements (2 asph.) in 5 groups
  • closest focus distance: ~30cm (0.12x magnification)
  • filter diameter: 46mm
  • dimensions: ~6.1 x 4.1cm
  • weight: ~140g
  • MSRP: 239€

The lens is available in black and silver.
A lens hood and pouch is included in the box.

 

Build quality

The Sigma 30mm F2.8 DN lens is made in Japan. The outer barrel, the mount and the focus ring are made of metal. The front part with the filter thread is plastic. The surface finish is very nice but doesn’t seem particularly resistant to scratches.
This lens is well made and certainly looks more expensive than it is. The only thing that makes it feel a bit cheap is the rattling noise when shaking it (probably due to the focus element inside). Unfortunately, there is no weather sealing.

Mechanical quality rating: 8/10

 

Features and versatility

The 30mm focal length of this prime lens offers the same field of view as a 45mm lens on a full frame sensor. It is indeed a very useful focal length for general purpose use.
I measured a horizontal field of view of about 42.5 degrees, which is almost exactly what is to expect from a 30mm lens on an APS-C sensor. The diagonal FOV is ~50°, the 39.6° that Sigma indicates on their website seems to be off.

The lens is really small and lightweight, excellent for traveling.
There is no optical image stabilization.

With a minimum focus distance of 30cm and a max. magnification of ~0.12x, this is good for close-ups but doesn’t reach macro territory.

The focusing mechanism is internal. Autofocus is reasonably fast and quiet. Unfortunately, only the center portion of the phase detection points on my A6300 can be used with the Sigma 30mm F2.8 lens, which basically makes this lens unsuitable for subject tracking or fast action.

The focus ring is smooth, but there is no direct coupling. Apart from the focus ring, the barrel is plain without any additional buttons or switches.

Features and versatility rating: 6/10

 

Image quality

Sharpness at different apertures, frame center vs edge vs corner (tested on the Sony A6300).

right click -> ‘open in new tab’ to see the crops in full resolution

Remark: The lighting for these test shots was not optimal, therefore the resolution in absolute terms is relatively low.

There is not a lot of difference between the different aperture values, which indicates that the lens already delivers excellent results at the maximum aperture. I can see an increase in sharpness up to F5.6. There is some minor chromatic aberration towards the corners at F2.8, but nothing that would keep me awake at night.

The minimum focus distance is around 30cm. Resolution is very good and longitudinal chromatic aberrations are fairly mild:

However, when shooting in high contrast situations, chromatic aberrations can become more pronounced as shown in the crops below. The amount of CA is still acceptable in my opinion.

F4
crop from image above
crop from top border with LoCA (bokeh fringing)

 

Laterial chromatic aberrations are only visible towards the edges in high contrast scenes such as the one below (100% crop).

crop from another photo, shot at F2.8 (not shown here)

 

Vignetting, distortion and coma are minimal and I also didn’t have any issues with sun flares.

Bokeh is mostly pleasant and smooth, but can sometimes get a bit nervous.

background blur at F2.8 near the minimum focus distance
crop from photo above
bokeh at F2.8, close focus
crop of bokeh balls

 

Optical quality rating: 8/10

 

Comparison

Compared to the Sigma 60mm. Apart from the obvious difference – the focal length and resulting narrower field of view – the two lenses are very similar (same aperture, same build, same AF). In terms of optical quality however, the 60mm is a bit better: it is sharper in the corners and does not suffer from chromatic aberrations.

 

Summary

For:

  • very compact and lightweight
  • good build quality, made in Japan
  • reasonably fast and quiet AF
  • outstanding image quality in the frame center (F2.8 – F11)
  • very good image quality at the edges (F2.8 – F11)
  • low amount of distortion and vignetting
  • relatively low CA
  • good flare resistance
  • lens hood and pouch included
  • very competitive price

Against:

  • phase detection autofocus only works in the very center of the frame
  • no optical image stabilization
  • not weather resistant

All-in-all a great prime lens with a truly exceptional value!

Rating:  8/10    highly recommended

Value:  10/10    (reviewed at ~160€)

Link to Amazon.de.

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