I received the Sigma 30mm and 19mm f/2.8 EX DN lenses, alone with the Sony Nex-5n about a month ago from BHPhotoVideo.com. Over the course of the month I’ve had some really good opportunities to test these lenses out in a variety of ways including video focus tests, corner sharpness tests, fringing, shooting into the sun, and more!! I also shot mostly in jpeg mode for this round as the automatic lens correction that is built into the Nex-5n is awesome!! I also tweaked my jpeg profile a bit on the Nex-5n by lowering the sharpness and saturation a tad. The JPEGs now look much more natural in my opinion, and not slightly over sharpened like the standard JPEG images normally are.
Sigma 30mm and 19mm f/2.8 EX DN Lenses
The Sigma E-Mount lenses both came in the standard Sigma padded pouch which is quite nice, and a bonus in my book as most lenses don’t come with protective pouches at all.
Here’s a closer look at the Sigma 19mm f/2.8 EX DN Lens from a few angles. The 30mm version is almost identical in design from the exterior perspective.
Sigma 30 and 19mm f/2.8 EX DN lenses on the Sony Nex-5n
Inside Lens Elements and MTF Chart
The exteriors of these Sigma lenses are very similar, but the inside is obviously a different story. You also may wonder why the Sigma 19mm f/2.8 EX DN lens is physically larger?? Check out the lens elements illustrations below and it will clear things up for you.
Official Overview and Specs
Sigma 30mm f/2.8 EX DN Lens Official Overview and Full Specs
This high-performance standard lens is designed exclusively for mirrorless interchangeable lens cameras and has the equivalent angle of view as a 60mm lens (35mm equivalent focal length) on the Micro Four Thirds systems and 45mm (35mm equivalent focal length) on the E-mount system.
Two glass mold aspherical lenses, including a double-sided aspherical lens, provide excellent correction for all types of aberration. The inner focusing system corrects the fluctuation of aberration to maintain image quality regardless of the focal distance.
Sigma’s Super Multi-Layer Coating reduces flare and ghosting as well as provides sharp and high contrast images even at the maximum aperture. The superior telecentric optical design improves the image quality throughout the frame. The optical design also allows the lens to be compact and lightweight. This lens benefits from a newly developed linear AF motor which moves the lens elements directly without the need for gears or the drive of other mechanical parts. This system ensures accurate and quiet autofocusing, making the lens suitable for video recording as well as still photos.
The lens features a rounded 7 blade diaphragm creating an attractive blur to the out of focus areas of the image. This Sigma 30mm F2.8 EX DN has a minimum focusing distance of 30cm/11.8in and a maximum magnification ratio of 1:8.1.
- Standard focal length lens, designed specifically for mirrorless cameras.
- Aspherical lens design provides correction for image distortion, field curvature, and color aberration.
- Multi-layer coating reduces ghosting and flare and provides greater contrast and color fidelity.
- Rounded 7-blade diaphragm produces an attractive quality to out-of-focus areas in your photos.
- Equally sharp results are available from minimum to maximum aperture.
- Linear AF motor directly guides lens elements for quick, quiet auto focusing, ideal for use with video recording.
|Lens Construction||7 Elements in 5 Groups|
|Angle of View||50.7|
|Number of Diaphragm Blades||7|
|Minimum Focus Distance||30 cm / 11.8 in|
|Dimensions (Diameter x Length)||60.6 x 38.6 mm/2.4 x 1.5 in|
|Weight||135g / 4.8oz.|
Sigma 19mm f/2.8 EX DN Lens Official Overview and Full Specs
The Sigma 19 mm f/2.8 EX DN Lens for Sony E Mount Camera is a Digital Neo (DN) lens specifically designed for mirrorless interchangeable lens cameras. On a Sony E mount camera (NEX), its focal length is equivalent to 28.5 mm. It has a newly developed linear AF motor for swift and accurate autofocus, making it ideal for video as well as still photography.
Three glass mold aspherical lenses offer excellent correction for distortion, color aberration and field curvature. The inner focusing system corrects the fluctuation of aberration to maintain image quality regardless of the focal distance. Multi-layer coating reduces flare and ghosting, and provides sharp and contrast images even at the maximum aperture. The seven blades of the diaphragm produce a pleasing quality in the out-of-focus areas of an image (bokeh).
- Digital Neo (DN) high performance lens designed exclusively for mirrorless interchangeable lens cameras
- Ultra compact construction weighing only 4.9 oz and measuring 1.8 inches in length
- Newly developed linear AF motor ensures accurate and quiet autofocusing, making the lens ideal for video recording as well as still photos
|Focal Length||19 mm
Comparable APS-C Focal Length: 28.5 mm
|Camera Mount Type||Sony (E Mount for NEX)|
|Format Compatibility||DSLR (APS-C Sensor)|
|Angle of View||73.5deg.|
|Minimum Focus Distance||7.87″ (20 cm)|
|Maximum Reproduction Ratio||1:7.4|
|Filter Thread||Front: 46 mm|
|Dimensions (D x L)||2.4 x 1.8″ (6.10 x 4.57 cm)|
|Weight||4.9 oz (139 g)|
Sigma 30mm and 19mm EX DN Lens Build Quality
Overall the build quality is pretty good on these lenses, but not in the same class as the Sony E-Mount lenses in my opinion. The skin is actually plastic, where as the Sony’s are metal, but this does make the lenses significantly lighter as a positive! The focus is pretty good, but not as smooth when transition from one focus point to another as the Sony’s. It’s newly designed focus motor is very quiet, but still a little bit louder than the Sony’s AF motor. Possible just due to the plastic skin though as it doesn’t suppress sound as much I suppose. Theses lenses do have a quiet motor though compared to a standard Non HSM A-Mount Sigma lenses or the Sony DT 35mm f/1.8 Lens for example, which I also used for comparison purposes.
The Focus is also a little less consistent when locking on, compared to the Sony 50mm f/1.8 OSS Lens in particular, as you can clearly see in the comparative sample video footage coming later in this review.
When using manual focus the focus it’s very smooth and offers a large focus ring area which is easy to grip and fine tune.
The lens hood is for the Sigma 19mm f/2.8 EX DN lens is also made from plastic and screws on with a very nice locking click. It also fits on backwards very snuggle making the overall circumference of the lens only slightly fatter. Sony’s E-Mount lens hoods mostly fit like this as well, and I really like it the engineering efforts to keep the lens footprint as small as possible.
Sigma 30mm f/2.8 EX DN Lens – Real World Sample Photos
This first pic was kind of a surprise as I did not expect roses to be growing on this old fence. What I like about this sample photo in particular is how drastic the separation is before and after the focal plane. I was at the minimum focus distance of ~12 inches for this image which exploits this type of lens quality very well! These real world sample pics I slightly tweaked in Lightroom 4, in regards to contrast. I was using AutoHDR for a few images and they tend to come out a tad flat strait off the camera. I also added a tad of vibrancy as I De-saturated my JPEG profile as mentioned in the beginning of the review.
Be sure to Click the photos for the Gallery style version!!
A really awesome retired Blue Angles plane makes for great real world sample photos!!
I found this really cool waterfall area that is new to me, and the Sigma lenses covered the landscape scene quite well in my opinion!!
This next scene had a ton of color and detail and I’ve been wanting to photograph it for some time. The Sigma 30mm f/2.8 EX DN lens did an excellent job!!
This next image is an African Daisy hanging out on the deck. I cropped it 1:1 and added a bit of a vignette, and vibrancy for a more dramatic effect in Lightroom 4.
Sigma 30mm f/2.8 EX DN Lens – Test Photos
Here’s a standard 3/4 view of a run down building that shows off overall lens quality’s and flaws at once. I framed the shot so the top left corner had some harsh contrasting lines to see how the Sigma optics holds up in these tough conditions!!
Here’s a bunch more sample pics with the Sigma 30mm f/2.8 EX DN lens with two 100% Crops for each image.
Be sure to Click the photos for the Gallery style version!!
Check out these quick Bokeh Test Shots, and note how nice the circular specular highlights look!!.
Sigma 19mm f/2.8 EX DN Lens – Real World Sample Photos
Here’s a few pics I adjusted slightly in Lightroom 4 to show you what you can expect to get with this lens in the real world. I had to add a bit of black as the AutoHDR’s tend to be a tad flat. I also jacked up the vibrance a bit to make the greens sing a little more.
The Blue Angles Plane again 😉
Sigma 19mm f/2.8 EX DN lens – Test Photos
This first image is just a simple perspective image that shows the fall-off of sharpness pretty well from left to right, with a decent chunk of the sign being sharp.
Click the photos for the large 1200px version!!
Here’s a fewphotos of some heavy duty batteries taken at f/2.8, f/4, and f/8 for comparison. Not the greatest lighting, but a ton of detail.
Click the photos for the large 1200px version!!
Here’s a quick snapshot of the rectifiers that convert the AC electricity to DC and then intern charge the large battery plant you see above. Corner sharpness is pretty solid on this lens, and this snapshot shows it off nicely on the top corners.
This next photo is a major intersection in the center of Middletown, NY. It just so happens to house an awesome firehouse that had the doors wide open
Raw Sample Photos using the Sigma 19mm f/2.8 EX DN Lens
I decided to shoot some images in the raw format for maximum quality as the dynamic range was pretty high. Jpegs just don’t cut it when it comes to serious post processing as they are compressed files. The Sony camera’s do a pretty good job with the JPEG files, but the file format is all compressed down to save card and hard drive space. The Raw files have a tone more color, and dynamic range information to pull from when doing serious editing. What this means is you can push the colors, highlights, and shadows much further on a raw file in a post processing program that you can a jpeg file. The files are a bit larger though, so it takes longer for them to write over to the memory card, and they take up more room!
The great thing about the raw file however, is YOU are the developer. You can work the photograph like Ansel Adams did in the dark room, except using the digital dark room of today!! Meaning a raw processing program like Adobe Lightroom 4, and then you can get a million different variations, renders etc…
The Sony cameras have some awesome filters and and scenes modes that do this kind of thing for you, but it’s a lot of fun to play with the raw files and develop the photo yourself. It feels like you were more involved/ control of the process or “art” of photography for lack of a better word I certainly enjoy it, and I have several Tutorials on How-To Develop Raw Files in Lightroom Here >>
Also, when shooting raw with the Nex-5n the lens corrections normally made on the camera are Not applied to the raw file. Therefore, you will see the true lens flaws and noise UN-corrected in these shots. The flaws are easily removable in Lightroom 4, or any other raw editing program though if you choose to develop the file. The in camera lens correction really is an awesome feature, but I often prefer the ease and convenience of shooting in jpeg mode with a slightly tweaked profile!
Here’s a nice R6 I saw in a church parking while cruising home yesterday. You’ll notice some green fringing on the verticals in the top right corner of the 100% crop. You will also notice the raw image appears a bit softer than the jpeg, but it’s just not sharpened in camera like the JPEG files are.
A really nice firehouse with all the garage doors open.
These next few Raw “Real World” photos are from the Basha Kill Wildlife Preserve. I stopped on the way to work one day and the morning fog was just starting to clear up and made for a interesting mood of light.
Check out this pretty nasty magenta fringing!! Again, easily fixable with any raw editor, and if your shooting in Jpeg, this will be corrected In Camera!!
HD Video Sample Footage
In these HD Video Samples, I was testing a few lens combinations at the same time, so it works out perfect for comparison purposes on both AF speed, noise, accuracy, etc…
Be sure to select the maximum HD Quality for the best viewing experience and sharpness!!
Sigma E-Mount Lens Review – Conclusion
The Sigma 19mm f/2.8 EX DN lens and Sigma 30mm f/2.8 EX DN Lens are solid performers all around in my opinion. Their about the same sharpness as far as I can tell, and both suffer from similar flaws as far as very slight corner softening and chromatic aberrations/ fringing. The relatively small flaws on these lenses are totally reasonable though, considering the ~$200 price tag!! Build quality is the same on both version being pretty decent overall, but not in the same class as the Sony E-Mount lenses. Focus is the same on both lenses, although the 19mm being a wider, tends to have an easier time finding a focus point in certain scenes. Especially when using the wide focus mode on the Nex-5n. It’s important to note however, they don’t focus as smooth or as quiet as the Sony E-Mount lenses, and this makes a pretty big difference with video quality in particular. The build quality is also a little less rugged with the plastic skin, but it’s much lighter than metal as a positive!
The Sigma 19mm lens has significantly better corner sharpness than the the Sony 16mm Pancake lens in particular. The Pancake lens to it’s advantage is physically much thinner and optically wider, which is a harder to achieve. Hence all the after market companies coming out with similar/ redundant sizes. Even though we clearly want fast primes and ultra wide angles for the Nex camera system.
Most of the Sony E-Mount lenses offer OSS, which is a huge advantage to low light shooting over the Sigma lenses and part of the reason they are about ~$100 US more expensive.However, the Sigma lenses are 1/3rd less money, so you cannot expect the same build quality, focus etc.. Again, a great value for the money, although I personally prefer the better built Sony E-Mount lenses.
Bottom line, their totally worth the money in my opinion and are sharp, affordable, lightweight lenses!! They also come with a high quality lens pouch which is a really nice bonus for when you leave the lenses in the car or whatever. I like to walk as lite as possible when street shooting and leaving a lens lying around in the car is not good practice! My only beef with these lenses is the build quality, but it’s by no means poor, just what you get for this price point I suppose.
Would love to here your thoughts on the Sigma 30 and 19mm f/2.8 EX DN Lenses in the comments area below!!
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