Review: Sigma 28mm f1.8 EX DG (Sony Alpha)

julius motal the phoblographer sigma 28mm f1.8 image 1

Ah, the wide angle prime, a must-have for denizens of the street, events, nature, and the like. Sigma’s 28mm f1.8 packs 9 aperture blades for glorious bokeh, and it has a large focusing that locks during AF. The 28mm field of view isn’t a new one for me, as I’ve got Minolta’s 28mm AF f2.8, but Sigma’s glass comes with a faster aperture, making for a heavier lens. I’ve had about a month with, and I’m terribly sad to see it go.

 

Pros and Cons

Pros

-Smooth focusing ring
-Gorgeous bokeh
-Super sharp

Cons

-The focusing ring doubles as the AF/MF switch which can be a bit confusing at first

Gear Used

I used the Sigma 28mm f1.8 with the Sony a580. With the a580’s 1.5x crop factor, it renders a 42mm field of view.

Tech Specs

Courtesy of Adorama’s listing:

Construction 9 Groups / 10 Elements
Angle of view 75.4°
F stop range 1.8-22
Closest Focusing Distance 20cm / 7.9″
Maximum Magnification 1:2.9
Filter Size 77mm
Dimensions (Length x Diameter) 83.5 x 80mm / 3.3 x 3.1″
Full Extended Length 88.9mm / 3.5″
Weight 480g / 16.9 oz.

Ergonomics

julius motal the phoblographer sigma 28mm f1.8 image 1

The Sigma 28mm f1.8 is characterized by a massive, ribbed focusing ring that doubles as the AF/MF switch, and it comes with a hood that locks into place nicely. Focusing is super smooth, and when you’re in AF, the ring locks. There’s no manual override.

julius motal the phoblographer sigma 28mm f1.8 image 03

Spot the difference between the image above and the image below.

julius motal the phoblographer sigma 28mm f1.8 image 44

Coming from a Minolta AF background with limited exposure to third party glass, the idea of the focusing ring as the focusing switch was a new one, and it took a bit of getting used to. Pop it forward for AF, and pull it back from MF. Once I got the hang of it, though, it was smooth sailing.

Granted, Tokina and Olympus have been doing this for a while.

julius motal the phoblographer sigma 28mm f1.8 image 02

The lens is outfitted with both a depth of field scale and a focus scale. Given the limited reproduction ratio, I’m not sure why a focus scale was included, but it’s a nice touch.

Build Quality

This isn’t for the faint of heart. The Sigma 28mm f1.8 is a heavy lens, heavier than I expected. It edges in at slightly over a pound: 16.9 oz. It might cause some neck strain after a while if you leave your camera slung around your neck for prolonged periods of time, but despite this, it feels incredibly durable. It’s made of hard plastic, but it doesn’t feel cheap at all. The focusing ring is perfectly sized and moves smoothly throughout the focusing range.

Autofocus

julius motal the phoblographer sigma 28mm f1.8 image 17

The autofocus is quick and snappy, as they say. I typically work in Manual Focus, but if conditions call for AF, I settle for a manually selected focusing point. There were some times in low light when it hunted slightly, but for the most part, the AF was spot on.

Ease of Use

This lens like most lenses is incredibly easy to use. Just be sure to remember that the focusing ring is the AF/MF switch. It sports both a depth of field scale and reproduction ratio scale to help with composing the shot, and if you fancy shooting from the hip, you’ll know where to set your lens.

Image Quality

julius motal the phoblographer sigma 28mm f1.8 image 08

The Sigma 28mm f1.8 renders beautiful images in all types of light at any time of day. With such a large aperture, it can do wonders, and it’s such a boon for a natural light enthusiast like myself.

Bokeh

julius motal the phoblographer sigma 28mm f1.8 image 11

The bokeh is, in a word, gorgeous, and it accentuates your subject nicely. Sigma’s done an excellent job with this lens. Those 9 aperture blades surely help.

Sharpness

julius motal the phoblographer sigma 28mm f1.8 image 05

Ah, the sharpness. The sharpness! This piece of glass creates beautifully sharp images particularly with the best light available. Both wide open and stopped down, photographs are crisp.

Color Rendition

julius motal the phoblographer sigma 28mm f1.8 image 09

The Sigma 28mm f1.8 renders colors accurately and true to life, but you can always adjust in post should desire something different.

Color Fringing

julius motal the phoblographer sigma 28mm f1.8 image 13

There isn’t any fringing to speak of, at least none that I could say. As stated before, this lens is accurate.

Extra Image Samples

julius motal the phoblographer sigma 28mm f1.8 image 16

julius motal the phoblographer sigma 28mm f1.8 image 15

julius motal the phoblographer sigma 28mm f1.8 image 12

julius motal the phoblographer sigma 28mm f1.8 image 14

julius motal the phoblographer sigma 28mm f1.8 image 06

julius motal the phoblographer sigma 28mm f1.8 image 07

julius motal the phoblographer sigma 28mm f1.8 image 10

Conclusion

The Sigma 28mm f1.8 was an absolute joy to use. With its 9 aperture blades and EX construction, this lens can help you create beautifully sharp images with colors that truly pop. It’s an excellent addition to anyone’s kit, and it is an affordable entry point for someone looking to break into the wide angle field of view. It’s particularly great for photojournalists on the road who won’t always have the best lighting because of the constantly changing conditions. It’ll do wonders for the student, too, who’s just beginning to learn the art and craft of photography. This glass is another fine example of Sigma’s continuing excellence in lens-making. While it is made for full-frame cameras, it’ll work perfectly on your APS-C DSLR, too.

You can pick it up at Adorama and Amazon.

Please Support The Phoblographer

We love to bring you guys the latest and greatest news and gear related stuff. However, we can’t keep doing that unless we have your continued support. If you would like to purchase any of the items mentioned, please do so by clicking our links first and then purchasing the items as we then get a small portion of the sale to help run the website.

Also, please follow us on FacebookFlickr and Twitter.