First Impressions: Sigma 30mm f1.4 II (Canon EF Mount)

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Sigma recently updated one of their most famous and well designed lenses: the 30mm f1.4. If you weren’t familiar with this lens, it is amongst the most recommended pieces of glass for APS-C DSLR photographers. It renders the near equivalent of a 50mm field of view depending on what camera you’re using. This lens has always been known to be sharp, compact, and permanently attached to the camera of some photographers.

Then, Sigma decided to make a good thing better. And today, we have the second version of this lens–which is now included in their Art lineup. Upon receiving our review unit though, we were treated to a very delightful surprise.


Gear Used

We’re testing the Sigma 30mm f1.4 on the Canon 5D Mk II at the moment–and the lens totally clears the mirror.

Tech Specs

From the B&H Photo listing of the lens

Performance
Focal Length 30 mm
Comparable 35mm Focal Length: 45 mm
Aperture Maximum: f/1.4
Minimum: f/16
Camera Mount Type Canon EF-S
Format Compatibility Canon (APS-C)
Minimum Focus Distance 11.8″ (29.97 cm)
Magnification 0.15x
Maximum Reproduction Ratio 1:6.8
Groups/Elements 8/9
Diaphragm Blades 9
Features
Image Stabilization No
Autofocus Yes
Tripod Collar No
Physical
Filter Thread Front: 62 mm
Dimensions (DxL) Approx. 2.91 x 2.48″ (74 x 63 mm)
Weight 15.34 oz (435 g)

Ergonomics

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First and foremost, Sigma’s 30mm f1.4 is more compact than its bigger brother: the 35mm f1.4. Part of this probably has to due with the size and balancing that is involved with most APS-C DSLR cameras. It is characterized by an all black exterior, ships with a lenshood and also comes out of the box with the signature Sigma soft case that comes with their products.

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Upon taking a closer look at the lens, you’ll notice one adjustment ring: and this is for focusing. The focusing ring is ahead of the depth of field and focusing scale–which, as is typical with many autofocusing lenses–nearly useless unless combined with a camera that has focus peaking.

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On the side of the lens, the user will spot Sigma’s Art branding logo right between the depth of field scale and the AF/MF switch. This area also has a very smooth texture to it.

Build Quality

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When holding the Sigma 30mm f1.4, one can’t help but think of either a small piece of fruit or something like a hair gel/pomade container. The aesthetics are very similar–except that this lens obviously has a focusing ring, switch and lots more glass to it. But the build is pretty darn solid for the price point and design needs.

Autofocus

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Sigma 30mm f1.4 first impressions samples and product (16 of 23)ISO 8001-250 sec at f - 1.4

 

We tried this lens on the Canon 70D and the Canon 5D Mk II. Focusing worked better on the Mk II amazingly despite not having anywhere as advanced a focusing system that the 70D has. We even tried Micro Adjusting with the 70D and concluded that in the end the camera was the problem. So we sent the 70D unit back.

Focusing otherwise with a properly calibrated and working camera is flawless. It is speedy, accurate, and makes the shooting experience pleasurable.

Ease of Use

As with nearly every other Sigma lens, there really is nothing major to its functionality. You mount it onto the camera, point, focus, shoot, and adore the moment you just captured.

Image Quality

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Sigma 30mm f1.4 first impressions samples and product (2 of 23)ISO 1001-1600 sec at f - 1.4

On the 5D Mk II, we notice vignetting only in the deep corners and it is stronger wide open but is nearly gone by f2.8. The color rendition reminds us a lot of Canon’s old 35mm f1.4 L lens. Sharpness is best in the center and really tapers off in the corners due to the fact that this lens was designed for APS-C cameras. Here are some more sample images.

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Sigma 30mm f1.4 first impressions samples and product (1 of 23)ISO 1001-320 sec at f - 4.0

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Sigma 30mm f1.4 first impressions samples and product (16 of 23)ISO 8001-250 sec at f - 1.4

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Sigma 30mm f1.4 first impressions samples and product (15 of 23)ISO 8001-250 sec at f - 1.4

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Sigma 30mm f1.4 first impressions samples and product (14 of 23)ISO 1001-500 sec at f - 1.4

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Sigma 30mm f1.4 first impressions samples and product (13 of 23)ISO 1001-500 sec at f - 1.4

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Sigma 30mm f1.4 first impressions samples and product (12 of 23)ISO 1001-800 sec at f - 4.0

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Sigma 30mm f1.4 first impressions samples and product (11 of 23)ISO 1001-100 sec at f - 4.0

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Sigma 30mm f1.4 first impressions samples and product (10 of 23)ISO 1001-160 sec at f - 8.0

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Sigma 30mm f1.4 first impressions samples and product (9 of 23)ISO 1001-400 sec at f - 8.0

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Sigma 30mm f1.4 first impressions samples and product (8 of 23)ISO 1001-20 sec at f - 5.6

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Sigma 30mm f1.4 first impressions samples and product (7 of 23)ISO 1001-2000 sec at f - 1.4

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Sigma 30mm f1.4 first impressions samples and product (6 of 23)ISO 1001-160 sec at f - 5.0

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Sigma 30mm f1.4 first impressions samples and product (5 of 23)ISO 1001-250 sec at f - 2.5

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Sigma 30mm f1.4 first impressions samples and product (4 of 23)ISO 1001-1600 sec at f - 1.4

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Sigma 30mm f1.4 first impressions samples and product (3 of 23)ISO 1001-125 sec at f - 8.0

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Sigma 30mm f1.4 first impressions samples and product (2 of 23)ISO 1001-1600 sec at f - 1.4

First Impressions

Sigma’s 30mm f1.4 so far seems like a winner, but there is something about it that we can’t put our finger on yet that doesn’t have the same magic as the 35mm f1.4 DG or the 18-35mm f1.4 lens. To be fair though, at the publication of this piece we have spent only 24 hours with the lens. And a more thorough and assessed conclusion will be drawn in our upcoming full review.

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