With so many lens options available for mirrorless APS-C cameras, it can be difficult to decide what to get.
A good mid-range prime is often a first purchase for many photographers and the Sigma 30mm f/1.4 stands out as a great choice.
I’ve been continually impressed with the quality and performance this lens offers. With an equivalent focal length of 45mm on Sony APS-C cameras, it’s perfect for a wide variety of subjects.
The large f/1.4 aperture allows you to get great bokeh in a portrait but without the restrictive-feeling focal range that some telephoto lenses have.
Offered in both Sony and Canon mounts, I love this lens for everything from landscapes to portraits. It performs well in a variety of scenes and has a flexible focal range for shooting inside and out.
If you want a fast mid-range prime lens that’s similar to a “nifty-fifty” this lens is a great option.
In this review, I’ll dive into the details of what makes this lens great, what I think it’s best suited to, and what could be improved.
Let’s take a closer look to see if it’s one of the best Sigma lenses of the year.
Sigma 30mm f/1.4 Review: Summary
There’s plenty to love about the Sigma 30mm f/1.4 – not least its price tag, which makes it one of the best value Sony primes around. Image quality is excellent, as is autofocus ability. Though it lacks a focus switch, it’s well-built, compact, lightweight and all-round worth the purchase.
Table of Contents
Sigma 30mm f/1.4 Specs
- No auto/manual focus switch
- Some aberration/color fringing
- APS-C / Crop Sensor Lens
- Aperture Range: f/1.4 – f/16
- Minimum Focus Distance: 0.3m (11.8″)
- Weight: 9.35 oz / 265 g
- Length: 2.89″ / 73 mm
- Diameter: 2.55 ” / 65 mm
- Filter size: 52mm
Build & Ergonomics
When I first picked up the Sigma 30mm f/1.4, I knew it would be tough, durable, and nicely balanced. The build quality is evident and feels similar to what you find on higher-end Sigma lenses.
The metal barrel is rugged and also features a large durable rubberized focus ring. This gives me a firm place to grip the lens and get steady images.
Designed with simplicity, this lens doesn’t have any buttons or switches. The simple design is sleek but I would have appreciated an auto/manual focus switch (very handy when shooting video).
Along with the sleek design, this lens feels very sturdy. The focus ring is firm and the mount gives it a firm attachment to the camera.
It’s awesome to have a lens that feels like it will take lots of abuse and keep on creating great images.
Another feature that I appreciate is the compact size and nice balance on my Sony a6100. At 9.35 oz (265 grams) this lens is very compact and lightweight. It balances well and doesn’t feel front heavy like some larger lenses can.
It also tucks easily into a jacket when out on adventures.
Overall, the build of this lens is awesome, especially for the price tag! More on the value of this lens below.
The Sigma 30mm f/1.4 autofocus is excellent. I never have issues with it hunting for sharp focus and find that it is able to track subjects in low light with ease.
Part of the excellent low light focusing is due to the fast f/1.4 aperture combined with the excellent focus system on the Sony a6100.
If you want a lens that will grab focus quickly in almost any scene, I highly recommend the Sigma 30mm f/1.4.
My only complaint with the focus system is the lack of an auto/manual focus switch. It would be nice – especially for video shooters – but with the amazing price of this lens, it’s a feature I can live without.
I originally believed that off-brand lenses (non-Sony lenses in my case) were not as fast at focusing but the Sigma 30mm f/1.4 convinced me that may not be true anymore. It keeps up to speed and performs as quickly as any of the Sony lenses I own.
If focus speed is a concern, you will not be disappointed with this lens.
With so many of the mirrorless APS-C cameras being very high quality and offering exceptional performance, it’s important to have a lens that can keep up with the camera body. The Sigma 30mm f/1.4 is up to the task.
Typically, the first thing you’ll notice when moving from a zoom lens to a prime lens is the increase in sharpness. Many photographers often get a standard prime like the Sigma 30mm f/1.4 as their first prime lens.
The Sigma 30mm f/1.4 will not disappoint and delivers excellent sharpness across the frame. Sharpness does increase as you stop down but I had no complaints even at the edges at f/1.4 (typically where lenses perform the worst).
This lens is much sharper than some of the alternatives in the same focal range (namely the Sony E 35mm f/1.8 OSS).
When it comes to distortion and chromatic aberration, I don’t think this lens has any major issues. As you would expect with a relatively inexpensive lens, there is some aberration and distortion but after applying the Adobe Lightroom presets, most of the issues are corrected.
The best part about the Sigma 30mm f/1.4 is the bokeh.
With an equivalent full frame focal length of 45mm and a minimum aperture of f/1.4, this lens can create some beautiful background blur. I love using this lens for medium-range portraits to really draw the viewers eye to the sharpest part of the frame (usually the eyes/face).
Overall, this lens has great image quality and has impressive specs, especially for the price!
Sigma 30mm f/1.4 Sample Images
Check out these sample images taken with the Sigma 30mm f/1.4.
Value for Money
Value is likely the biggest feature of this lens. Although the fast aperture, focus speed, and image quality are remarkable, what really sets this lens apart is the sub-$300 price tag.
I would argue that this is the best value in its class when you compare the quality you’re getting for the price of this lens. With the Sony E-mount, it’s a better quality lens (and cheaper) than the Sony E 35mm f/1.8 OSS (APS-C version).
The substantially more expensive Sony FE 35mm f/1.8 (full frame version) has upgraded features like an auto/manual focus switch as well as a programmable focus hold button. The image quality is better – but it’s more than twice the price.
If you want a fast standard prime lens for shooting a variety of subjects, the Sigma 30mm f/1.4 is a great choice!
Sigma 30mm f/1.4 Review | Conclusion
For the price and the performance, this lens is spectacular! I would say it’s best in class when it comes to value vs quality.
The Sigma 30mm f/1.4 is a great option for someone who wants a lens that can create beautiful portraits and also have a nice standard focal range for shooting other subjects like landscapes or sports.
Build quality, ergonomics, autofocus, image quality, and value are all impressive on this lens. I can’t find any major complaints about it.
Having such a versatile and quality lens in my bag is very handy. I also love that it’s so compact/lightweight that I never hesitate to carry it with me.
If you want a fast standard prime lens (“nifty fifty”) for your Sony or Canon APS-C mirrorless camera, I highly recommend the Sigma 30mm f/1.4.