New lens; Sigma 30mm f1.4

Posted on August 13, 2006, under general, photography.

Browsing in the biggest Saturn in Munich, I finally found a shop that stocked the Sigma 30mm f1.4. I’ve seen it on-line, but not with any stockists I’d trust, so had held off buying one until I could get one in person.

It’s much larger, and weightier, than I expected; the huge lump of light-collecting glass on the front really makes an impression (especially as it makes the shutter action very visible), but it does its job very, very well. I haven’t played with it much yet, but it’s performing excellently in low-light conditions, which is what I bought it for. I already own a Canon 50mm f1.8, which can take shots like this in candlelight-like conditions, but as Colin observed, the framing is quite tight with 50mm.

The 30mm does an even better job of taking very good shots in very dark places, ideal for parties. Below are some shots from the Hard Rock Cafe in Munich, with a sample of the same exposure using my Canon 18-55mm f4 zoom lens (ISO 1600, 1/50s, full aperture).

Noirin with the sigma
Colm with the sigma Colm with the Canon

The photos from the Sigma are actually a good deal brighter than the room seemed to the eye. Having such a wide aperture means that the lens has an incredibly short depth of field, but it’s got a very nice blur to it, and it’s producing excellently seperated colours for me, without the need for any filters.

Noirin Close-up

It reminds me of the effects produced by film cameras in 1940s. The lens comes with a nice bag and good, big, lens-hood for getting rid of stray light-rays. So far, I’m very happy with it.

5 Replies to "New lens; Sigma 30mm f1.4"

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conall  on August 14, 2006

The question is though, did you get your camera back after these tests, or was it “acquired” by your assistant? *ahem* :)

I must remember to poke you about lens selection at some point, I’m already interested in more, but I’m resisting for now… :)

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eoin  on August 15, 2006

that looks really impressive colm.. damn temptation. I though I was happy with the 50mm 1.8 prime, but it looks like santa gonna be getting some begging letters again!
bob@rb

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Bushtick  on December 13, 2006

Your samples are yet more confirmation that this is the lens for me. Have been using Tamron 18-200, but can see definite benefits in using a prime and this seems like the best for my wallet, especially with the ability to take indoor flashless pictures (guess who normally ends up doing the office photos). Thanks for taking the trouble to show us thecomparison. Colin

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Alex  on April 25, 2007

Thank You

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/~colmmacc/ » Blog Archive » Mini-review: Canon EF 85mm f/1.8 USM  on August 16, 2007

[...] It’s a reasonably light and convenient lens, and it’s quietness helps too for taking photos without people noticing too much. At 85mm, it’s field of view – especially on a small sensor – can be frustrating. It’s not as verdsatile as the 30mm 1.4 (in other words, get that first). But at the price, it’s an excellent lens, ideal for people like me who don’t want to spend too much but taking good looking photos with a wide aperture. Great for portraits and street photography alike. [...]

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