Sigma AF 30mm f/2.8 EX DN (Sony E mount) - Review / Test Report
Lens Reviews - Sony NEX

Review by Klaus Schroiff, published February 2013


Admittedly we are a little late with our review of the Sigma AF 30mm f/2.8 EX DN. The lens is still pretty new - released just a year ago - but Sigma already announced its successor: the Sigma 30mm f/2.8 DN. However, the good news is that the optical design remains unchanged so our findings will also be valid for the mk "II" - at least with respect to the optical characteristics. The new version features a different metal finish and Sigma decided to skip the "EX" (Excellence) designation for whatever reason. Anyway, as you have already concluded for the paper-specs it is a moderately fast prime lens. It is available both in Sony E and Micro-Four-Thirds mount. The reviewed version is for the Sony NEX series - thus an APS-C mirrorless system. In this scope the field-of-view is equivalent to a 46mm "normal" lens on full format cameras.

While the Sigma lens is certainly very compact it misses the mark for a "pancake" lens by a margin. The build quality is on a very high level thanks to a body made of quality plastics based on a metal mount and a smoothly operating, rubberized focus ring. A slightly disturbing issue is some "rattling" if you shake it a little - a characteristic that it also shares with the Sigma AF 19mm f/2.8 EX DN. However, we didn't experience any negative side effect from this during shooting. The physical length of the lens remains constant regardless of the focus setting. Strangely Sigma does not supply a lens hood which is typically part of all Sigma packages.

Here's a comparison to its sister lens - the AF 19mm f/2.8 EX DN:

Sigma introduced a new linear AF motor for the use on mirrorless systems. The AF is fast and basically noiseless. Manual focusing works "by wire" so you actually drive the AF motor by turning the focus ring. This works reasonably well but it may not be everybody's darling. A more negative aspect is the rather long minimum focus distance of 0.30m (1:8). While not unusual for a mirrorless system lens it felt like a limiting factor during use.

Finally an outlook of the things to come - here's the "new" version of the lens. According to Sigma it is a member of their "A" or Art series which refers to lenses with a large max. aperture. Looking at this photo from the press release it remains a bit unclear whether this version has a manual focus ring at all.

Equiv. focal length45 mm (full format equivalent)
Equiv. aperturef/4.2 (full format equivalent, in terms of depth-of-field)
Optical construction7 elements in 5 groups inc. 2x aspherical elements
Number of aperture blades7 (circular)
min. focus distance0.30 m (1:8.10)
Dimensions60.6 x 38.6 mm
Weight135 g
Filter size46 mm
Other features-

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