Saturday, January 6, 2007

Sigma 30mm F1.4 EX DC HSM review

This time the reviewed lens is a fast, so called standard lens. The word standard means that its field of view is the same (or very similar) as when we are looking through our own eyes. It's focal lenght 30 mm resembles classic standard lenses (50mm) on full frame camera (I've tested it on Canon 350D). Optically this lens is a great performer, regarding center sharpness, even wide open. Border sharpness is not that good, as you'll be able to see from samples posted below the text. Vignetting is visible at large aperture setting (up to about f2), CA is below average for a prime of this focal lenght, it's visible at all aperture settings. AF is pretty fast, but I expected it to be faster (it has HSM). Full time manual focusing is possible. It's almost near silent, but has some weird accuracy issues. It doesn't have classical front/back focus issues, but the focus sometimes misses although the subject appears in focus (it's hard to explain and yes I'm sure it was in focus since I have a lot of practise of min dof portraits, where superb accuracy is needed). It kind of jumps into frontfocusing. I thought that this copy had some kind of AF defect (it also makes weird noises, when focal point is changed from min focus distance to infinity), but I've read, that issues like this (and exactly like this) are common. But quality is up to the EX class, feels very good and solid.

This sample is taken at f4, 1/100, ISO 200. Below you can see samples from f1.4-f4.





f2, 1/250, ISO 100

AF issue, which I mentioned. Happens at cca 10-20% of the shots.
f1.6, 1/125, ISO 400 (+2 stops in Rawshooter)

CA at f1.4

CA at f8

f2.8, 1/2, ISO 200, flash, boosted contrast, decreased saturation

Can u say retarded? Re-tar-ded...f2, 1/250, ISO - a bit of contrast added

f1.8, 1/125,ISO 400, boosted contrast

-center sharpness
-fast&silent AF
-built quality
-border sharpness
-AF issues

Conclusion: I'm not sure if I'd recommend this lens. Without the AF issues, I probably would. So if you get your hands on a good copy and need a fast normal lens, then yes, I'd recommend it. I guess I'm so used to my wide open, border to border sharp Canon EF 85 1.8, which focuses bang on and has nicer, more saturated colours. I know that you can't compare tele lenses with wide angle lenses ragarding sharpness, but there is no reason for the AF issues or "unattractive" colours. But a prime lens should still deliver better border sharpness. The biggest plus of this lens is the big aperture and built quality. The price is ok, but I couldn't say it's a bargain.

Finally a "Min DOF" post

It took forever didn't it;)? I named my blog Min Dof Photography and didn't, untill now, dedicate it a single post, just a few samples in other posts. Shame on me...Ok, now I'm going to show you a few photos.

This one is a portrait of Oskar Karel Dolenc, master of photography. It was taken at Canon's VIP lounge on Photokina. There was a product loan counter where you could get anything you wanted. I was playing with 85 1.2L II most of the time, it really amazed me. DOF at 1.2 is CRAZY if you get as close as I did with this shot (uncropped). The shot was taken with Canon 350D (with a FF camera you can't get that close).

Below you can see 100% crop (unprocessed ofcourse). You can see, that only the eye is in focus, DOF is really shallow:

This one was already posted, but I just don't want you to miss it. Taken with 350D and Canon EF 85 1.8 at f1.8.