SEL35F18 vs. Sigma 30mm f/2.8 DN (and 16-50 at 35mm)

Started Dec 21, 2012 | Discussions thread
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jafary
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SEL35F18 vs. Sigma 30mm f/2.8 DN (and 16-50 at 35mm)
Dec 21, 2012

Just got the new 35mm few days ago and I was eager to confront it to the Sigma 30mm and decide which one I'm going to keep. The Sigma 30mm f/2.8 is known to be one of the sharpest lenses for the E-mount, and it is like a benchmark to compare against. I'll start with the conclusion: the Sony 35mm f/1.8 is very good and and suprpasses the Sigma in some areas. Here's my findings, with images to follow:

Test conditions: rather than shooting a chart at close distance, which I did at first, I decided to have more distance to subject, since most non macro lenses perform better at longer distance.

The scene is illuminated with the built in flash of the NEX-6. This is not powerful enough flash and the coverage is limited. Since this is not a test for vignetting, it doesn't matter in this context.

ISO is set at 100 ISO which should give the sharpest results, shutter speed is 1/125s, camera on tripod and with remote shutter release (using playmemory app on tablet). Unretouched JPEG. Here is the global scene:

Sigma 30mm at f/2.8

At f/2.8, the sigma is slightly sharper at the center (and may be it's due to the wider field of view that makes letter smaller in the sigma shot), but in the corner the SEL35 has less chromatic aberration (camera corrected?) and looks slightly sharper.


F/2.8, center, Sigma in the left, Sony in the right


F/2.8, top right corner, Sigma in the left, Sony in the right


F/2.8, bottom left corner, Sigma in the left, Sony in the right

At f/4, at the center, I can't see any difference between the two. At the corner however, I have the impression (it's subjective I know) that the Sony is slightly sharper.

F/4, bottom right corner, Sigma in the left, Sony in the right.

At f/5.6, which I think is the best aperture for both lenses, I found the same results as for F/4: same sharpness at center, SEL35 slightly better in the corner.

The next comparison is between the SEL 35mm wide open and then at f/2.8 in the center: as expected F/2.8 is sharper, but the wide open performance is not bad at all.

SEL35F18 at the center, F/1.8 in the left, F/2.8 in the right.

The following result is quite surprisingly good, and stresses the very good quality of this lens: the corner performance at f/1.8 is not that far from its level at f/4. This lens is good straight from the widest aperture.

SEL35F18 at top right corner. F/1.8 in the left, F/4 in the right.

Finally, a quick comparison to the kit lens of NEX-6, at f/5.6 and 35mm: the 16-50 is clearly in its sweet spot at 35mm. The center performance is very close to the 35mm prime, the corner is slightly softer, but still at a very good level.

F/5.6 at the center. SEL35F18 in the left, SELP16-50 in the right.

The SEL35F18 is a winner for me. It's a low light champion with its wide aperture and image stabilization. For sure it's expensive, I think Sony know they can afford higher margin with this unique lens.

 jafary's gear list:jafary's gear list
Sony Alpha NEX-6 Sony E 55-210mm F4.5-6.3 OSS Sony E 16-50mm F3.5-5.6 PZ OSS Sony E 35mm F1.8 OSS +2 more
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