Pre-purchase help - How to test the Sigma 30mm f/1.4?

Started Jan 14, 2011 | Discussions
mshafik
mshafik Contributing Member • Posts: 840
Pre-purchase help - How to test the Sigma 30mm f/1.4?

Howdy,

I have read lots of threads and reviews about the Sigma 30mm f/1.4, and I know that lots of people like it provided you get a good copy, and this is where I need help.

I am going to a shop to try it before buying it, how shall I test it in the shop using only my camera (550D)? What focusing issues shall I look for? The only primes I have are 50mm f/1.8 (Canon & Zuiko) and the 60mm f/2.8 macro.

P.S. The shop I am buying it from does not have a return policy nor will I get it with warranty, so I am pretty much on my own once I pay the money.

 mshafik's gear list:mshafik's gear list
Panasonic LX100 Olympus E-M1 Sony a7 II Panasonic Leica Summilux DG 25mm F1.4 Olympus M.Zuiko Digital ED 40-150mm F4-5.6 R +9 more
tkbslc Forum Pro • Posts: 16,237
Re: Pre-purchase help - How to test the Sigma 30mm f/1.4?

HOw do you test a lens? You take pictures with it and see if they look up to your expectations.

jitteringjr Veteran Member • Posts: 3,608
Re: Pre-purchase help - How to test the Sigma 30mm f/1.4?

mshafik wrote:

P.S. The shop I am buying it from does not have a return policy nor will I get it with warranty, so I am pretty much on my own once I pay the money.

Are you kidding me? Is this a business or a dude on craigslist?

Very scary

 jitteringjr's gear list:jitteringjr's gear list
Canon EOS 7D Canon EF 50mm F1.4 USM Canon EF 50mm F1.8 II Canon EF 85mm F1.8 USM Canon EF 135mm F2L USM +7 more
fras23 Regular Member • Posts: 147
Re: Pre-purchase help - How to test the Sigma 30mm f/1.4?

my advice would be to not get the lens, especially without a return policy. I went through a number of copies of this lens to get one that focussed spot on on a focus chart, I eventually did and still found it inconsistantly focussed in low light. At F2 only around half of the shots were useable.

I just got rid if it for a canon 35mm f2 and i'm so much happier with the canon, focussing is so much more accurate.

I have a 300d, 350d, 550d and 7d, I also tried the newer finish lens as well as the older rougher finish. All copies I had were just as bad on all of my bodies.

biochemiker Contributing Member • Posts: 818
No Returns? No Warranty?

I wouldn't buy it from such a source. Buy it from a reputable dealer. Even if the lens is fine now, what happens if it fails in a week?

That being said, I have this lens and I love it. Focusing can be tricky, especially at close range and wide open due to DOF issues and AF errors. LiveView focusing is reliable under these conditions, if a bit slow. I got mine from Amazon.com during a Sigma lens sale and saved 15% off the Amazon price which was already pretty good.

These shots were taken with my 30mm f/1.4. The exif data is shown above each photo.

And a 100% crop of the LiveView focus point:

mshafik wrote:

Howdy,

I have read lots of threads and reviews about the Sigma 30mm f/1.4, and I know that lots of people like it provided you get a good copy, and this is where I need help.

I am going to a shop to try it before buying it, how shall I test it in the shop using only my camera (550D)? What focusing issues shall I look for? The only primes I have are 50mm f/1.8 (Canon & Zuiko) and the 60mm f/2.8 macro.

P.S. The shop I am buying it from does not have a return policy nor will I get it with warranty, so I am pretty much on my own once I pay the money.

 biochemiker's gear list:biochemiker's gear list
Canon EOS 5D Mark II Canon EOS 7D Canon EF 85mm F1.8 USM Canon EF 500mm f/4.0L IS USM Canon EF-S 10-22mm F3.5-4.5 USM +5 more
biochemiker Contributing Member • Posts: 818
Just want to add...

I love the build quality. The focus ring is very smooth and the lens feels pretty sturdy. The lens also comes with a hood (which I usually use) and a nice little case (which I never use).

 biochemiker's gear list:biochemiker's gear list
Canon EOS 5D Mark II Canon EOS 7D Canon EF 85mm F1.8 USM Canon EF 500mm f/4.0L IS USM Canon EF-S 10-22mm F3.5-4.5 USM +5 more
mshafik
OP mshafik Contributing Member • Posts: 840
Re: Pre-purchase help - How to test the Sigma 30mm f/1.4?

jitteringjr wrote:

Are you kidding me? Is this a business or a dude on craigslist?

Very scary

Unfortunately this is how it is in Egypt, we do not have a Canon/Nikon/Sigma/etc... dealer, only small authorized distributors that sell mainly point and shoots, but for DSLRs you have one of two choices, either to let a friend who is traveling abroad to buy you what you need (effectively no return policy or warranty), or the other way where there are a couple of famous shops that usually buys DSLRs & lenses from other countries and sell them in Egypt, they sell them for the same prices you see on the internet but of course they cannot afford you any warranty unless the product you bought is defective.

So it's not really the shop's fault or it being shady, but that's Canon's fault for not having a DSLR business here in Egypt. BTW, that's how I bought my 550D and 3 of my lenses, the other two I got them from a friend who was traveling to the US.

I just got rid if it for a canon 35mm f2 and i'm so much happier with the canon, focussing is so much more accurate.

The 35mm f2 is actually what started this whole issue, but I can't find the damn thing here, so I thought that if I tested the Sigma and it was ok I will be happy.

I wouldn't buy it from such a source. Buy it from a reputable dealer. Even if the lens is fine now, what happens if it fails in a week?

That being said, I have this lens and I love it. Focusing can be tricky, especially at close range and wide open due to DOF issues and AF errors. LiveView focusing is reliable under these conditions, if a bit slow.

I guess I answered the first part at the top of the post, but now you really scared me with telling me you have to resort to contrast detection AF, I won't be able to live with that, argh.

I guess I will have to wait until I find someone who is traveling to the US to get me the 35mm f2 or the 28mm f1.8 (although I am really hesitant about the 28mm).

I love the build quality. The focus ring is very smooth and the lens feels pretty sturdy. The lens also comes with a hood (which I usually use) and a nice little case (which I never use).

Me too, and I really appreciate the inclusion of the hood and the case, it is a nice touch from Sigma.

 mshafik's gear list:mshafik's gear list
Panasonic LX100 Olympus E-M1 Sony a7 II Panasonic Leica Summilux DG 25mm F1.4 Olympus M.Zuiko Digital ED 40-150mm F4-5.6 R +9 more
mshafik
OP mshafik Contributing Member • Posts: 840
Re: Pre-purchase help - How to test the Sigma 30mm f/1.4?

After a bit more research, I'm not really comfortable with any 3rd party lenses anymore, so it probably looks like the 35mm f/2 for me, although I will miss the USM & FTM focus.

 mshafik's gear list:mshafik's gear list
Panasonic LX100 Olympus E-M1 Sony a7 II Panasonic Leica Summilux DG 25mm F1.4 Olympus M.Zuiko Digital ED 40-150mm F4-5.6 R +9 more
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