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

Started Dec 21, 2012 | Discussions
jafary Forum Member • Posts: 86
SEL35F18 vs. Sigma 30mm f/2.8 DN (and 16-50 at 35mm)
13

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.

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007peter
007peter Forum Pro • Posts: 12,888
How about a BOKEH test between Sigma 30 vs Sony 35mm f/1.8

Thanks for the good work.  They're both sharp enough that saying which is sharper is almost a mute point.  Then again, I'm a portrait shooter, so ultimate sharpness isn't that interesting to me.

What I"m interested is seeing the BOKEH comparison between Sigma 30f/2.8 vs Sony 35mm f/1.8.

  • How much bigger is the Bokeh Highlight going with sony's f/1.8 over sigma f/2.8?
  • If you set both lens at f/2.8, which bokeh looks better
  • Which lens has better out-of-focus rendition
  • Which lens has SMOOTHER color transition, etc..

Thanks.

Perhaps, you can place a coke bottle in front of a Christmas Light for comparison shots

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bparanoid Junior Member • Posts: 39
Re: How about a BOKEH test between Sigma 30 vs Sony 35mm f/1.8

Thanks for the tests. I returned my Sigma 30 for the Sony 35mm in a leap of faith and I am glad I did.

No looking back now.

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minoas New Member • Posts: 15
Re: How about a BOKEH test between Sigma 30 vs Sony 35mm f/1.8

Thank you for the comparison shots I have been waiting for comparison shots since the OSS 35mm was announced.

007peter wrote:

Thanks for the good work. They're both sharp enough that saying which is sharper is almost a mute point. Then again, I'm a portrait shooter, so ultimate sharpness isn't that interesting to me.

What I"m interested is seeing the BOKEH comparison between Sigma 30f/2.8 vs Sony 35mm f/1.8.

  • How much bigger is the Bokeh Highlight going with sony's f/1.8 over sigma f/2.8?
  • If you set both lens at f/2.8, which bokeh looks better
  • Which lens has better out-of-focus rendition
  • Which lens has SMOOTHER color transition, etc..

Thanks.

Perhaps, you can place a coke bottle in front of a Christmas Light for comparison shots

I totally agree on that.I am still deciding between the sigma 30mm or the Sony 35mm and since the sharpness is so close I wouldn't be willing to pay 3x the price of a sigma for the Sony.The bokeh quality can be a decisive factor though considering the speed difference.

OP jafary Forum Member • Posts: 86
Re: How about a BOKEH test between Sigma 30 vs Sony 35mm f/1.8
1

This is a good point you make. Indeed the bokeh rendering of this lens is the next thing to check. I'm going to make this test and publish the results very soon.

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clail Contributing Member • Posts: 548
Thanks for sharing!

I am so getting this lens. Still no sign of it here. I suspect Sony is no longer using metal for the barrel, it's polycarbonate no? Is the focussing speed better than the Sigma as well? Thanks!

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blue_skies
blue_skies Forum Pro • Posts: 12,117
Re: SEL35F18 vs. Sigma 30mm f/2.8 DN (and 16-50 at 35mm)

jafary wrote:

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:

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.

Nice comparison, nicely done.

You confirm what I already suspected, based on the A35. The E35 will become everyone's most favorite lens; it is sharp, fast, OSS, useable wide open, distortion free, relatively affordable, and has a standard focal length.

Still odd that the longer f/1.8 lenses do not support OSPDAF (only E24 has it) - I guess that the OSPDAF focusing is not accurate enough at f/1.8. The A mounts do focus fine on the LA-EA2 adapter at f/1.8 with the parallel path PDAF.

Should be getting mine tomorrow, want to compare it against the A35 and E24.

But if you are getting only one prime, the SEL35F18 should be it, imho.

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Cheers,
Henry

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007peter
007peter Forum Pro • Posts: 12,888
SURPRISE by how much Field of View difference between the two

You analysis of Sigma 30 & Sony 35 are spot on.  I agree that:

  • F/2.8 Sigma & Sony share the same sharpness center / corners
  • F/4~5.6 Sony 35mm f/1.8 show its Superior Corner Sharpness (impressive)

There is no doubt that Sony is the better lens of the two, but at $450, it should be

What is most surprising is how different their FIELD OF VIEW is from each other.  On paper, they're merely 5mm apart, in real life, they are completely different lens.  Almost dramatic enough to say that one can "almost" justify keeping both Sigma 30 and a Sony 35mm



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verybiglebowski
verybiglebowski Veteran Member • Posts: 4,455
Re: SEL35F18 vs. Sigma 30mm f/2.8 DN (and 16-50 at 35mm)

I am not aware that Sigma 30 has in camera lens correction. Did you switch it on or off for Sony E 35 f1.8? As you shot JPEG, if the correction was switched on, test wouldn't be fair in terms of optical performance.

For the JPEG shooters however, it is still relevant.

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GaryW Veteran Member • Posts: 9,617
Re: SEL35F18 vs. Sigma 30mm f/2.8 DN (and 16-50 at 35mm)

verybiglebowski wrote:

I am not aware that Sigma 30 has in camera lens correction. Did you switch it on or off for Sony E 35 f1.8? As you shot JPEG, if the correction was switched on, test wouldn't be fair in terms of optical performance.

If you weren't shooting test subjects, would you turn off the correction?  Turning off the correction could be interesting, but the lens should be tested as it is to be used. If the correction helps, then that is an advantage of that lens.

In the case of the 16-50, knowing the correction helps explain the performance, but in the end, it needs to be judged as it is to be used.

For the JPEG shooters however, it is still relevant however.

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Gary W.

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verybiglebowski
verybiglebowski Veteran Member • Posts: 4,455
Re: SEL35F18 vs. Sigma 30mm f/2.8 DN (and 16-50 at 35mm)

GaryW wrote:

verybiglebowski wrote:

I am not aware that Sigma 30 has in camera lens correction. Did you switch it on or off for Sony E 35 f1.8? As you shot JPEG, if the correction was switched on, test wouldn't be fair in terms of optical performance.

If you weren't shooting test subjects, would you turn off the correction? Turning off the correction could be interesting, but the lens should be tested as it is to be used. If the correction helps, then that is an advantage of that lens.

In the case of the 16-50, knowing the correction helps explain the performance, but in the end, it needs to be judged as it is to be used.

For the JPEG shooters however, it is still relevant however.

For those who are shooting RAW, test might be misleading. That's all I said.

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nosnoop Senior Member • Posts: 1,694
Re: SEL35F18 vs. Sigma 30mm f/2.8 DN (and 16-50 at 35mm)

verybiglebowski wrote:

For those who are shooting RAW, test might be misleading. That's all I said.

Why?  With RAW and appropriate lens profile, you should as get good, if not better results than JPEG.

verybiglebowski
verybiglebowski Veteran Member • Posts: 4,455
Re: SEL35F18 vs. Sigma 30mm f/2.8 DN (and 16-50 at 35mm)

nosnoop wrote:

verybiglebowski wrote:

For those who are shooting RAW, test might be misleading. That's all I said.

Why? With RAW and appropriate lens profile, you should as get good, if not better results than JPEG.

The same will be true for Sigma however. If lens corrections are set to on, in case of OOC JPEG, only Sony lenses are corrected. Sigma is not. (If Sony didn't apply the in camera correction for Sigma too on NEX6?).

In other words, if you shot RAW and apply lens profiles for both lenses, Sigma might look better than in the OP's test.

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OP jafary Forum Member • Posts: 86
Re: SEL35F18 vs. Sigma 30mm f/2.8 DN (and 16-50 at 35mm)

I too don't understand how come the new 35mm doesn't support the highly advertised on sensor PDAF system of the Nex 5n /6. Some old lenses have updated to support it and not the brand new one? I compared the speed of AF between the kit lens and the 35mm, and as expected, in low light conditions, the 16-50 focuses noticeably faster. I hope Sony won't forget to update this lens in the near future. It makes the new PDAF feature quite a missed opportunity for now.

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OP jafary Forum Member • Posts: 86
Re: SURPRISE by how much Field of View difference between the two

I didn't expect this difference of field of view. It's 5mm in FL and 50.7 degress for the Sigma vs. 44 degrees for the Sony. But it's still one step back or front to get equivalent FOV.

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OP jafary Forum Member • Posts: 86
Re: SEL35F18 vs. Sigma 30mm f/2.8 DN (and 16-50 at 35mm)

verybiglebowski wrote:

I am not aware that Sigma 30 has in camera lens correction. Did you switch it on or off for Sony E 35 f1.8? As you shot JPEG, if the correction was switched on, test wouldn't be fair in terms of optical performance.

For the JPEG shooters however, it is still relevant.

When the Sigma 30mm is mounted, the menu entries for lens correction are still active and you can switch between auto and off. But I highly doubt that there is some active correction for a third party lens. The auto-correction of distortion can help a little bit the sharpness but I don't think it will modify the results of this test. A RAW comparison is of course necessary to clear this out. But I was more interested in the JPEG results, because this is what I use 90% of the time.

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blue_skies
blue_skies Forum Pro • Posts: 12,117
Re: SEL35F18 vs. Sigma 30mm f/2.8 DN (and 16-50 at 35mm)
 

jafary wrote:

verybiglebowski wrote:

I am not aware that Sigma 30 has in camera lens correction. Did you switch it on or off for Sony E 35 f1.8? As you shot JPEG, if the correction was switched on, test wouldn't be fair in terms of optical performance.

For the JPEG shooters however, it is still relevant.

When the Sigma 30mm is mounted, the menu entries for lens correction are still active and you can switch between auto and off. But I highly doubt that there is some active correction for a third party lens. The auto-correction of distortion can help a little bit the sharpness but I don't think it will modify the results of this test. A RAW comparison is of course necessary to clear this out. But I was more interested in the JPEG results, because this is what I use 90% of the time.

Sigma is a fully licensed E mount producer. Of course they can develop and include lens profiles with their lenses for in-camera corrections.

I don't know if they did, the 30mm does not need it.

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Henry

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verybiglebowski
verybiglebowski Veteran Member • Posts: 4,455
Re: SEL35F18 vs. Sigma 30mm f/2.8 DN (and 16-50 at 35mm)

jafary wrote:

verybiglebowski wrote:

I am not aware that Sigma 30 has in camera lens correction. Did you switch it on or off for Sony E 35 f1.8? As you shot JPEG, if the correction was switched on, test wouldn't be fair in terms of optical performance.

For the JPEG shooters however, it is still relevant.

When the Sigma 30mm is mounted, the menu entries for lens correction are still active and you can switch between auto and off. But I highly doubt that there is some active correction for a third party lens. The auto-correction of distortion can help a little bit the sharpness but I don't think it will modify the results of this test. A RAW comparison is of course necessary to clear this out. But I was more interested in the JPEG results, because this is what I use 90% of the time.

That's perfectly fine and thank you for the effort. I just wanted to notice the possible difference for us, who are shooting only RAW.

BTW, resulting FOV from your samples can also be slightly different, if any cropping is applied on Sony and none on Sigma.

But I believe it will be minor, because Sony 35 seems to be well optically corrected.

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shaolin95
shaolin95 Senior Member • Posts: 1,889
Re: SEL35F18 vs. Sigma 30mm f/2.8 DN (and 16-50 at 35mm)

What I would love to see as well is some video recording of very low light scenes to compare how what I would get with the Sony vs the Sigma.
Yesterday I did a crazy test recording a sort of blizzard we had with the nex-6 and Sigma 30 vs Canon HM40 (highly regarded for its low light capability) and at least to my eyes, the Sigma/nex combo actually got the upper hand even after tweaking the Canon manually (not like I am an expert but still)

Regards

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jbwong Regular Member • Posts: 191
Re: SEL35F18 vs. Sigma 30mm f/2.8 DN (and 16-50 at 35mm)

as for video,

there is no doubt Sigma gonna lose to Sony because of the poor auto focus performance.

thank you for OP, great comparison and I can skip both Sigma lenses.

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