A great-value lens that let's you shoot low-light indoors

Started Mar 21, 2014 | User reviews
Hoogineer Regular Member • Posts: 211
A great-value lens that let's you shoot low-light indoors

I bought my copy for $350 from Amazon -- right before an even greater price reduction to clear it out for the newer model -- and have been very happy with it ever since. I'm sure it's not as sharp or as accurate focusing as the newer model, but I have been very pleased with the lens nonetheless.

I bough it primarily to take indoor photos of my family without having to use the on-camera flash. During the day, I typically can get away with sub-1600 ISO at 1/250 and f/1.8. In the evening, with just a single 40w-equivalent bulb, I can shoot as low as 1/60 at ISO 3200 and f/1.4 (although it's difficult to focus properly in that light).

Some people complain of front- or back-focusing, but my experience is that it performs adequately with decent lighting. If anything, I'm limited by the single cross-type AF point on my 600d. It's also possible that users are shooting f/1.4 without selecting a single AF point: with such a short DoF, it's easy to not get the desired part of the subject in focus if you let the camera select the AF point used.

With f/1.4 glass, you would expect very narrow DoF and nice bokeh. This lens unquestionably has narrow DoF, and I think it delivers nice bokeh, too.

FTM is a welcome addition, although I don't find myself exercising it except in Live Mode, since it's difficult for me to discern focus tweaks at f/1.4 through the EVF.

The closest Canon lens is the EF 28mm f/1.8 USM, which gives up a 2/3 stop and is slightly wider. The Canon might be a better performer in AF (resulting in sharper pictures), but it cost $100 more at the time of purchase.

I have a couple indoor shots with this lens in my gallery; feel free to check it out.

If you're considering purchasing this lens today, I think you have to consider what's available now and how much it's going to cost. Sub-$300, I think it's a stellar deal. Over $350, I think you need to consider the aforementioned Canon EF 28mm f1/.8 USM or the newer version, the Sigma 30mm f/1.4 DC HSM Art Lens.

I think you have to consider cost in the rating.  At $350, I think this is a 4-star lens.  (Below $300, it's 4.5 stars.  Above $400, it's maybe 3.5 stars.)

 Hoogineer's gear list:Hoogineer's gear list
Canon EOS 7D Mark II Sigma 30mm F1.4 EX DC HSM Canon EF-S 18-135mm F3.5-5.6 IS STM Canon EF-S 55-250mm f/4-5.6 IS STM +2 more
Sigma 30mm F1.4 EX DC HSM
Prime lens • Canon EF-S, Four Thirds, Nikon F (DX), Pentax KAF, Sigma SA Bayonet, Sony/Minolta Alpha
Announced: Feb 14, 2005
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Canon EOS 600D (EOS Rebel T3i / EOS Kiss X5) Sigma 30mm F1.4 EX DC HSM
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Osvaldo Cristo
Osvaldo Cristo Veteran Member • Posts: 4,402
Re: A great-value lens that let's you shoot low-light indoors

Great to know you are happy with this lens. Enjoy it!

Several years ago (it was near to its release) I tried to purchase such lens in a shop in Frankfurt, Germany. On that time it was common people find back focus problem in several samples. I tested the last available sample in my (then) Nikon D200 and the tested sample really had a lot of back focus. Terrible. I did not bought it.

I knew a Sigma service center in Atlanta so when I was visiting Atlanta a couple of months later, I got from B&H a lens delivered there to me. I was thinking to bring the lens and my camera to Sigma service shop if I found missed focus. For my surprise this particular sample focused very well with my D200. No need to go to the shop. It was a keeper.

You are right - it is not a very sharp lens, mainly bellow f/2.8, but when I went to Nikon D300S, the fine focus adjustment gave me a "new" lens and when I use DxO to develop my raw files, it makes a superb job delivering sharp pictures even when the lens is wide open.

Bottom line is in camera fine focus adjustment plus a good raw developer to compensate lens flaws will transform that otherwise mediocre lens in a (very?) good lens. I am glad with it.

Despite that I am tempted to trade-in my Sigma 20 f/1.8 and that Sigma 30 f/1.4 for the new Sigma 18-35 f/1.8 - from all I have read the IQ is way better, although, of course, it cannot reach f/1.4...

All the best,

-- hide signature --

O.Cristo - An Amateur Photographer
Opinions of men are almost as various as their faces - so many men so many minds. B. Franklin

 Osvaldo Cristo's gear list:Osvaldo Cristo's gear list
Olympus Stylus 1030 SW Nikon D200 Nikon D300S Nikon D810 Nikon AF DX Fisheye-Nikkor 10.5mm f/2.8G ED +32 more
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