The Sigma 30mm f/1.4 DC DN Contemporary is part of Sigma’s Contemporary range which aims to offer compact and lightweight general-purpose lenses that are also high performance. This range produces consumer lenses rather than professional ones, and the affordable prices are reflected in that.
This particular lens is made for Sony E-mount, Canon EF-M mount, Micro Four Thirds, and Leica L-mount cameras and that is what the ‘DN’ in the name signifies. The ‘DC’ part of the name means the lens is designed for APS-C sensor cameras.
The Sigma 30mm f/1.4 DC DN Contemporary offers a very natural perspective, while the f/1.4 aperture allows for greater range in depth of field. The lens is pretty versatile and could be used for landscape, street photography, weddings, and portraits.
How does the Sigma 30mm f/1.4 measure up, and is it worth buying? We’re here to take a look at design/build quality, performance, and how it compares with a rival lens of the same focal length.
The Sigma 30mm f/1.4 DC DN Contemporary tips the scales at just 265g, and is a very minimalist-looking lens with few markings. The focusing ring is nice and wide, and the construction of the lens is solid. It’s made mostly of Sigma’s Thermally Stable Composite that is supposed to offer less expansion and contraction due to temperature changes than aluminum.
Sigma says that the lens is dust and splash-proof, but the lens mount doesn’t have a rubber gasket so you will have to take extra care if you want to use this lens in tough weather conditions.
This is a fairly big lens for this focal length on a mirrorless camera, but it balances nicely. All Sigma range lenses come with a lens hood, something that you have to pay extra for with many Canon lenses, so that’s a point in Sigma’s favor. The hood was a bit of a nuisance, though, as it was prone to being knocked out of the locked position when using the camera.
There is no optical stabilization in the Sigma 30mm, but with such a big aperture it’s not going to be too much of an issue, especially if you use a good tripod in low-light conditions. Sony users are lucky enough to have image stabilization built-in to the camera body, so using an unstabilized lens isn’t a problem.
As far as the optics go, the Sigma 30mm f/1.4 has nine elements in seven groups, with two aspherical elements. There are no Fluorite-grade Low Dispersion (FLD) or Special Low Dispersion (SLD) elements, which are used in many of Sigma’s Art and Sport range lenses to reduce chromatic aberration and give sharpness and contrast a helping hand.
When used on a Sony E-mount system, you get a 45mm equivalent view, and a 60mm equivalent view on a micro four-thirds system. The nine-bladed diaphragm is nicely rounded, so the Sigma 30mm f/1.4 is capable of producing some smooth and creamy bokeh, although it’s not a lens best known for this.
The Sigma 30mm f/1.4 DC DN Contemporary in Use
The autofocus system on the Sigma 30mm f/1.4 DC DN Contemporary isn’t the speediest, but there wasn’t a lot of hunting for focus in lower light conditions either. However, although the minimum focusing distance of 30cm allows for some good close-up capabilities, the AF system did hunt for focus a lot more when used closer up.
Manual focusing isn’t so great, and it’s very difficult to make tiny, precise focus adjustments. As for finding manual focus quickly – forget it!
As far as sharpness goes, the Sigma 30mm f/1.4 DC DN Contemporary lives up to the quality of Sigma’s prime lenses. Overall sharpness is very good generally, and even at f/1.4, the sharpness was decent.
Stopped down to f/2, the corners and center were very sharp indeed, and this quality continues all the way to f/8. Diffraction starts to creep in around f/11 to soften the image somewhat, but it’s still not a major problem.
Chromatic aberration (CA) is quite visible when shooting at f/1.4, and there is some vignetting visible at that aperture as well. Once you have stopped down to f/2, though, the CA is hardly noticeable.
How Does It Compare?
The closest competitor to the Sigma 30mm f/1.4 DC DN Contemporary for the Sony E-mount is the Sony 35mm f/1.8 OSS, but it costs a bit more. The Sony 35mm has a wider aperture range, going up to f/22 instead of the Sigma 30mm’s f/16.
Like the Sigma 30mm, it isn’t weather-sealed, but it does come with Sony’s Optical SteadyShot (OSS) image stabilization which helps to make up for it being f/1.8 as opposed to the Sigma 30mm’s f/1.4.
The Sony 35mm f/1.8 OSS is smaller and lighter than the Sigma 30mm, and the manual focus is much better on the Sony 35mm. However, most people will opt to use AF, and the Sony 35mm delivers quick and quiet autofocusing.
The Sigma 30mm f/1.4 DC DN Contemporary has the edge over the Sony lens when it comes to sharpness and is better value for those looking for affordable prime lenses for mirrorless cameras.
Canon EF-M users looking for other lens options should take a look at the Canon EF-M 22mm f/2 STM, which will give the equivalent of a 35mm focal length.
|Sigma 30mm f/1.4 DC DN Contemporary||Sony 35mm f/1.8 OSS|
|Optics||9 elements / 7 groups||8 elements / 6 groups|
|Diaphragm||9 rounded blades||7 rounded blades|
|Size and Weight||64.8mm × 73.3mm|
|63 x 45mm|
The Sigma 30mm f/1.4 DC DN Contemporary lens is well-built and very sharp from f/2 onwards, and even at f/1.4 the sharpness is acceptable if not outstanding. There is the issue of chromatic aberration being visible when shooting wide open, but it isn’t a problem at smaller apertures.
The autofocus system isn’t the quickest draw out there, but there were no focusing issues apart from quite a lot of hunting when trying to shoot near the minimum focusing distance.
One niggle is the lack of proper weather sealing on the Sigma 30mm, as with many of Sigma’s lenses. However, for normal use this shouldn’t be much of an issue.