Sigma 30mm f1.4 DC DN Contemporary Review For M43

Sigma 30mm f1.4 DC DN Contemporary Review:

There are a lot of benefits to owning fast glass.  Who doesn’t like the ability to create beautiful bokeh or have more flexibility when shooting at night?  The problem is, fast glass can often cost significantly more.  Well, this is where something like the Sigma 30mm f1.4 DC DN Contemporary lens comes into play.  On the micro four thirds system, the Sigma is a 60mm equivalent, which can be considered a standard lens.  It’s fast, it promises good optics, and best of all, at $339, it’s $259 cheaper than something like the Panasonic 25mm f1.4 ASPH.  The Sigma 30mm f1.4 sounds like a great deal but is it really worth it, and does it compare favorably to lenses like the Panasonic, which is considered by many as one of the top lenses in the micro four thirds system?  Well, here is what I found out.

Sigma 30mm f1.4 DC DN Contemporary Build Quality:

Overall, the Sigma 30mm f1.4 DC DN Contemporary is built to excellent standards considering the price.  It’s made out of a combination of metals, plastic, and something called Thermally Stable Composite (TSC), which allows for better adaption to various temperatures.  There is also a brass bayonet mount, and a relatively large rubberized focusing ring for those who want to manually focus the Sigma.  Some may think that since this lens is made out of some plastic, and it only costs $339, there might be issues with the build but the Sigma is a really solid feeling lens.  It doesn’t feel particularly cheap, and there were no creaks or signs of inferior workmanship.  Everything is very well assembled.

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↑ The Sigma 30mm f1.4 DC DN Contemporary lens.

Furthermore, I really like the size of this lens.  It’s actually pretty compact if you think about it, especially when you consider it’s a 60mm equivalent f1.4 lens.  It balances quite nicely with something like an Olympus Pen-F, which is what I used to test this lens.  At 265 g, it’s relatively light, so there’s no front heaviness when it’s mounted onto a camera.  The Sigma is also relatively short; at 73.3mm in length, it’s great to use as an everyday lens.

In addition, the lens hood is actually pretty decent.  It’s made out of plastic, and it is fully reversible, which means it won’t really take up extra space in your bag.  It also matches the lens pretty well, and for the most part, I didn’t really have any trouble with my copy.  What I mean by that is it locked on well to the lens when I needed it to, and it was quick to remove.  The lens hood is also compact, so it’s not cumbersome to work with.

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↑ The Sigma 30mm f1.4 DC DN Contemporary with the lens hood.

As for the autofocus, I found it to be near silent and really quick.  It was easy for this lens to lock on to the subject even when shooting at f1.4 or dim lighting.  For those looking to buy a standard focal length for street, this is a great choice.  There’s no need to look further.  This lens’ quick focusing was fantastic for candids.  Overall, the Sigma 30mm f1.4’s autofocus offered me no drama.

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↑ The Olympus Pen-F and the The Sigma 30mm f1.4 lens.

Sigma 30mm f1.4 DC DN Contemporary Image Quality:

Now, let’s discuss the image quality of the Sigma 30mm f1.4 DC DN Contemporary.  First off, I want to say something real quick.  In general, I have really high standards when it comes to lenses that are considered standard focal lengths.  That’s because I love using them so much.  With that said, I’m simply floored by what the Sigma 30mm f1.4 produces.  The image quality is quite exceptional.  When I first used this lens, I was so pleasantly surprised to see such richly rendered colors.  Along with the higher contrast, images really have that extra pop and bite to them.  I feel like this lens leans more towards the warm side but it’s never overdone.

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↑ On a nice day, you can get some nice pics with colors that will pop. Taken at f6.3.

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↑ This was taken at f4.

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↑ Here is a photo taken at f1.4.

To top it off, the Sigma 30mm f1.4 is one sharp little lens.  In fact, when I stopped down a bit, I found this lens to be incredibly sharp.  The Sigma produces good sharpness at f1.4 but stopping down to just f2, sharpens up things even further including the corners.  Stopping down to f2.8 and beyond will produce bitingly sharp images.  This is one of those lenses that you will have no issue using throughout it’s entire aperture range.

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↑ Here’s another taken at f1.4.

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↑ This lens captures every little detail.  This was taken at f5.6.

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↑ Here is a photo taken at f8.  Even on a day like this, colors are still rendered nicely along with the contrast.

In terms of bokeh, while it’s definitely a personal thing, I found it to be truly exceptional.  It’s hard not to with nine apertures blades in this lens.  For example, I was shooting portraits in the woods, and often times, trees and branches can make the background look a little busy but the bokeh was still buttery smooth and pleasing.  I personally think this lens produces some of the nicest bokeh for a standard lens.  It’s really so nice to see such a sharp subject against such a beautifully blurred background.  The nicely rendered colors along with the great contrast further add to the images by making them look so three dimensional and lifelike.  I don’t shoot as many shallow depth of field photos as I used to because quite frankly, I got tired of it but I found myself always wanting to use the Sigma 30mm at f1.4.  I simply loved the results.

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↑ Here is a photo taken at f11.

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↑ This was taken at f5.6.

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↑ Here’s another example taken at f11.

Overall, it’s difficult to think of anything really bad to say about the Sigma 30mm f1.4 DC DN Contemporary optically.  There is noticeable purple fringing at times but to me, I personally don’t care too much about stuff like that, so it’s a small price to pay for a lens that produces such wonderful images.  In my mind, the Sigma 30mm f1.4 has replaced the Panasonic 25mm f1.4 ASPH as my favorite standard focal length lens for the micro four thirds system.  The optics are absolutely first class; the images from the Panny are excellent as well but the Sigma is cheaper.  It’s actually significantly cheaper, and it’s not that far off in terms of build quality.  I also prefer the slightly longer focal length.  I feel like the 60mm is a great focal length for the micro four thirds system.  You get slightly more reach, it’s great for portraits, it’s also good for street, and you can get a slightly shallower depth of field without jumping to a significantly longer focal length.  Also, the lens physically isn’t really that much larger than the Panasonic.

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↑ I love the bokeh from this lens.  This was taken at f1.4.

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↑ The Sigma 30mm f1.4 makes a great portrait lens.  This was taken at f1.4.

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↑ Here’s another example at f1.4.

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↑ It may not seem like it but my friend’s little girl was moving quite a bit yet the Sigma had no issues capturing this image at f1.4.

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↑ Here’s one more example taken at f1.4.

Sigma 30mm f1.4 DC DN Contemporary Pros And Cons:

Sigma 30mm f1.4 DC DN Contemporary Pros:

  • Great build, especially for the price.
  • Decent lens hood.
  • Fantastic image quality.
  • Wonderful colors and contrast.
  • Sharp.
  • Fast f1.4 maximum aperture.
  • Beautiful bokeh.

Sigma 30mm f1.4 DC DN Contemporary Cons:

  • Sometimes there is noticeable purple fringing.

Sigma 30mm f1.4 DC DN Contemporary Verdict:

If you’re looking for a standard focal length for your micro four thirds system, the Sigma 30mm f1.4 DC DN Contemporary is a choice.  The build quality is excellent, it’s compact, light, and of course, the image quality is superb.  The color rendering is quite nice, and the bokeh is exceptional.  I love the Sigma 30mm f1.4 so much that if I was invested in the micro four thirds system, this lens would definitely be in my kit, especially considering the price.  At $339, it’s really quite a bargain, and something that should not be missed.

Thanks for taking the time to read my review!  If you’re considering purchasing the Sigma 30mm f1.4, and my review helped you decide, please help support this site by purchasing from any of the links in this review.  It will not cost you anything extra.  Thank you for your support!

Sigma 30mm f1.4 DC DN Contemporary at B&H Photo

2 comments… add one
  • Jeff

    Hi

    Nice review. Do you have any comparison shots between the 25mm PL and the sigma? I’m not interested in charts, but some sense of corner sharpness and DOF differences would be awesome.

    Anyway, thanks for the review. Most of them I have found seem to be for emount which isn’t so helpful for an m43 shooter (especially when some used an A7 :/ ).

    • Patrick

      Hi Jeff,

      Thank you for your kind words. Unfortunately, I don’t have any comparison shots to help you out. I had access to the 25mm PL at one point but not when the Sigma was sent to me. It would’ve been great to have both lenses at the same time! It’s one thing I wish I had in my review :). Thanks for taking the time to read my review,

      Best,

      Patrick

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