I have written about this combination before.
A full-frame Sony camera used with an SA mount crop lens bought for a different camera with an adapter purchased for a whole different lens. In short, this is a combination that was not intended by SIGMA or Sony at all. It should not work theoretically. A SIGMA DC (crop in SIGMA speak) lens should not cover a full-frame image circle. But here it does. All you have to do is turn off the Auto APS-C lens crop mode (Bottom of Menu Camera1, Page 1.). And does so well, with only one caveat.
- At f/1.4 there is slight vignetting, sometimes.
That is it. Not part of the image being blocked entirely. Vignetting. Sometimes….
Note: I theorize that the near coverage of full frame might be owed to the short lived, larger APS-H sensor sd Quattro H. SIGMA was likely looking to minimize vignetting on that sensor which netted the extra coverage. Not scientific but vignetting at the extreme corners seems related to how evenly bright a scene is. If even across the scene there will be more vignetting.
If the center of the frame is more illuminated than the corners, even if not by much… In further use, I think this has to do more to do with how close the subject you are focusing on is relative to the frame… I think… And then the corners show less vignetting. Also, it seems faster shutter speeds in bright settings increases the intensity of the vignetting at the far corners. Still a work in progress determining when it is likely to show up. But I must note I am not bothered by this at all. Especially when shooting for myself which is exactly how I like to use this lens most.
…When wide open. I have gotten that on lenses that are sold as full-frame lenses. When it does appear the fixes are easy.
- Use the Lightroom lens profile correction, which identifies the lens automatically and will often handle the darkened corners on its own. If that does not do it…
- You can tap the vignetting slider to the right a bit to see if that helps, or…
- Crop the image slightly to remove the slightly dark corners. Or you could just…
- Leave the vignette in the image and call it an artistic decision.
And again, this happens sometimes at f/1.4. In my experience closing it down even just a little does away with any significant vignetting.
How did I get here?
I am happy with my Sony kit, but that does not stop me from reminiscing/obsessing about lenses I traded/sold in the past. New lenses are not a threat to me usually. But lenses tried or owned previously do haunt me at times. The SIGMA 45mm f/2.8 Contemporary is one of those lenses.
While I loved the IQ,…
…build, and aesthetics…
…I tended not to use it. For f/2.8 I would use a zoom instead. For a prime I would reach for a faster lens instead. So I sold it on. But as I started circling the window shopping and sample photo reviewing drain headed dangerously towards a repurchase (How is that for a mangling of metaphors?) I remembered something. I already have a SIGMA prime I can use on full-frame Sony. And it is a bit wider so as to differentiate it from a 50mm and has a much brighter aperture.
This odd 30mm f/1.4 pairing was a free to me proposition (since I had all of the pieces already). A 30mm f/1.4 Art lens on one of my favorite cameras. Nice.
Sidebar: This post applies to the DSLR SA mount SIGMA DC 30mm f/1.4 Art not to be confused with the also excellent SIGMA Sony mirrorless E mount 30mm DC (Crop in SIGMA speak) DN (Made for mirrorless… why an N instead of an M for mirrorless? Anyhoo… in SIGMA speak) f/1.4 Contemporary (Should have been an Art lens based on my experience.). Even though I owned and really liked this lens it left when I traded my a6100 and a6000 towards the A7c. I should have tried it on full-frame at least, but I suspected that this small lens would not cover a full-frame image circle and this video confirms that I was right (It happens now and again.) If you have a crop Sony body stop reading this blog post and go buy one now.
It is excellent, as are three of the lenses in that series.
They are the
main only thing I miss about having crop Sony cameras and single handedly justify crop Sony cameras in my opinion (Granted I have spent no time looking at the crop Sony lenses announced since. They may be good also.). A reasonable person (i.e. not me) could do just fine with them.
And we are back in 3, 2,1…
This was my situation. I stated in my previous post that I cannot say that I recommend this solution to anyone else with a Sony full-frame camera. But the more I use it and the more I think about it I believe I can make a case for it. Will leave IQ for last since that is a taste thing and start with more tangible areas of comparison. Let’s give it a go.
At this B&H Photo link I have gathered all full-frame Sony FE mount lenses between 28mm and 45mm that are f/1.4 or less. They will be the comparison group here.
Size and Weight
There is no way around it. The lenses in the list above are rather large for prime lenses. Have tried both the SIGMA f/1.2…
…Art lenses and I have owned the Rokinon/Samyang 35mm f/1.4 lens… twice. Why bought twice? I really like the images it produces.
Why sold twice? The lens is a bus of a prime lens with handling that resembles a zoom lens. In addition to the impact that size has on carrying the lens or fitting it into a camera bag this also impacts the shooting experience. I like candid shots and this lens is large enough to bring more attention to itself than I would like. And the SIGMA FE mount variants are even heavier.
Even with the SA MC11 adapter the SIGMA DC 30mm makes for a reasonably sized and not too heavy (435g for the lens and a little more for the MC11 adapter) combination.
In use, it brings little attention to itself or the user.
The regular price for the crop SIGMA SA mount lens is $499. Less used, $250 or so, likely owing to its defunct SA mount. The lenses above start around $700 or so (Much less if you can catch a Rokinon/Samyang on sale or used.) with many approaching and surpassing $1,000. Worth it, but not my cup of tea.
Technically there is also the made for full-frame but also adapted SA mount lens 35mm f/1.4 Art kit, but at twice the cost and 50% or so heavier and larger I am good as is. There is also the newer made for mirrorless Sigma 35mm f/1.4 DG DN Art lens. While impressed that they kept the price the same as the older version above when considering the additional size and cost I am good. Will admit that the aperture ring would be nice.
As a side note, I am also happy that the AF/MF switch on the SIGMA DC works just fine adapted. It should, but still glad it does. Once switched to MF a twist of the focus ring magnifies the image automatically like it does for any other Sony lens.
Have realized since I first posted this that I paid less for this lens in a kit with an sd Quattro new ($899 at the time, now $999) than most of the lenses listed above. Funny since I named my first post on it, “Bought an Art lens and it came with a camera”.
Surprisingly good if I am honest. Quick to focus and accurate. Even though it is adapted I believe it does better than the built for FE mount Rokinon/Samyang 35mm f/1.4 lens. Stills focusing is rock solid. AF speed and accuracy for video are solid also, but the little clickity-clickity racket emitted from the lens during constant AF
might will be (tested it) be an issue if you plan on using the built in mic. Do not believe it would be an issue for an external mic. Still records the racket with a hotshoe mic. Held it in hand at a distance and it was much less noticeable so you might get away with a lav mic setup. On the video side of things, I was able to hold the camera at arm’s length, get my face in the frame, stay on Eye AF, and blow the background to smithereens. Nice. Many of the pics towards the end of this post were taken on the fly as a passenger as my son chauffeured me about in his land yacht (We bought for him to drive.) and it nailed focus every time.
I could not say the same for the Rokinon/Samyang 35mm. I always had quite a few missed frames with that lens. It did get better with firmware, but in my experience, the SIGMA does better.
Ok, I will stop listing objective items here. Low light, build, handling, etc. it does just fine. Now on to the fun part.
“Regular” primes (Not pixie dust high end, but daily use lenses.) that are large are not fun to use. Especially wide angle ones. While I would not consider myself clumsy necessarily, large wide-ish lenses have met solid objects more often than I would like to admit when swinging them about in pursuit of a capture in tight spaces. No damage has come from this, fortunately. I fully own that this comes down to user error, but it is still a thing. The SIGMA DC 30mm is small and light enough, even with the MC11 adapter, that it brings little attention to itself and works perfectly fine in tight spaces.
My favorite part.
Close Focus, Sharpness, and Bokeh
I combined these together because this lens produces fantastic images at its closest focus distance. Great in its native crop (45mm equivalent) use,…
…but really impresses in all of its 30mm glory.
For the record, the above image was shot at f/1.4 with only the Lightroom lens profile applied and no crop. Vignetting was not an issue in this case.
This lens does a great job capturing colors with Sony.
This lens is also great for capturing scenes. This is one of my recent favorites here.
It also creates images that retain so much tonal information that they make for great black and white conversions.
I love the 3D effect here. Zoom in on the image and the back of his overalls is tack sharp while the road signs in the center of the frame are blown out. Quite impressive to get this much separation from such a relatively wide 30mm focal length at such a distance on a full frame sensor. I like it.
Note: Realized later that I had not turned off the Auto APS-C lens crop so a few photos like the one above are cropped. The great majority of images on display here are at the full 30mm focal length, with the exception of some of the farm shots below that also used this preset. Once I realized this I updated all presets to also force full frame mode.
Here are a few more samples of scenes captured with this lens.
While technically an objective observation an SA mount lens is so obscure as to move this to the subjective side of things.
Not only does this lens work with native mount cameras like the SIGMA sd Quattro,…
…if you are a film shooter and are so inclined to pick up a film camera to use it also works just fine on a 35mm SA mount SLR.
Admittedly it is a hard sell with so many other great native mount offerings on the market, but now that it is in my possession there is nothing I would trade it for.
Here are some recent samples from this pairing along with some older favorites (new pics added). Most at 30mm. Cropped shots taken before I saved full-frame mode to memory setting noted.
Original post pics below.
Having said all of this some may, understandably, wonder one thing. Why?
A legitimate question. If you have this SIGMA SA lens why not just use it on a SIGMA sd Quattro for instance? If you have a Sony crop body why not just get the native contemporary mount? If you have Sony full-frame why not just get one of the other lenses listed above? For me the answer is easy.
Because you can
Makes sense for me since I happen to have the camera, adapter, and lens.
That explains why I tried it. But that would not be enough to keep me using it. My reasons below will repeat some listed above.
I like that this lens can be used on different systems and formats (film), but that is not the only versatility I am talking about. I really like that this lens can be used at an equivalent 45mm and native 30mm fields of view. While the rendering is the same in the center of the frame it takes on a different character with so much more of the scene in view. As a result, I use it differently on both.
Last but not least.
There are fewer cameras more different than any current Sony full-frame mirrorless camera and the SIGMA sd Quattro. Where the Sony is a speedy do it all no matter the conditions hybrid video and stills capturing device the SIGMA is singular in its purpose. Where the Sony seeks to create an acceptable image no matter the situation the SIGMA sd Quattro seeks to create the best stills image it can within its comparatively narrow optimal band of operation. The Sony seeks to tame any environment or condition. The SIGMA forces user compromises if you wish to create the best image possible. There will be no spray and pray. There will be no high ISO shenanigans. Tilt screen, touch screen, phase detect AF, fast FPS, fast card write times, hah! You spoiled image capturer you. Let me introduce you to the wonders of slowing all the way down. Heck, do not even ask for video because it will not give it to you. Two utterly different cameras for completely different use cases. But here they use the same lens. That is kind of cool in my book.
Again, I would not put this forward as a “reasonable” solution, but what started as a “Hey. That is kind of neat.” has turned into one of my favorite image capturing solutions. And as I have stated jokingly (kind of) in the past…
If you are looking for photography to make sense you may not be doing it right.
To repeat the blog topic above this combination is wonderful nonsense. Not for everyone, but right up my alley.
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