I started this post some time ago and posted it. Then I noticed this in my drafts. There are a few differences so I went ahead and posted the draft also.
I have written about this combination before.
…used with an SA mount crop lens that was bought for a different camera…
…with an adapter purchased for a whole different lens. In short, this combination was not intended at all. It should not work theoretically. A SIGMA DC (crop in SIGMA speak) lens should not cover a full-frame image circle. But it does. 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 blocked. Vignetting. Sometimes. 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 it does identify automatically. If that does not do it…
- Crop the image slightly to remove the slightly dark corners. Or you could just…
- Leave and call it an artistic decision.
And again, this is 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?
My Sony kit is well-rounded, but that does not stop me from reminiscing/obsessing about lenses I traded/sold. New lenses are not a threat to me usually. The SIGMA 45mm f/2.8 Contemporary came to mind.
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.
For me this odd 30mm f/1.4 pairing was a free to me (since I had all of the pieces already) 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 mirrorless 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 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 I necessarily 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.
Size and Weight
There is no way around it. The lenses in the list above are huge. Have tried both the SIGMA Art f/1.2 and f/1.4 35mm lenses and I have owned the Rokinon/Samyang 35mm f/1.4 lens… twice. Why bought twice? I love the images it produces.
Why sold twice? The lens is a bus of a prime lens with handling that more resembles a zoom lens. Above the impact that has on carrying the lens or fitting the lens 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 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.
The regular price for the crop SIGMA SAM mount lens is $499. Less used, $250 or so, likely owing to its dufunct 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 given the size and weight noted above.
Surprisingly good if I am honest. Even though it is adapted I believe it does better than the built for FE mount Rokinon/Samyang 35mm f/1.4 lens
“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 in tight spaces more often than I would like to admit when swinging them about in pursuit of a capture. 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 rendering at its closest focus distance. Exceptional 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 creating colors with Sony.
That is all.
Put all of this together and what you get is a lens that is fantastic 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 at work here. Zoom in on the image 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 wide focal length at such a distance on a full-frame sensor. I like it.
And as for vignetting this image shows a bit at f/1.4 even after the lens correction was applied. But again, I like it.
While it can be used for many purposes capturing scenes is my favorite use.
Well, I will wrap it up just about here. I still stand by all of these statements. Will throw in a few more images below.