The Sigma 30mm f1.4 DC HSM Art has solid construction of metal and rubber. The metal body makes for a very sturdy lens. The focus ring is a nice textured rubber and glides smoothly around the body. The weight of lens is just under a pound (15.3 oz). On my T1i without the battery grip there is a very good balance and little hand fatigue. The length of the lens is 2.5 inches long which makes it small and compact. The lens cap is tight fit scissor style with clamps in the middle and the edge to make removal very easy. The lens comes with a lens hood made of plastic and a canvas bag with an inner foam casing for storage. This is one of those things I love about Sigma.
The lens is 9 glass elements in 8 groups. The glass is what makes this lens special. In my limited shooting with the lens (50 pictures or so) I continue to be amazed at the clarity at all apertures. For a 30mm lens the distortion is not very noticeable until you get close the 11.8 inch minimal focus distance. The distortion is evident in the “Double Barrel” photo above.
The 30mm Art is meant for exactly what Sigma intended it for “Art”. The 9 blades provide very nice round boken at f1.4 and very soft backgrounds. The large aperture provides great light and color spectrum for indoor use. This lens is very usable indoors without requiring a flash. Even at shutter speed of 1/20s you can get great handheld shots at low ISO. The only comment I would make is that the f16 maximum aperture causes some issues if you decide to take landscape shots on a sunny day. My T1i’s maximum shutter speed is 1/4000s and with the f16 I was still over exposed on few shots. Keep in mind I am sure Sigma did not intend this lens to be a staple for landscapes but if you decide to use it for such make sure you shoot during dusk and dawn.
The HSM is very very quiet, almost silent. It is also is very quick to focus both indoors and outdoors. Compared to my other favorite lens, the Canon 50mm f1.4, the 30mm Sigma focuses as fast and as quiet as the Canon. I did notice slight focus hunting as you get close to the minimal focus distance indoors but I did not notice this issue outdoors. On the rare change I am shooting a close up (11 inches away) in doors the hunting is not enough to break the shot, as I most likely will be using a tripod and manual focus anyway.
With a price point of $499 this lens is a must have for any APS-C camera shooter. The large aperture, fast and silent focus, and sturdy construction complimented by the 45mm equivalent focal range makes this lens a must have. If you have been in search of a human focal range lens, this is about as close as you can get and for under $500. Sigma once again has proved that you can get top quality lenses without spending thousands.
Official Sigma Photo Page
BH Video: Sigma 30mm f1.4 DC HSM Art Canon
Created by Kenneth Peters Photography