Apr 6, 2014

Sigma 30mm F1.4 DC HSM "Art"

Introduction

The Sigma 30mm F1.4 DC HSM "Art" is a fast prime lens designed exclusively for APS-C DSLRs; it's of particular interest to us because its "normal" field of view corresponds roughly to that of a 50mm lens on a film camera.  With an aperture of F1.4 this lens fills an important gap in the genuine Pentax lineup without being as bulky as the Sigma 35mm F1.4 DG HSM "Art" that came out last year.  The fast aperture promises to make it a good choice for low-light photography, snapshots, and artistic close-ups with beautiful bokeh: think of it as a "fast fifty" within the Pentax DSLR realm.

This new 30mm replaces the Sigma 30mm F1.4 EX DC and features redesigned optics, a new Sigma Global Vision barrel design, and the addition of silent in-lens HSM autofocus. It was launched in late 2013 for Sigma, Canon, and Nikon cameras, and the Pentax and Sony versions followed in March, 2014.

Sigma 30mm for PentaxSigma 30mm F1.4 "Art" Mounted on a Pentax K-3

The outgoing Sigma 30mm enjoyed a great deal of popularity among our members, as it made for a fantastic everyday prime lens and was a very good value.  Sigma's latest 30mm continues to have these advantages, as it was launched at an MSRP of just $499.  This makes it quite affordable for a F1.4 lens and much cheaper than the comparable Sigma 35mm F1.4 ($899) and Pentax 31mm F1.8 Limited ($1299).

Sigma's new "Art" lens designation denotes high-quality lenses designed for advanced and professional photographers.  The Sigma 35mm F1.4 DG HSM which we alluded to earlier was the first member of this new lens series made available for Pentax, and it made a very positive impression on us when we reviewed it last summer.  We therefore expect the new 30mm F1.4 to follow in the 35mm's footsteps, as this would make it an irresistible lens for APS-C cameras.

In this review we will be taking a very close look at the optical performance and handling of the new 30mm F1.4 "Art".  We will be making comparisons to the Pentax 31mm F1.8 Limited and Sigma 35mm F1.4 when appropriate. Is this the perfect high-end prime for DSLRs?  Read on to find out!

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