Sigma is releasing a variety of genre specific lenses such as the Art series, as well as what are referred to as Contemporary and Sports lenses and it appears as though they are onto something.
The Sports series is above my pay grade and seems to be well received, but I can personally attest to the capabilities of the Art series in owning the trilogy comprised of the 19mm, 30mm, and 60mm lenses all of which are f2.8.
Not particularly robust in build but more than compensated for when it comes to price and IQ.
My personal opinion is that when considering those two factors they are the hands down best bang for your buck you will find and capable of out performing a variety of noticeably more expensive lenses.
As to the Contemporary line I have one – the 30mm f1.4 – different build quality, very fast, very sharp, and with a street price of $339 attainable for those on a budget.
How does this lens perform? I can only speak from personal experience but have to say it has met and or exceeded my expectations.
Like all lenses or camera gear you will find conflicting opinions – David Lavikka of Lavikka photography refers to it as a “killer lens”, I wholeheartedly concur.
Others say it produces marked CA and color fringing that isn’t very well controlled – I disagree as that hasn’t been my experience running it through it’s paces as much as time and work has allowed.
When conflicting opinions exist it is inevitable that the meme of a “bad copy” will arise, and the possibility that such is the case can’t be dismissed, yet at times I’ve come to believe the “bad copy” meme is just that, a meme often without substance.
People are inclined to equate quality with price, the more it costs then surely it must be better, and there often is a truth to that, but not a truth set in stone.
I tend to look at such a belief as I would the “fashion” world – is the implication that an article of clothing made overseas featuring a company label like Nike, Abercrombie and Fitch, or The Gap emblazoned across it that sells for a ridiculous price better than it’s competitors?
Based on cost and brand alone I’d have to say to no.
Sigma is filling a niche in the world of photography others have seemingly opted to avoid – you truly are getting bang for your buck, and in the real world that not only is something to appreciate but speaks to Sigma’s understanding that this “niche” is composed of the vast majority of people with cameras and lenses.
Bragging rights don’t automatically accrue as the result of the brands an individual may own, they are the result of images produced – and that in my opinion should be a level playing field, not some nebulous caste system predicated on brand and price.
I’m not an expert or a “pro”, don’t profess to be, but I know what works for me, what my budget is, and appreciate the fact that I don’t have to save for years to own a high quality lens.
The challenge is about more than a camera or lens that will think for you, it is about more than a brand or associated cost – give any photography buff the absolute best and highest priced gear available and I guarantee they will be able to produce stunning images – even more so if they know their way around editing programs like PS or Lightroom.
That isn’t to denigrate pro equipment or pros who obviously know their way around their gear, post editing, and are talented, rather to say I have a greater appreciation for those with more humble equipment who produce stunning images whether they be film or digital – an appreciation that extends to lenses that facilitate doing so at something other than an outrageous price.
That’s what I like about Lavikka’s reviews, he’s not pushing multi thousand dollars lenses or cameras though he may own a few, he’s telling the real world take a look at this, this is something affordable and can produce the kind of images you’re looking for – also something I appreciate with the approach Sigma is taking, volume sales of a quality product rather than price gouging.
I’ve often thought if I were to run a business I’d opt for a profit line of ten percent after overhead, try to make whatever I offered affordable and rely on volume – that of course isn’t the common marketing model but it would be nice if it were.
I’ve been working a lot of hours, hard work, haven’t had much time to devote to photography, and I expect that to be the way of it for the next few weeks as I rebuild a friends home that has suffered a lot a damage due to a fire.
But I’m getting a handle on it now and will be making a way to get out and about with the Sigma 30mm f1.8 DC DN soon, when I do I’ll post a few examples of what it’s capable of.
In the interim if you’re interested in this lens scout around a little, talk to someone you know who may have a copy, or visit a store that rents or will allow you a grace period if you purchase and change your mind – you know what you want, what you expect, and what your budget is better than anyone else.