THE LOW-DOWN: This lens is designed for use on mirrorless system cameras and currently comes in mounts for Olympus/Panasonic micro four thirds cameras and for Sony NEX cameras. The film-equivalent angle of view on the Olympus/Panasonic is 60mm and on the Sony 45mm. Construction quality matches Sigma’s best lenses, which is very good indeed. The chunky little body is encased in the rubberised material that feels so good on all their best lenses. It uses a new type of linear focusing drive for fast and silent focus, making it ideal for video. The rounded seven blade diaphragm gives nice bokeh – blurring of the out-of-focus elements.
LIKE: Auto focus is indeed as fast and silent as the company promises. We shot video with the lens mounted on an Olympus with auto focus set to continuous and it worked flawlessly. With still images the pictures are sharp, corner to corner, with no distortion — in other words a fine example of a good prime lens. An amazing price!
DISLIKE: The closest focus is 30cm — not quite close enough and not comparable with some of the closer focusing Olympus and Panasonic lenses. This could be due to compromises incurred in creating the lens for both micro four thirds and the larger APS sensor. It is no deal breaker, but it is noticed in action. Manual focus is rough and sticky.
VERDICT: Compact system camera users have been waiting for the third party lens and accessory makers to offer competition to the camera manufacturers and Sigma is doing it in style. The 30mm lens will shortly be joined by a 19mm prime. It’s been a long wait, but it is worth it.