Sigma 30mm F1.4 Review (5 Years of Ownership)

Many years ago, when I first switched away from my bulky Canon DSLR, I found myself needing a lens for my new a6000. Thus, I stumbled upon the Sigma 30mm F1.4!

So yeah, this was my first E-Mount lens and also the first thing I ever reviewed on this site, so it holds a bit of a special place in my heart (don’t worry, the review has been updated about 100 times since then).

Why You Can Trust Us

Chance (that’s me) has been practicing photography for 10 years and has been a paid professional for most of it. I bought my first Sony camera in 2018 and purchased this particular lens to go with it (full site history). So, I’ve had the Sigma 30mm F1.4 for about 5 years now (read how I review/test gear).

So, in this review, I’ll be covering why I’ve still held on to my beloved 30mm F1.4 after half a decade!

Let’s dive in.

Sigma 30mm F1.4
$285.00 $264.07


- Razor sharp and beautiful images

- Bright F1.4 aperture

- Autofocus is reliable & fast

- Excellent build quality

- Best value APS-C lens


- Lacks image stabilization


The best APS-C prime of all time, featuring incredible sharpness, a bright F1.4 aperture, speedy autofocus, and a fairly robust build. Plus it's cheap! You literally cannot go wrong with this lens.

Check Price on Amazon
12/06/2023 04:53 am GMT

Build Quality

Side & Weight

As stated in the intro, one of the biggest reasons I switched to the Sony a6000 ecosystem was for the smaller size & weight.

The Sigma 30mm F1.4 certainly met that criteria, weighing a reasonable 9.03oz (226g) and measuring a length of 2.9 inches (7.3cm). 

Combining this lens with my Sony a6000 (with just a wrist strap) makes for an extremely small and portable kit.

Honestly, out of all the lenses I’ve used, I find this lens to fit the camera the best.

A picture I shot in Waterton Lakes.
A picture I shot in Waterton Lakes.

Is the lens well built?

The Sigma 30mm F1.4 is made in Japan and the build quality is excellent, especially considering it’s an ultra-budget APS-C lens.

The barrel is made out of a mix of metal and thermally stable composite, a type of polycarbonate that is both strong but also lightweight.

Sigma uses it for a lot of their lenses, and it’s known for being long lasting, scratch resistant, and durable (which mine certainly has been).

Man petting dog.
A guy in the dog park petting his cute pupper.

The glass itself is also high quality, consisting of 9 elements with 9 aperture blades.

There’s no plastic “glass” here like on some other cheaper lenses.

My Sigma 30mm F1.4 after a snowy shoot.
I’ve beat the crap out of this thing and it still works perfectly and looks clean.


The only accessory the lens ships with is a simple circular lens hood.

It can feel a bit cheap and isn’t the most aesthetically pleasing, but it does the job of protecting the front element from both flares and bumps.

Mine still is in great shape after all these years. It’s even reversible for easier storage, fitting perfectly inside my Tenba BYOB 10.

Weather Sealing

Moving onto the next note: weather sealing. This lens, I assume due it’s budget price point, lacks any sort of weather sealing, but I haven’t found it to be a huge issue.

Mine has survived plenty of rain, cold Wisconsin snowstorms, and dusty hikes out west.

Man standing under waterfall.
Not technically water sealed, but I’ve put it through more questionable situations than I should have…

Built to Last

To put it simply: I really do believe this lens was built to last.

As I stated, it’s survived dozens of adventures in inclement weather, been bumped against tons of hard surfaces, and has probably summited more mountains than some people ever will in their entire lives.

I love it.

Chief Mountain near the Montana/Alberta border, photographed in 2019.
Chief Mountain near the Montana/Alberta border, photographed in 2019.


Another thing I appreciate about the Sigma 30mm F1.4 is the simple and minimalistic design.

I understand that the aesthetics of a lens is a rather minor point, but this one looks really nice.

It has a sleek blackish-gray finish that contrasts very well with the white engraved text.

The focusing ring is massive and to top it all off, there’s a nice little “C” badge (signifying the lens as being part of the “contemporary” lineup).


Unfortunately, to achieve such a clean and minimalistic lens barrel, they had to omit a physical AF/MF switch. It’s a bit annoying and probably my only major gripe with this lens.

Overall, I think the Sigma 30mm F1.4 is the perfect combination of build quality, size, and ergonomics.

It balances perfectly on my Sony a6000 and the massive focusing ring provides a really nice rubberized gripping point when out shooting.

I’ve shot with this thing for hours straight in the city and haven’t had any issues with comfort. When hiking, I can toss it easily in my bag.

Some friends of mine on top of a mountain overlooking Hidden Lake in Glacier NP.
Some friends of mine on top of a mountain overlooking Hidden Lake in Glacier NP.

Image Quality


Next up, let’s talk about sharpness.

The lenses in the Sigma trio (again, the 16mm, 30mm, 56mm) are known as being the sharpest lenses in the Sony APS-C lineup, and the Sigma 30mm F1.4 is absolutely no exception.

Wide Open

Wide open, the results aren’t quite as strong as the 16mm, but we still see incredibly sharp centers with only minor corner softness.

Really impressive.

Man standing on a snowy building.
Wide-open sharpness is pretty fabulous!

Stopped Down

Stopping down just a bit is where the lens really starts to shine.

I tend to shoot portraits at about F2 in order to get a great balance of bokeh and edge-to-edge sharpness.

As for obtaining “perfect” sharpness, the lens peaks at about F4, and even pixel peepers won’t find any significant flaws.

I always obsessively zoom into my images in Lightroom and I really can’t find any major visual flaws with this lens.

As a matter of fact, if I’m not mistaken, by the numbers it is actually the 2nd sharpest lens for Sony APS-C cameras behind the Sigma 56mm F1.4.

Sample of portraits taken with the Sigma 30mm F1.4.
A set of portraits, shot some time in early 2019 if I remember correctly.

Optical Quirks & Flaws

Sharpness is amazing, but how does the lens handle optical flaws such as vignette, distortion, CA, and flaring?

Chromatic Aberrations

When wide open, the lens has some serious purple fringing that is difficult to correct in post-processing.

Stopping down does remedy this somewhat, but you won’t see clean results until at least F2.5.

Personally, I’m not particularly bothered by chromatic aberrations (I just don’t really notice it), but I figured it was worth mentioning.

A super cute dog with a ball.
A super cute dog having a GREAT time somewhere in Milwaukee.

Everything Else

As for everything else, the Sigma 30mm F1.4 honestly doesn’t suffer from any other optical issues.

Distortion is a bit above average (roughly 2.8% barrel distortion) but is easily fixable in something like Lightroom.

Vignetting is minor and flaring is almost non-existent.

I’ve shot many backlit subjects and into direct sunlight and never suffered more than a minor loss of contrast.

A random cute dog in a dog park. Notice the lack of flaring and how well the lens holds contrast.
A random cute dog in a dog park. Notice the lack of flaring and how well the lens holds contrast.

Overall Optical Performance

Over the years, I’ve had zero complaints about the optical quality of the Sigma 30mm F1.4.

Not only is it incredibly sharp, but even the bokeh looks good. While not quite a telephoto, the lens renders beautiful bokeh balls that allow for excellent subject isolation.

As a fan of environmental portraits, I’ve found over the years that this is easily my most used lens for portraiture work.

Set of Sigma 30mm F1.4 sample portraits.
Another set of portraits.

Low light performance is also excellent due to the ultra-bright F1.4 aperture.

I’ve gone on many nighttime photo walks and have rarely run into subjects that a bright streetlight combined with this lens couldn’t capture.

Overall, I’ve been extremely happy with the optical performance over the years.

Already interested in checking out this epic lens for yourself?
Sigma 30mm F1.4
$285.00 $264.07
The Sigma 30mm F1.4 produces excellent images whilst still retaining an incredibly low price.
Check Price on Amazon
12/06/2023 04:53 am GMT
A long exposure of the Seattle skyline that I took a few years ago.
A long exposure of the Seattle skyline that I took a few years ago.

Focusing System


When it comes to autofocus, it’s not flawless but performance is respectable.

Stills AF

It’s quick and quiet, but I have noticed over time that it does struggle with low light conditions.

Later in the day after the sun sets, you have to keep an eye on what the lens actually gets into focus, otherwise you might end up with some missed shots.

Triple set of sample portraits for the Sigma 30mm F1.4.
Yet another set of portraits.

That being said, in good lighting conditions, the focus is top tier.

The lens plays extremely well with Sony’s autofocus assists such as EyeAF and AF-C (subject tracking).

Beautiful mountain lake with hotel.
The stunning Waterton Lakes National Park in Canada.

Video AF

In addition, it’s dead silent, which is a big plus for video shooters. On the other hand of that though, the lens doesn’t have optical image stabilization.

I do wish it did, but I can see why it was omitted to keep the price low and the size small.

Autofocus is quick, allowing you to capture cute and candid moments.
Autofocus is quick, allowing you to capture cute and candid moments.

Manual Focus

Over time, I’ve been experimenting with manual focus more after getting into vintage lenses.

The MF experience on this lens can’t quite compare to a vintage manual lens, but I found the (gigantic) focus ring to be well designed and fairly accurate.

Man standing in front of beautiful lake.
Manual focus works well.

There’s no focus/distance scale, but I didn’t have much issue pulling accurate focus thanks to Sony’s various manual focus assists such as focus peaking and the magnifier.

Overall, I’m fairly happy with the manual focus experience despite not having a physical AF/MF switch. Still, I generally just stick to AF anyway.

A foggy forest I captured just a couple weeks ago in Grand Teton NP.
A foggy forest I captured a while back in Grand Teton NP.

My Final Thoughts


Near the end of my articles I usually like to present alternatives.

That being said, there really aren’t any comparable competitors in this focal length.

If you’re looking to go wider, however, I’d suggest looking at the Sigma 16mm F1.4.

If you’re looking to get more of a telephoto focal length, check out the Sigma 56mm F1.4. All three lenses from the Sigma trio are incredible.

A bright orange car I captured contrasted against the beauty of Waterton Lakes.
My old bright orange car I captured contrasted against the beauty of Waterton Lakes.

Value for Money

In case I haven’t made it clear yet, I adore the Sigma 30mm F1.4.

Autofocus is largely great, the sharpness is truly top tier, and the build quality is right up there with much more expensive lenses.

Frankly, I’m not even sure how this lens is as cheap as it is. For a stills photographer, there really is no lens in the entire Sony APS-C lineup that can even come close to comparing with the value for money that this Sigma offers.

There’s a reason it’s still my favorite lens after so many years.

A sunset I photographed during my first time visiting Seattle.
A sunset I photographed during my first time visiting Seattle.


If you’re looking to pick up an incredible and versatile lens without breaking the bank, the Sigma 30mm F1.4 is the way to go.

If I’ve convinced you to pick it up yourself, I’ll include a purchase link below. Thank you for reading, and I hope you fall in love with the lens as much as I did! 🙂

An Epic Lens (even after 5 years)
Sigma 30mm F1.4
$285.00 $264.07
The Sigma 30mm F1.4 is just amazing. Autofocus is quick, images are razor sharp, build quality is superb, and it's easily the best value lens for Sony APS-C cameras.
Check Price on Amazon
12/06/2023 04:53 am GMT

Sigma 30mm F1.4 (with Sony a6000) Sample Photos

Woman with camera.
A friend of mine photographing Milwaukee at dusk.
Van in front of mountains.
A van in Grand Teton National Park.
Man standing in front of Christmas tree.
Not my best shot, but it really highlights the strong bokeh of this lens.
bridge in st louis
Always felt this shot looked pretty timeless. Like it could have been taken 100 years ago.

Hey, thanks for looking through all my photographs! If you’re sold on the Sigma 30mm, please consider purchasing it through my link. I get a small commission at no extra cost to you, thanks! <3 Also, by the way, they also make this lens for Canon EF-M mount (among others).

Disclaimer: Some links in this article may be affiliate links, which means I get a (very small) commission if you purchase things through my links. If you do, thank you for the support! <3

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