Although Sigma is well known today by Sony APS-C photographers (due the excellent Sigma trio), they made waves back in the early 2010s when they released a lineup of lenses (19mm, 30mm, 60mm) for NEX cameras.
In this particular article, we’ll be looking at the Sigma 60mm F2.8.
It’s dirt cheap, but can it stack up against more modern competitors? Let’s find out.
Looking for just a quick summary before jumping in?
- Small and compact
- Dirt cheap and a good budget option
- Old but still a decent lens
Size & Weight
First off, let’s talk about size and weight. Although not big, the Sigma 60mm F2.8 isn’t necessarily small either.
Weighing 6.7oz (190g) and measuring only 2.2 inches (5.5cm), it’s decidedly average as far as APS-C mirrorless lenses go.
It matched up pretty well with my a6000. The low weight made the setup feel a bit “back-heavy” (camera heavy) but the length of the lens feels natural.
Is the lens well built?
As for build quality, the Sigma 60mm F2.8 is made out of decent materials. The barrel is metal, but the low weight makes for a rather cheap feel.
Generally, I’ve found that NEX-era lenses tend to just feel cheap and flimsy. Holding this ultralight lens in the hand makes it feel more like a toy than a tool.
Besides that, the lens makes some sort of rattling noise when it isn’t powered on. Upon doing some research, I discovered that its some sort of electromagnetic thing apparently linked to the focusing system, so it doesn’t indicate a problem, just makes the lens feel even more flimsy.
Aesthetics & Ergonomics
As for ergonomics, I mentioned earlier that despite the low weight, the lens still feels pretty well balanced on my camera.
It was comfortable to hold on a long day of shooting despite the weird, slippery metal grip (more on that later).
As for aesthetics, I think the lens looks very boring, but functional. The barrel is sleek metal (coming in either black or silver) and features very little besides the text engraving and Sigma “A” logo.
I found that the silver version, while (objectively) looking a little cooler, was a huge attractant for smudges and fingerprints.
Next up, sharpness. My tests don’t tend to get very scientific, so don’t expect any complicated charts or measurements. I generally just pixel-peep to the extreme.
The Sigma 60mm F2.8, as we’ve seen from Sigma over the years, is sharp as a tack.
Even wide open at F2.8, centers are perfectly sharp and corners come pretty close. Stopping down just a bit evens out the entire frame, and overall image quality looks fantastic.
Optical Quirks & Flaws
As for optical flaws, the Sigma 60mm F2.8 suffers from very little.
Distortion is nearly non-existent while vignette, though prevalent, is easily fixable in post-processing.
The lens doesn’t have any problems with chromatic aberration, and it holds contrast even when shooting into direct light.
As for bokeh, the tight focal length creates some decent results, but the F2.8 is definitely quite disappointing for anyone looking to use it as a portrait lens.
If you’re looking to shoot a lot of portraits or other bokehlicious subjects, consider the newer Sigma 56mm F1.4.
Overall Optical Performance
Overall, quite impressive optical performance from the Sigma 60mm F2.8.
Sharpness is spectacular and consistent while optical flaws are minimal. My only complaint is the aperture isn’t great for blowing out backgrounds.
As for autofocus, there’s honestly not a lot to say. The Sigma 60mm F2.8 has decent autofocus that is reliable, but not particularly fast.
It still gets the job done, but it won’t blow you away like a newer lens might.
Manual focus is where things get weird. Almost every other lens in history has a nice, ribbed focus ring, but this lens (like the others in the trio) doesn’t.
The focusing ring is sleek, slippery metal. It can be hard to grip, especially with sweaty (or cold) hands, and the focusing itself isn’t even well dampened.
I wouldn’t expect to use manual focus a lot on this lens, its a pretty lackluster experience.
My Final Thoughts
Finally, before I round out this article, I’d like to offer a few (very strong) competitors.
First off, the Sigma 56mm F1.4. It’s essentially the more modern version of this lens, and it’s just incredible. Razor sharp, F1.4 aperture, blazing fast autofocus, a robust build. Can’t go wrong.
Second, the Sony E 50mm F1.8. Sony’s “nifty fifty” offers stabilization, solid optical performance and quick AF.
Finally, a weird option: the Kamlan 50mm F1.1. Do you love bokeh? If so, check out the Kamlan…
So, should you buy this lens? I’d say it really depends.
Newer, modern competitors are better in almost every way except one: cost.
The Sigma 60mm F2.8 offers solid sharpness, AF, and an incredibly low cost. It’s a great option for photographers on an extreme budget who want to get a respectable tight focal length lens without spending a lot of money.
If you’re interested in picking it up yourself, I’ll leave purchase links below (pssst, buy used). Thanks for reading!