Sigma 30mm f/1.4 EX DC HSM

The Sigma 30mm f/1.4 EX DC HSM is a superb third-party lens for portraits, and a Digital Photo Gold Award Winner.

Sigma 30mm f/1.4 EX DC HSM  

Sigma 30mm f/1.4 EX DC HSM  

One focal length not featured in Sigma’s current line-up of prime lenses is 35mm, so we tested the nearest to it – the 30mm f/1.4 EX DC HSM. As a third-party lens it’s available in Canon, Nikon, Sigma, Sony and Pentax lens mounts. Coupled to an APS-C D-SLR with a 1.5x crop factor, it turns into a 45mm equivalent (or 48mm on a Canon body with 1.6x.

Featuring full AF/MF workings and Sigma’s Hyper Sonic Motor (HSM) for quiet, high-speed autofocus, the lens is constructed using 7 elements in 7 groups with two SLD elements and a moulded glass aspherical lens for reducing the effects of chromatic aberration. An eight aperture blade design finishes off the construction and overall, it’s noticeably chunkier than its rivals from Canon and Nikon.

Our Canon-fit lens felt right at home coupled to the 600D we tested it on. A focus distance indicator sits neatly between a smooth focus ring and a prominent AF/MF switch that was easy to locate when your eye is up to the viewfinder.

Adding to its impressive feature set is a robust construction that can’t be faulted. Our focusing tests revealed a very quiet AF system and it locked focus at a similar speed to Nikon’s 35mm f/1.8. With a 40cm minimum focusing distance, Sigma provides this lens with a petal-shaped lens hood to prevent flare from ruining your shots and there’s a 62mm thread at the front ready for attaching filters. The front element doesn’t rotate either, so filter use doesn’t present any problems.


  • Street price: £249.99 (Secondhand price as of July 2016)
  • Focal length: 30mm
  • Maximum aperture: f/1.4
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This review was first published in the Spring 2012 issue of Digital Photo - download back issues here.