Monday, April 24, 2017

Sigma 60mm f/2.8 DN Art Lens for Micro Four Thirds Review

Image © Sigma


Background

I'm going to be very straight forward from the get go on this one.  I've had some pretty bad experiences with Sigma DSLR lenses in the past.   Hunt focusing issues, back and front focus and if you ready any of the forums - plenty of reports of compatibility issues.

However, this is a new era and the mirrorless cameras use a slightly different focusing system.  So, lets say we give Sigma another chance.  How does it fair now with a Micro Four Thirds System?

All images taken with the Olympus PEN-F.

1/320, f/2.8, ISO 200

Handling/Size/Weight

A medium size lens when compared to other m43 lenses.  The focus ring is large and smooth.  There are minimal markings on the lens as well.  The copy I have is the black version.

There is not much weight to the lens.  

When not attached to a camera and powered on, there is a clunking sound.  This is because Sigma is using a floating elements system to align the glass.  This sound is normal and stops once the camera is powered on.

1/125, f/4, ISO 250
1/250, f/4, ISO 200

Image Quality

Even wide open the optical quality for this lens is superb.  While I will not go out there and say that the lens is just as good as the legendary Olympus 75mm f/1.8 to which it is often compared.

Used, I picked up this lens for $130.  When compared to the Oly 75/1.8, which is up near $600-800, this lens is a bargain performer for sure.

Shooting at f/2.8 is great and usually more than adequate.   Colors are rich and contrasty and flare seems well controlled.

Sigma has had a good modern reputation in optics, being as good or better than the OEM equivalents, so seeing the IQ here being so high is no surprise.

1/1600, f/4, ISO 200

1/500, f/2.8, ISO 200

Focusing

The elephant in the room for me.  So how does it perform?

As many know, the benefit of the mirrorless contrast detect AF systems eliminates a lot of the focusing issues that plagued the Nikon F-mount Sigma lenses I've experienced in the past.  This is a great thing!   I've not even noticed any hunting issues.

Kudos for Sigma making this lens perform to a level that I find acceptable.

1/125, f/2.8, ISO 2500

1/1250, f/3.5, ISO 200

Bottom Line

The only major issue that I see with this lens is the roughly 2 second delay from a cold camera start.  While not a deal breaker, it is definitely an annoyance.
The one minor issue I found was the smooth focus ring can make using manual focus a little difficult sometimes.  A  bit of texture for a more positive feedback would be nice.   Even so, not many would probably use this lens in its manual focus configuration anyway - there is not much need to do so as the auto focus works just as you'd hope it would.

The lens is a bargain and a good longer focal length and field of view (roughly 120mm).   For those looking for an alternative to the Oly 75mm this Sigma is a good first choice if you want a lens that retains auto focus. 

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