The Sony NEX-3 and new Sigma 30 2.8 E mount lens by Scott Sarber

The Sony NEX-3 and new Sigma 30 2.8 E mount lens by Scott Sarber

Hi Steve,

I’ve been following your site for a few years now. You featured me in a daily inspiration last year. At that time, I was having a lot of fun with the 28mm Industar 69 & my NEX-3.

I’ve recently been using the Sigma 30mm 2.8 on my NEX-3, and I couldn’t be happier! You have to give this lens a shot on your NEX-7! Although the AF speed leaves much to be desired, the optical quality of this lens is AMAZING! Especially considering it’s only $200.

I attached a few pictures I took recently with the Sigma 30mm on a trip to San Francisco, as well as a portrait of my youngest son. The panoramic was composed of 8 separate shots, compiled in Photoshop.

Anyway, it’s great to see an economical, high quality, auto focus, e-mount lens on the market. It’s breathed new life into my NEX-3, and most importantly, my love for photography!

Keep up the great work, love the site!

Just for the record, this lens does not noticeably vignette. I’ve done a little post processing to get the look I wanted on the portrait of my son & the viewing machines. Both of those were shot wide open @ f2.8. The panoramic was shot @ f4



  1. Nice shallow depth of field! Focus is sharp at your son’s eyes, and softening at the ears and beyond. Great pix! I just ordered this lens this morning, looking forward to trying it on my NEX 5N.

  2. I ordered this lens from B&H and received one which has a noisy focus sound. Also there seems to be a loose piece inside you can feel while holding the lens and shake it a bit. B@H replaced it and the noisy sound is gone but the loose piece inside rattle is still there. Is this normal? I tried both lenses on my nex7 and the results are very good. I returned the second one also because of that loose piece issue. I still want to buy one if quality control would be better.


    • Many of us have been jokingly calling the lens the “Sigmarit” 30, and that test shows why. I’ve never even owned a Sigma lens before this 30mm, and it has remarkable performance at any price.

      I’ve used and owned around a dozen rangefinder lenses for NEX, and I’d go as far as saying that this cheapie Sigmarit 30 on the NEX-7 is among the best overall IQ in a camera/lens combo available with an aps-c or smaller sensor, and, as that review mentions, the resolution matches just about anything out there this side of the D800.

  3. Also would be useful to know how much better than the 1855 kit at 30mm you feel it is with any specifics and what is the shortest focus (although I guess I should be able to look this up).
    Thanks to you!

  4. Can anyone tell me what the operation is like in manual mode focussing?
    How it feels / throw etc

  5. I had my 30mm just 5 days before it stopped working. I’ve returned it to Adorama (who sent a prepaid return label without me asking) and have a second one arriving Wednesday. I loved the lens so I sure hope it’s an isolated issue.

  6. Hi Scott, lovely images from that lens on the NEX-3. I remember your previous post very well and I also recognized that cheeky face on shot 3.

    Your Daily Inspiration #218 and the shots of your son in particular led me to the Industar 69 and subsequently many more purchases from the former Soviet Union.

    Cheers Jason

    • Thanks for the kind words Jason! I’m still enjoying the industar 69. It’s one of the most pocketable lens options out there for the NEX.

  7. Bodes well for the sigma dp2 merrill,if and when it appears,news seems to have dried up.

  8. Awesome…I’m busy trying out the 30mm with my Nex-7. VERY SLOW AF (compared to shooting Canon primes), which is disappointing, but once I tack on (and take a few shots), I get the nice crisp photo.

    I’ll be experimenting more.

  9. I’m liking my 30 enough that I’m hoping Sigma sees fit to do a 60/2.8 Macro. 😉

  10. A reasonably priced Sigma lens on an earlier NEX, and picture #1 is superb! Again, it shows that good pictures are created by the photographer. Beautiful.

  11. At the moment, the 30 2.8 is a must have lens for nex. It is fast enough, tack sharp and really does focus fine.
    The only issue I have is that it does not have silent focusing in video, otherwise, great lens and a steal of a bargain.

  12. I just recently received this lens, and it performs as well or better than any 35mm rangefinder lens that I’ve used on the NEX-7: ZM 35/2.8, ZM 35/2, Nokton 35/1.4, Perar 35/3.5 and Contax G 35. The Sigma 30 is remarkable, cheap, short and lightweight, and it has AF to boot. Some CA is the only negative I can find. It’s a no brainer of a lens for NEX users, and this little lens has made me reconsider large investments in rangefinder glass that don’t really give you much advantage.

    • I just got mine for my NEX 7, a very good lens and simply unbeatable when considering the price. Blowing the improved kit lens out of the water. And as I’m waiting for the Novoflex m adapter to arrive, I’m wondering whether an AF prime lens set up with Sigma’s 19 and 30mm plus the Zeiss 24 and Sony 50 f1.8 isn’t all one needs for an excellent Nex kit.

      • That is exactly the 4 lens kit that I put together for the NEX-7…and I have sold 10 rangefinder lenses in the last couple of weeks because of it.

        p.s. The NEX-7 and 3 of those 4 lenses fits nice and snugly in a Billingham Stowaway Compact bag. There are no partitions, so I keep the lenses in little bags in order to not rub against each other, but it’s the best solution that I’ve found for an everyday bag that doesn’t have excess bulk.

    • Thanks for the report. Could you comment helpfully about how the 19mm Sigma stacks up for !Q on the NEX [and, hopefully, at 2x crop factor, on the Olympus OM-D] — That’s quite a collection of lenses you parted with! You didn’t happen to test out the 28mm Biogon for Contax G on the NEX-7, did you? (I have the 28mm, 45mm, and 90mm at present.)

      • I have the Contax G 35, 45 and 90, and they all perform well on the 7. I’d suspect the 28 would have corner issues, and I’d likely pick the Sigma over it for use on the 7. The Sigma is very sharp across the frame.

        • Thanks, GH… So it’s the 19mm Sigma we’re talking about now, correct? Hmm… a useful all-’rounder for a moderate wide angle effect at the 1.5x crop factor of the NEX… Thinking about the Olympus OM-D as the alternative, that puts the newer 19mm Sigma in direct competition with the Panasonic 20mm f.1.7, save for the ‘speed’ advantage of the Panasonic — Would you (or anyone here) have any guess about how those two would compare in an IQ shootout for the effective 38-40mm range on m4/3 camera bodies? How does that 19mm Sigma do wide open, or one stop down?

          BTW, if I can trust my eyes to check images at ‘flickr’, that Biogon 28mm seems to do fine on the NEX-5N; and one photographer posted some landscapes using the 21mm Biogon for Contax G on either the NEX-5 or 5N (I forget which now): that seemed to work out, too. But yes, numerous questions about the wider angle RF lenses used on the NEX-7 have popped up here. I guess a fully “film” lens compatible, full frame NEX-?? would answer a lot of people’s wishes! Mine, for sure.

  13. If I am right it is on nex an equivalent 45mm, right ? It is a bit slower than the sony 50mmf1.8 but cheaper and the pics looks amazing on nex 3, so as Scott suggested Steve why you do not try, if you have the chance, this lens on your nex 7 to see how it performs maybe VS the sony 50mm ?

    • Ops I forgot… is it me or it seems shorter-smaller than sony 50mm ? Also what I never understood is why the sony 50mm is only silver ? This one black matchs much better the all black nex7 imho.

      • What i dont understand is why so many people ask for black painted lenses and cameras. Chrome colored metal lenses are rare these days and aside from Leica you dont commonly see them around sicne the 50’s and maybe 60’s.. When you have metal lenses with such a nice chrome silver color why would you want to smear back paint all over it, because you want it to look more ” pro?” Black paint on plastic, black paint on magnesium alloy i can understand…but would you paint the chrome bits of a Harley with black paint? Would you paint the blade of a Samurai sword with black paint? Id rather look at nice chrome metal then black paint…espcially black paint with paint chips all over it.

        There are tons and tons of black painted lenses all over the place these days…they are a dime a million, and one thing that sony is doing right is making their lenses look a little more classy .Even Olympus has followed suit with their silver 45mm lens.Perhaps all this hype and bandwogoneering goes back to Bresson, when he taped up all the shiny bits of his Leica for more discreet shooting. Also, it’s funny to note that i have seen photos of him shooting with chrome colored leicas in his later years. Maybe i should ask Walmart if they have metal fridges painted in black.

        • You can paint anything black, if you need it that color, hahaha. Anyway, the color of the lens will not figure in the exif data, not yet at least.

      • I do not care what the color is, for me the picture counts. I want the 19 mm as a standard on the NEX-7 since it seem to me just small enough to fit the camera in my pocket. Still wait for a correct pancake with 18 to 20 mm, the 16 is too wide in angle for me. A pa,cake zoom like the small Samsung types would do the job as well, in 12 to 24 range for example or 14 to 20, i need something like that.

    • The Sigma 30 is not an alternative to the Sony 50 but rather a complement as the Sony is a 75mm equivalent on the Nex’ cropped sensor.

      • I would have appreciated a lens like the Sigma 30-1.4, a bit more volume and quality at same time.

  14. How bad is the AF? Usable or does it require manual focussing via peaking? If that’s the chase then I’d rather get an optically superior/faster 28mm or something

    • AF is pretty snappy on my NEX-7 – I have no complaints. I’m not sure I’d want to use it for action shooting, though.

      All in all I’m becoming quite fond of my 30/2.8.

    • The AF is probably similar in speed to the 18-55 kit lens. But since I don’t have that lens any longer, I can’t directly compare. Not exactly a scientific comparison, just going from memory 🙂 It’s definitely slower than the 16mm e-mount, but it’s not so slow that it’s unusable.

      My son turns 3 in a few days, so he’s a very active subject. “hold still and smile” is not his forte 🙂 If the AF was too slow, I wouldn’t have got that shot.

    • The lens isnt that bad.At 200-250usd you cant ask for too much. Just be glad that Sigma even made one. As for tonal quality it’s not too shabby either, very reminisccent of older B&W works seen reproduced by 35mm film masters in books…so utmost sharpnest and clarity is not on everyones wish list. Many times, a less sharp lens is better at conveying certain things. Optical image quality is always a subjective thing, and not everyone want to use the sharpest lenses int he world. when a lens get too sharp it always losses a certain “look” or “charm” it may have if it wasnt super tack sharp. Lenses are made for “go”, not for “show”…which is what a vast majority of photo ppl strive for nowadays as the photo industry is to men what the beauty [ cosmetics] industry is to women. Women want the lastest cosmetics to serve their vanity and men want the lastest gee whizz tech and silly fast aperture lenses to stroke their ego. the craft of making a photo is eventually lost. Thank god most painters dont sit around and talk about brushes and paints.

      • I dunno. When I used to hang around groups of painters they often WOULD talk about brushes and paints–to each other. But I get what you’re saying.

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