User Review of the Sigma 30mm F/2.8 on the Sony NEX-5 by Esmir “Simon” Kucevic

Review of the Sigma 30mm F/2.8 on the Sony NEX-5


I recently purchased the Sigma 30mm F/2.8 lens for my NEX-5 since I really was looking for a good prime lens that met my budget range. I wasn’t impressed by Sony’s 16mm lens due to their lens distortion being a turnoff and their 30mm & 50mm lens didn’t really meet my ends. After searching online for lenses, I came across the newly released M 4/3’s lens by Sigma, both in 19mm & 30mm. I decided since there weren’t many options available, I would try one of them which ended up being the 30mm f/2.8 lens



Its made mostly of plastic so it I wouldn’t expect it to be made of superior quality but it is however nice and comfortable. The lens looks very nice attached to the NEX-5 and it isn’t bulky or heavy at all. It’s very light-weight that does not pose for any problems for anybody who wants to carry this lens attached to the camera all day, especially for street photography which is what I do.


Optical Quality:

For a lens that is listed around $199 dollars, My fear was that it would not meet my expectations, boy was I wrong. Nearly every photograph I took was sharp even when stopped at F2.8. Clarity is excellent all around and in terms of chromatic aberration, the lens handles it quite nicely to the point where I can’t even spot it on any of the photos I took since purchasing it. From F2.8 all the way to F22, it is still very sharp especially at center range. The auto focus on this lens is very impressive. Almost instantly it focus on a subject and can shoot away with no worries unlike my other Micro 4/3s camera the Olympus E-P2 with the Panasonic 14-42mm zoom lens.

In terms of manual focusing, I find the focus ring on the lens itself to be excellent. Not too loose nor too tough to turn should anybody decide to turn off the autofocus feature inside the NEX-5.


What I liked about the Lens:

Excellent Optical Quality

Excellent Sharpness

Good Build Quality


What I did not like about the Lens:

Kinda wished that Lens was F2.0 but its really not a big concern


Would I recommend it:

For $199, it is DEFINITELY a budget friendly lens with excellent result. If you’re interested in the M4/3’s camera from Sony but not keen on their lens then I would recommend it no question. Granted it isn’t a Leica or Voigtlander or even Zeiss Lens but this is really a solid lens for anybody who is not really set on breaking the bank for lenses.

Esmir “Simon” Kucevic




  1. Really like the 2nd and 4th shots – where is the 4th shot taken? Thinking of purchasing the M43 version of this lens to use with my E-P1.

  2. Talking about “neatly sidestepping” (really liked that; nice phrase!); here’s Lloyd Chambers’ view (his view matters even less than mine, of course):

    “I have increasing issues with presbyopia— a rear LCD (only), the lack of an electronic viewfinder (EVF) is an untenable disaster.”

  3. Agree fully that both the Sigma 30, and the 19, are just great! And adding the Panasonic DMW-GWC1 transforms the 19 to an even wider wide angle – superb!

  4. Yes Matt, I’ve always preferred style over function… Although in the case of mirrorless vs slr, the function (holding the camera to my eye instead of peering at a display through outstretched arms) gets priority with me. That it’s difficult to take an interestingly framed picture with a rear display only camera is demonstrated almost daily on this blog.

    Holiday snaps yes, intesting photography, no.

    • There’s nothing wrong with composing your picture through the back lcd..I’ve done it many times. There are also times when sticking ones eye into a small hole of an EVF and getting ones glasses all oily or sweaty isnt appealing either. Though, the EVF to compose is alot easy to hold more steady. Many peiople use both.

      As for the pictures here, where besides the museums or art books would you be able to see really good stuff? It’s safe to say most people who loiter on this site know they are not at the Louvre.LOL

      Don’t forget too that once, Bresson describes how he got that famous picture of the man jumping over the puddle of wate rin France. Bresson said he stuck his Leica in between planks of a fence and he wasnt even able to look thorugh his viewfinder. Figure that, a picture that was made without the photographer looking into any viewfinder! LOL

      • I try to be a bit more ambitious than snapshots, and sometimes I succeed. If you were to look in at some of the photography groups on FB (analog only, the street groups; Vasco Leao springs to mind) you’d see some amazingly interesting images, but possibly not fit for the “Louvre”.

        I do realize the ambition level here is different.

        • There’s nothing wrong with that too. After all, Bresson didn’t even like developing his own work, and went back to drawing later in his life. He even once said he didn’t even consider himself an artist and said “Not only am I an amateur; even worse, I am a dilettante,” …And of course his famous qoute
          “Photography is nothing–it’s life that interests me.”

          I have also checked out Vasco Leao works, they are good indeed. The biggest problem with photgraphy itself is that street photos today , even the best of them seem to be a repetition of the works of Bresson. Meaning that it has been done before but now it’s just a variation of it.That’s not to say it’s easy to get good images. I suspect that even Bresson himself knew at a certaion age that alot of what he was doing was repeating past successes.There are only so many different compositions and human elements in a photo one can find, it’s not limitless in its newness.

          All great photo journalistic photos you see in books and galleries echo and mimic the photos you would find in Bressons work. Also, you can see how in Bressons work he was influenced by the old master painters before his time. This is why i have such admiration for the great painters. Painting differs in many ways but one notable way is that in painting, spontaneity can be created by a great painter, whereas that has to be found and on the street for photgraphers. This “moment” is never assured or garanteed, which is why great street photo is so difficult.Composition is important but that can be learned as a design tool, but to get that “timing” or what Bresson called ” the decisive moment” is the only note which makes his great photos “sing.”

          • I agree Industrial. I’ve gone “off” street photography a bit, because most appear to be random shots posing as interesting images. Vasco seems to have an eye for graphic compositions, and even though it has been done before, I find his images mostly interesting.

            “Interesting” is what I look for in a photographic image, and what I try to achieve in my own photography. I found the three shower images here interesting, though not necessarily very good, and certainly more interesting and thought provoking than many of the demonstration “look I’ve got this or that camera” shots that make it on to this blog.

    • I can’t agree less; an ovf is needed to take serious photo..
      so it’s means that the guys a rollei or a hasselblad without the prism where taking only holiday snaps, I guess they will now discount Richard Avedon snapshots.
      The rear lcd, allow to frame the picture and then you can get an eye on your subject and trigger the picture when the moment is right.
      Indeed if you’re more comfortable with an OVF, then use it. But dismissing everyone which is not using the same technique as you, without any argument, is just ridiculous.

      • @E: you might want to look up a little camera history: Rolleis and Hasselblads have eyelevel viewfinders, and had prisms as accessories (not sure about the Rolleiflex/-cord, but most professional mf cameras of the day had). Leica’s have eyelevel viewfinders. The absence of an evf is often pointed in reviews of ilc’s; there must be a reason for that.

        • Michiel – you neatly sidestepped the point, you have written off the work of any photographer who doesn’t use an optical viewfinder as “holiday snaps”. I’m sure you’re not the kind of person who would change your mind about a photo you loved if you discovered it was taken with only a screen on the back for composition, are you?

          • I just might…. Given the right threats of physical violence. I was actually trying to make a point. But honestly, if I was handed a 5 euro note for every time the absence of an eye level viewfinder in a mirrorless camera was lamented on this blog alone in the last three months, I could have a great night out.

            From a practical point of view, call me crazy, but I (that is, me, myself and I) just prefer looking through a real viewfinder instead of peering at a display.

  5. I’m glad everyone was paying attention. So, apart from the important sensor size discussion, what do we think of the images presented? Do they prove a point and if so, what is that point?

    Btw, want a small APS-c camera with excellent sensor quality and a good cheap kit lens? D3100, 3200, 5100, 18-55… Put it on auto iso and aperture priority, and off you go! You might actually look like a photographer instead of a tourist.

    • on the street, i prefer people consider me a tourist so they can ignore me taking pictures. it’s actually a good thing.

    • Umm… the camera bodies you list are only small compared to FF systems. The NEX is a great ILC that can be discrete while producing great IQ. Its great to be able to drop the NEX-7 & 30mm in the diaper bag and be ready for those impormptu shots… and no my wife won’t sacrifice a formula or two for me to get the DSLR into the bag, and I’m not lugging another 10lb camera bag around. 🙂

      APS-C cameras are coming of age. With the computing power evolving and better algorithms… mirrorless is the most interesting sector of photography today.

      • I ditched all my small cameras and use my backup ff camera exclusively. No compromises that way. Not buying into other system. Will buy the rx100 though 😛

    • So your point is to ‘look’ like a photographer rather than actually be one? Considering that the one an only advantage of the SLR cameras you suggest are the better handling aspects of the camera, your suggested spray and pray settings completely negate that advantage! So the only advantage you present is looking more like a photographer, well done.

      • I think what he is saying is that it’s easier for him to take pics if he looks like a tourist, that way the subject doesnt get suspicious if you look like some serious dude toting around a serious camera. People are more forgiving if they think you are a tourist taking pics ,even if they happen to be in it. Alot of ppl take exception to folks like Eric Kim who spray ppl in the faces with flash and camera vulgarity.

        Spray and pray is also a loose term. If it means shooting tons of uncomposed pics and cropping it later then yes..that is not good. But many photogs use burst mode or consec frames per sec to hopefuly catch a good moment in a sequence. They had that too back in the old day, it was called the film lever and your thumb. lol.

        Taking street pics are the hardest thing to do because sadly, all the aspects of it were probably done by Bresson already. Anything else is sort of like a variation of repeating.
        Having said that though, street is extremly difficut beacuse if you get the composition, the human element doesnt work, if the human element works, the composition does not. The timing as seen in Bressons work is truly amazing in its sheer degree of difficultu to obtain. If you dont have the human element and the timing of the motif, you dont have a street photo but just another landscape photo taken in the street.I have seen alot of landscape street photos, lanscape people photos- so to speak, but rarely do i ever see a photo like Bressons, where there is a mixture of form and timing and meaning.

  6. “If you’re interested in the M4/3′s camera from Sony but not keen on their lens then I would recommend it no question.”— HUH?!

    Sony NEX cameras have the APS-C image sensor format. Definitely NOT Micro Four-Thirds. :-p

    And I’m still waiting for this Sigma 30 f.2.8 EX DN for NEX to arrive for my Sony NEX-5N.

  7. I have both d 19mm & 30mm Sigma, both r e mount lenses on my NEX 7 without need of adapters. Very good & affordable lenses that outperforms sony’s range of e mount lenses anytime. Highly recommended to all NEX users.

  8. So this is a review and Sony E System turns out to be a 4/3 system… sorry but as they say: do your homework.

  9. I use this lens with my NEX7 and it’s a great lens. Anyone should buy it. It’s cheap and performs very well.

  10. I just recently upgraded from the NEX-5N to the NEX-7. I bought the Sigma 30mm f/2.8 at the same time. I love this lens on the NEX. Makes for a great street combo. An incredible bargain at $199.

    • I bought it when LensRentals revealed just how good it was on its Imatest rig. It is very inexpensive, even here in the UK with out 20% sales tax, and what is more important, it delivers where it counts – image quality and, oh, it’s sharp! One just has to remember no built in image stabilisation.

  11. I like the frame size, very pleasing to the eye. I might give this lens a go. These photos look great and at that price point why not? Good job sir

  12. Sony Nex 5 is an APS-C camera not a M4/3. If the Sigma is a M4/3 lens are you then using an adapter for the Nex 5 body? Just asking?

    • Look at his pıcture with the Sony camera. There is no adapter. Just simply because Sigma is selling this for Sony NEX and Olympus m4/3 mount

    • Yup, the reviewer somehow refers to his Sony NEX-5 camera as a “M 4/3”. Sigma came out with 2 versions of this lens- one for Sony NEX, and another for the micro four-thirds cameras.

  13. “The lens looks very nice attached to the NEX-5 and it isn’t bulky or heavy at all.”

    Uh, not really. It’s a NEX. If it’s not a pancake lens, EVERY lens makes the camera look cumbersome and bulky.

    • Or, why not highlight how small the body actually is when a normal sized lens for APS-C sensors is attached?

      In reality, the Sigma is a very good lens in partnership with the Nex 5N, and I would say the body/lens size ratio is very akin to an M9 with a wide aperture M lens attached.

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