LensVid Exclusive: Sigma 19mm f/2.8 DN Lens Review
More or less at the same time we got the Sony A6300 (which we just reviewed here on LensVid) before Photokina 2016, we also got two Sigma E mount lenses – the 19mm f/2.8 and the 30mm f/1.4. Today we are going to look at the first of these two lenses.
One of the biggest advantages of mirorrless cameras is the size – having a compact camera that you can take anywhere. The problem is that if your lens are still big and heavy you lose this advantage. This is why Sigma’s current E-mount line of lenses is so interesting – it offers several very compact lenses with fast apertures with a nice extra bonus of being extremely affordable.
The tiny Sigma 19mm f/2.8
The question of course is can Sigma make a compact affordable lens that will actually perform? well this is the question that we are going to look at in this video.
- Build quality – The build quality of the Sigma 19mm is pretty good and actually kind of surprising when you think of how inexpensive this lens is although Sigma include it in the ART series. The design is super simple – it has no switches and only a single ring (which we shall discuss in a second). Worth mentioning that the lens does make a little noise when it is shaken which we don’t think effect its performance in any way but is still pretty bizarre.
- Size and weight – The lens can’t really be categorized as a pancake lens but it is as close to one as can be with a length of under 5 cm or 2 inches and a laughable weight of under 180 grams or 6.3 oz.
- Ring – As we have mentioned the Sigma 19mm has a single ring for focusing. What is strange about this ring is that it is completely smooth – initially we thought that it will be hard to work with it but we got used to it. Just like the 30mm Sigma lens for E-mount – this lens has a fly-by-wire style mechanism which means that it has no hard lock when you turn it and you can basically turn it endlessly – we would actually prefer a more traditional mechanism but we guess that it is simpler and less expensive to make this type of mechanism and it seems to work fine.
- Hood – The lens comes with a small short plastic hood but it seems to do the job or at the very least gives some extra protection to the rather tiny front element.
- AF – The lens seems to focus fairly fast and we didn’t have any perceived problems with focus speed or accuracy.
- sharpness – The lens is extremely sharp in the center wide open as you can see from our test images. The corners are a bit less sharp wide open but if you close the aperture by one stop to f/4 you get good sharpness and at f/5.6 you get very good sharpness.
Sharpness test – center and corner in different f numbers
- CA – We encountered very little CA with the lens.
- Flare – We didn’t encounter and significant flare with the lens.
- Vignette – With our A6300 vignette auto correction off you can see that wide open there is some darkening in the corners, however the auto correction on Sony cameras typically works pretty good although you will get a bit higher ISO in the corners.
Strange results (auto correction on the A6300 is off)
- Barrel – We were pretty surprised to see the barrel distortion test results – either the lens is distortion free or Sony has some auto correct that we didn’t find but there is literally no distortion with this image which seems pretty strange for a 19mm lens.
Barrel distortion – non existent
- Bokeh – The Bokeh are nice and round and if you are close enough to your subject and it is far enough from the background you will get decent separation wide open (although this is still only an f/2.8 lens for APS-C).
So let’s try and sum up this quick look at the Sigma 19mm f/2.8 lens for E-mount cameras. Sigma seems to really be able to pull this one off. The lens is small, light, inexpensive (under $200), relatively well made and has good performance (although we will admit that the general characteristics of it are not extremely challenging).
With all of this going for it, is there really any reason for Sony APS-C E-mount users not to get this lens? well the only reason that we can think of is the need for this particular focal length. 19mm is not especially wide on APS-C but at the same time it isn’t ideal for portraits either unless you are doing a lot of group photos. So why would you buy this lens? well, as a compact lens for landscapes and general urban shooting it can be pretty useful and you can even take some close up photos with it although its definitely not a dedicated macro lens.
At the end of the day if the focal length is right for you this lens is a just a steal and we can highly recommend it.
A few sample images we took with the Sigma 19mm f/2.8 DN and the Sony A6300 (click to enlarge):
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