Sigma 45mm F2.8 DG DN Contemporary E-mount lens review by QuietOC

reviewer#44507 date: May-2-2020
sharpness: 4.5
color: 4
build: 4
distortion: 3
flare control: 4
overall: 3.9
tested on:
  • film camera:Film camera
  • APS-C: 6MP6 MP; 10MP10 MP; 12MP12 MP; 14MP14 MP; 16MP16 MP; 20MP20 MP; 24MP24 MP
  • full frame: 12MP12 MP; 24MP24 MP; 36MP36 MP; 42MP42 MP; 61MP61 MP
ownership:I own this lens
compared to:Minolta 40 F1.7
Konica AR 40 F1.8
Sony FE 40 F2.5 G
Canon EF 40 F2.8 STM
Pentax-M 40 F2.8
Pentax-DA 40 F2.8 XS
Pentax-FA 43 F1.8 Limited
Rokinon 45 F1.8 FE
Tamron SP 45 F1.8 USD (VC & non VC)
Minolta MD 45 F2
Lensbaby Sol 45 F3.5
Rokinon 50 F1.2
Yongnuo 50 F1.4
Zeiss 50 F1.4 Planar
Canon EF 50 F1.4 USM
Sigma 50 F1.4 EX DG HSM
Minolta MD 50 F1.4 & AF & Sony (D)
Minolta MD 50 F1.7 & AF & RS
Yongnuo YN50 F1.8S DF DSM
Sony FE 50 F1.8
Canon EF 50 F1.8 STM
Fotasy 50 F1.8
Konica AR 50 F1.8
Vivitar 50 F1.8
Sony DT 50 F1.8 SAM
Sony E 50 F1.8 OSS
Minolta MD 50 F2
Neewer/Meike/Vivitar 50 F2
Sony FE 50 F2.8 Macro
Sony A 50mm F2.8 Macro
Minolta AF 50 F2.8 Macro RS
Minolta MD 50 F3.5 Macro
Minolta AF 50 F3.5 Macro
price paid:399 USD (new)
positive:Minimal lateral CA
Flat field
Black anodized finish
Fast Hybrid AF
Lens Compensations
Blue color cast on sides
Pincushion distortion
Minor purple fringing/axial CA
Metal surfaces
MF Switch
Minor focus breathing
comment:This is the lens the Sony G primes pretend to be. It also remind me of Sigma's older 30mm F2.8 DG Art. Thankfully the brushed aluminum of the later has been exchanged for a more durable anodized texture. It does resemble inexpensive C-mount lenses, but Sigma has probably used a good amount of more appropriate materials. This lens was launched at a retail price of $550, but has been steadily discounted. Adorama has been selling it new for $229 shipped for several months. I evidently paid way too much. "MADE IN JAPAN"

The angle-of-view is just slightly tighter than the Pentax-FA 43mm F1.9 Limited. The 40 mm primes are all wider. The other 45 mm primes are narrower.

It seems higher quality than most other lenses. The front plastic trim was carried over from their APS-C primes, but the lettering is now just painted instead of engraved. The aperture ring markings are engraved and painted. The filter thread and hood bayonet on the lens are metal. The matching bayonet on the metal hood uses a chunky plastic insert. I would have preferred a monoblock composite lined hood which didn't interfere as much with manual focus. I reduced the build rating to 4 because of the lack of sealing and the inclusion of the MF switch.

Override switches on lenses are bad UI and have lost me photos. While this MF switch requires a good amount of effort to switch, there is no way to disable it from unintentionally overriding the camera focus setting without dissembling the lens. It is another point of entry for contamination in an unsealed lens.

The allow hood barrel somewhat blocks the focus control when installed--don't plan on using both together. Sigma prioritizes aperture control over manual focus. The "A" setting of the aperture control has enough resistance to not be much of a nuisance. The third stop detents are nicely spaced. Third-stops are excessive, but Sigma is merely following Sony with this. Despite being on one of the cheapest AF lenses available it operates better than the expensive Sony lenses.

This lens is marketed by Sigma for its rendering. This is accomplished by a high amount of under corrected spherical aberration. This causes out-of-focus foregrounds to be rather rough and hard edges at close focus show a good deal of neutral fringing. The Sony FE 50 F1.8 is also somewhat under corrected for SA but is much sharper close up and renders foregrounds much smoother. The Sony doesn't match the clarity of the Sigma within the depth-of-field. I was surprised to see that backgrounds can sometimes be a bit busy with the Sigma.

Autofocus is much improved compared to previous Sigma DN lenses I've had. The AF motor is somewhat audible and its motions can be felt, which is somewhat surprising in such a small, solid feeling lens. But the element(s) move quickly.

rating summary

lens image
  • total reviews: 2
  • sharpness: 4.50
  • color: 4.50
  • build: 4.50
  • distortion: 4.00
  • flare control: 4.00
  • overall: 4.30 - Home of the alpha system photographer
In memory of Cameron Hill - brettania