- Well built and generally compact (though much larger than competitors)
- Very sharp in the center right from f/2.8
- Extremely affordable
- Very fast and accurate autofocus
- Pleasing rendering with good color and contrast and neutral bokeh
- Sigma includes an excellent lens hood and high end lens case with the lens despite its budget price
- Image corners never get super sharp
- Some longintudinal chromatic aberration and purple fringing can crop up from time to time
- Lens is larger than competing lenses of similar focal length and aperture
- The lens has an oddly long start-up period that lasts 3-4 seconds
The Sigma 19mm is a lens that frankly, I shouldn’t like. I’ve been using pretty much nothing but high end lenses for the past 6 years, and generally a budget lens like this wouldn’t even ping my radar. Then there’s that somewhat odd focal length, it’s relatively slow aperture and unremarkable size . But the fact of the matter is, I do like this lens.
Sigma managed to make an affordable lens that is well built with a fast and silent autofocus motor. They then made it surprisingly sharp with good color and contrast, packed in all the accessories you’d need and sold it for a pittance. Is it as good as the Panasonic 20mm f/1.7? No…it’s not. The Panasonic has a much larger aperture and is much smaller, all while being a little bit sharper on the edges (though the center is likely a wash). But that Panasonic costs over double what this little gem costs, and there’s that intangible: I love shooting with this lens. I know I shouldn’t…but I do. I have a blast with it on my camera. Sigma has made a great little lens, with high quality optics, and they have the decency to charge next to nothing for it. Well done!
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12 thoughts on “Review: Sigma 19mm f/2.8 EX DN”
Wow. Love those black & whites from Columbus, and also “Looking”. The lens doesn’t seem to be “biting” sharp – which is good for portraits. Reminds me a bit of older lenses for film cameras, like my OM Zuikos. A job very well done from Sigma, and your images are great. Thanks for the report and review.
Nice report, but you said nothing about video capabilities. I have the lens and agree with your comparisons with the Pany 20mm (which I dumped over a year ago), but the latter focuses slowly and is almost useless for video. Many of us shoot both stills and video; I use a couple of OM-Ds for stills and have a couple of GH2s for video. I usually carry at least one of each. Regardless of the price, I think that this is a good lens, but one of the major reasons is its almost silent and fast focusing, advantageous for stills, essential for video. Even if it were the same price as the 20mm, I’d get this one.
You are correct! I am not a videographer, I’m a stills photographer, so I almost never use the video features of my camera. I will likely do a few quick test videos over the next day or so and put in a little blurb.
to be frank AF in video is irrelevant for most serious users . there are no lenses that give seamless AF for video hence why for most MF is their choice
I’m thinking to buy this lens to fit on a GX1.
With my Sony NEX 7 , I do have the 30mm .. great lens !
thank you Sigma
Thanks for your review
I bought this lens about 20 hours before your review came out and it is a relief to me that you like it. I read other reviews and decided that it was worth the risk to buy it, especially as it was on sale on Amazon for less than $150. I always enjoyed the 35mm focal length on my Nikon back in the film days, it was my normal lens. I’m hoping that this lens will take a similar place on my OM-D.
Eric – the guys from Pen & Tell also like it pretty much. It’s in German, but maybe you could use a translator for this: http://pen-and-tell.blogspot.com/2012/12/winterimpressionen-sigma-19-mm-f28-ex-dn.html
Thanks for this review … I have been searching for a review that is conclusive about the lens quality, and I believe yours is the one. Nicely complemented with photos that show the capabilities of the 19mm. Up to now I have been disappointed since reviews pointed out how good the lens was, only for the horrible pictures accompanying the reviews to make things confusing. So many thanks again for your work. Now I am considering it for my shooting since it is mainly urban landscape (and a little portrait)
The only question now is how much of the image quality is the sigma 19mm and how much the OMD? I wonder how steep the IQ deterioration will be on my G2…
Great review ! I was afraid that the lens may display awful flare and ghosting, like the 60mm (Kurt Munger’s review), but my fears are now allayed. It seems to be excellent value for money apart from being a good performer in its own right. I am now going to see where I can buy this lens; India isn’t all that sold on Sigma lenses I don’t think.
Thanks for a very cogent and useful review, Mr Steele.
You should check out the Sigma 60mm/2.8 DN A for m43. It is an exceptionally good lens.
I reviewed it on Sony this summer. You are correct that it’s exceptional: https://admiringlight.com/blog/review-sigma-60mm-f2-8-dn-art-sony-e-mount/