Revisiting Old Glass - The Sigma 15-30mm f/3.5-4.5 EX DG lens!

Joined
Mar 4, 2005
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15,552
Location
Los Angeles, USA
I just recently re-bought the Sigma 15-30mm ultra-wide angle zoom lens having owned it several years back, maybe in 2003-2004. Back then, I only had DX cameras and used it on a D100. I eventually sold it due to the limited focal range. Fast forward 2019 and if you look hard enough, you can find this lens sell in the $100-200 range. For the most part it's long forgotten, but it's worth noting it was the first ultra wide angle zoom lens wider than 16mm, utilizing the bulbous design which was later copied by the Nikon 14-24mm, Tokina 16-28mm, Tamron 15-30mm, etc. You can also say this lens was one of the first wide angle zoom lenses with digital in mind.

I've been looking at various budget Nikon SLR wide angle lenses, but I remember the 15-30mm actually being an FF lens. I was initially thinking about the Tokina 16-28mm, but the weight, size and reports of focus motor issues turned me off. I decided to hunt down another copy of the Sigma 15-30mm due to low cost, being AF screw driven (less prone to failure) and being extremely wide.

I received my copy yesterday, mounted it on my D750, did some focus adjustments (needed a -3/-6 AF fine tune on both my D750 cameras) and so far I'm impressed! Lenses like the newer Nikon 18-35mm G and 20mm 1.8 G are a bit sharper, but it's still plenty sharp for a 24mp sensor camera and corners aren't bad at all with good sharpness in the center. It also appears to have less distortion than the Nikon 16-35mm f4 VR. The lens does flare, but for the cheap prices this lens cost, I'm not complaining! I've also gathered enough odd strips and pieces of Lenscoat neoprene to cover the whole lens! The copy I received is in excellent condition, but this era of Sigma lenses utilizes the horrendously flakey barrel coating that eventually peels if not well protected.

Anyways, I still need to do some serious shots with the lens only doing a few test shots around the house and of my kids, but I think this lens a is a good option for those on a budget! I'll follow up this thread and post some images soon!
 
Joined
Mar 4, 2005
Messages
15,552
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A really quick minimum focus distance comparison between the D750 + Sigma 15-30mm DG vs the A7III + Sony 16-35 f/4 lenses. BTW - I had to customize my own distortion correction profile for the Sigma, since Adobe doesn't have any info for the lens. Sharpness-wise it holds up well with the more modern mirrorless-designed lens!

D750 + Sigma 15-30:
40839646483_d28d994359_b.jpg
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A7III + Sony 16-35 f/4 (the Sony lens focuses closer):
47016725934_f95da47dd7_b.jpg
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D750 + Sigma 15-30 Crop:
40839644983_c1f766e179_b.jpg
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A7III + Sony 16-35 f/4 Crop:
47805858071_580f0dea48_b.jpg
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Joined
Jan 17, 2007
Messages
472
Location
Suffolk, England
A really quick minimum focus distance comparison between the D750 + Sigma 15-30mm DG vs the A7III + Sony 16-35 f/4 lenses. BTW - I had to customize my own distortion correction profile for the Sigma, since Adobe doesn't have any info for the lens. Sharpness-wise it holds up well with the more modern mirrorless-designed lens!

D750 + Sigma 15-30:
View attachment 1637854

A7III + Sony 16-35 f/4 (the Sony lens focuses closer):
View attachment 1637855

D750 + Sigma 15-30 Crop:
View attachment 1637857

A7III + Sony 16-35 f/4 Crop:
View attachment 1637856
A really quick minimum focus distance comparison between the D750 + Sigma 15-30mm DG vs the A7III + Sony 16-35 f/4 lenses. BTW - I had to customize my own distortion correction profile for the Sigma, since Adobe doesn't have any info for the lens. Sharpness-wise it holds up well with the more modern mirrorless-designed lens!

D750 + Sigma 15-30:
View attachment 1637854

A7III + Sony 16-35 f/4 (the Sony lens focuses closer):
View attachment 1637855

D750 + Sigma 15-30 Crop:
View attachment 1637857

A7III + Sony 16-35 f/4 Crop:
View attachment 1637856
I too had that lens and used it on a D100. Though it seems a lifetime ago, I remember the lens as being one of the the first (perhaps the first) wide angle zoom for DX and as being really good (though large, heavy and as you say bulbous front element).
 
Joined
Mar 4, 2005
Messages
15,552
Location
Los Angeles, USA
A couple shots of the Sigma 15-30mm EX DG mounted on the D750 with a custom neoprene coat hand stitched by me (glad I paid attention in home economics class :D):

47767493412_19c83de599_b.jpg
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190510_SIGMA_15_30__LENS_FRIOLO_001 by Jonathan Friolo, on Flickr

46903354705_6b6da9ae5d_b.jpg
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190510_SIGMA_15_30__LENS_FRIOLO_003 by Jonathan Friolo, on Flickr

Attached to the front is a Lenscoat lens hoodie. Highly recommended for these bulbous wide angle lenses. It has a hard base to protect the glass from getting dinged:
47819754301_3305c3b7f1_b.jpg
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190510_SIGMA_15_30__LENS_FRIOLO_002 by Jonathan Friolo, on Flickr
 

NCV

Joined
Jan 31, 2019
Messages
546
Location
Italy
Real Name
Nigel
I picked up the wonderful ultra ultra wide Sigma 12-24 for €250. It works perfectly on my D700, but on the D810 it does not autofocus ( but it is at infinity after 3m).

I owned this lens back in my D70 -300 days and sold it when I went over to M43. It was one of the first FF lenses I hunted down when I returned to Nikon and FF for its low distortion a 12mm.

I see that off brand lenses have very little SH value and some great bargains can be found.
 
Joined
Mar 4, 2005
Messages
15,552
Location
Los Angeles, USA
I picked up the wonderful ultra ultra wide Sigma 12-24 for €250. It works perfectly on my D700, but on the D810 it does not autofocus ( but it is at infinity after 3m).

I owned this lens back in my D70 -300 days and sold it when I went over to M43. It was one of the first FF lenses I hunted down when I returned to Nikon and FF for its low distortion a 12mm.

I see that off brand lenses have very little SH value and some great bargains can be found.

I was considering the Sigma 12-24mm, but I opted for the Sigma 15-30mm mainly due to being an AF-D screw driven lens (which would make it less prone to HSM motor failures), little to no reports of compatibility issues and low price. The Sigma 15-30mm also has a surprisingly low level of distortion. When I was making a custom raw distortion preset for the lens, it didn't really need that much adjustment.
 
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