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Mirrorless lenses, of late, have been getting bigger. I remember, when Sony launched the A7R, the first few lenses were small and light, namely, the 35 2.8 and 55 1.8. Then came their G Master series and the size started to increase. Of course, the G Masters were no compromise wide aperture lenses. Then, Sigma had their Art series adapted for the Sony mirrorless cameras and these were also big. And, now we have the L Mount lenses from Leica, Sigma and Panasonic and all of them are big.
So, when I opened the box of the Sigma 45mm f2.8 DG DN Contemporary lens, I was pleasantly surprised. It’s tiny and light but feels solid. It weighs just over 200g.
The ‘Contemporary’ series has a motto ‘Pursuing Optimum Balance’. According to Sigma ‘Product name includes “DG” when the lens is designed to deliver the ultimate in performance on cameras with full-frame sensors, and “DN” when the lens design is optimized for mirrorless cameras with the short flange focal length’.
Build Quality: This lens is ‘pro’ grade. Don’t get fooled by its light weight. The lens barrel and hood are metal, the aperture ring on the exterior is smooth and the lens is ‘dust and splash proof. The mount is of brass.
Usage: Given that it’s not a 1.4 or 1.2 lens, it obviously is not meant for extreme creamy bokeh shots but if you are looking for portraits at f2.8 in adequate light, this lens is perfect. I shot a few portraits indoor, in studio and outdoor, with and without flash.
For street photographers who use a 35 or 50mm as their go to lens, this lens would be a brilliant lens for street photography and documentary. I personally prefer the 21mm or 28mm but I took this lens for a spin and found it a great lens for street.
This could a very good one lens solution for Vloggers. Face/eye detection works great on the Panasonic S1.
The size and weight make this lens very apt for travel. This could be a good single lens solution for short outings. You can click your family, some landscapes, street and documentary kind of shots with this lens.
Performance: One word, brilliant. I could not find any flaws. Focus is snappy. I used it the conventional way and with the Panasonic S1’s touch focus and shoot feature. This feature is particularly useful while shooting in the streets.
While this lens is a 2.8 lens and not for extreme bokeh, the close focusing distance ensures that you get some lovely bokeh if you shoot really close. The manual says just over 9 inches but I shot this at around 6 inches and it still auto focused perfectly. The lens has 7 rounded aperture blades and a filter size of 55mm.
It’s razor sharp at all apertures, hardly fringes and flare is very well controlled.
The picture below was shot at a focusing distance of about 6 inches, wide open and AF worked. There is no visible purple fringing.
At $549, this lens is a steal.
A few portraits in available light.
A few portraits with the Profoto B10s. I used a Fuji trigger which works on the S1 but you won’t get HSS or TTL.
Here are a few street photographs shot in Chennai, India.