It was a quiet Wednesday when I got a call saying a lens had arrived for me at Roberts Camera here in Indianapolis.  While I do lens reviews somewhat regularly this was still a surprise as I wasn’t expecting any lenses to review nor had I ordered one.  (Plus they normally get sent to me directly as opposed to going to Roberts).  Come to find out I had a week with Sigma’s newest 45F2.8 DN C lens.  While I was excited, I didn’t know much about the lens so it was a quick bit of reading, learning and etc and I was well on my way.  Also, a very special thanks goes out to my friend Chris Legg over at Legacy Photography for loaning me his Sony A7r3 for the week to test the lens.

(Photo courtesy of Roberts Camera’s Website)

First of all, as usual, I will mention that I am not being paid for this review.  Sigma sent me the lens for me to write a review, but I paid my own monies to ship it back.  Roberts camera usually sets me up with a camera body to use, however they didn’t have any in their rental department at the time so I contacted my good friend Chris who happened to be able to loan me his Sony A7R3 for the week.  No money changed hands (Except when I bought Chris lunch but that was tacos, not cash monies).   Now Onward!

When I got the lens I was absolutely floored as to how small and how well built it was.  The lens was made of metal, and looked and felt much like Sigma’s Cinema lens line.  Even the lens hood was metal, which shows a real commitment to quality and longevity in my opinion which is great since I’m imagining this lens as a walk around always on the body kind of thing.  The E Mount fit nice and snug as a native lens should, and the lens looked perfectly at home on the Sony A7R3, with the body being relatively small and the lens being smaller than the old Nikon 50F1.4D.  The 45 is not too big, and not too small.  This NEW 45F2.8 DN C lists for sale at $549…… which seems a little pricy in my opinion for what it is although right on par for the Mirrorless world honestly.  For Z mount the equivalent would be the 50F1.8S which is physically larger but costs $596.96.  You get 1.3 stops more brightness in the aperture with the Nikon but the Sigma is built MUCH better in my opinion and is also smaller. (I do not own a Nikon 50F1.8S, but I have used it).   The NEW Sigma 45F2.8DN C is also much smaller than an F Mount Sigma 35F1.4 Art, which you should know is one of the smaller Sigma Art lenses.

Not being a regular Sony shooter I have to trust my past experiences setting up the bodies, as well as how Chris has his A7R3 setup.  Anyway; the body and lens performed almost flawlessly right out of the box.  The autofocus was fast, and accurate, and the images were excellently sharp through the range of F Stops on the 42-megapixel body.  At F2.8 and F4 the NEW Sigma 45F2.8 DN C vignetted a little as you can see in this image of a station wagon below, however, most lenses tend to have a little vignette wide open and this doesn’t bother me.

(Sony A7R3, NEW Sigma 45F2.8 DN C, 50ISO, 1/2000th@F4)

As far as walking around goes, if it was up to me I think this 45 would pretty much ALWAYS be on my camera in walk-around situations like this.  Generally, 50mm is considered the “Normal” perspective lens in photography.  Normal perspective is considered to be the equivalent of taking an 8×10 photograph and holding it at arm’s length.  Replicating that perspective.  Not too long, not too wide.  Zoom with your feet.  Welcome back to the world of rangefinders.

(Sony A7R3, NEW Sigma 45F2.8 DN C, 320ISO, 1/640th@F20.)

The primary focus of my testing took place at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway during the SVRA races.  Roberts Camera, Olympus, and Elinchrom hosted a racing photography workshop this year at the Speedway.  I was there for Elinchrom to do the Driver portraits portion, however, that was only a small part of the day’s activities. Those activities included the racing, and of course just wandering around. The NEW Sigma 45 F2.8 DN C was perfect for this and on the A7R3 and it’s sharpness really shined as you can see below.

(Sony A7R3, NEW Sigma 45F2.8 DN C, 1/1600th, 50ISO @F2.8)

Click HERE if you want to download the full file from above, but if you just want the punchline then just keep reading.  How about this shot at 500% where you can read the serial number on one of these Fikse Wheels? The shot above (and its 500% counterpart) is at F2.8.  For a $500ish walk around lens, this is insane.

So the lens is plenty sharp in my opinion.  42 megapixels is no joke, which is why as far as Sony E mount goes the A7r series camera is a great one to test these things on because they will show every flaw a lens has to offer.  For this reason, I’ve talked about buying a Sony body for these reviews as well as for help during my photo workshops and I think that’s something that is going to happen very soon.  I’ve said before if you rent or borrow something enough times it’s a need and not a want, and I think it’s time. I’m not likely to buy a NEW A7R4 or anything but I think a little consistency in the reviews will be good.  I digress.

(Sony A7R3, NEW Sigma 45F2.8 DN C, 1/40th, 50ISO @f22)

The lens performed flawlessly in my opinion in what I considered to be a great test of purpose for this small 45mm lens.  It performed exactly as you would expect a native FE mount lens to perform which to me is very exciting.  I didn’t really spend much time playing with the variable aperture ring on the lens, but I LOVE that this cinema lens feature is making its way into Sigma’s lenses for Photography.  Sigma is in the process of filling a lens gap for Sony shooters very quickly.  What started with the MC-11 Lens converter for Sigma and Canon lenses and also all of Sigma’s Art Primes being converted for E Mount has now quickly sped into Native FE mount lenses including this 45F2.8, the 14-24F2.8 ZOOM and also their first unique to FE mount offering; the Sigma 35F1.2 Art lens (which I am reviewing next).  It’s an exciting time for Sony shooters and mirrorless shooters as a whole.  I can only hope that some of these lenses will be available next for Nikon and Canon mounts (both mirrorless and not) sometime in the future.

(Sony A7R3, NEW Sigma 45F2.8 DN C, 50ISO, 1/800th@F2.8)

I’ll be honest at this point Sigma has set such a high bar for themselves that I am absolutely beyond excited to see what they do next.  It seems like every prime they have released whether Art or Contemporary has been a next-level grand slam. This NEW 45F2.8 DN C is exactly the same.  If I was a Sony shooter I think I’d have to have this lens in my bag it was that well built, sharp and unobtrusive.  If/when I do buy a Sony body this may be the lens that I get to keep on it as I don’t want to have a body sitting with no lens now do I?   If you think the NEW Sigma 45F2.8 DN C is something you might be interested in, give a shout out to Roberts Camera to take a look at it.  They are good people and I buy almost all my stuff from them.  Also, keep your eyes open for the NEW Sigma 35F1.2 review.  I’ve had my hands on it, and I think if you are a Sony shooter, this is the lens that you are going to NEED to get.  More Soon.