Shooting Portraits with Sigma’s 30mm f/2.8 DN Lens

Today’s Post by Joe Farace

Recently I wrote a post, “Field Test: Sigma 30mm f/1.4,” about this wonderfully useful lens. While not horribly expensive ($399) it still may be a stretch for some of this blog’s readers who mat be new to mirrorless photography. Instead they might ask, “what’s wrong with the $169 30mm f/2.8 DN lens,” that like the f/1.4 is available fun both Micro Four-thirds and Sony E-mount. The short answer to that question is nothing.

The more I shoot with Micro Four-Thirds in my 11×15-foot home studio, the more I like it. My favorite feature of mirrorless cameras is that when you make a photograph, the images you just captured is visible in the viewfinder enabling you to keep working without having to flip the camera over and chimp. I am convinced this produces better portraits as well.

The 30mm f/2.8 DN turned out to be a perfect compliment to my old Panasonic Lumix G2 that I used to photograph Anastasia. The lack of zoom that mean you spend less time fiddling with the camera, instead moving your body back and forth, left to right to get precisely the framing you want making the experience more interactive between you and the subject. Because my lighting can get contrasty it invites flare but there was no flare with the 30mm f/2.8 DN and it’s well-designed lens hood.

Sigma’s 30mm f/2.8 costs less and is shorter that the f/14, which is 2.89 inches long while the f/2.8 is 1.59. The f/1.4 isn’t heavy at 9.35 oz but the weight of the f/2.8, while obviously lighter is “not specified by the manufacturer.” And the smaller aperture is no big deal since the EVF, unlike flippy mirror cameras makes all lenses equally bright. Yet, if depth-of-field is a consideration, the f/1.4 is the winner and is a lovely lens in it’s own right.

Screen Shot 2016-03-26 at 9.13.43 AMIf you’re interested in shooting portraits and how I use cameras, lenses and lighting in my in-home studio, please pick up a copy of Studio Lighting Anywhere” which is available from with, as I write this, new copies selling for$17.50 (plus shipping,) just a few bucks more than used ($16.24,) both cheaper than the Prime price.