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Alistairm

The Sigma 45mm F2.8 DG DN Contemporary - SL users should take a look

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I've been enjoying this lens and I think it is one that every SL owner who wants to use the SL or SL2 in a walkaround situation should look at carefully. 

I haven't got anything bad to say about it really. In my, admitedly anecdotal experience and without running any tests, using it with the SL2, it:

  • is compact and light (tiny compared to any of the "native" Leica FF options); 
  • is reasonaly priced (a stonking bargain compared to any of the Leica options); 
  • is sharp; 
  • has pleasant rendering in terms of all of colour, colour temperature, contrast and out of focus areas; 
  • focuses quite close;
  • focuses quickly; 
  • focuses quietly; 
  • has a nicely weighted feel for manual focus; 
  • has an aperture ring; 
  • has a very high quality aluminum build that is sturdy and light; 
  • has a very high quality aluminium hood with good markings and good detents, which is reveresible for storage (but blocks the aperture and focus rings when reversed); 
  • protrudes only a few mm more and is noticably lighter than the tiny Elmarit-M 28 ASPH with M adapter does; and
  • allow the SL2 to be used with autofocus in a much smaller form factor than any of the FF Leica lenses, with no sacrifice of tactile build quality and (for me) improved ergonomics with an aperture dial. 

I knew the Sigma Art series lenses were good from back in the days when I shot Nikon, but I've been (very pleasantly) surprised by how great the little 45 Contemporary is on the Leica SL2. It is impressive in almost every way that a lens matters, in terms of all of both imaging and handling. 

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I picked one up for my SL recently. I haven’t used it much yet, but what I’ve seen so far is encouraging.

FWIW, I note that one of the testers in DP Review, Carey Rose, rates it as his ‘Gear of Year’. I think he used it on an A7R III. Oddly,  he is a little less than complimentary about it’s performance (fringing, not that sharp). He also has a moan about the price; clearly he doesn’t live in Leica-world.

I agree with all the points you make above. I have used M lenses almost exclusively on my SL over the years, but always wanted to plug into the full capabilities of the camera. A brief relationship with the 24-90 ended early because I just couldn’t live with the bulk and weight of it. The 45 is great for street and I think a perfect pairing. 

I’m looking forward to shooting more with this lens, and I’m interested in hearing more about results with the SL2 which will be a real tester; my SL2 is waiting in the wings.

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Great lens! I've had mine for just over a month and very pleased. I also love that it has an aperture ring, and the size on the SL is perfect.

Here's pic with the SL & Sigma 45mm of one of my cats, Romeo.  ISO200  f4.5 @ 1/30s hand held

It's the first Sigma lens I've ever bought, based on this I really wish they would make a long telephoto in the 400mm to 500mm  range in L mount.

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vor 1 Stunde schrieb jcraf:

FWIW, I note that one of the testers in DP Review, Carey Rose, rates it as his ‘Gear of Year’. I think he used it on an A7R III. Oddly,  he is a little less than complimentary about it’s performance (fringing, not that sharp).

Optically it’s a poor performer wide open. I’m waiting to compare it to the 35 Summilux-TL.

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One question in return to the Sigma 45mm users:

No doubt AFc and AFs works but is it possible to set the cam on MANUAL focus (menu SL-I and SL-II?)

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vor 3 Stunden schrieb Alistairm:

I've been enjoying this lens and I think it is one that every SL owner who wants to use the SL or SL2 in a walkaround situation should look at carefully. 

I haven't got anything bad to say about it really. In my, admitedly anecdotal experience and without running any tests, using it with the SL2, it:

  • is compact and light (tiny compared to any of the "native" Leica FF options); 
  • is reasonaly priced (a stonking bargain compared to any of the Leica options); 
  • is sharp; 
  • has pleasant rendering in terms of all of colour, colour temperature, contrast and out of focus areas; 
  • focuses quite close;
  • focuses quickly; 
  • focuses quietly; 
  • has a nicely weighted feel for manual focus; 
  • has an aperture ring; 
  • has a very high quality aluminum build that is sturdy and light; 
  • has a very high quality aluminium hood with good markings and good detents, which is reveresible for storage (but blocks the aperture and focus rings when reversed); 
  • protrudes only a few mm more and is noticably lighter than the tiny Elmarit-M 28 ASPH with M adapter does; and
  • allow the SL2 to be used with autofocus in a much smaller form factor than any of the FF Leica lenses, with no sacrifice of tactile build quality and (for me) improved ergonomics with an aperture dial. 

I knew the Sigma Art series lenses were good from back in the days when I shot Nikon, but I've been (very pleasantly) surprised by how great the little 45 Contemporary is on the Leica SL2. It is impressive in almost every way that a lens matters, in terms of all of both imaging and handling. 

Fully agree with your statements/findings.
The 45mm Sigma is a great lens and it makes the SL much more portable now.
I leave the Sony A7 stuff more at home now when I go out for a ride or a walk.

Here is also a short finding from Thomas Berger:
https://www.macfilos.com/2019/08/08/sigma-45mm-f28-dg-dn-lens-for-l-mount-first-impressions/?fbclid=IwAR3volwa9S_v9QWNoXmTtw9ooXrlZCdNgIX_-HwaIYnY1_Wr-i4rHtYm4EQ
 

So a very recommendable piece of glass (also wide open).

 

@BlackDoc: with the 45mm Sigma  attached and the switch on the lens set to AF, the MF option in the SL Menu is grey so not selectable.
So you have to use the manual hardware switch AF/MF on the lens itself to switch to manual focussing which should not be a problem I assume 🙂
John

Edited by satijntje

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39 minutes ago, BlackDoc said:

One question in return to the Sigma 45mm users:

No doubt AFc and AFs works but is it possible to set the cam on MANUAL focus (menu SL-I and SL-II?)

Yes the lens has an AF - MF switch and it works in full manual mode as well on the SL.

 

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51 minutes ago, meerec said:

What a handsome boy. Show us the rest of the family @michali ...

Here's a pic of his sister, there are another 4 of them, 6 in total.

SL & Sigma 45mm ISO160 1/40s @ f5.6  

FWIW in my next post is a 100% crop of the DNG, even though you can' really tell much at the resolution here.

 

1 hour ago, Chaemono said:

Optically it’s a poor performer wide open. I’m waiting to compare it to the 35 Summilux-TL.

I haven't found this. I have the 35mm Summilux TL as well and you can't really compare them, different price bracket etc. Horses for courses, from my perspective I  use this lens mainly for out and about street photography, I'm not fussed about sharpness. I do however love its compactness and ease of use on the SL.

 I'll test it on  the SL2 when mine arrives in the next 2 weeks, maybe the higher resolution sensor shows up any faults more?

I'll post some wide open shots later today.

 

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FWIW here is a 100% crop of the DNG straight out of camera, even though as mentioned above you can't really tell much at the resolution here.

Edited by michali

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Here's one wide open, cloudy weather SL & Sigma 45mm ISO100 1/640s @ f2.8  

100% crop of DNG in next post.

 

  

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Just imagine that Leica had produced a 2/50 of about that size, maybe slightly bigger. And it would not have an Apo in the name. Wouldn’t that be the most wonderful lens, and very usable ....

Unfortunately Karbe and Leica we’re stuck with their one size idea, and chasing the Apo frenzy. And marketing chimed in. So there is now a great Apo 2/50 at an even greater price and 700g weight. And what is the difference in IQ? But it is great for the Guiness Book.

There is the R 2/50, it has exactly these characteristics, ease of use is fine, but is not AF. So we need to go to Sigma for the most standard AF lens ...     (Silly ?)

Edited by caissa

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11 minutes ago, caissa said:

Just imagine that Leica had produced a 2/50 of about that size, maybe slightly bigger. And it would not have an Apo in the name. Wouldn’t that be the most wonderful lens, and very usable ....

Unfortunately Karbe and Leica we’re stuck with their one size idea, and chasing the Apo frenzy. And marketing chimed in. So there is now a great Apo 2/50 at an even greater price and 700g weight. And what is the difference in IQ? But it is great for the Guiness Book.

There is the R 2/50, it has exactly these characteristics, ease of use is fine, but is not AF. So we need to go to Sigma for the most standard AF lens ...     (Silly ?)

I agree! What this lens offers as an all round everyday lens at this price level, is a no-brainer.

Edited by michali

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My bronze friend from Benin-  so here's another one wide open, I promise it's the last one I'm going to post.  I'm not seeing the "poor optical performance" that some of the reviewers are seeing.  At least nothing that can't be fixed in PP. 

SL & Sigma 45mm ISO 50 1/400s @ f2.8  

100% crop of DNG in next post.

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Reid reviews after intense testing considers this as one of his most favorite lenses for L-Mount cameras. Indeed softer wide open and at close-by, but with pleasing bokeh and attractive rendering. 
Seems like a worthwhile addition to the L-system, making the SL(2) an even more versatile camera. 

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3 hours ago, caissa said:

Just imagine that Leica had produced a 2/50 of about that size, maybe slightly bigger. And it would not have an Apo in the name. Wouldn’t that be the most wonderful lens, and very usable ....

Unfortunately Karbe and Leica we’re stuck with their one size idea, and chasing the Apo frenzy. And marketing chimed in. So there is now a great Apo 2/50 at an even greater price and 700g weight. And what is the difference in IQ? But it is great for the Guiness Book.

There is the R 2/50, it has exactly these characteristics, ease of use is fine, but is not AF. So we need to go to Sigma for the most standard AF lens ...     (Silly ?)

Silly only if you're a Leica shareholder. For us punters, it is a clear benefit of the L-mount alliance - and there'll be more.

Perhaps not silly for Leica shareholders either. If Sigma can produce a lens of this quality at this price, then how is Leica going to turn a profit on one? Perhaps better to stick to a lens quality segment where it is more difficult for others to compete.

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