Sigma 28mm f/2.8 Mini Wide II Thoughts

I’ve been wanting a vintage lens to have some fun with without breaking the bank. I did a lot of research and found the Sigma 28mm f/2.8 Mini Wide II on eBay for $40. This lens is probably the best bang for your buck you can get in this price range. Its available on nearly all camera mounts, made in Japan, all metal construction and the focus is buttery smooth.

Keep in mind that this is a manual lens, no auto-focus, no cpu, no electronically controlled aperture. This is all manual baby. Some cameras let you setup non-cpu lens data like my D610 to allow color matrix metering and support for i-TTL flashes.

I think its a good first vintage lens to see if vintage lenses on digital is something you want to get into. I used this lens on a full frame DSLR (Nikon D610) and I was surprised by the results at first and then quickly realized this lens cannot be used for landscapes or anything focused at infinity.

1:1 Center Crop

While the center sharpness of the lens is where is shines, the corners are terrible and I don’t mean the extreme corners, I mean once you start looking away from the center it becomes softer and softer and the chromatic aberration is just awful. The lens just can’t handle the high resolution sensors these days. But what do you expect from a $40 lens that has been around since the 70s? On film you probably didn’t even notice. I know some might say “oh that’s just pixel peeping” but when you can see it on your camera’s LCD monitor, you know its bad!

WP_20150904_17_26_05_Pro

Still, its an awesome little lens and it has a ton of character which makes for rather interesting photos…if you can look pass the awful chromatic aberration that is.

It focuses quite close too, almost 1:4 macro magnification! Which I thought was actually quite impressive and bokeh is quite pleasing, I think anyways.

Take a look at some the shots I’ve taken with the lens and the Nikon D610.

I wish I had more pictures to share but I really don’t. It was really difficult to get good usable shots with this lens. You can see a common theme in the pictures, everything is toward the middle of the frame and that’s because if its not toward the center it was soft and fuzzy. On a good note, distortion was surprisingly well controlled.

If you have a micro four thirds camera, and want to get a cheap lens…I think this Sigma lens would perform better because you are only using the center part of the lens. But honestly before looking at this lens, I’d take a hard look at Nikon’s Series E lenses instead.

Like I said, this is a $40 lens and in a way, it performs as such. But you have to remember the point of getting these vintage manual lenses is to be more creative.  Having a manual lens makes you slow down and think more when composing your shot and I definitely learned a thing or two from using this lens.

2 Comments

  1. M A Ash April 13, 2016 at 5:07 am

    Hi Nicholas,

    I have just bought the same sigma mini wide 28mm 2.8 and with NIKON D610.
    I am really struggling to take any pictures with it as I have never used full manual lens before.
    Could you please help me with the settings at all. if I need anything to setup before taking pics.
    I just put this lens on and tried to take pics but I can not see anything on my screen when done. Its too dark.
    As you have used this lens, I am hoping you may be able to offer any advice. thanks

    Reply
  2. Nikhil Nigade December 4, 2015 at 4:30 am

    That photo of you holding the leaf sold me on this… such bokeh quality, much wow!

    Reply

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