Sigma 19mm F2.8 For Micro Four Thirds

I found a Sigma 19mm F2.8 at a clearance sale and I bought it out of curiosity. The price was so low, I won't regret it even if I did not like the lens. It was one of the first few prime lenses that Sigma made for mirrorless system, and it was originally designed for Sony APS-C mirrorless cameras. However, they also made the mount available for Micro Four Thirds, and this was a huge deal back then because in the early days there were not many choices for mirrorless native lenses, even from the camera manufacturers. Now, with so many options for lenses available, I cannot help but wonder if it was still worth getting the Sigma 19mm F2.8 today? My video on this topic here (click). My video on this topic here (click). 

Sigma 19mm F2.8 Art Edition

There is obviously no reason for me to do a full review for this lens, this is an old lens and whatever that needs to be shared about this lens, they have been done hundred times over. You can find the many reviews online, and I don't have anything meaningful to add honestly. 

I brought the Sigma 19mm F2.8 out for some street shooting, and I mounted it on my OM System OM-1 camera. 

The Sigma 19mm F2.8 isn't exactly small, because Olympus made a 17mm F1.8, which is smaller and lighter than the Sigma19mm. If you consider the big difference between the aperture brightness, Olympus made the 17mm smaller, and brighter, which shows how the Sigma 19mm was made to cover larger image circle - APS-C sensor on Sony cameras. I cannot help but wonder, if Sigma made this lens specifically for Micro Four Thirds, it could have been much, much smaller. 

The lens is made of full plastic, but that is to be expected from a budget lens. There is only one control on the lens, which is the manual focusing ring. The design of the lens is in all black and looks minimalist. I do personally like this design very much, the lens barrel being completely smooth and void of any unnecessary markings. 

The lens can render decently sharp images. Generally, I am very happy with what the lens can produce, at least the center of the frame. Images come out full of fine details and good contrast. 

However, the edges and corners of the frame show a different story. The sharpness decreases significantly toward the corners, and even when you stop down the lens to F5.6, the softness is still very visible. I expect a Micro Four Thirds lens, especially with optical telecentric design to have much better corner to corner sharpness. This Sigma 19mm shows extremely poor corner performance, I don't remember seeing any others Micro Four Thirds lenses with similarly soft corners. 

There are some technical lens flaws, such as chromatic aberration (purple fringing), flare when shooting against strong source of light and barrel distortion. None of these issues are dealbreakers and I don't expect the lens to be void of any flaws, considering the low-price tag. 

The autofocus works fine. If you compare it directly against any native Olympus/OM System or Panasonic lenses, you can see the gap of speed and reliability - the Sigma was a tad slower and less responsive. 

So, the question is - is it worth getting the Sigma 19mm F2.8 now, after 10 years since its release? My answer is a little divided. If you can find one at such cheap pricing, as I did, then the lens is still a perfectly capable lens, and it can deliver good results. For a budget lens, it does its job very well, and the lens is still relatively compact for mirrorless camera system. 

However, if the lens is selling at near full retail price, then I'd suggest you look elsewhere. There are many, many native Olympus/Om System/Panasonic prime lenes options that do not cost that much more, yet they are smaller, better built, has more efficient autofocus, better image quality and definitely - no corner softness problem which I find quite unforgiveable in the Sigma 19mm lens. 

At F2.8, the lens can still render some shallow depth of field

The AF was fast enough to catch some moving action

There is some barrel distortion 

The bokeh looks smooth, not nervous, but nothing special either

Corners are VERY soft. 
Left F2.8, Center F4, Right F5.6

Starburst isn't looking pretty

The lens can flare

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  1. Hello Robin Wong, I'm a honest reader of your blog for years, and also a decade M43 user from China. Recent days I'm traveling in Malaysia, unfortunately accidentally broke my Pany-Leica 12-60mm glass (my mainly used lens for vlogging and traveling happened to be my first broken gear T_T), I have some days staying in Kuala Lumpur, do you know any place to buy a used or new one? Thanks a lot.

    1. Sorry to hear about the mishap of your lens. You can visit YL camera (they have stores in PJ33, Low Yat Plaza and Pudu Plaza) or N4 Artishutter (Jiospace, PJ).

  2. It turned out I used another lens carried with me, the Oly fish eye 8mm f1.8 to complete my visiting & shooting in Malaysia. Thanks for your information anyway.