Sigma 16mm f/1.4 vs 30mm f/1.4: A Non Technical Real Life Comparison on Sony a6500

I see you’re stuck between the Sigma 16mm vs 30mm f/1.4 lens for your Sony E-mount camera!

Honestly, one of the best but also most frustrating things about having a camera with interchangeable lenses is picking which lens to invest your hard-earned money into.

When it comes down to the Sigma 16mm vs 30mm, both of these lenses are two of the best quality and best value prime lenses for the Sony a6500. Although they are very similar in build, aperture, look, and feel, they both excel in different aspects of photography and videography.

Lucky for you, I’ve owned the Sigma 30mm f/1.4 lens and the Sigma 16mm f/1.4 for over many years, so I’ll tell you all about my experience working with them.

When I was researching and comparing the Sigma 16mm vs 30mm, the only articles I ever found were super technical.

So it is my goal with this article to provide a non-technical real-world comparison of what type of photography works best for each lens with examples from my professional work.

Hopefully, by the end of this article, you will have enough information to help you figure out which lens is a better fit for you!

Why Trust Me?

image of guy and dog in the snow

As with all of the camera-related articles I create, I have poured countless hours of research into it to make sure you have all the information you need to make the best decision.

I’ve been a professional filmmaker and photographer since 2018 and have been lucky enough to work on projects all over the world with brands such as Alaska Airlines,, Prague Tourism, Visa, Airbnb, and the ones you will see in the examples below. If you’re curious to see the full list of companies we’ve worked with, just head over to our Work With Us page.

I have used both the Sigma 16mm f/1.4 and Sigma 30mm f/1.4 since I started as a professional and even used the Sigma 16mm f/1.4 to shoot my entire award-winning short film Spirit of Matsu.

Most importantly, I’m just a message away. So, if you have any questions, just leave a comment below, email me at [email protected], or send me a DM on Instagram @tom.shu.

P.S. I answer every question that is sent 🙂

A little about the Sigma Lens Product Lines

Sigma 16mm vs 30mm Image #1 -

Sigma makes some of my favorite lenses for the Sony a6500 and for the most part, is a good alternative to the more expensive Sony lens lineup.

In my everyday carry bag, I actually have two Sigma and two Sony lenses and I use both my Sigma and Sony lenses just as much.

Currently, Sigma has organized its lenses into three different lens lineups based on the characteristics of the lenses. These three lines of lenses are:

  • Art Lenses: this is their larger aperture, prime lens lineup. Lenses in this lineup include the Sigma 35mm f/1.4 DG HSM and 50mm f/1.4 DG HSM. HSM means the lens has Sigma’s built-in Hyper Sonic Motor, which supposedly gives the lens faster autofocus and is near silent.
  • Contemporary Lenses: this is their all-purpose, multifunctional, compact, and lighter weight lens lineup. Lenses in this lineup include the Sigma 16mm f/1.4 DC DN and Sigma 30mm f1.4 DC DN that this article is about.
  • Sports Lenses: this is their durable, high-quality, telephoto lens lineup created for wildlife, and as the name suggests sports photography. Lenses in this lineup include the Sigma 60-600mm f/4.5-6.3 DG OS HSM and the Sigma 70-200mm f/2.8 DG OS HSM.

Like I mentioned already, both the Sigma 16mm and 30mm DC DN lenses are in the Sigma Contemporary Lens product line.

Although some people say that the image quality of the Art Lenses is better than the Contemporary Lenses, that is not the full truth.

In my opinion, it would be very difficult for a normal person or even your client to tell the difference between an image taken with an Art Lens versus a Contemporary Lens. Both lens lineups really are that good.

I actually don’t have an Art lens in my everyday gear bag, so I’m not going to get into a detailed comparison between these two lens lineups, but if you’re looking for more info, here is one of my favorite YouTube videos comparing lenses from both product lines.

When do I use the Sigma 16mm f/1.4 the most?

After owning the Sigma 30mm f/1.4 for over a year, the main reason why I decided to pick up the Sigma 16mm f/1.4 was for the wider focal length.

Now, the 16mm is my go-to videography, real estate interior (hotel clients), and low light wide-angle lens I use.

Honestly, in most situations where I would have used the Sigma 30mm in the past, I now choose to use the Sigma 16mm.

The extra 14mm difference between the two lenses definitely makes a huge difference especially on the APS-C sensor of the Sony a6500.

This isn’t always the case though as there are certain situations where I would rather use the Sigma 30mm f/1.4, but I do tend to use the 16mm lens much more now.

To give you a better idea of what type of situations I use this lens in and how the images look, here are some commercial projects where I primarily used the Sigma 16mm f/1.4 lens to shoot.

1.) Videography: Spirit of Matsu Short Film

Spirit of Matsu was a short documentary film I shot in Beigang, Taiwan in the summer of 2018 to capture the annual Matsu Festival celebration in this small countryside city.

Over the course of 7 days, I ran around the small city, capturing the festivities in the narrow alleyways, small streets, and inside the main temple of the city, Chaotian Gong Temple.

Shooting conditions were pretty rough as fireworks were exploding all around us at all times of the day.

The crowded streets, alleyways, and temple were also all poorly lit so it definitely tested the autofocus and low light capabilities of the lens and camera.

The reason why I chose to shoot with the Sigma 16mm f/1.4 was that I knew I needed the wider angle for the alleyway and temple shots.

Plus, it gets extremely crowded during the event so I knew I would be closer than usual to any people I would be capturing too.

At the end of the 7 days of shooting, I was extremely happy with how the footage looked and was surprised by how good the lens actually performed in real life!

Don’t just take my word for it, though, check out the results. All the images you see here are stills taken from the final short film.

Also, if you missed it at the beginning of this section, I embedded the short film so you can check out the video results with this lens too.

Gear Used

  • Camera: Sony a6500, Sony RX100 V, DJI Mavic Pro
  • Lens: Sigma 16mm f/1.4 DC DN
  • Stabilizer: Moza Air Gimbal
  • Editing Software: Adobe Premiere Pro
Spirit of Matsu Short Film Still #6 -
Spirit of Matsu Short Film Still #7 -
Spirit of Matsu Short Film Still #2 -
Spirit of Matsu Short Film Still #5 -
Spirit of Matsu Short Film Still #1 -
Spirit of Matsu Short Film Still #3 -
Spirit of Matsu Short Film Still #4 -

2.) Tight Spaces and Low Light: Nau Clothing Campaign

Nau PDX x Seoul Collaboration with @witandfolly Image #1 -
Nau PDX x Seoul Collaboration with @witandfolly Image #3 -

Nau Clothing, a company based out of Portland, Oregon that creates premium apparel that combines technical performance with modern design from sustainably sourced materials partnered with us to launch their Seoul x PDX Korean Capsule Collection.

Their Korean Capsule Collection was a result of a collaboration between the company’s Portland-based design team and its Seoul based design team.

This resulted in a cool, streetwear type of aesthetic that took design inspiration from both the style, landscapes, and vibes of the PNW and the urban, chaotic, and trendy environment that is Seoul.

My goal of the collaboration with Nau on this project was to create a set of 20 images that would highlight the versatility and the streetwear vibes of this line.

To accomplish this, I chose to shoot in a street environment, which is something I usually don’t do.

The lens of choice for this photoshoot was the Sigma 16mm f/1.4 lens for two main reasons.

  • The shoot location was enclosed so I needed a wider lens to capture the entire scene.
  • The shoot location did not let in very much natural light so I needed a lens with a larger aperture.

The lens worked perfectly for this photoshoot and allowed me to quickly focus on Melissa in a variety of different positions even at a larger aperture.

Also, the lens allowed me to achieve some cool close up shots from a lower angle using the distortion of the lens to our advantage.

I don’t think this would have been possible with the Sigma 30mm f/1.4 because of its longer focal length.

Gear Used

Nau PDX x Seoul Collaboration with @witandfolly Image #7 -
Nau PDX x Seoul Collaboration with @witandfolly Image #6 -
Nau PDX x Seoul Collaboration with @witandfolly Image #9 -
Nau PDX x Seoul Collaboration with @witandfolly Image #8 -

3.) Interiors: Novotel Danang Premier Han River

Novotel Danang, Vietnam Collaboration with @witandfolly Image #4 -

Novotel Hotel & Resorts, which is a hotel brand under the AccorHotels Group with over 400 hotels in 60 countries partnered with us to create photography content for their Novotel Danang Premier Han River hotel property in Danang, Vietnam.

As part of the project, I had to take a series of photos in specific locations throughout the hotel.

This included its standard room, the executive suite, the executive spa, the pool area, its breakfast buffet, and the lounge.

For all the interior shots of the project, I chose to use the Sigma 16mm f/1.4.

The reason why I chose to use this lens versus the other ones in our gear pack is the same as the Nau Clothing project.

I needed a wide-angle lens to capture the tight spaces inside the hotel and a larger aperture which allowed me to keep ISO lower while handholding shots in lower light.

The lens handled all our interior situations great and allowed me to easily switch between different lighting situations.

Gear Used

  • Camera: Sony a6500
  • Tripod: Three Legged Thing – Leo Tripod
  • Lens: Sigma 16mm f/1.4 DC DN
  • Editing Software: Adobe Lightroom
Novotel Danang, Vietnam Collaboration with @witandfolly Image #1 -
Novotel Danang, Vietnam Collaboration with @witandfolly Image #3 -
Novotel Danang, Vietnam Collaboration with @witandfolly Image #7 -

When do I use the Sigma 30mm f/1.4 the most?

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Although the Sigma 16mm f/1.4 lens is a beast, there are still times that I would rather use the Sigma 30mm f/1.4 version depending on the shooting situation I’m in.

The three situations that I use the Sigma 30mm f/1.4 lens the most are:

  • Taking product photos.
  • Lifestyle photos in which the subject is the main focus and not the landscape.
  • If I want to create more depth in the image between the subject and the background while compressing the background slightly.

I find that the Sigma 30mm f/1.4 is easier to use for product and lifestyle photos.

This is because the extra 14mm in focal length distance allows me to shoot further away from the subject and also compress the background slightly giving certain scenes (such as trees, lights, etc.) a more full bokeh effect.

Also, since the Sigma 16mm f/1.4 is at a more extreme wide-angle, you will get some lens distortion, while the 30mm focal length gives a more natural look.

For example, if you shoot a model from low to high with the Sigma 16mm, the feet of the model will look much larger than the hands of the model.

This doesn’t happen with the 30mm lens.

To give you a better idea of what type of situations I use this lens in and how the images look, here are some commercial projects where I primarily used the Sigma 30mm f/1.4 lens to shoot.

1.) Create Depth in the Daytime – prAna Spring Dresses Campaign

PrAna Collaboration with @witandfolly Image #1 -

prAna, a premium clothing company based out of San Diego, California who creates clothing for yoga, travel, and adventure enthusiasts from sustainably sourced materials partnered with us to launch their spring dress campaign.

Our goal for the project was to create a series of images that highlighted the versatility, comfort, style, and sustainability of prAna’s dresses.

So, for the project, we decided to take prAna to Alishan Mountain in southern Taiwan during its cherry blossom season for a 5-day 4-night trip.

My favorite set of images created for prAna was on day 2 of our trip to the small Alishan mountain town of Shizuo.

In this town, there was a wooden walkway near the tea fields called ‘Cherry Blossom Trail’ which had cherry blossoms lining both sides of it.

The lens I chose to take photos at this spot was the Sigma 30mm f/1.4 as I wanted to frame Melissa with the cherry blossoms that were on top of the stairs while throwing out the background a little using an aperture of about f/2.8.

The 30mm focal length worked better than the 16mm focal length for this shot as it also allowed me to compress the trees a little more giving them a more full look.

Gear Used

PrAna Collaboration with @witandfolly Image #2 -
PrAna Collaboration with @witandfolly Image #4 -

2.) Create Depth at Night – Cleobella Dress and Bag Campaign

Cleobella Collaboration with @witandfolly Image #4 -

Cleobella, a brand that creates handcrafted clothing, bags, jewelry, and accessories working with artisans and families in Bali partnered with us to create a series of product photos for both their dresses and bags.

For this set of photos, we were in the picturesque Hoi An Ancient Town in Vietnam and had the vision to create a set of images at night for Cleobella.

The lens I chose to take the photos in Hoi An at night was the Sigma 30mm f1.4 as I wanted the extra focal length of the Sigma 30mm compared to the Sigma 16mm to compress all the lanterns hanging in the street.

This is the same reason why I chose to use the Sigma 30mm for the prAna project.

Also, I wanted to throw out the background using an aperture of around f/2.0 to emphasize Melissa with the lights and crowds in the background.

Gear Used

Cleobella Collaboration with @witandfolly Image #3 -
Cleobella Collaboration with @witandfolly Image #1 -

3. Use in Combination with ND Filter During Daytime – SummerSalt

SummerSalt Collaboration with @witandfolly Image #5 -

SummerSalt, a US-based direct-to-consumer swimsuit brand that makes designer swimwear without the designer price partnered with us to create a series of photographs for their swimsuit line.

For this partnership, we decided to create the photos during our trip to Vietnam too.

One of my favorite ways to use the Sigma 30mm is to pair it with a 6 stop ND Filter and shoot with the aperture wide open during the day.

The contrast and colors created from the mid-day sun shot through a 6 stop ND filter are really beautiful and is only possible if you use a darker ND filter.

If you do want to try this, make sure you get a high-quality ND filter because low-quality ones can add a color cast to your photos. If you need help finding an ND filter, make sure to check out this ND filter ultimate guide that I created.

Gear Used

SummerSalt Collaboration with @witandfolly Image #7 -
SummerSalt Collaboration with @witandfolly Image #3 -
SummerSalt Collaboration with @witandfolly Image #1 -
SummerSalt Collaboration with @witandfolly Image #2 -


illustration comparing the different weight of a lens

After using the Sigma 16mm f1.4 and Sigma 30mm f/1.4 for 2+ years now I can confidently tell you that they are both awesome lenses and each does certain things better than the other.

Here is which lens I would recommend depending on what type of photography or videography work you will be focusing on.

Who Should Get the Sigma 16mm f/1.4: 

  • Landscape shots in which you need to fit your subject in the frame such as mountains, trees, lakes, waterfalls, etc.
  • Urban photography
  • Real estate or interior photography
  • A general all-purpose videography lens
  • Astrophotography

Who Should Get the Sigma 30mm f/1.4: 

  • Expansive landscape shots in which you don’t need to fit everything in the frame such as a wide ocean shot, wide shot of rolling fields, etc.
  • Portrait photography
  • Lifestyle photography
  • Product photography
  • More specialized videography lens to get closer to the subject.

72 thoughts on “Sigma 16mm f/1.4 vs 30mm f/1.4: A Non Technical Real Life Comparison on Sony a6500”

  1. I have a family trip to Europe soon, I have 2 kids with me (13yrs old). I wanna take as many as possible photos of them. What Lens I shall take with? I am using a6400 and I have 10-18, 16-70, 18-200(silver), Sigma 16 1.4, Any suggestion? It is the 2nd time I visit Europe (last was 2004)… and I dont think I will go there again in coming 20 years….

    • That’s awesome you’re going to Europe soon and thanks for your questions! If you have enough room to take all your lenses with you, I would definitely do that as I always like to have more choice than necessary. If that’s not possible, though and you’re trying to travel lighter, I think it will depend. Here are some options I think might work well for you.

      Option 1 – Most Flexible: Pack the Sony 18-200 and the Sigma 16 F1.4. The reason why I think this combo might work well is because since you’re traveling with your kids, you probably don’t want to spend time switching lenses while you’re running around all day. The Sony 18-200 will for sure cover all focal lengths that you might run into on your trip when you’re capturing the kids and you could even use it as a wide angle or telephoto lens for landscape if you wanted to. The downside of the Sony 18-200 is lower light situations, which is where the Sigma 16 F1.4 comes in. With the Sigma, you don’t get the reach, but at least you can use a faster aperture when its darker out or if you’re taking photos of the kids indoors. Plus, you will probably have to use a higher shutter speed to capture your kids, so the faster aperture will help you do that without cranking up the ISO too high. I think it is possible to only use the 18-200 your entire trip, but carrying the extra Sigma 16 F1.4 would probably come in handy. I like the idea of this combo of lenses because Europe has so many beautiful landscapes to capture and it would be a bummer if your lens didn’t have enough reach to capture what you wanted in a certain situation. Especially if you won’t be going back in another 20 years.

      Option 2: Best Quality Photos: If you’re looking for the best quality photos and are ok with losing some of the flexibility from the extra reach of the Sony 18-200, then I would take the Sony 16-70 F4 and the Sigma 16 F1.4. I have owned the Sony 16-70 F4 for almost 2 years now and it is by far the lens I use the most. The flexibility of the focal length isn’t as good as the 18-200, but 16-70 covers a good amount of ground too. To be honest, I don’t own the Sony 18-200 and have never used it before, but from all the reviews I have read, the image quality of the Sony 16-70 is better. I would add in the Sigma 16 F1.4 for the same reasons as option 1 because the weakness of the Sony 16-70 is low light. I like this option because I know how good of images the Sony 16-70 can produce. Plus, a focal length of 16-70 covers most situations, especially if your focus is on taking photos of other people, like your kids. The aperture is also constant at F4 on this lens, so when you zoom into 70mm you don’t have to worry about the change in settings affecting your picture.

      Option 3: Everything Covered: This is what most closely resembles what I carry most of the time. If you don’t mind carrying 3 lenses with you, I would bring the Sony 16-70, Sony 18-200, and Sigma 16. In this scenario, I would use the Sony 16-70 most of the time and would use the Sony 18-200 only as a telephoto lens when I wanted to zoom in on an object in certain situations. The Sigma 16 would really only be used only in low light situations or if I’m indoors and there is not a lot of light inside.

      I hope this helps you choose what to bring and if you have any other questions, just let me know!

  2. Hello TOM SHU,
    Thank you for your wonderful article.
    I am looking forward to buying the Sony a6000, my budget will not allow me to buy several lenses. Which one would you recommend as an all purpose lens( between the 16 and the 30 lenses) ?
    You mentioned about lens distortion in the 16mm, is that too noticeable if I take some very closeup shots like pets or food ?
    Please give some advice.
    Thank you.

    • Hi Darshana! Thanks for reading the article and happy new year! As I mentioned in the article, it really depends on what you will be shooting. Both lenses can be used as an all-around lens. The difference is that you’ll have to adjust how you shoot based on which lens you have. I only had the 30mm for the first 6 months with the a6500 and used it in all situations including landscape, portrait, food, videos, etc. When I got the 16mm, I used it in every situation too. The 30mm is really great for portrait type distance shots. The 16mm is really great when you need to fit more into the frame. Even though there is distortion on the 16mm, it’s only obvious if you’re shooting from an extreme angle (for example shooting the subject from low to high or vice versa). I do think the 16mm has a slightly better build quality and autofocus and it’s easier to manually focus with it. With that said, the 30mm is cheaper than the 16mm. I hope that helps and if you want more information just let me know!

  3. I have a Sony 16-50 lense. Do you think at 16mm focal if we compare both the lenses still Sigma 16mm fix lense would perform better due to F/1.4 ?

    • Thanks for your question! I think it will depend on what you’re shooting. If you’re taking landscape photos, it won’t make a significant difference since you’ll probably be using a higher f-stop. If you’re taking portraits or up-close photos of a subject, then it would make a bigger difference. Also, if you’re shooting video, the Sigma will give you a more cinematic look when it’s at f.1.4. I hope that helps!

  4. Hi Tom! Thanks for the very informative article and stunning photos. I am curious which lens you would recommend for making videos for online courses? My setup is going to be me sitting at a desk or occasionally standing at a white board. I wanted to have the background slightly blurred. The room is 13 – 17 ft. I would also be live streaming. A lot of people use the 16 mm/f 1.4 for this, but am curious if the 30 mm might be good to reduce some of the distortion you mentioned? If it is not inappropriate to ask, I am also wondering if there are certain lights you recommend for having soft/forgiving lighting in this kind of set-up? Thank you so much!

    • Hi Heather, thanks for your question and for reading the article. I think the 16mm f/1.4 would be a better choice. The distortion is really only a problem with the lens if you’re shooting from an extremely high or low angle, so sitting or standing at a white board shouldn’t be an issue. Additionally, I think the 16mm lens will be more flexible for when you’re standing by the white board. With the 1.5x crop factor on the Sony camera, the 30mm might be a little too zoomed in at times. As for lighting, I have heard this is one is a really great value: ESDDI Softbox Photography. If you have any other questions just let me know!

      • Tom! Thanks so much for getting back to me so quickly, and offering such detailed and helpful advice. I’m so grateful. I will check out those lights, they look great and are very affordable. I’m curious if you do any virtual one-one consultations (paid of course) to help with equipment/set-up?

  5. hi, great review indeed! But i still confuse what to get. Indont want to buy 2 lens. If possible i jist want to have 1 lens. I would love to capture aurora and potrait in 1 lens. Do you think 30mm is good enough for both? Thank you.

    • Hi Amir,

      Thanks for your question and I’m glad to hear you found it helpful. If you want to capture both the aurora and do portrait shots, I think the 30mm would be your best choice. The 16mm is also capable for aurora photos, however, it’s not as good for portrait style photos.

      Please let me know if you have any additional questions.


  6. Nice detailed review and amazing video! I saw you mention that after acquiring the 16 you used it more than the 30. I own the 16 and am currently considering skipping straight to the 56mm for a 2 lens setup. Do you think the 16 and 30 are different enough to justify getting both?

    • Hey Jerry, thanks for reading the review and for watching the video! There is a noticeable difference between the 16mm vs 30mm when it comes to the mid-range shots. With the 30mm it’s much easier to get that blurry depth of field than the 16mm especially if you want to keep the entire person in the shot like you see in the article with Melissa. It works with the 16mm too, but the subject just needs to be much closer to the lens, which doesn’t have the same look. In the end, I think this will depend on if you need a mid-range focal length or if you can be further away from whatever you are shooting. You can probably create similar looking images with the 56mm, but you will have to be much farther back from your subject. So, if this works with how you shoot, you can probably skip the 30mm. For our photography, we usually needed to keep Melissa in the entire shot, so the 30mm was a good fit in those special situations. The 56mm would also be nice to have too, but for us, it would probably be too close of a focal range in most situations we find ourselves in. I hope this helps and let me know if you have any other questions!

  7. Thank you so much for this review! I found it very useful and easy to read 🙂
    At the time I’m writing this I own a Canon EOS M50 which I LOVE, I bought the camera with the lens kit (15-45 mm) and then decided to also add a 11-22 mm lens.
    Now I’m really debating myself about getting a Sigma Lens (they are so sharp!!!!!!!), but I’m a little hesitant about which one I should pick. I mostly focus myself on vlogging (such as lifestyle and travel vlogs) and also beauty content (reviews, tutorials and all that). I’d really like to invest in a Sigma lens but I’m not quite sure which one would add more benefits to my already kit.
    Hope you can help me!

    • Hi Camila, you’re welcome and thanks for reading the article! I’m glad you found it useful and thanks too for your question too. Both lenses are really awesome and you can get great results with both of them. I think it will come down to which focal length you will use more and if you hold the camera in your hand/use a tripod and walk and talk while vlogging. If you capture the walking and talking type of vlog content and you hold your camera in one hand while recording yourself, then I think the 30mm might be a little too tight. Since you have those focal lengths covered with the lenses you have already, have you tested to see if 16mm or 30mm works better for you? Performance-wise the Sigma lenses are very similar and you will see a big difference in the depth of field compared to the lenses you already have with the f/1.4 max aperture with the Sigma lenses. So, I think it will come down to what focal length you will benefit from most. I know it’s not a definitive answer but I hope it helps!

    • Hi! Thanks for checking out the article and I’m glad you liked it! The Sigma 30mm is very good for landscape photos in most situations. The only downside is that with the crop factor on an APSC sensor, it may not be wide enough in some situations. If you think this might be the case for you, the Sigma 16mm could be a better choice. I hope that helps!

  8. so after searching over the net and youtube. I have to say this is the best comprehensive overview regarding the specific lens i am looking at. However i am still fairly new to the photography and more important videography. I recently got my hands on a5100 body only for a remarkable low price. Due to covid i plan to use it for streaming, zoom etc. one of my main functionality i am hoping to gain benefit of use is the detail focus capability of the lens, by web streaming an over the top down view to cover a 24 by 24″ view of space. Which lens would you recommend in order to pick up clarity on text focus, or would you recommend something else all in its entirely. Appreciate so much for your support.

    • Hi! That means alot to hear that and I’m glad you found the article helpful. Thanks for taking the time to ask your questions as well. I did a little testing for you and both would work. It will just depend on a few things. I’m 5’9″ and when sitting down using 16mm the camera is at about eye level to fit most of the 24″ x 24″ view of space into the frame. This is nice because you can see the camera screen without using an external monitor. The downside is that there is not too much room between the table and the camera so it could get in the way. With the 30mm lens, the camera needs to be slightly above my head to fit most of the 24 x 24″ view. The downside is that you can’t really see the camera screen since it’s above your head so you’ll probably need an external monitor. On the positive side, you have a lot more room between the table and the camera so you have more flexibility to work. I hope this helps and let me know if you have more questions!

  9. Hi Tom, thank you very much for the article. I have a Sony a6000, that came in with kit lenses (Sony 55-210mm (4.5-6.3) OSS and Sony 16-50 (3.5-5.6) OSS). I wanted to get a higher quality lens and, after doing some research, got a Sony 35mm E (1.8). I like the quality of the 35mm pictures for portraits/small groups, but have a bit of a hard time with the relatively narrow field. that requires stepping quite far back from the subjects. To resolve this, I looked into (Option A) getting also a wide-angle lens such as the Rokinon 12mm (in which case I would have both the 35mm and the Rokinon), but instead I could (Option B) return the Sony 35mm and get the Sigma 16mm F1.4. Would you have any guidance? While being able to shoot good portraits is nice, I usually like to include some background, and I like being able to take indoor family pictures. A couple of concerns I would have with the Sigma 16mm: suitability for portraits/relatively close pictures of people, and lack of image stabilization (problem for taking family pictures on the go with little ones who don’t usually stand still?). I would be grateful for any guidance. Thank you very much.

  10. Tom, supplementing my comment above: one reason for considering adding the Rokinon to the Sony 35mm is the ability to include landscape, but maybe swapping the Sony 35mm for the Sigma 16 F1.4 instead would be enough to be able to include some landscape photo from time to time. Thanks again for any guidance.

    • Hi JB,

      Thanks for your question and for reading the article! It sounds like you have a very nice setup already, and that’s great to hear you have the 35mm f1.8.

      I thought about your question for a little bit, and here is what I think.

      If the classic portrait type of shot (for example, from the shoulder up) is significant for you and high on your priority, the 35mm focal length is probably your best bet. You can definitely use the Sigma 16mm for portrait work too, but you will have to get very close to your family members. With that said, for family photos, if you’re ok with more of a wider “portrait” type of shot, which shows more of the area around the subject like the examples in the article, then the 16mm will work great, especially in lower light. As you mentioned, the lack of image stabilization in the Sigma isn’t very big of a deal for photos. Since you’re capturing photos of your little ones, you’re probably using a fast enough shutter speed to counteract the lack of stabilization. Plus, it’s fast enough to handle low light, and the Sony a6000 is pretty good at higher ISOs.

      The Rokinon 12mm is a great wide-angle choice; however, the big downside is that it’s a manual focus lens. Because of this, the Rokinon is probably not best for capturing family memories as I could imagine, it would be difficult to focus on people since everyone is always moving around. For landscape, I actually think you could get away with the 16-50mm you already have.

      In conclusion, here are some options I think you have.

    • If you spend more time taking photos of family vs landscape, then I think you don’t need to change anything. The 35mm focal length is great for more intimate shots with family, especially for those portrait shots. For landscapes, I think the 16-50 mm would work very well. Although the 16-50 is a variable aperture lens, you will likely be using a higher f stop, so it wouldn’t matter as much. The image quality of this lens isn’t as good, but I think it would be hard to tell unless you really looked at the small details side by side.
    • If you’re looking for a faster wide-angle lens to use indoor with your family and are ok with the wider “portrait” style shots then option A, trading for the Sigma, is appealing. The reason why I say indoor is that I think the 16-50mm lens you already have would work as a wider angle option when you’re outside with the family or for landscape photos. Yes, it’s a slower lens, but when it’s bright outside it can be hard to use the Sigma lens wide open without an ND filter.
    • I hope you find this information helpful! I know it’s not the clearest answer so if you have any other questions please let me know. You can also reach out to me directly at [email protected] if you would like too

  11. Hello Tom,

    Thanks for your article.
    Do you have any suggestion between the choices of 16mm/30mm if I got a Sigma 19mm F2.8?
    As my baby will be born in the coming few months, so one of my target is taking different shots for my new born baby.
    Also, do you have any article about the technique of taking shots with baby or animals??
    Thanks for your reply:)

    • Hi Jojo,

      Thanks for reading the article and I’m glad you found it helpful! That’s very exciting news too and I wish you the best! I think the 30mm would be the best fit. On the APSC sensor the 30mm has an equivalent focal length of ~45mm. At this focal length it will give you enough reach so you won’t have to get too close to your baby for those intimate shots and is still wide enough when you need it to be. The 16mm or 19mm could be nice too, but I think you would have to get too close with these lenses.

      I don’t have an article about techniques for taking shots of newborns or animals, but I might write one in the future! My best tip would be to use a faster shutter speed (like 1/500) so you don’t miss any moments. Additionally, don’t be afraid to increase the ISO to achieve a faster shutter speed if you’re shooting in lower light.

      If you have any more questions, just let me know too!

  12. Thank you so much for this wonderful review of these lenses, I looking forward to get an alpha camera and I was hesitating in which one choosing. Btw, I loved your short film, it’s really nice.

    Best regards
    Rafael Acuña
    Santiago, Chile.

    • Hi Rafael! You’re very welcome and I’m glad the article helped! Thanks also for watching the short film 🙂

      Keep me updated on what lens you end up choosing and send some photos you take with your alpha camera once you get it too!


  13. This was an awesome and very comprehensive review. Thank you for showing us pictures to understand the differences between these two lenses!

    I’ve always shot with a 35mm, and recently, i bought the sigma 16mm. I find it too wide and doesnt fit the type of photography that I’m used to. But thanks to this review, I was able to have an idea of how I could maximize this lens.


    I’m also getting the 30mm 😉

    • Hi Ico,

      Thanks! I spent a lot of time trying to think through how to best compare these two lenses so it means a lot to hear that! I’m glad it helped you think of some ideas of how you could use the 16mm as it’s a really nice lens.

      Feel free to send over some photos taken from your 16mm or 30mm (once you get it) too! It would be fun to see what you capture.

  14. Wow, great explanation and those sample pictures solve lot of my doubts!~ but if I am considering the 16mm f1.4, 30mm f1.4 and 18-105mm F4 G, with a6400, which would be the better if I can choose only one? I would be a casual traveller(not now, in future when things get better) and take urban photography/landscape and videoing more often but occasionally would ask stranger to help by taking a photo of myself.

    • Hi Chin Jie,

      Thanks for your question and I’m glad you found the information helpful! If you can only choose 1 lens to travel with, I would go with the Sony 18-105 F4G. I think this is your best bet because you get such a flexible focal range with this lens and you never know the situation you’ll find yourself in when you travel. Of course, it’s not as fast as the 16mm or 30mm, but F4 will be ok in most situations.

      I actually wrote a travel lens article for the a6000 that goes into pretty deep detail, which you might find helpful. Even though you have the a6400, they are similar and use the same lenses.

  15. Hi Tom, loved your extensive review! I’ve decided to get my first camera this December. It’s a sony a6400. But I’m just a beginner in photography and I’m confused which lens to buy. I want to shoot videos, mostly vlogs, then some landscape and also portraits(not the fashion shoot kind, but the kind people click on vacations). The sigma 16 really caught my eye, and it ticks off all the checkboxes but I’m not sure if it’s good for portraits. Your help would be greatly appreciated.

    • Hi Arundhati!
      You’re welcome and I’m very happy to hear that you found it helpful! Thanks for your question and that’s exciting you’re getting the Sony a6400! I’m sure you’ll love it as it’s an awesome camera.
      The Sigma 16mm is a great lens, but based on your description of what you want to do, I’m not sure it would be the best fit. Since you want to shoot videos and take a variety of different types of photos, I think one of the all-around lenses like the Sony 18-105 f/4 OSS might be a better fit. The reason why I say this is because lenses like the Sony 18-105 f/4 OSS have a very flexible focal range and they have optical image stabilization. The flexible focal range will give many more options in a variety of different situations than the Sigma 16mm. Plus, it will help when you’re shooting video or taking landscape photos since the Sony a6400 doesn’t have built-in image stabilization. (As a note, the Sigma 16mm doesn’t have stabilization either.)
      Take a look at this article I wrote about the best travel lenses for the Sony a6000. Even though you’re getting the Sony a6400, the Sony a6000 uses the same lenses so I think you’ll find some useful information.
      If you still have questions after reading the Sony a6000 article, just email me at [email protected] and I’d be more than happy to answer them!

    • Hi, I am alos buying the same camera for Film Making. Which lense you ended up choosing?? And what is your experience. i am also from India 🙂

      • Hi Daksh!
        Thanks for reading the article and for your question! It’s a tough choice between the two lenses, and it really comes down to what focal length you would rather use. Both lenses do not have image stabilization and from my experience the 16mm isn’t more stabilized than the 30mm. From what it sounds like, it seems like you would get more benefit from the 30mm focal length as it is easier to create depth of field and is easier to use for portrait photography. I would say the best way to work with bigger brands is to reach out to them with your portfolio (which can be Instagram) and offer to take photos of their products for free. Out of these free projects, you might be able to turn them into paid projects and if the brand doesn’t want to pay, it’s ok. Just move on to the next company and use that experience to boost your portfolio and gain experience!
        I hope that helps and let me know if you have any other questions!

  16. hi thanks for the review but i want to ask if i want to shoot advertisements videos and b and rolls stuff like thats waht lens shouldi buy and thank u ♥

    • He Hechem! You’re welcome and thanks for your question! This might not be the answer you would like to hear, but both lenses would actually work great for video and b-roll. It really comes down to which focal length (16mm or 30mm) would fit your style better. If you need a wider angle view and are able to get up close to the subject then the 16mm could work great. On the other hand, if you want a classic portrait type of focal length and don’t need a wider angle, the 30mm creates beautiful footage too.
      I hope this helps! If you need further clarification or more information, just let me know too.

    • Hi Hechem, that’s a good question. If you’re looking for a good all-around lens for freelance work, I really like the Sony 18-105mm f/4. I actually wrote an article about lenses for the Sony a6000. Even though you’re asking about the Sony a6300 it contains a lot of good information and compares my favorite lenses for Sony APS-C cameras. Take a look at this article and if you have any more questions after just let me know!

  17. Hi Tom – thanks for the article. It’s strange isn’t it? I started out using a fixed length lens on an analogue SLR and have had a number of digital cameras with zoom lenses but have found myself almost always using them at their widest setting as what I see in the pictures I take that way looks right to me. Lately I’ve just been using the camera in my iPhone at it widest setting that I believe is 12mm. Am I right in thinking that the Sigma 16mm lens is around the same focal length as the iPhone when you adjust for the different sensor sizes etc? I guess I’ve become used to seeing the world in that way and am looking for a lens that would help me do that..

    • Hi Mike!
      Thanks for reading the article and for your comment. Yeah, there’s definitely something special about those focal lengths that are similar to how we see the world! Yes, you’re right. The wide-angle lens on the iPhone is equivalent to about 26mm. With the Sigma 16mm plus its 1.5x crop factor, it’s equivalent to a full-frame focal length of 24mm so they’re very similar.
      I hope this helps and let me know if you have any more questions!

  18. Such a great article, it is aging well! Showing the Video and picture examples and applications was a great demonstration.

    I myself have a A6300 with a Sony 18-105 G OSS. I am a novice photographer trying to improve. I plan on keeping my current lens for video and all day purposes, and add a second lens, preferably a prime! My main reason for this decision is to have a lens with a much greater aperture than F4. I am pretty sold on the Sigma 16, 30, 56 trio. My question to you would be, out of the 16 and the 30, which lens would add more versatility to my setup if I keep the 18-105 G OSS?

    My thoughts are this: I can already achieve a focal length of 30mm with my current lens, but not 16mm. I feel as though having the 16mm, where I can really dive into landscapes and night shoots, on top of my daily shooter zoom, would be more versatile than having my daily zoom as well as the 30mm 1.4. I also feel as though having the 16mm 1.4 would allow me to explore some creativity in the urban/cityscape environment.

    What are your thoughts on my situation and thought process? Again, great article, Cheers mate.

    • Hi Ben! Thanks for reading the article and I’m glad you found the examples helpful!
      That’s a good question and a nice problem to have as they’re both awesome lenses to have I totally agree with your thought process. As you’re going to be using the lens for both photography and videography and will keep the 18-105mm f/4 I think you’ll get more flexibility from the addition of the 16mm focal length.
      Yes, it would be nice to have a wider aperture at the 30mm focal length, but most of the time you’re not going to shoot with it wide open. Additionally, as you have already mentioned, you have the 30mm focal length covered with your 18-105mm lens and that lens can still throw out the background pretty well with at f/4 (not to mention it has stabilization).
      From my own experience, over time, I actually found myself using the 16mm more often and only taking out the 30mm in the specific situations I mentioned in the article. Most of the time I’m taking landscape photos with Melissa in it and I find the 16mm focal length easier to work with in these types of situations. The 30mm is nice too but there have been many times where it’s not wide enough.
      I think you might not see the most benefit of the faster Sigma lens for landscape photography as you will usually use a narrower aperture. However, when looking specifically at urban/cityscape situations or night photography that extra 2mm and being a faster lens could be the difference in being able to make the shot.
      I hope this helps and if you have any more questions just let me know!

  19. Really good article….thanks for sharing in-depth details…

    Got one question too…Since last few days I am quite confused on Camera decision…I currently own RX100 first version and love watching photos on desktop monitor instead on mobile…Is there really a big image quality difference between RX100 vs 16mm/30mm sigma lens which justify additional camera purchase? I mostly gonna use for taking pics of my kids and for travel will stick to rx100 and my Samsung note9…I hardly use zoom…also I generally don’t spend time post processing and sometime feel iphone 11 could be better choice as these images will be exposed better by auto mode itself but then feel if these images will look better on my 24” monitor…I don’t like Samsung Note 9 images on monitor and not sure if iPhone 11 images will be any better on monitor….feedback from you will be really big help to me…

    • Hi Sunil!
      Thanks for reading the article and for your question! The biggest difference between the two cameras when it comes to how it affects the image quality is the sensor on the camera. The RX100 has a 1” sensor while the cameras the Sigma 16mm and 30mm is made for have an APS-C size sensor. The larger APS-C sensor size will give you a higher dynamic range, better low light performance, and more detail in your images.
      With that said, the image quality difference isn’t incredibly drastic. It’s more that the larger APS-C sensor will give you more flexibility in certain situations to capture a high-quality image (such as low-light, or high dynamic range situations). For example, if you were taking photos of a sunset, you would likely be able to capture more details in the shadows and highlights of the image with the APS-C sensor camera vs the Sony RX100.
      Overall, since you don’t use zoom, spend time post-processing, and just want to take casual photos, I think sticking to your Sony RX100 or even switching to the iPhone 11 would work just fine.
      From my personal experience, I have the iPhone X and I’m happy with the image quality. I’m assuming the iPhone 11 would have similar or even better image quality than the iPhone X.
      I hope this helps and let me know if you have any more questions!

  20. Hey Tom, i want to shoot cars on every single time of the day with my sony a6000. Which lens do you advice for under 500 euros? I realy liked your review but I am struggling very much about which lens i should get and if i should go for a prime lens!

    • Hi Daan!

      Thanks for your question and for reaching out! I think the best answer is that it depends on how you’ll be shooting your car photos. Overall, since you’ll be shooting at all times of the day, I think having a lens with a fast aperture of f/2.8 would be the most flexible. You could also probably get away with a lens with an aperture of f/4.0 but it could be a little more difficult to work with in low light situations.
      So for lenses, here is what I think:

    • Sigma 16mm f/1.4: A very nice lens for up-close shots of the car and the interior. Since it’s a wider angle, you can probably get some pretty dramatic shots up close to the car. Just keep in mind that since it is a wide-angle, you will get some distortion depending on the angle you’re shooting at.
    • Sigma 30mm f/1.4: I like this lens over the Sony 35mm f/1.8 because it’s cheaper, faster, and slightly wider. This lens has an equivalent full-frame equivalent of 50mm so would be a nice lens all-around. The downside is that it’s a prime so if you ever needed to zoom in on a car, you wouldn’t be able to do so. Additionally, at 30mm it probably wouldn’t be wide enough for interior photos or up-close photos of the car.
    • Sony 18-105mm f/4.0: This is my favorite all-around lens for the camera. It’s not as fast with its max aperture of f/4.0, however, the focal range will cover you in almost all situations.
      I hope this helps and let me know if you have any other questions!

  21. hi actuallay i’m bauying the a7 iii but i can”t find budget and sharp lens can u help me to choose one
    ( i’m gonna use it it for commerical and videography)

  22. Hi Tom, great review thank you. I have recently come back to photography after many years as something to amuse myself with during these Covid lockdowns. I purchased the Sony a6600 which came with the 18-135, 3.5-5.6 kit lens but I fancy a lens with a bit faster aperture and to get a little more bokeh, especially in the family pics.
    Which would you recommend for the above camera set-up?
    Many thanks

    • Hi John!
      Thanks for reaching out and I’m sorry for the late response! That’s awesome you just got the a6600; it’s a really great camera.
      That’s a great question. One of my favorite lenses that’s also at a good price point is the Sigma 30mm f/1.4. I like this lens because it’s reasonably priced, has beautiful bokeh, and is at 30mm (which is equivalent to 45mm). At this focal length it’s close to the classic 50mm focal length so it’s easy to capture intimate moments with family, but also wide enough for most situations.
      The big downside with the lens is that it doesn’t have built in stabilization. The in-body stabilization of the a6600 does off set this a bit though.
      If you would like image stabilization in the lens too, the Sony 35mm f/1.8 is another good choice. However, it’s a little bit more expensive.
      I hope this helps and let me know if you have any more questions!

  23. Hi Tom, This is the most comprehensive article I have seen on the subject of these 2 lenses. I love the video work you did with the short movie, your editing skills are also incredible.
    I’m using the Sigma 16mm 1.4 with a a6600 for making video courses. I love the blurred background and the quality of the lens in general.
    I’ve noticed that even at low light the video looks a little over exposed. But I need some lighting close to the subject and darker background so I don’t want to get rid of all lights. So…
    Do you think using an ND filter indoors is a good idea? And if it is, is there one brand you would recommend?
    Thanks Tom!!

    • Hi Jorge!
      Thanks for reading the article and I’m glad you found it helpful!
      Yes, I think using an ND filter indoors is a great idea. It definitely makes sense to use one if you’re shooting at the wider apertures available with the lens.
      I think the most flexible route to take would be a variable ND filter so that you can adjust it on the fly when needed. I actually wrote an article about my favorite variable ND filters. My favorite mid-range options are the Tiffen Variable ND Filter or the Freewell Variable ND Filter. The budget options are ok, but if you can, I’d stick to the premium or mid-range options.
      Take a look at the article when you have time and let me know if you have any more questions!

  24. Hi, I am buying a Sony A6400 and I am on a budget initially due to which I am skipping Kit lens and buying a good lens. I want to make Trael and Cinematic videos. Nice depth and bokeh of 30mm with cheap price was attracting me. But I dont hav gimbal or tripod or any other acessories now and I am really confused for the stabilisation part. Since initially i want to buy only one lens. I want to have a verstile focal length and later I am planning to buy Tamron 17-70 f2.8 which is expensive but I will buy that as it is a zoom lens with 2.8 aperture. But for now, I can only buy one lens. I am reallly confused between these two 16mm and 30mm. People say that 16mm will help you in stabilisation part. If the advantages of 16mm are more then I can push myself to buy that also but for now I am not sure. After reading your article I got to know about where to use different focal lengths for different situation, it really opened my mind. I am a beginner and I am upgrading from my phone. BUt I am confused that do I have to go too to capture the subject by using 30mm. But I really liked the depth and creamy bokeh of 30mm and after some good colour grading it will look beautiful. Please guide me what should i do? I am still not able to choose between the two. I want to make Travel and cinematic videos which will feel like music videos. I am an 18 year old in India and I also want to earn and save to buy new gears. Please tell your stoy, how you were able to work with big brands and how you started. What advice you will give me as a big brother as I am starting out. I will be buying my camera on EMI as I also need to upgrade my PC. It is very slow and Premiure is not able to work properly on it. It is i5 2400. But I will do everything it takes to pursue my passion of Film Making. Your article was really good and I have bookmarked your website. Thanks for sharing your knowledge 🙂

    • I will be capturing Portraits of my Brother mainly and showing the landscape and will be creating a story from it.

  25. Hi and thank you for this review, as a total photography beginner it was really helpful. I’m looking at doing you tube videos in a very small bed room where the camera would be on a desk and I’m sitting in front of it. I’d like to get a nice bokeh effect of the bookcase behind me. At the same time I was hoping to get a lens that also took a nice portrait of my young kids. If I had no budget limits I’d get something like a 24mm Sony GM. The 16mm and 30mm seem to be either side of the 24mm and if I understand your review it seems I should buy both. If you had fall down on one lens for my goals which one would you choose?

  26. Best and most satisfying review I’ve seen on the internet. I recently bought the a6500 and a sigma 16mm f1.4 I mainly shoot cars on roads, buildings and maybe my friend groups at parties. So the 16mm was good enough but I was expecting a baby and knew I’d need the 30mm to take closeup photos of my baby. This review covered it all for me. Plus the ND Filter recommendations. For my use case i dont think i need the 85mm sigma or any telephoto lens. (Although i used to think about it. Lol) Thanks so much!!!


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