Sigma 30mm f1.4 EX DC HSM Lens Focusing Problem / High Pitched Noise

My favourite lens, my Sigma 30mm f1.4, has developed a problem. Frequently it does not respond to auto-focusing, and it makes a high-pitched sound almost like it is struggling to focus.

The Sigma 30mm f1.4 lens is my ‘workhorse’ lens, meaning the one I use the most. When I was using a 35mm camera (Pentax MZ-S!), my favourite lens was a 50mm lens. I found a prime/fixed lens encouraged me to move around and experiment with viewpoints rather than be lazy and zoom from a single point.

With a digital APS-C sensor with a 1.6x multiplier, a 30mm lens delivers approximately the same as a 50mm lens on a 35mm film camera.

Public pay telephone in Santa Monica, California
Public pay telephone in Santa Monica, California

I have been very pleased with the results, being the sharpest out of any lens I have, and the lens hood makes it look formidable. The chromatic aberration was very low, and if anything was visible it has always been easy to remove with Adobe Lightroom’s chromatic aberration correction.

It also works great when taking long-exposure photographs at night. It creates pleasing star effects through its 8 blade octagonal diaphragm:

Street scene at night in Santa Monica, California
Street scene at night in Santa Monica, California

The large maximum aperture of f1.4 is great for low-light and situations requiring high shutter speeds. F-stopping writes about this. I took this photograph as the passenger of a car travelling around 60mph on a dull English day, and it still came out very usable:

Hunters gathering at side of a road in rural Nottinghamshire. Crop of a picture taken at 60mph
Hunters gathering at side of a road in rural Nottinghamshire. Crop of a picture taken at 60mph

A photograph using available light in a bar also came out well:

People at Bar Eleven
People at Bar Eleven

And finally I found the full-time manual focus very useful. This allowed me to refocus even if autofocus was switched on. Usually if autofocus is activated, a lens doesn’t allow you to manual focus and you can feel the focussing motors giving resistance.

You can find an in-depth review of the Sigma 30mm f1.4 EX DC HSM at Ken Rockwell’s web site.

I’m going to contact Sigma Imaging UK support, and fingers crossed they will be able to resolve the issue as I would like to get photographing again 🙂