When the Sigma 14-24mm f/2.8 DG HSM Art Lens was announced and I saw the product image, I had to pause. This lens has nearly the same name and an almost identical appearance to the Sigma 12-24mm f/4 DG HSM Art Lens. Once the deja vu cleared up, I began asking myself why Sigma decided to nearly duplicate another lens that was only recently-prior introduced.
That answer didn't take long to resolve. While Sigma has a long list of ultra-wide APS-C-format zoom lenses, the referenced 12-24 Art lens was their only wider-than-24mm zoom lens covering the larger full frame image circle. That lens of course has an f/4 max aperture and that left an unfilled gap in the lineup, especially compared to the Canon, Nikon and Sony competition, a gap that an f/2.8 lens could fill. Thus, a Sigma 14-24mm f/2.8 DG HSM Art Lens addition makes a lot of sense.
An f/2.8 lens is going to be much-preferred to an f/4 lens for low light photography and especially for photographing action in low light. Add that very useful feature to a very useful (and potentially dramatic) focal length range and the foundation for a great lens is laid. An aesthetically beautiful and high quality design builds nicely on that foundation with great image quality and a very reasonable price increasing the lens' attractiveness.
If you have focal length needs on the wide side, this lens has you covered. The lens selection process should always be started with determination of the right focal length or focal length range for the need(s) and a highly relevant question to ask is: What is the 14-24mm focal length range good for? Let's answer that question.
First, landscapes. Landscape photography is a huge reason to have a 14-24mm lens in the bag. Landscape photographers very frequently want to take in a big scene, especially with an attractive foreground subject being rendered large in the frame (due to perspective) and with a distant background being completely in focus. The latter is an advantage of the significant wide angle depth of field these wide focal lengths provide. This range is also ideal for photographing the night sky and cityscapes often have similar needs.
Architecture is a large subject and working space is often restricted for photography of such. Thus, ultra-wide angles of view are very frequently selected for this use. Very closely related to architecture photography are real estate and building interior photography and the 14-24mm focal length range is optimal for both, for the same reasons. That ultra-wide angles of view make spaces appear large is appealing for most of these purposes.
While ultra-wide angle lenses are not usually preferred for close portraiture work due to perspective issues, they work great for capturing the environment with people in it. For example, an image showing the church interior with the bridal party lined up in front works very well. Images with a person standing in front of a beautiful landscape are quite popular. Photographing a group of people sometimes requires a wide angle of view to simply fit everyone in the frame.
This lens will make a great option for mounting to a remote camera at sporting events, capturing the start and/or finish of a race, covering the goal, mounted over the basket, etc. It will also capture the big image of the arena and will work for the overhead shot of the MVP sports figure being mobbed for interviews after a big game.
There are many additional needs for wide angle photos captured in tight spaces including vehicle interiors. The 14-24 range can of course be very interesting when used for video.
Can "Fun" be a reason to own a lens? I think so and focal lengths this wide have an especially big fun factor. Especially if you've never used focal lengths this wide, you are in for a LOT of fun!
What does the 14-24mm angle of view look like? It's awesome. Here is a visual answer:
Compare the widest focal length currently in your kit with 14mm to see what you are missing.
The Sigma 14-24 is far less exciting from a focal length perspective when placed in front of an APS-C/1.5x or 1.6x FOVCF sensor format camera where it provides a 22.4-38.4mm full frame-equivalent angle of view on an APS-C sensor camera. Far less exciting in terms of angle of view realized and far less exciting because there are many APS-C zoom lenses with 12mm and even wider focal lengths available. But, there remains merit in creating a full frame-compatible lens kit behind an APS-C body and that is planning for a future full frame camera upgrade.
What the Sigma 14-24 offers to full frame DSLR owners is, as illustrated above, a stand-out ultra-wide angle of view.
While this lens does not have the most extreme focal length range, it has another advantage over most of those lenses currently surpassing it in that regard and that advantage is an f/2.8 max aperture available over the entire focal length range. More light able to reach the imaging sensor is seldom a bad aspect.
While those photographing landscapes with this lens may not find the wide f/2.8 aperture mandatory and those hiking to remote landscape destinations may not appreciate the additional weight that comes with a wide aperture, those photographing the night sky (often essentially landscapes at night), which very much involves motion, will very much appreciate it. More light means a lower ISO setting can be used and/or a shorter shutter speed and there is no question that those capturing environmental portraits and low light events, including sporting events, will greatly appreciate this wide aperture. The f/2.8 aperture represents the widest aperture available in a 14-24mm zoom lens and, even with the improvements we've seen in DSLR camera high ISO performance, f/2.8 remains my minimum aperture for photographing active indoor events and the night sky.
The wide aperture invites stopping action in low light and handholding the camera in perhaps even lower light levels. This is sometimes the specific aperture required to enable the higher precision AF capabilities (most often the center AF point) in some cameras, further aiding in optimal image quality. Another f/2.8 advantage is the bright optical viewfinder image it makes available.
One more benefit of a wider aperture is that it provides a shallower, better-subject-isolating depth of field. Below is an example of the maximum background blur this lens can produce. It is easier to create background blur at longer focal lengths and the below example is from this lens' longest available – 24mm.
What are the disadvantages of a wide aperture? I already mentioned the weight and an increased size goes along with this attribute. The other wide aperture disadvantage one can count on is increased price over similar focal length lenses with narrower apertures.
The f/2.8 aperture is a great feature, but for it to be truely useful, f/2.8 images must be sharp. Test results quickly cleared up any reservations in that regard. In the center of the frame, this lens is very sharp at f/2.8 with a modest sharpness increase seen at f/4 and there is little reason to stop down the aperture aside from gaining increased depth of field or a longer exposure.
Taking the testing outdoors, we next look at a series of center-of-the-frame 100% resolution crop examples. These images were captured using an ultra-high resolution Canon EOS 5Ds R with RAW files processed in Canon's Digital Photo Professional using the Standard Picture Style and sharpness set to only "1" (0-10 scale).
These images are all quite sharp. Note that all were exposed precisely the same with aperture change being offset by the shutter speed change and the sky was clear. Any brightness changes are imparted by the lens.
Also note that, just like its 12-24mm f/4 Art Lens sibling, this lens exhibits some rearward focus shift when stopping down and these effects are exhibited in the results above. Carefully watch the nearest details of each frame relative to the background details as the aperture narrows. The background gets significantly sharper while the foreground becomes sometimes even slightly less so.
Center of the frame performance is usually the best and sharply collecting the light waves being strongly bent into the corners of the ultra-wide angle frame is a bigger challenge. On the test chart, the 14mm corners look excellent at f/2.8 and the results deteriorate somewhat as the focal length is increased. I like the longer focal lengths' outdoor results better. Following is a look at the extreme top left corner of the frame with capture and processing being identical to the previous outdoor example set's description.
At 14mm, the extreme corners are a bit soft at f/2.8 and show improvement until they become rather sharp at f/11. Landscape and other still-life photographers looking for plenty of depth of field will be happy with the f/11 results and those photographing action at wider aperture will typically not be as concerned with sharp corners.
Corner performance shown here at the mid and long focal lengths is remarkable even at f/2.8.
Note that the first copy of this lens we tested showed some misalignment. Here is a look at the four 14mm f/2.8 corners from that lens:
Upon that discovery, we acquired a second lens. The second lens produced considerably more even results, though some variation remains and focus distance appears to some effect also.
Especially with wide aperture wide angle lenses, vignetting can be expected and the amount can be cringe-worthy. Fortunately, no cringing was necessary this time. Yes, there is peripheral shading, but I'm seeing about 3 stops at most and that happens at 14mm f/2.8. The wide open shading amount drops to about 2 stops at 16mm and to about 1.8 stops from 18mm through 24mm. Stopping down 1 stop removes about 1 stop of shading.
By f/5.6, 14mm corners see about 1.5 stops of shading with the balance of the marked focal lengths seeing from 0.7 down to 0.4 stops, a range seldom-noticed. Little additional improvement is seen at narrow apertures over most of the focal length range, though the 14mm shading pushes deep into the corners when further stopped down and by f/16, there is only about 1 stop in this location.
Vignetting can be corrected during post processing with increased noise in the brightened areas being the penalty. Vignetting can also be simply embraced, using the effect to draw the viewer's eye to the center of the frame and that strategy often works well with wide aperture images.
If lens elements refracted all visible wavelengths of light identically, lens design would be far simpler. They do not and therefore we get aberrations caused by various wavelengths of light being magnified and focused differently.
The most frequently noticed type of CA (Chromatic Aberration), lateral (or transverse) CA, shows as different colors of the spectrum being magnified differently with the mid and especially the periphery of the image circle showing color fringing along lines of strong contrast running tangential (meridional, right angles to radii) as this is where the greatest difference in the magnification of wavelengths exists.
While lateral CA is typically easily corrected with software (often in the camera) by radially shifting the colors to coincide, it is of course better to not have it in the first place. Any color misalignment present can easily be seen in the site's image quality tool, but let's also look at a set of worst-case examples, 100% crops from the extreme top left corner of ultra-high resolution 5Ds R frames.
There should be only black and white colors in these images and the additional colors are showing lateral CA. Usually, the strongest lateral CA effects are seen in the periphery, but, especially at this lens' longer focal lengths, the corners (upper-left) show less lateral CA than deeper in the image circle (lower-right).
A relatively common lens aberration is axial (longitudinal, bokeh) CA, which causes non-coinciding focal planes of the various wavelengths of light, or more simply, different colors of light are focused to different depths. Spherical aberration along with spherochromatism, or a change in the amount of spherical aberration with respect to color (looks quite similar to axial chromatic aberration but is hazier) are other common lens aberrations to look for. Axial CA remains at least somewhat persistent when stopping down with the color misalignment effect increasing with defocusing while the spherical aberration color halo shows little size change as the lens is defocused and stopping down one to two stops generally removes this aberration.
In the real world, lens defects do not exist in isolation with spherical aberration and spherochromatism generally found, at least to some degree, along with axial CA. These combine to create a less sharp, hazy-appearing image quality at the widest apertures. Reflective silver jewelry is a good subject to use for illuminating these issues.
Very little color fringing is present in these images, indicating very good performance in these regards.
Flare can be very destructive to image quality and placing the sun in the corner of the frame will quickly let you know how well a lens resists flare. At wide apertures, this one does a great job, showing only tiny flare effects. Stop down the aperture and flaring always increases, but with this lens, the effects remain modest even at f/16.
Coma is generally recognized by sharp contrast towards the center of an image and long, soft contrast transition toward the image periphery. Coma becomes quite visible mid-frame and in the corners of images captured at wide apertures and significantly resolves when the lens is stopped down. Astigmatism is another lens image quality attribute that is apparent in the corners and the pin-point stars in the night sky are a subject that makes these aberrations, along with some others, easily recognizable to me.
The following images are 100% crops taken from the extreme top-left corner of the frame captured with an EOS 5Ds R.
These results show above average performance for this lens class.
As with most wide angle zoom lenses, this lens has barrel distortion at the wide end that transitions into negligible distortion and on into pincushion distortion at the long end. Interesting is that the amount of distortion changes depending on the focus distance. When I was initially orienting myself to the lens, one of the first aspects I checked was distortion at 14mm. As I focused on the edge of my monitor, I was not pleased with the big curve showing at the edge of the frame. Later, I was using the lens at a more-typical focus distance and was pleasantly surprised to see the much lower amount of barrel distortion. Here are a pair of 14mm examples, cropped but showing the entire top of the frame. The fence is straight.
At a very short focus distance, there is extreme barrel distortion at 14mm. By roughly 10', the distortion is greatly improved. Zoom to 16mm and the distortion profile looks quite nice and modest barrel distortion is present over the balance of the focal length range.
Most modern lenses have lens correction profiles available for the popular image processing software applications and distortion can be easily removed using these, but distortion correction is destructive at the pixel level and this technique is seldom as good as using a distortion-free lens and focal length combination in the first place.
Most are not buying ultra-wide angle zoom lenses for the amount of background (or foreground) blur they can create, but bokeh, the quality of that blur, can still be evaluated. Here are some 100% crops from f/11 out-of-focus images that include specular highlights.
At 14mm, this lens struggles to create a background blur at f/11 and the results are not the smoothest. The longer focal length results appear decent.
This lens' 9-blade aperture creates very nice stars from point light sources when used at narrow aperture such as f/16 as illustrated below.
Overall, discounting the misaligned lens we received, the Sigma 14-24mm f/2.8 DG HSM Art Lens delivers quite impressive image quality.
The 14-24mm Art Lens is fitted with Sigma's premier AF system, referred to as HSM (Hypersonic Motor). At normal focus distance changes, AF locks on the subject nearly instantly. Ask it for a full extent AF adjustment, from near minimum focus distance to infinity or vice versa, and you will wait for a moment until the lens completes its task. Typical is for HSM autofocusing systems to be very quiet and this one checks that box.
To get the most out of a lens' image quality, the lens must be focused accurately and most of us rely on autofocus that. If a lens consistently focuses slightly in front of or behind a subject, the lens can be calibrated by the manufacturer, via the Sigma Dock (in detail) or via AF Microadjustment in-camera (if that feature is available) to be consistently accurate. However, if the lens focuses inconsistently, there is less hope for correction.
I'm not looking for sharpness in this test, but I want all results to appear similarly sharp, showing consistency. Obviously, I am not seeing what I am looking for here and these 6 sequential captures are representative of what I saw in well over 1,000 tripod-captured AF test results using two different Canon EOS 5Ds R cameras, a 1D X Mark II and two copies of this Sigma lens model. Note that the 1D X Mark II results, partially by virtue of its lower resolution imaging sensor, appeared better than those from the 5Ds Rs. There were some instances when the center AF point performed well, but not always. In the lab using the center AF point, this lens focused well with the 5Ds R (third camera of this model) and 7D Mark II, but it failed to autofocus on the 1Ds Mark III (our other 1Ds III will autofocus this lens).
Unfortunately, the problems do not end here. The peripheral AF points seem calibrated considerably differently than the center AF point used in the illustration above, showing a strong rear-focusing tendency and even lower consistency. I tested approximately 10 different non-perimeter cross-type points outside of the center with similar results. The strong backfocusing tendency they exhibit can be improved with calibration, but then the center AF point is no longer properly calibrated.
Expect better AF accuracy from this lens (and many other third-party lenses) when using Live View/EVF (Electronic Viewfinder) imaging-sensor-based focusing systems. Offsetting the focus accuracy issue somewhat is that angles of view this wide typically result in significant depth of field and AF systems are not as stressed to keep a subject focused within that depth of field.
As usual for Sigma HSM implementation, internal focusing is featured and FTM (Full Time Manual) focusing is enabled. Both are nice features commonly found on quality lenses.
The 14-24's effective focal length changes somewhat with focusing, causing subjects to change size modestly as the focus ring is turned. The review copy of this lens is very close to parfocal, with subjects staying in focus as the zoom range is traversed.
The 14-24 Art lens' manual focus ring is very nice – smooth with no play and with an ideal amount of rotation for precise manual focusing even with very close subjects. The location of this ring, positioned on the rear of the wide portion of the front of the lens, is a bit unusual, although identical to its 12-24 f/4 Art lens sibling. The focus ring is somewhat narrow and quite wide in diameter. With only the rubber ribs very slightly raised above the barrel, the ring is well protected from inadvertent focus changes though remaining quite usable and easy to find.
This lens makes a focus distance scale in both ft and m available via a window. Not unusual for this class of lens is that a DOF scale has been omitted.
The Sigma 14-24mm f/2.8 DG HSM Art Lens has a 10.2" (260mm) minimum focus distance that, at 24mm, delivers a 0.19x maximum magnification. The 0.19x spec is a very strong one for lenses including a wider-than-16mm focal length, though the spec is only mediocre among lenses overall. Here is a table showing a large array of wide angle lenses listed in ascending wide focal length sequence:
|Canon EF 8-15mm f/4 L USM Fisheye Lens||5.9"||(150mm)||0.39x|
|Canon EF 11-24mm f/4L USM Lens||11.0"||(280mm)||0.16x|
|Sigma 12-24mm f/4 DG HSM Art Lens||9.4"||(240mm)||0.20x|
|Sigma 14mm f/1.8 DG HSM Art Lens||10.6"||(270mm)||0.10x|
|Rokinon SP 14mm f/2.4 Lens||11.0"||(280mm)||0.08x|
|Canon EF 14mm f/2.8 L II USM Lens||7.9"||(200mm)||0.15x|
|Nikon 14mm f/2.8D AF Lens||7.9"||(201mm)||0.15x|
|Rokinon AF 14mm f/2.8 Lens||7.9"||(200mm)||0.15x|
|Nikon 14-24mm f/2.8G AF-S Lens||11.0"||(280mm)||0.15x|
|Sigma 14-24mm f/2.8 DG HSM Art Lens||10.2"||(260mm)||0.19x|
|Zeiss 15mm f/2.8 Milvus Lens||9.8"||(250mm)||0.11x|
|Tamron 15-30mm f/2.8 Di VC USD Lens||11.0"||(280mm)||0.20x|
|Tokina 16-28mm f/2.8 AT-X Pro FX Lens||11.0"||(280mm)||0.19x|
|Canon EF 16-35mm f/2.8L III USM Lens||11.0"||(280mm)||0.25x|
This lens' maximum magnification is not amazing, but at 14mm with a subject at the minimum focus distance, a very strong perspective can be conveyed. The following examples show the maximum magnification at both ends of the focal length range. The flower measures about 2" (50mm) in diameter.
Note that, since these images were captured at f/2.8, they also illustrate the maximum background blur available at each focal length. Also note that it can be especially difficult to keep the lens' shadow out of images captured at this short distance.
Extension tubes can be used to reduce the minimum focus distance of most lenses with the biggest effect seen at wide angle focal lengths. With a short 12mm extension tube mounted behind this lens, the maximum focus distance (set to beyond infinity) provides barely enough room to get any light onto the subject at 24mm, and by 21.5mm, the focus distance is reduced to about the front of the lens hood, an unusable distance. That combination also results in the corners of the frame becoming obviously blurry even in the viewfinder. Thus, extension tubes are not a good accessory for this lens.
This lens is not compatible with Sigma teleconverters.
With the Global Vision series, Sigma introduced a modern, classy-looking, tightly-dimensioned, high-quality design for their lenses. These lenses feel as great as they look and they are fun to use.
Like the Sigma 12-24mm f/4 DG HSM Art Lens with its large convex objective lens, the Sigma 14-24mm f/2.8 DG HSM Art Lens has a somewhat unique shape, though it still appears like a member of the Global Vision family.
While this lens does not change external dimensions when zoomed, the objective lens does move in/out somewhat within the permanently affixed hood. The zoom ring is ideally-positioned and easy to find and, with the focus ring riding on the broad part of the lens, it is not easy to confuse the two rings. The only other moving exterior part is the manual/auto focus switch that is nicely positioned on a moderately-raised switch bank. As standard with Global Vision lenses, the back of the switch shows white when in the auto position.
This lens has some weather sealing, including a rear gasket seal as seen below.
A Sigma rep informed us that the 14-24mm f/2.8 Art lens has extra/improved weather sealing, similar to that of a Sigma Sports lens, making it the best-sealed Art series lens as of its introduction.
I mentioned in the beginning of this review that the Sigma 14-24mm f/2.8 Art Lens introduction had a deja vu feel to it. The comparison image shared at the beginning of this section shows the two ultra-wide angle zoom Art lenses side by side and ... you probably had to read the numbers on the lenses to determine which lens was which. You can have an extra two mm of focal length on the wide end or an extra stop of aperture over the entire focal length range to get a lens of this size and, as you will see below, weight.
|Model||Weight||Dimensions w/o Hood||Filter||Year|
|Canon EF 8-15mm f/4 L USM Fisheye Lens||19.1 oz||(540g)||3.1 x 3.3"||(78.5 x 83.0mm)||n/a||2010|
|Canon EF 11-24mm f/4L USM Lens||41.6 oz||(1180g)||4.3 x 5.2"||(108.0 x 132.0mm)||n/a||2015|
|Sigma 12-24mm f/4 DG HSM Art Lens||40.6 oz||(1150g)||4.0 x 5.2"||(102.0 x 131.5mm)||n/a||2016|
|Canon EF 14mm f/2.8 L II USM Lens||22.8 oz||(645g)||3.1 x 3.7"||(80.0 x 94.0mm)||n/a||2007|
|Nikon 14mm f/2.8D AF Lens||23.7 oz||(670g)||3.4 x 3.4"||(87.0 x 86.5mm)||n/a||2000|
|Nikon 14-24mm f/2.8G AF-S Lens||34.2 oz||(969g)||3.9 x 5.2"||(98.0 x 131.5mm)||n/a||2007|
|Sigma 14mm f/1.8 DG HSM Art Lens||41.3 oz||(1170g)||3.8 x 5.0"||(95.4 x 126.0mm)||n/a||2017|
|Sigma 14-24mm f/2.8 DG HSM Art Lens||40.6 oz||(1150g)||3.8 x 5.3"||(96.4 x 135.1mm)||n/a||2018|
|Rokinon SP 14mm f/2.4 Lens||27.9 oz||(791g)||3.7 x 4.3"||(95.0 x 109.4mm)||n/a||2016|
|Rokinon AF 14mm f/2.8 Lens||17.1 oz||(485g)||3.6 x 3.8"||(90.5 x 95.6mm)||n/a||2018|
|Zeiss 15mm f/2.8 Milvus Lens||33.4 oz||(947g)||4.0 x 3.9"||(102.3 x 100.2mm)||95mm||2016|
|Tamron 15-30mm f/2.8 Di VC USD Lens||38.8 oz||(1100g)||3.9 x 5.7"||(98.4 x 145.0mm)||n/a||2014|
|Canon EF 16-35mm f/2.8L III USM Lens||27.9 oz||(790g)||3.5 x 5.0"||(88.5 x 127.5mm)||82mm||2016|
|Tokina 16-28mm f/2.8 AT-X Pro FX Lens||33.5 oz||(950g)||3.5 x 5.2"||(90.0 x 133.3mm)||n/a||2011|
For many more comparisons, review the complete Sigma 14-24mm f/2.8 DG HSM Art Lens Specifications using the site's Lens Spec tool.
The weight of this lens is going to be noticeable when carried for long periods of time, but not burdensomely so. The size of this lens remains in line with other popular lenses, as can be seen below.
Positioned above from left to right are the following lenses:
Use the site's product image comparison tool to visually compare the Sigma 14-24mm f/2.8 DG HSM Art Lens to additional lenses.
With the large convex front lens element in the way, this lens is not compatible with standard threaded front filters and no provision is made for use of a rear drop-in gel filter. To use circular polarizer and neutral density filters on such a lens requires an external adapter. Companies such as Fotodiox implement filter solutions for such lenses but note that these filter holders and the filters themselves are quite large. Update: Sigma has announced that the Rear Filter Holder FHR-11 can be optionally installed on this lens either by yourself or by Sigma (for a service fee).
Commonly provided with lenses having integrated hoods is a lens cap that also covers the sides of the hood and that lens cap style is provided with the 14-24 Art lens. This cap uses a friction fit via a thin ring of flocking-like material inside the hood. While staying attached is problematic for some of these caps, this one has been holding on nicely.
The Sigma 14-24mm f/2.8 DG HSM Art Lens arrives in a nice zippered padded nylon case with a shoulder strap. A belt loop would be a nice addition to this case, making it more versatile.
Sigma's Global Vision lenses get a classification of "A", "C" or "S", representing a primary Sigma-intended use of "Artistic", "Contemporary" and "Sports". A full description of these categories can be found in the Sigma 35mm f/1.4 Art Lens press release.
Sigma has been introducing some very nice lenses in the Global Vision series, but I have never been a fan of the narrow categorization structure. This of course is an "Art" lens and as such, gets an "A" stamped in a classy chrome circle on the lens barrel. Don't limit the lens' use to its letter designation.
A great feature of the Global Vision lenses is compatibility with the Sigma Dock. The dock, working in conjunction with the Sigma Optimization Pro software, allows the lens' firmware to be updated (bug fixes, compatibility updates, feature enhancements, etc.) and allows precise autofocus calibration at four distances. Full-time manual focus can also be disabled/controlled via the dock. Here are some screen grabs showing some of the functionality.
The focus calibration values were set for illustration purposes only.
If you compare the price of the nearest Canon, Nikon and Sony f/2.8 lens equivalents, this Sigma lens appears to be a very good deal. The price of this Sigma lens, however, makes Tamron's closest current option appear to be a very good deal. In the end, the Sigma seems to be good-value priced.
The Sigma 14-24mm f/2.8 DG HSM Art Lens is available in Canon (reviewed) and Nikon mounts and the Canon version can be used on a Sony E-mount camera body via the Sigma Mount Converter MC-11. This lens qualifies for Sigma's Mount Conversion Service in case you later change your mind.
My standard disclaimer: There are potential issues with third party lenses. Since Sigma reverse engineers (vs. licenses) manufacturer electronics and algorithms, there is always the potential that a DSLR body might not support a (likely older) third party lens. Usually a lens can be made compatible by the manufacturer via a firmware update, but this cannot be guaranteed. Compatibility with the Sigma USB Dock is risk reducing as Sigma can make dock-compatible lens firmware updates available for download. Listed as "In the Box" is a "Limited 1-Year Warranty" while Sigma USA indicates "4 Year USA Warranty".
The reviewed Sigma 14-24mm f/2.8 DG HSM Art Lenses were online-retail acquired.
If you are looking for an exact focal length range and aperture comparison, the Nikon 14-24mm f/2.8G AF-S Lens is the only current option. The Nikon 14-24 has long been renowned for its sharpness, but in the Sigma vs. Nikon image quality comparison, I see the Sigma besting it, including showing less lateral CA. The Nikon is similarly-renowned for its strong barrel distortion at 14mm and the Sigma again bests the Nikon in this comparison, though the Nikon has slightly less pincushion distortion at the long end. In the specifications comparison, we see the Sigma having over twice as much focus ring rotation (128° vs. 60°) and a higher maximum magnification (0.19x vs. 0.15x). The Nikon is slightly lighter, but considerably more expensive.
With the only exact lens comparison available behind us, determining the criteria to use for the next comparison against the Sigma 14-24 becomes the task. If we can release the widest 1mm of focal length range, the Tamron 15-30mm f/2.8 Di VC USD Lens meets the qualifications. In the image quality comparisons, the Sigma is proving considerably sharper at the wide end with the Tamron catching up at the long end. The Tamron has stronger barrel distortion at 15mm. The big feature advantage the Tamron has is VC (Vibration Compensation). If handholding the lens in moderate and/or low light levels, VC can be a big asset to image quality.
These two lenses are remarkably similar from a specifications comparison perspective. As mentioned, the Tamron gives up 1mm on the wide end, but it makes for that with 6mm added to the long end. The Tamron's price tag is modestly friendlier.
Give up 2mm on the wide end and the Canon EF 16-35mm f/2.8L III USM Lens comes into view, bringing an extra 9mm on the long end. This Canon lens is an exceptional performer and seeing the Sigma vs. Canon image quality comparison shows the level this Sigma lens is performing at. The Canon has significantly more peripheral shading but shows less flaring. The Canon shows modestly more barrel distortion than the Sigma at 16mm, but that amount is less than the Sigma has at 14mm.
In the Sigma vs. Canon feature comparison, we find that the Sigma weighs noticeably more (40.6 oz vs. 27.9 oz / 1150g vs. 790g) and is larger, especially in diameter. The Canon lens has a higher maximum magnification (0.25x vs. 0.19x) and that the Canon lens accepts standard threaded filters is a strong advantage. I would much rather rely on the Canon's AF performance and I would much rather pay the Sigma price.
Relieve the f/2.8 requirement and another pair of lenses come into view, both bringing even wider focal length ranges along with their f/4 apertures. I'll start with the sibling Sigma 12-24mm f/4 DG HSM Art Lens.
In the Sigma f/2.8 vs. Sigma f/4 comparison, I see the f/2.8 lens showing the benefit of being stopped down one stop in the f/4 comparison and the f/2.8 lens is especially advantaged at the long end. The f/4 lens has more lateral CA at 24mm. The wider aperture advantage also helps the f/2.8 lens in the vignetting comparison where it has noticeably brighter corners until much narrower apertures are compared. The f/4's barrel distortion at 12mm appears similar to the f/2.8's at 14mm and at 14mm, the f/4 has less. The f/4 lens has slightly more pincushion distortion at the long end.
As mentioned earlier, these lenses physically similar. One surprise to me was the price comparison. Wider aperture lenses cost more, right? Not in this case. Give up the f/2.8 aperture, gain 2mm of focal length on the wide end (this is very noticeable – I don't want to downplay the difference in any way) and you will pay moderately more at checkout.
The other f/4 zoom lens now in the comparison window is the Canon EF 11-24mm f/4L USM Lens, a very highly regarded lens. In the Sigma vs. Canon image quality comparison at f/4, I see these two lenses performing similarly. At f/5.6, the Canon is winning more of the focal length comparisons and at f/8, the two lenses are mostly similar with the Canon showing better 24mm corners.
The Canon shows more lateral CA at the wide and long ends. Again the Sigma's wider aperture shows its advantage in the peripheral shading comparison, showing noticeably brighter corners. This difference equalizes by f/8. The Canon has more barrel distortion at 11mm than the Sigma does at 14mm, but that advantage strongly reverses at the 14mm equivalent comparison and the two are similar at 24mm.
In the Sigma vs. Canon specifications comparison, we learn that these two lenses are more similar than different. The Canon is very slightly larger and heavier and that it has a slightly lower maximum magnification (0.16x vs. 0.19x). Far from similar is the price difference between these lenses with the Canon costing about 2x as much as the Sigma.
If 14mm (or close to 14mm) is the only focal length you need, there are numerous prime lenses that could be considered alternatives and the options list suddenly gets much larger. Here is a list of some ultra-wide angle prime lens options:
Use the site's reviews and lens comparison tools to evaluate these options.
A significant number of photographers will find a wide aperture, ultra-wide angle zoom lens to be a valuable member of their kits. Is this the right one for you? While the AF consistency I'm seeing from this lens isn't impressive and a misaligned lens is always costly to us in terms of time, I like what I see otherwise. With the Sigma 14-24mm f/2.8 DG HSM Art Lens, Sigma has delivered us a beautifully-designed lens with very impressive image quality and a reasonable price tag.
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