The 14mm F1.4 DG DN Art Lens is another "World's First" from Sigma. This is the first 14mm full-frame interchangeable lens to have an f/1.4 aperture.
While 14mm lenses are often used for landscape and architectural photography, uses that often value significant depth of field vs. wide apertures, no other 14mm lens can stop movement in light levels as low as this one. The primary movement this lens is designed to stop is that of stars, or technically, the earth's rotation, and astrophotography is the ultimate reason for this lens.
The ultra-wide 14mm angle of view is the first reason to purchase this lens or select it for use. Focal length drives subject distance choices (or meets distance-related requirements), and subject distances determine perspective.
When moving back is not an option, 14mm may be a great choice. With even modestly longer focal lengths, you can't move back far enough to fit everything in the frame that 14mm takes in.
As alluded to, this 14mm focal length lens is optimized for photographing the night sky, astrophotography. This angle of view takes in a vast portion of the night sky, and the milky way rendered long and narrow is the optimal subject for this lens.
Additionally, the 14mm focal length finds frequent use in architecture, real estate, and landscape applications.
Architecture subjects are frequently large, and fitting large subjects in the frame often requires an ultra-wide angle focal length. Photographers chasing architecture will likely find 14mm a mandatory focal length to have covered. Here is a Sigma-provided 14mm sample picture:
Real estate is also large, and in the real estate world, larger generally means more valuable. With an ultra-wide angle lens, you can make real estate appear larger in photos by using an ultra-wide angle of view to push the background deeper in the composition, hopefully generating more walk-throughs that sell more properties. The latter point is what gets both realtors and photographers paid.
In a sense, real estate and architecture are products, and 14mm is useful for some product photography applications, such as vehicle and aircraft interiors.
Extreme wide angles can differentiate your work from the crowd, but care must be taken to create compelling extreme wide-angle compositions. An ultra-wide angle of view pushes the background away, making it considerably smaller in the frame relative to close foreground subjects. Ideal compositions will incorporate an interesting close foreground subject and a complementary midground and supporting background to complete the composition. The 14mm focal length is extremely useful for landscape photography, and implementing the attractive foreground subject against a beautiful background concept creates stand-out imagery.
While considering this lens for landscape photography use, understand that the bulbous front lens element precludes standard threaded front filters, namely circular polarizer filters (neutral density filters are accommodated via a rear filter holder). Companies such as Fotodiox offer a filter solution for this type of lens, but the filter holder and filters are enormous. That circular polarizer filters can create uneven filtration at 14mm reduces the desire to use such, and that issue minimizes the lack of support.
All focal lengths are useful for photographing people, but don't let this lens's ultra-wide angle of view tempt you to get too close to people as it will enlarge their noses via perspective distortion. This lens will also radially stretch a subject in the periphery of the frame, and remember that a person closer to the camera can appear much larger than a person farther away. Although the latter effect may sometimes be desired, use caution when photographing groups at 14mm.
Wedding photographers will love how 14mm enables capture of the entire venue. For example, photograph the bride and groom coming down the aisle, large in the frame, with the rest of the ceremony small in the frame behind them.
14mm is an excellent option for attaching to a remote sports event camera, capturing the start of a race, capturing the finish of a race, covering the goal, mounted over the basket, etc. 14mm 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.
The 14mm angle of view promises to spur your creativity, and this focal length can prove interesting when used for movie recording.
I'll pull a couple of focal length range examples from zoom lens reviews.
At small focal length numbers, an mm or two change makes a big difference in the angle of view. The 12-24mm lens at 12mm clearly takes in a wider angle of view than the 14mm focal length, but 14mm frames considerably wider than the 16mm and longer options.
APS-C sensor format cameras utilize a smaller portion of the image circle, and that fact means a scene is framed tighter, with 1.5x being the angle of view multiplier for Sony's lineup. Similar to the 20mm result in the previous illustration, the 21mm full-frame equivalent angle of view is noticeably narrower. Still, the uses for this angle of view are plentiful, with landscape photography and portrait photography perhaps benefiting the most from the difference.
How much light does the lens provide to the imaging sensor? Usually, that question is the second most important when selecting a lens, and as mentioned, full-frame lenses don't get wider than this at 14mm (or most other focal lengths).
The f/1.4 refers to the maximum aperture, the ratio of the focal length to the entrance pupil diameter, available in this lens. The lower the aperture number, the wider the opening, and the more light the lens can deliver to the imaging sensor. Each "stop" in aperture change (full stop examples: f/1.4, f/2.0, f/2.8) increases or decreases the amount of light by a factor of 2x (a substantial amount).
The additional light provided by wider aperture lenses permits sharp images of subjects in motion and with the camera handheld in lower light levels and with lower (less noisy) ISO settings. In addition, increasing the aperture opening provides a shallower DOF (Depth of Field) that creates a stronger, better subject-isolating background blur (at equivalent focal lengths). Often critical is the improved low-light AF performance availed by a wide-aperture lens.
A wide aperture's disadvantages are related to (often significantly) increased lens element size, including larger overall size, heavier weight, and increased cost, and this lens bears those traits in moderate amounts.
Motion blur is caused by subject details crossing over imaging sensor pixels during the exposure. Although this lens can be used with a close subject rendered large in the frame, ultra-wide angle lenses are often used at mid or long subject distances. The low magnification means those subjects' details more readily stay in their pixels, enabling even longer exposures that still deliver sharp results, free of subject or camera motion blur.
In addition, many of the uses for 14mm require a narrower aperture, such as f/8 or f/11, to keep everything in the frame sharp, and photographers concentrating on landscape, architecture, real estate, etc. may seldom use the f/1.4 option.
Still, the f/1.4 aperture is an extremely valuable feature of this lens, and especially those photographing the night sky, with light levels so dark that the earth's rotation becomes a source of camera motion, will appreciate this lens's capabilities.
A 14mm lens is the wrong focal length choice for those whose primary goal is to create a diffusely blurred background. However, no full frame 14mm lens before this one is as capable at that task. These examples illustrate the maximum blur this lens can create at the specified aperture.
What background blur advantage does f/1.4 provide over your widest 14mm lens's max aperture or that of a competing lens you are considering? Also, consider the ISO difference the wide aperture makes. If your widest 14mm lens opens to f/2.8, a bright Milky Way exposure may require ISO 12800 instead of ISO 3200 at f/1.4.
Only a 1/60 second shutter speed (twice the framerate) is needed for 30 fps video capture, and wide apertures are not often required to get 1/60 in normally encountered ambient lighting.
If shooting in direct sunlight at f/1.4, expect to need a 1/8000 sec or faster shutter speed at ISO 100 to avoid over-exposure. Positive is that there is little action that a 1/8000 sec shutter speed cannot stop, but if the subject has bright or reflective colors, even 1/8000 might not be fast enough to avoid blown highlights. Some cameras have an extended ISO setting as low as 50 that can optionally be used in this situation (though the dynamic range may be impacted). Optimal is to use a camera having shutter speeds faster than 1/8000. Using a neutral density filter is another good solution to retaining the use of /1.4 under direct sunlight when the shutter limitation is exceeded. Stopping down (narrowing) the aperture is always an option for preventing over-exposure, though stopping down negates the value of the wide f/1.4 aperture and loses the subject-isolating shallow depth of field.
This lens features an aperture ring, permitting a manually selected aperture. The camera controls the aperture setting with the ring in the A (Auto) position. All other settings electronically force the aperture to the chosen opening. A 2-position switch on the bottom left side of the lens toggles the aperture ring between 1/3 stop clicks and smooth, quiet, non-clicked adjustments, ideal for video recording.
Aside from a slightly more complicated design, I find inadvertent aperture changes the primary disadvantage of an aperture ring (especially when photographing in the dark). An iris lock switch solves that problem, preventing switching between A and the manual selection range while allowing changes within the manual range.
Above is another example of the maximum blur this lens can create. Longer distance focus settings rapidly diminish the blur amount.
The longer the focal length, the larger subject details (captured at the same distance) are rendered, and the more still the camera must be held to avoid subject details crossing imaging sensor pixels, the cause of motion blur. Sigma has omitted image stabilization in their recent wide-aperture prime lenses, and with this lens having a low magnification, it is not surprising is that the Sigma 20mm F1.4 DG DN Art Lens also lacks this feature.
Sony addresses that omission with Steady Shot IBIS (In-Body Image Stabilization) in their mirrorless cameras. In addition to reducing camera shake, the stabilized imaging sensor provides a still viewfinder image, enabling careful composition. Furthermore, sensor-based AF takes advantage of the stabilized view for improved accuracy.
With no IS switch on the lens, the camera menu must be used to enable or disable IBIS or check the current settings. This extra step is a slight impediment to working quickly, going from tripod mounted to handholding, for example.
This lens is different. I know that we've talked about the focal length and aperture "World's First" difference, but this lens's optical performance is also different from normal lenses, especially those from the Sigma Art lens lineup. This difference is because the Sigma 14mm F1.4 DG DN Art Lens is optimized for astrophotography, with extremely distant stars as the primary subject.
I was advised that this lens was designed for optimal performance 2 meters or more, and that this lens's performance was not optimized for photographing a test chart at close distance. While excited about the potential of a 14mm f/1.4 for nightscapes, I was bracing for the challenge of determining the limitations accompanying the need for such clear qualifications. Extensive testing was required to figure this lens out.
The 14mm angle of view is so wide that our image quality test chart, despite being large, requires a close focus distance for the necessary framing. Usually, ultra-wide angle lenses perform similarly at this short distance as they do at long distances, with the results indicative of the performance expected at any distance. Not this one.
Despite the warning, I tested the lens with the chart anyway. The results, though useful in understanding a lens's overall performance, are ugly and not representative of the results from this lens's designated use. For that reason, they are not included with this review.
Moving back, let's start with the easy part. This lens with a wide-open f/1.4 aperture produces sharp center-of-the-frame results, and razor-sharp results at f/2, regardless of the focus distance. Even the center of the resolution chart results was sharp at f/1.4.
Here is a series of center-of-the-frame 100% resolution crop examples. These images were captured in RAW format using a Sony Alpha 1 and processed in Capture One using the Natural Clarity method. The sharpening amount was set to only "30" on a 0-1000 scale. Note that images from most cameras require some level of sharpening, but too-high sharpness settings are destructive to image details and hide the deficiencies of a lens.
All looks good here. The results are excellent, especially for an f/1.4 aperture.
The challenge lies with the off-axis results. At the short chart focus distance, even mid-periphery results are soft until narrow aperture settings (f/11). Increasing the focus distance pushes the area of sharpness outward.
The next set of examples was captured and processed identically to the above center-of-the-frame images. The camera-to-flowers distance was consistent at about 36' (12m). The first set of results are from the center of the frame, the last set of results are from the extreme top-left corner, and the other sets of results were respectively about 1/3 and 2/3 into the frame. The lens was manually focused on the flowers for each set.
At short and mid distances, the mid and peripheral image areas are blurry until the lens is stopped down to f/5.6, where the results are sharp corner-to-corner.
Let's go longer. The details in the next three extreme top-left corner crop sets were at increasingly long distances, from about 50 yards (50m) to about 2 miles (3.2km). The lens was manually focused in the corner of the frame to capture these images.
The corner results are sharper at long distances, but as the distance increases, air quality becomes a bigger factor.
Let's go longer still — to the designed-for stars distance.
Initially, a full moon followed by heavy forest fire smoke and then cloud cover hindered night sky visibility for nearly the first two weeks after this lens arrived. However, Sigma supplied 11 Milky Way sample pictures, and I selected one Sony Alpha 7R V image that I thought showed the best performance. Below are top-left and top-right f/1.4 corner crops, and then a center crop from a 22-second exposure.
When evaluating night sky corner-of-the-frame performance, I like to place stars near the north star in the corner of the frame to avoid star trails, but this sample was captured toward the south. However, this sample image shows a direct application of this lens. While the corner performance seen here is not absolutely perfect, it is outstanding from a relative standpoint, especially when the slight star trailing is considered.
Rendering of the center-of-the-frame stars is at least as important as that of the corner stars. The stars in this center crop are, based on the center performance we just reviewed, surprisingly slightly blurry.
Eventually, the skies mostly cleared one night, and the center performance difference just seen became clear also. Below are Sony a1-captured images.
The first top-left and center crops show the results of this lens focused near the corner of the frame. Again, we see outstanding corner performance and mediocre center-of-the-frame performance in this image.
The second pair of image crops show center-focused results, utilizing a longer focus distance than the corner-focused image. In this case, the center stars are tiny sharp dots, while the corner stars take on a flying bumblebee appearance. These test results show that this lens does not have a flat plane of sharp focus.
When using the 14mm focal length for night sky photography, foreground is usually included in the frame. While dark foreground can hide image softness, expect the results to be no sharper than shown in the previous examples focused directly at foreground subject distances.
Corner sharpness does not always matter, but it does matter for many uses, including landscape photography. When I'm photographing landscapes and architecture with corner sharpness being desired, I'm probably using f/8 or f/11 to obtain enough depth of field for in-focus corner details, and this lens works well for these purposes at these apertures.
This lens does not exhibit focus shift, the plane of sharp focus moving forward or backward as the aperture is narrowed (residual spherical aberration or RSA).
A lens is expected to show peripheral shading at the widest aperture settings when used on a camera that utilizes its entire image circle. Wide-angle, ultra-wide aperture lenses tend to show strong peripheral shading wide open, and this lens's just over 3.5 stops of f/1.4 shading is obvious, though not unexpected.
Want less corner shading? Selecting a narrower aperture is the near-universal solution. Stopping down 1 stop to f/2 results in a 1-stop shading reduction. The next stop narrower, f/2.8, reduces shading by about 1/2 stop, and the reduction rate decline stops at about 1.8 stops from f/4 through f/16.
APS-C format cameras using lenses projecting a full-frame-sized image circle avoid most vignetting problems. In this case, the about 1.5 stops of corner shading showing at f/1.4 will be visible in select images, primarily those with a solid color (such as a blue sky) in the corners.
One-stop of shading is often used as the visibility number, though subject details provide a widely varying amount of vignetting discernibility. Vignetting is correctable during post-processing, with increased noise in the brightened areas the penalty, or it can be embraced, using the effect to draw the viewer's eye to the center of the frame. Study the pattern shown in our vignetting test tool to determine how your images will be affected.
Lateral (or transverse) CA (Chromatic Aberration) refers to the unequal magnification of all colors in the spectrum. Lateral CA shows as color fringing along lines of strong contrast running tangential (meridional, right angles to radii), with the mid and especially the periphery of the image circle showing the most significant amount as this is where the most significant difference in the magnification of wavelengths typically exists.
With the right lens profile and software, lateral CA is often easily correctable (often in the camera) by radially shifting the colors to coincide. However, it is always better to avoid this aberration in the first place.
Let's look at a worst-case color misalignment example. The image below is a 100% crop from the extreme top left corner of a Sony a1 frame showing diagonal black and white lines.
Only black and white colors should be present in these images, with the additional colors indicating a slight presence of lateral CA.
A relatively common lens aberration is axial (longitudinal, bokeh) CA, which causes non-coinciding focal planes of the various wavelengths of light. 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 observe. Axial CA remains somewhat persistent when stopping down, with the color misalignment effect increasing with defocusing. 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.
The examples below look at the defocused specular highlights' fringing colors in the foreground vs. the background. The lens has introduced any fringing color differences from the neutrally colored subjects.
Modest color differences are seen at f/1.4, and the differences clear as the aperture is narrowed.
Bright light reflecting off lens elements' surfaces may cause flare and ghosting, resulting in reduced contrast and sometimes interesting, usually destructive visual artifacts. The shape, intensity, and position of the flare and ghosting effects in an image are variable, dependent on the position and nature of the light source (or sources), selected aperture, shape of the aperture blades, and quantity and quality of the lens elements and their coatings. Additionally, flare and ghosting can impact AF performance.
This lens features Sigma's Super Multi-Layer Coating to avoid flare and ghosting, with the high 19-element count increasing the challenge in this regard. At most, this lens produced only minor flare effects even at narrow apertures in our standard sun in the corner of the frame flare test, reflecting excellent performance.
Flare effects can be embraced or avoided, or removal can be attempted. Unfortunately, removal is sometimes challenging, and in some cases, flare effects can destroy image quality. Thus, high flare resistance is a welcomed trait of this lens.
Two lens aberrations are particularly evident in images of stars, mainly because bright points of light against a dark background make them easier to see. Coma occurs when light rays from a point of light spread out from that point instead of being refocused as a point on the sensor. Coma is absent in the center of the frame, gets worse toward the edges/corners, and generally appears as a comet-like or triangular tail of light that can be oriented either away from the center of the frame (external coma) or toward the center of the frame (internal coma). The coma clears as the aperture is narrowed. Astigmatism is seen as points of light spreading into a line, either sagittal (radiating from the center of the image) or meridional (tangential, perpendicular to sagittal). This aberration can produce stars appearing to have wings. Remember that Lateral CA is another aberration apparent in the corners.
"In particular, sagittal coma flare, which distorts the shape of stars, has been carefully corrected, and even at the widest aperture, the lens delivers high image reproducibility right to the periphery of the image." [Sigma]
The image below is a 100% crop taken from the top-left corner of a Sony a1 image captured at f/1.4.
When focused near the corner, this lens produces impressive corner star shapes.
This lens has modest barrel distortion.
As seen earlier in the review, it is easy to illustrate the strongest blur a lens can create, and wide-angle lenses are inherently disadvantaged in this regard. Here are some f/11 (for diaphragm blade interaction) 100% examples.
ultra-wide angle lenses are not stellar at defocused highlight rendering.
Except for a small number of specialty lenses, the wide aperture bokeh in the frame's corner does not produce round defocused highlights, with these effects taking on a cat's eye shape due to a form of mechanical vignetting. If you look through a tube at an angle, similar to the light reaching the frame's corner, the shape is not round. The test images below are upper-left quadrant crops.
This lens produces stretched details in the corners.
An 11-blade count diaphragm will create 22-point sunstars (diffraction spikes) from point light sources captured with a narrow aperture. Generally, the more a lens diaphragm is stopped down, the larger and better shaped the sunstars tend to be. Wide aperture lenses tend to have an advantage in this regard, and this lens creates beautiful stars, as illustrated in the f/16 example below.
The element-dense design of this lens is illustrated below.
"19 elements in 15 groups, including 1 SLD glass element, 3 FLD glass elements, and 4 aspherical lens elements, make up a luxurious lens configuration." [Sigma]
The frontmost element is "The largest class φ79mm aspherical lens element." [Sigma]
Sigma emphasizes that the 14mm F1.4 DG DN Art Lens is designed for photographing the night sky. Still, the curved plane of sharp focus demands a modest compromise in corner-to-corner sharpness. For closer subjects, peripheral image quality favors a stopped-down aperture.
Powered by Sigma's HLA (High-response Linear Actuator), the 14mm F1.4 DG DN Art Lens internally focuses fast, with only mild clicks audible.
While the focus speed is relatively fast, Sony cameras' normal defocusing prior to focusing increases lock time significantly in AF-S (single shot) mode.
This lens autofocuses in crazy-low light levels. The Sony a1 was locking AF on good contrast at f/8, ISO 100, and 30 seconds indicating underexposure.
FTM (Full Time Manual) focusing is supported in Sony's DMF (Direct Manual Focus) mode with the shutter release half-pressed or the AF-ON button pressed.
Sigma provides a customizable AFL (AF Lock) button. While in continuous focus mode, this button can be pressed to lock focus at the currently selected focus distance, facilitating a focus and recompose technique. This button also acts as a custom button, programmable to another function using the camera's menu.
Often, night sky photographers want an established focus distance locked for an entire shoot, and gaffer taping the focus ring is the conventional method of ensuring that happens. More elegant is this lens's MFL (Manual Focus Lock) Switch, preventing manual focus adjustment when in MF mode.
The rubber-coated, sharp-ribbed focus ring is large and, being raised from the lens barrel behind it, is easy to find. This ring rotates smoothly, has an optimal amount of resistance, and the long 180° of slow rotation MF adjusts focusing at a rate that facilitates precise manual focusing even at close distances. Turn the ring fast to go the full extent range in about 360° of rotation. I'd prefer the rate change to occur at a faster rotation to facilitate faster MF fine-tuning.
It is normal for the scene to change size in the frame (sometimes significantly) as the focus is pulled from one extent to the other. This effect is focus breathing, a change in focal length resulting from a change in focus distance. Focus breathing impacts photographers intending to use focus stacking techniques, videographers pulling focus (without movement to camouflage the effect), and anyone critically framing while adjusting focus.
This lens produces a moderate change in subject size through a full-extent focus distance adjustment.
This lens has a minimum focus distance of 11.8" (300mm) which creates a low 0.08x maximum magnification spec.
|Min Focus Distance "(mm)
|Sigma 14-24mm f/2.8 DG DN Art Lens
|Sigma 14mm F1.4 DG DN Art Lens
|Sigma 14mm f/1.8 DG HSM Art Lens
|Sigma 20mm F1.4 DG DN Art Lens
|Sigma 24mm F1.4 DG DN Art Lens
|Sony FE 12-24mm F2.8 GM Lens
|Sony FE 14mm F1.8 GM Lens
A subject measuring approximately 10.6 x 7.1" (269 x 179mm) fills the imaging sensor at this lens's minimum MF distance.
The minimum focus distance is measured from the imaging sensor plane with the balance of the camera, lens, and lens hood length taking their space out of the number to create the working distance. The large diameter of this lens may sometimes shade the subject at the minimum focus distance.
Need a shorter minimum focus distance and higher magnification? Mount an extension tube behind this lens to significantly decrease and increase those respective numbers, perhaps too significantly for functionality. As of review time, Sigma does not publish extension tube specs or manufacture these items, but third-party Sony-compatible extension tubes are available.
This lens is not compatible with Sigma teleconverters.
Sigma's premium grade Art lenses all feature great build quality, physical performance, and aesthetics, and the Sigma 14mm F1.4 DG DN Art Lens maintains those positive attributes.
The Sigma 14mm F1.4 DG DN Art Lens features a TSC (Thermally Stable Composite) exterior. "TSC is a state-of-the-art polycarbonate that is designed to be both lightweight and extremely durable, and its chemical makeup means it doesn't shrink or expand with changing temperatures. This material is so high-quality that we're also incorporating it into our Art and Sports lenses to provide lightness and thermal consistency." [Sigma]
This is a fixed-size lens that steps to an increasingly wide diameter to the front of the lens.
Like the Sigma 20mm F1.4 DG DN Art Lens, this lens features a Lens Heater Retainer. The heater, used to avoid internal condensation when temperatures drop, wraps around the barrel, with the raised area at the hood preventing it from sliding forward and blocking the optical path.
About 1/3 of the space between the focus ring and the aperture ring is ribbed for improved grip. 3/4 of the aperture ring is ribbed, and when this ring is locked, these grooves also increase grip which is especially useful for mounting and unmounting the lens.
About 1/3 of the space between the focus ring and the aperture ring is ribbed for improved grip. 3/4 of the aperture ring is ribbed, and when this ring is locked, these grooves also increase grip, useful especially for mounting and unmounting the lens.
All four switches are easy-to-use 2-position types that firmly click into their positions, with a white background displayed when the enabled position is selected. Two of the switches, along with the autofocus lock button, are mounted on a low-profile switch bank.
This lens has weather sealing, including a rear mount gasket.
Water- and oil-repellent coating is applied to the front element to repel dust and water and facilitate cleaning.
For an ultra-wide angle lens, the 14mm F1.4 DG DN Art lens is big and heavy, yet not overly so. Here is the comparison chart:
|Dimensions w/o Hood "(mm)
|Sigma 14-24mm f/2.8 DG DN Art Lens
|3.3 x 5.2
|(85.0 x 131.0)
|Sigma 14mm F1.4 DG DN Art Lens
|4.0 x 5.9
|(101.4 x 149.9)
|Sigma 14mm f/1.8 DG HSM Art Lens
|3.8 x 5.0
|(95.4 x 126.0)
|Sigma 20mm F1.4 DG DN Art Lens
|3.5 x 4.5
|(87.8 x 113.2)
|Sigma 24mm F1.4 DG DN Art Lens
|3.0 x 3.8
|(75.7 x 97.5)
|Sony FE 12-24mm F2.8 GM Lens
|3.8 x 5.4
|(97.6 x 137.0)
|Sony FE 14mm F1.8 GM Lens
|3.3 x 3.9
|(83.0 x 99.8)
For many more comparisons, review the complete Sigma 14mm F1.4 DG DN Art Lens Specifications using the site's lens specifications tool.
Here is a visual comparison:
Positioned above from left to right are the following lenses:
Use the site's product image comparison tool to visually compare the Sigma 14mm F1.4 DG DN Art Lens to other lenses.
Front filter threads are not available on this lens, but a rear drop-in filter holder is provided.
A GP-11 plastic stencil is provided to aid in cutting gel filters, and a lock switch inside the lens mount holds them in place. Neutral density filters are the type I would most utilize with this lens.
A tripod ring on a 14mm lens? We should not be surprised by unique features on a "World's First" lens, and this lens comes with the robust, removable, Sigma Tripod Socket TS-141, a fitting feature for a heavy lens expected to be primarily used on a tripod. Balancing the weight over the tripod head avoids camera mount strain and a front-heavy condition that results in sagging after lockdown.
The tripod mount has a standard 1/4" threaded insert and built-in Acra Swiss dovetails compatible with screw-type clamps (specified by Sigma). Unfortunately, the Acra Swiss "standard" is not closely adhered to by all players in this space, and some lever-style clamps are not compatible (at least one of my lever release clamps does not lock tightly on this mount).
The tripod ring is a great feature for this lens. However, note the tight fit of the Sony Alpha 1's vertical grip. The battery grip, extending below the lens's tripod foot, readily interferes with the tripod head when the tripod ring is mounted in the clamp. Sigma's alternative would have been to extend the tripod ring outward, but that change would have unbalanced the lens when angled upward, so I think they made the right design decision. Take the grip off if it is in your way and the extra battery capacity is not required.
The tripod ring is removable, and the included Sigma Protective Cover PT-11 snuggly fits over the exposed rotation nubs.
A lens strap is even included.
This lens has a small integrated lens hood that adds modest protection to the front element.
Sigma provides a nice zippered, padded nylon case, in the box.
Another unique Sigma 14mm F1.4 DG DN Art Lens feature is the lens cap, the Cover Lens Lap LC1014-01. This substantial (3.2 oz, 90.8g) cap locks over the hood with a thin edge of flocking adding protection against hood scratches. The deep center pinch design must be oriented with the longer petals, but the interior angles push the cap toward the proper rotation.
Store your filters in your lens cap? You can with this unique design. A pair of spring-loaded doors open to hold gel filters.
This lens has a relatively high price. That price combined with the performance of this lens will be found most attractive to this lens's target audience, those capturing the night sky.
The "DG" refers to full-frame camera compatibility, and the "DN" indicates that this lens was designed for short-flange mirrorless cameras. The Sigma 14mm F1.4 DG DN Art Lens is compatible with all Sony E-mount cameras, including APS-C sensor format models, and it is also available in the L mount (Sigma, Panasonic, Leica).
Made in Japan, each Art lens is tested with Sigma's proprietary MTF measuring system, ensuring a quality product. Regarding the Sony E-mount version of this lens, Sigma develops, manufactures, and sells lenses based on the specifications of the E-mount, disclosed by Sony Corporation under license agreement.
Sigma provides a 1-year limited warranty, and Sigma Corporation of America provides a limited 3-year warranty extension.
The reviewed Sigma 14mm F1.4 DG DN Art Lens was borrowed from Sigma Corporation of America.
At review time, my go-to wide-aperture 14mm lens is the Sony FE 14mm F1.8 GM, so I'll start the comparisons with that model.
The Sony lens is sharper in the periphery at close and medium distances and has less barrel distortion. The Sigma lens has less peripheral shading at equal wide apertures and slightly less at narrower apertures.
The Sigma 14mm F1.4 DG DN Art Lens vs. Sony FE 14mm F1.8 GM Lens comparison shows the Sony lens is far lighter and smaller. The Sigma lens has 11 aperture blades vs. 9. With a slow rotation, the Sigma lens's focus ring rotation is 360° vs. the Sony lens's 130° linear adjustment. Neither lens has a good maximum magnification, but the Sony lens has the 0.10x to 0.08x advantage. The Sigma lens has a tripod ring, aperture ring and manual focus lock switches, a much wider aperture (2/3 stop), and the same list price.
Sigma's previous wide aperture 14mm lens was the Sigma 14mm f/1.8 DG HSM Art Lens. That lens is sharper in the periphery at close and medium distances, has less peripheral shading at narrow apertures, and has slightly less lateral CA. The f/1.4 lens renders peripheral stars far more precisely, shows less flare, and has less barrel distortion.
The Sigma 14mm F1.4 DG DN vs. 14mm f/1.8 DG HSM Art Lens comparison shows the f/1.8 lens smaller but weighing about the same. The f/1.4 lens has 11 aperture blades vs. 9. With a slow rotation, the f/1.4 lens's focus ring rotation is 360° vs. 122°. Neither lens has a good maximum magnification, but the f/1.8 lens has the 0.10x to 0.08x advantage. The f/1.4 lens has a tripod ring, a manual focus lock switch, a much wider aperture (2/3 stop), and the same list price.
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As mentioned at the beginning of this review, the 14mm F1.4 DG DN Art Lens is the world's first full frame 14mm interchangeable lens to have an f/1.4 aperture. While 14mm lenses are commonly used for landscape and architectural photography, uses that often value significant depth of field and don't require such wide apertures, no other 14mm lens can stop movement in light levels as low as this one.
The primary movement this lens is designed to stop is that of stars, or more technically, the earth's rotation, and astrophotography is the ultimate reason for this lens. Unfortunately, this lens has a modestly curved plane of sharp focus that requires some sharpness compromise across the image circle at f/1.4.
Those with close subjects will want to select a stopped-down aperture for sharp periphery details.
Moderate in size and weight, the 14mm F1.4 DG DN Art Lens is superbly designed and built.
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