Sigma 14mm ƒ/1.8 DG HSM Art Lens Hands-on Review

The Sigma 14mm ƒ/1.8 DG HSM Art lens is optically excellent and the only 14mm ultrawide ƒ/1.8 prime lens. But how does it stack up against Sigma’s own 14-24mm ƒ/2.8 zoom?

Sigma 14mm f/1.8 DG HSM Art Lens
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Topics: Sigma, Sigma 14mm

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The Sigma 14mm ƒ/1.8 DG HSM Art lens is an ultra-wide, fast, prime lens for full-frame DSLRs and mirrorless cameras. Sigma touts it as the “World’s first and only full-frame F1.8 ultra-wide-angle lens.”

There are other lenses that offer the same or similar focal length. There’s even another one in Sigma’s current Art series: the 14-24mm ƒ/2.8, which I’ve also been testing. And Nikon, for example, has a 16mm ƒ/2.8 fisheye lens, which offers a similarly wide perspective but has heavy fisheye distortion because it doesn’t have aspherical elements. Sigma themselves have a slightly narrower but slightly faster 16mm ƒ/1.4 prime in their Contemporary series.

Sigma 14mm f/1.8 DG HSM Art Lens

But it’s the combination that sets this lens apart. It’s a prime lens, so no zoom. It has an ultra-wide 14mm frame-filling perspective with aspherical elements to prevent that bulging lens distortion that you often get with ultra-wide-angle lenses. And it’s fast, with a maximum aperture of ƒ/1.8.

So the big question is: does that combination offer a compelling enough reason to choose it over the 14-24mm ƒ/2.8 zoom? That becomes even more interesting if you factor in price–the 14mm prime is priced at $1599 (MSRP), while the 14-24mm zoom is priced at $1299 (MSRP).

I’ve recently been putting it through its paces, and here’s a selection of sample images to go along with the hands-on review I’ll be publishing shortly.

There are a lot of ways a lens like this could be useful. As you can see from the photos, I’ve mainly been using it for travel-type photos, but this would be an excellent choice for astrophotography and landscape photography as well.

It comes in versions for Canon EF, Nikon F, Sigma SA mounts, Sony E, and Leica L mounts, and Sigma has set the MSRP at $1599.

Sigma 14mm F/1.8 Art DG HSM Lens (for Nikon Cameras)
  • Large diameter delivering f/1.8 brightness
  • Beautiful bokeh effect, and outstanding control of light streaking
Sigma 14mm F/1.8 Art DG HSM Lens (for Canon EOS Cameras)
  • Large diameter delivering f/1.8 brightness
  • Beautiful bokeh effect, and outstanding control of light streaking

High-Resolution Sample Images

Here are some photos I’ve taken with this lens. I’ve posted a larger collection separately.

I’ve been using the Nikon F-mount version on a Nikon D850.

These were all originally shot in RAW and have been lightly processed in Lightroom. But I’ve not applied any of the usual optical corrections to these, and haven’t run the images through anything like PureRAW.

You can click on each image to open a full-size version for a closer look.

Sigma 14mm f1.8 Wide-Angle Lens
I took this photo with a Sigma 14mm f/1.8 DG HSM Art ultra-wide-angle lens on a Nikon D850 with an aperture of ƒ / 2.8.
Sigma 14mm f1.8 Wide-Angle Lens
I took this photo with a Sigma 14mm f/1.8 DG HSM Art ultra-wide-angle lens on a Nikon D850 with an aperture of ƒ / 1.8. The aspherical elements are working well here to minimize any optical distortion you’d normally get at such a wide focal length. There is some chromatic aberration along each of the outside high-contrast edges. But that could be easily fixed with Lightroom’s chromatic aberration tool or an equivalent in DXO or Capture One.
Sigma 14mm f1.8 Wide-Angle Lens
I took this photo with a Sigma 14mm f/1.8 DG HSM Art ultra-wide-angle lens on a Nikon D850 with an aperture of ƒ / 1.8. The fast maximum aperture is very useful for low-light shooting.
Sigma 14mm f1.8 Wide-Angle Lens
I took this photo with a Sigma 14mm f/1.8 DG HSM Art ultra-wide-angle lens on a Nikon D850 with an aperture of ƒ / 1.8. There are a multiple spotlights pointing directly at the lens here, but there’s no real problem with lens flare.
Sigma 14mm f1.8 Wide-Angle Lens
I took this photo with a Sigma 14mm f/1.8 DG HSM Art ultra-wide-angle lens on a Nikon D850 with an aperture of ƒ / 1.8. While this isn’t a macro lens, the ultra-wide focal length naturally offers fairly close focusing. IN this case, the scene is actually a miniaturized diorama in a cylinder-shaped case. The circular background in the middle is a glass portal looking out to the exhibit space behind it.

Things Worth Knowing

  • This lens has a fixed petal-shaped lens hood that is non-removable.
  • Because of the protruding front element that curves out, this lens isn’t compatible with screw-on filters. If you’re using the Canon EF mount version–and this only applies for that specific version–you can pick up an optional accessory rear gel filter holder.
  • And for the same reason, the lens cap fits over the top of the lens hood, and it’s not compatible snap-on lens caps.
Sigma 14mm f/1.8 DG HSM Art Lens
The lens hood is attached to the lens itself and can’t be removed. And with the protruding, bulging glass front element, it won’t take screw-on filters.

There are some Sigma-specific codes in this lens’s name. Here’s what they mean:

  • The DG in the lens’s model name essentially means that it’s designed for digital. And while it’s primarily designed for full-frame cameras, it will also work on APS-C and film cameras (with a 1.5x change in focal length on APS-C sensors).
  • The HSM refers to Hyper Sonic Motor, which is Sigma’s version of a quiet and fast autofocus mechanism.
  • The Art refers to the lens series. Sigma’s current lineup is divided into Art, Contemporary, and Sports. The Art line generally puts extra emphasis on optical quality over speed (Sports series) or portability and price (Contemporary series).

What’s in the Box?

It comes with:

  • Lens
  • Lens caps (front and back)
  • Padded semi-rigid case

The lens hood is attached to the body of the lens and not removable.

Sigma 14mm f/1.8 DG HSM Art Lens
The switch to toggle autofocus and manual focus (this lens doesn’t have stabilization).

Wrap Up

Pros

  • Excellent optics
  • Fast performance
  • Aspherical elements
  • Great lens for astrophotography and night-time shooting

Cons

  • Overlap with 14-24mm zoom—many users might find the versatility of the 14-24mm’s zoom more attractive

After shooting with it for a while, I have no complaints with this lens. I’ve found the optical performance to be excellent overall. While there’s some softness in the corners and some chromatic aberration, both are relatively minor and well within the expected range for a lens this wide. It’s not a small lens–it’s surprisingly substantial–but it’s easy to use and balances well on a full-frame camera body.

But to return to my original question: does this lens offer a compelling enough reason to choose it over the 14-24mm ƒ/2.8 zoom? For me, the answer is often no.

The problem–and it’s a good problem for Sigma to have–is that the 14-24mm is a very good lens itself. I have no complaints with it optically. Is it nice to have that extra one and a bit f-stops of maximum aperture. Sure. I’m a big fan of faster lenses. But for much of the shooting that I do, and with the cameras that I use (such as the Nikon D850), that extra stop doesn’t change a lot. Nor does it offer much extra bokeh in such a wide-angle perspective. They’re about the same weight and dimensions and have about the same minimum focus distance.

I think the answer might be different if I was shooting a lot of astrophotography. I haven’t used this lens for that, but I’d speculate that that’s where the 14mm’s benefits start to figure more heavily. Similarly, if I was looking for a lens for a lot of night-time photography, I would be more inclined toward the 14mm.

But for general travel, landscape, and architectural photography–all uses that Sigma advertises this lens for–if I had to choose between these two lenses, I’d choose the extra versatility of the 14-24mm zoom.

 Sigma 14mm f/1.8 DG HSM ArtSigma 14-24mm f/2.8 DG HSM Art
Focal Length14mm (full-frame)14-24mm (full-frame)
Maximum Aperturef/1.8f/2.8
Minimum Aperturef/16f/22
Angle of View114.2°114.2° to 84.1°
Minimum Focus Distance10.63" / 27 cm10.24" / 26 cm
Optical Design16 Elements in 11 Groups17 Elements in 11 Groups
Diaphragm Blades9, Rounded9, Rounded
Focus TypeAutofocusAutofocus
Image StabilizationNoNo
Filter SizeN/AN/A
Dimensions3.76 x 4.96" / 95.4 x 126 mm3.8 x 5.32" / 96.4 x 135.1 mm
Weight2.57 lb / 1170 g2.53 lb / 1150 g

Price & Availability

The Sigma 14mm ƒ/1.8 DG HSM Art Lens is available versions for Canon EF, Nikon F, and Sigma SA DSLR mounts, and Sony E and Leica L mirrorless mounts. The MSRP is $1599.

Check the current price and availability at:

Sigma 14mm F/1.8 Art DG HSM Lens (for Nikon Cameras)
  • Large diameter delivering f/1.8 brightness
  • Beautiful bokeh effect, and outstanding control of light streaking
Sigma 14mm F/1.8 Art DG HSM Lens (for Canon EOS Cameras)
  • Large diameter delivering f/1.8 brightness
  • Beautiful bokeh effect, and outstanding control of light streaking

Images and product information from Amazon PA-API were last updated on 2022-07-01 at 19:10. Product prices and availability are accurate as of the date/time indicated and are subject to change. Any price and availability information displayed on Amazon Site at the time of purchase will apply to the purchase of this product.

David Coleman / Photographer
by David Coleman

I'm a professional freelance travel photographer based in Washington DC. Seven continents, up mountains, underwater, and a bunch of places in between. My images have appeared in numerous publications, and you can check out some of my travel photography here. More »

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