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.
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.
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.
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.
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 caps (front and back)
- Padded semi-rigid case
The lens hood is attached to the body of the lens and not removable.
- Excellent optics
- Fast performance
- Aspherical elements
- Great lens for astrophotography and night-time shooting
- 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 Art||Sigma 14-24mm f/2.8 DG HSM Art|
|Focal Length||14mm (full-frame)||14-24mm (full-frame)|
|Angle of View||114.2°||114.2° to 84.1°|
|Minimum Focus Distance||10.63" / 27 cm||10.24" / 26 cm|
|Optical Design||16 Elements in 11 Groups||17 Elements in 11 Groups|
|Diaphragm Blades||9, Rounded||9, Rounded|
|Dimensions||3.76 x 4.96" / 95.4 x 126 mm||3.8 x 5.32" / 96.4 x 135.1 mm|
|Weight||2.57 lb / 1170 g||2.53 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:
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