Sigma 14-24mm f2.8 DG DN Art Lens Review For L Mount:
If you’re invested in the L Mount system like I am, there’s good news because Sigma has been releasing more and more L Mount lenses. I recently reviewed the 45mm f2.8, which I loved. It’s so handy, and the image quality is excellent (review here). The SL and the 45mm f2.8 are like a match made in heaven, if you ask me. But if you’re looking for say an ultra wide angle lens, where do you turn to? Well, there is the wonderful Leica Super-Vario-Elmar 16-35mm. It’s a great lens but it is crazy expensive, and may not suit some because of the slower maximum aperture. Then there’s also the new 14-24mm f2.8 DG DN Art lens, which is actually what I’m going to talk about in this review :). The focal length range is quite popular, and the fixed maximum aperture of f2.8 makes this lens even more versatile. After spending some time with the 14-24mm f2.8, here’s what I think of it.
Sigma 14-24mm f2.8 DG DN Art Lens For L Mount Build Quality:
In terms of build quality, this the 14-24mm f2.8 DG DN Art lens is definitely built up to the standards of what you’d expect from a top professional grade optic. The lens feels very solid in the hands. It’s extremely well-made with no creaks or rattles. The focus ring is smooth, and so is the zoom ring, which is what you should expect from a lens of this caliber. Some may or may not like this but the lens hood is built in to protect that bulbous front element. The 14-24mm f2.8 also comes in Sony E Mount, and it is weather and dust sealed. Bottom line is if you shoot a lot of landscape, for example, and you do a lot of hiking in the woods with mud, snow, rain or whatever else Mother Nature can throw at you, you can be confident that this is a lens that you can take along. It’s built to handle whatever adventure you have in store for it.
↑ The 14-24mm f2.8 DG DN Art lens attached to the Leica SL.
Just know that the 14-24mm f2.8 isn’t necessarily the smallest or lightest out there. Truthfully, this lens is a beast :). If you’re like me, and you’re already used to some of the L Mount lenses, then it’s really not that bad; my Leica L Mount lenses, for example, are heavier and larger haha. But still, the 14-24mm f2.8 DG DN Art lens is a large lens. It also weighs 795 g.
↑ Top view of the Sigma 14-24mm f2.8 DG DN.
Here’s the thing though: the 14-24mm f2.8 does balance quite nicely when it’s attached to the SL. That’s one thing great about the SL in general; the size and weight of the camera helps support larger lenses, which is how I feel at least. When I first was using this lens, it was a little difficult to get used to an ultra wide angle lens again, since I don’t use them as often anymore, so I walked a lot to see what I could get in terms of pictures. Throughout that whole time, it wasn’t too bad.
↑ Side view of the 14-24mm f2.8. There is an AFL button and a AF/MF switch on the side.
Keep in mind too that if you want great optics in an ultra wide angle zoom with a relatively fast fixed maximum aperture that is also built well, the lens is going to be big. That’s just reality so, I don’t look at this as a fault by Sigma. This lens is designed to get the most out of 50+ megapixels; it’s a lens where optics comes first, and I can definitely respect that.
Lastly, it’s worth noting that the 14-24mm f2.8 DG DN Art lens has been optimized for the smaller flange size of mirrorless cameras. So, this lens is actually a bit smaller and lighter than the DSLR version.
As for filters, there is no thread on the front of the lens. That can be a little inconvenient but the 14-24mm f2.8 does come with a rear filter holder with a fall prevention lock. You can attach sheet type rear filters for photographing starry skies.
Sigma 14-24mm f2.8 DG DN Art Lens Autofocus:
Autofocus wise, the 14-24mm f2.8 DG DN Art lens uses a stepping AF motor. I found the lens to be a very quick performer overall. No drama here. When attached to the SL, it locked onto subjects precisely, and there wasn’t much hunting at all whether I was shooting in great lighting or poorly lit areas. The autofocus is also virtually silent.
Sigma 14-24mm f2.8 DG DN Art Lens Image Quality:
As for image quality, the 14-24mm f2.8 DG DN Art lens is an excellent performer. Quite frankly, I couldn’t ask for more from an ultra wide angle zoom. For one, this lens is razor sharp. Even at f2.8, the center sharpness is excellent. The edges are a little bit softer but stopping down not only sharpens up the corners but also the center as well. By f5.6, the 14-24mm f2.8 is virtually sharp throughout the entire frame. For best results, I’d say you can choose an aperture around the f4 to f11 range but in all honestly, this lens is so good that I don’t think you’d have any issue going below or above that range. This is one really sharp lens overall, and performs superbly in general; you can use it at all apertures to get great images.
↑ This was taken in the morning at f8 and 125 ISO. The focal length used was 14mm.
↑ Here’s a 100% crop of the photo above.
↑ Here’s a shot of the Manhattan Bridge taken at f8 and 160 ISO. The focal length used was 18mm.
↑ Here’s a 100% crop of the photo above.
↑ This was taken using the 24mm focal length. The settings were f5.6.
Other characteristics of this lens include decent contrast and color rendering. I found the 14-24mm f2.8 DG DN Art lens to be highly resistant to flare as well. Obviously any lens will flare if the conditions are extreme enough but I was quite impressed because I didn’t have any issues in most cases. There is some vignetting wide open though, which is to be expected considering the lens’ overall focal length range but as you stop it down, it does disappear. By f4, it’s practically unnoticeable, and by f5.6, it’s virtually gone. There is also a little bit of distortion but nothing out of the ordinary.
↑ The focal length used in this photo was 14mm, and this was taken at f11, 160 ISO.
↑ This was taken with the 24mm focal length, and the settings were f8, 250 ISO.
↑ This was taken at f4 using the 24mm focal length.
As for bokeh, it is very smooth, thanks in part to the 11 blade diaphragm. But you’d have to shoot really close to get a shallow depth of field. For the most part, this just isn’t a bokeh/shallow depth of field type lens. I rarely shot the 14-24mm f2.8 wide open, as I usually shoot wide angles stopped down. The only shots I did shoot at f2.8 were just for test purposes.
↑ This was shot with the 24mm focal length at f8. I used 200 ISO.
↑ Here’s a shot taken at f8 using the 24mm focal length.
↑ My settings here were 640 ISO, and f8. I used the 14mm focal length.
Overall, the 14-24mm f2.8 was really just a great lens to use. As I said earlier, it was a little difficult for me to get used to an ultra wide angle lens again after being away from one for so long, especially the 14mm focal length. For those who have not used a 14mm lens yet, it is quite amazing, actually. Once I got the hang of something that wide again, it was a lot of fun to use. What’s great is while I’m having all this fun, I’m also getting great quality because of the optics. The quality just made me want to shoot more, and more with the 14-24mm f2.8 DG DN Art lens. I also found it worked really well with my Leica SL.
↑ I was amazed at how close I could get to the red cube in this photo :). Using 14mm is pretty awesome sometimes. The settings were f8 and 1000 ISO.
↑ This was taken with the 24mm focal length at f4.
↑ Here’s a shot taken with the 21mm focal length at f8 using 125 ISO.
Sigma 14-24mm f2.8 DG DN Art Lens Pros And Cons:
Sigma 14-24mm f2.8 DG DN Art Lens Pros:
- The build quality is excellent.
- Weather sealed.
- Fixed maximum aperture of f2.8 increases the versatility of this lens.
- Sharpness is excellent.
- Overall great image quality.
Sigma 14-24mm f2.8 DG DN Art Lens Cons:
- Can be bulky and heavy, if you’re not used to something like this.
Sigma 14-24mm f2.8 DG DN Art Lens Verdict:
Overall, the 14-24mm f2.8 DG DN Art lens by Sigma is one of the best ultra wides you can probably get for the L mount system. The lens is extremely well-made, it’s nice to have that fixed aperture, and optically, this lens is superb. Honestly, I’m still a little bit surprised about the price of this lens, which is $1,399. I would’ve thought it cost more because I really feel like you’re getting a lot for this price.
↑ This was taken early in the morning. The settings were 400 ISO at f8. The focal length used was 14mm.
Are there any faults or issues with the 14-24mm f2.8? It’s difficult for me to think of any, since I thoroughly enjoyed using it. The quality that it produces is also so, so good. But if I had to say just one, I would say it’s the bulk and the weight. This is in no way Sigma’s fault. As I mentioned before, if you want a lens that will perform superbly with 50+ megapixel sensors, has a focal range like this, is built to handle pro use, and has a relatively fast fixed maximum aperture, it’s not going to be compact and light.
↑ Here’s another early morning shot taken at f8 using 500 ISO. The focal length I chose was 14mm.
So, I think an L mount version with f4 as its maximum aperture might suit me a little better. At the end of the day, it’s nice to have f2.8 has my largest aperture but for an ultra wide angle lens, it’s not necessary for me, and I imagine there are a few out there that may feel the same as me. My go-to wide angle lens has been my trusty Super Elmar-M 18mm f3.8 ASPH. I lived with it for years, and am perfectly happy with it even with the slower maximum aperture. In general, I shoot all my wide angles stopped down most of the time anyway. But this isn’t really any issue with the lens; this is just more about my preference, and the way that I’d shoot a wide angle. I’m really bringing this up because it’s difficult to find any real fault with this lens :).
Of course, if your work requires you to have the flexibility that f2.8 can offer, you’re looking for an ultra wide angle zoom that can handle pro use, and produces superb results or you just want one of the best wide angle zooms out there for your L Mount camera, look no further. Like I mentioned above, it’s difficult to find any fault with this beautiful lens. The 14-24mm f2.8 DG DN Art lens is truly exceptional, and it won’t disappoint.
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