The first thing that crossed my mind when I was handed the new Sigma 14-24mm f/2.8 DG DN ART lens was “Doesn’t Sigma already make an ART-series 14-24mm f/2.8 zoom?” Long story short, yes, it does… but this one’s different.
Sigma’s 14-24mm f/2.8 ART DG DN ultra-wide zoom differs from the Sigma 14-24mm f/2.8 DG HSM ART lenses in that, unlike Sigma’s DG HSM-series ART lenses, which are designed for use with DSLRs from Nikon, Canon, and Sigma, the new lens is designed for mirrorless cameras. Currently available for Sony E-mount and Leica L-mount cameras, Sigma’s newest 14-24mm zoom has been optimized for the smaller flange size of mirrorless cameras. As a result, it’s about a half-inch narrower (3.3 × 5.2" vs 3.8 x 5.3") and three-quarters of a pound lighter than its DSLR counterparts (28 oz vs 40.5 oz).
Photographs © 2019 Allan Weitz
The optical design of the newer zoom incorporates the latest advances in optical glass and coatings technologies, and for smoother bokeh, the lens’s diaphragm incorporates 11 rounded diaphragm blades (earlier models contain 9 blades). The lens’s 14mm to 24mm ultra-wide to wide-angle focal range takes in a broad 114.2 to 84.1° AoV, which makes it optically ideal for architecture, landscapes, and when shooting in tight spaces. In terms of weight, size, and balance, this lens is an excellent match for E and L-mount mirrorless camera systems.
Inside of this weather-sealed ultra-wide zoom reside three aspheric elements, five SLD elements, and a single FLD lens element. There are Super Multi-Layer coatings across the board with Nano Porous coatings on the front lens element that serve to reduce the refractive index of the glass, more so, compared to conventional anti-reflective coatings. The minimum focusing distance is a respectable 11", which provides a maximum magnification ratio of 1:7.3.
The autofocus system of Sigma’s latest wide zoom is quick, quiet, and quite accurate—I seldom missed my mark regardless of whether my subject was at infinity or close to my camera position. For trickier framing and focusing, there’s a handy Autofocus-Lock (AFL) button that can be engaged, as well, customized to fit your shooting needs better. You also have the option of switching to manual focus with the flip of a switch.
If bokeh is your thing, Sigma’s 14-24mm ART zoom will make you happy, thanks, in part, to the lens’s 11 rounded aperture blades. When focusing on close subjects at wider apertures, the background swirls into a pleasing blend of color and form.
Even though it’s relatively easy to stop the lens down to maintain great depth of field when shooting with wide-angle lenses, I found myself using my camera’s focus magnifying function to check focus, especially when set at wide apertures.
The large front element on Sigma’s 14-24mm f/2.8 DG DN ART isn’t filter-friendly. To make up for the lack of filter threads up front, a rear filter holder at the back of the lens accepts gel filters.
Designing an ultra-wide lens with low degrees of barrel and/or pincushion distortion is a challenge and, in the case of this lens, the results are mixed. At the longer end of the focal range, straight, vertical lines remain parallel to one another—even at the edges. As you zoom wider, barrel distortion starts to kick in. When shooting landscapes, this isn’t much of an issue, but for shooting architecture I would strongly recommend sticking to a better-corrected fixed focal length lens in the 12mm to 14mm range. However, for less critical work I would have zero considerations about purchasing this otherwise notable lens.
Are you a wide-angle fan? If so, how would this lens suit your needs? Let us know in the Comments field, below.