If you’ve followed me all over the past handful of months, you’ll see that there is a theme with the types of photos I like to take and the gear I’ve acquired so far…. it skews telephoto. My most used lens at this point is my 70-180mm followed very closely by my 100-400. But most recently, I have found a reason to explore outside the magnified box I’ve found myself in by way of the ultra wide 14-24mm Sigma lens I picked up recently.
Quite simply, this lens is wide. And it’s fun.
All the things I’ve learned in the last couple of years that have been refined to make that ~50-200mm start to really feel at home for me are kinda foreign way down low in the 14-24mm range. It’s an adjustment for sure. Follow along below for my thoughts on the Sigma 14-24 for the Sony E mount system.
- Optics: 18 Elements in 13 Groups
- Diaphragm: 11, Rounded
- Focal Length: 14mm – 24mm
- Aperture range: f/2.8 – f/22
- Angle of view: 114.2° to 84.1°
- Minimum focal distance: 11″ / 27.94 cm
- Max magnification: 0.14x
- Macro: 1:7.3
- Dimensions: 3.35 x 5.16″ / 85 x 131 mm
- 28.04 oz / 795 g
I’ve kind of gotten accustomed to large lens. While my first lens, the Tamron 28-200 was rather small by most lens’ standards. it is still more sizable than a lot of primes. Similarly, when you go ultrawide, the lenses start to shrink. The Sigma 14-24 on the other hand really isn’t all that small. It’s still a decently sized piece of metal, plastic, and glass. It’s hearty. Size and weight aside, one other thing you’ll likely notice pretty quick after slapping it on your camera is the bulbous front end — no fancy filters for you! To be fair, there are a small but ok assortment of ND filters specifically made for this lens. Since the lens isn’t flat up front, screw-on types of filters won’t work. You’ll instead place the special filters in between the lens and the camera body, with filters held in place in a small recess in the body-side of the lens. This is one overall small downside all things considered. Though, those of you looking for more graduated filters or CPL’s will find that things for from annoyance to outright sadness since the former and latter can’t be used at all unless you go with a different type of system that clamps around the entirety of the lens/shroud itself. Speaking of shroud, you’ll find that Sigma opted for a non-removal lens hood / shroud to keep that protruding front element from smacking on things as easily as a naked lens might.
Moving backwards you’ll find your focus and zoom rings (far end to near end respectively) and a couple of on-lens creature comforts such as the auto-focus lock button and auto/manual focus switch.
With specs and niceties out of the way, we’ll move on to the real meat of the story – what I really think about this lens.
Day to day
I’ve been intrigued by this lens for a while. When I first started acquiring lenses for my A7iii, I knew that I had to get some longer lenses first. But I kept this one bookmarked in the back of my mind for when the day came that I was ready to jump back to that super wide end that the Sigma 14-24 caters to. I also new that I didn’t want just a prime. Truth be told, I’m really not a prime person. Yes, I get it (primes). I understand why a lot of people swear by them and prefer them. But just as one of #teamprime’s members dumping on zooms is silly, it is equally silly for me on #teamzoom to say the same about primes. Different tools, different people, different needs. Use what you want or need and don’t be that person that tries to take an elitist approach.
Soapbox detour now complete, I will say that after using this lens for roughly a few months, I really like this lens. It’s also my most challenging lens.
Like I said earlier in my review, I’ve finally reached a point in my photography journey where I’m starting to settle into a stride, one which revolves around focal lengths of typically 70+. Most of what makes 70, 100, 200+ focal lengths awesome takes a bit of re-work when you drop below 20mm. It’s just a different world down there. And while I feel like I’m getting used to what this lens was meant for fairly quickly, I just need more time to explore.
Auto-focus is like most Sigma E mount lenses – generally good and fast. It may miss a bit more than native Sony lenses. But for me at least, the slight reduction in hits is a non-issue considering the often measurable difference in cost.
So far however, while I am working on re-learning what works and what doesn’t work with this lens, one thing is for certain — it’s rock solid and dependable. Sigma often gets knocked for making overly large and/or heavy glass where others are starting to find ways to make smaller and lighter gear. For me though, it’s really not an issue.
Finally, we come to weather sealing. Sigma doesn’t get overly gung-ho about the qualities of the weather sealing on this lens. But based on numerous other reviews I read leading up to me picking up this lens, given that it’s an Art model, weather sealing should be top notch and industry standard for something of this caliber and price range. Of course, this lens isn’t meant to be a submarine. So don’t be dumb with it. But if you’re like me and love some sweet, night, rainy photography, you’ll be fine.
Being that this is an Art labeled lens, the bar is set high. This is Sigma’s highest quality glass for the Sony E mount range. Over the last couple of months, I’ve come to see why. This lens is incredibly sharp not only in the middle, but also comparatively so at the far edges of the lens, which is typically harder to do on these wider focal ranges.
The f/2.8 max aperture ensures that whether it’s fast moving subjects or low light shooting should be catered to with relative ease.
The only real con one might find with this lens on the surface is the lack of optical image stabilization, instead relying on your body’s IBIS. For owners of newer generation Sony full-frame gear, IBIS is generally good enough. Adding to this belief is the fact that the wider you go, generally the less noticeable small jolts to the scene are. What may be unbearable at say, 200mm, is barely perceptible (if at all) at 14mm given adequate light and/or shutter speed. It is for this reason I, as well as many other people tend to not focus on wider lens’ lack of image stabilization.
Glare and color aberration are pretty well controlled, though given the wider nature of this lens, completely removing something as bright as say, the sun, may be challenging in terms of composition.
Distortion is something that I’ve found more of with this lens than some of my other lenses in my kit, though that is more-so a symptom of the type of lens and not so much a symptom of this lens specifically. At the wide end of 14mm, some barrel distortion is unavoidable, shifting to slight pin cushioning as things move towards the 24mm end. Generally speaking though, the distortion on either end isn’t particularly bad given a properly framed photo. Still, everyone has those bad days and/or that one photo they just want to save. In that case, any distortion effects can ultimately be removed with the likes of Lightroom as it has a profile for this lens as well as in-body should your camera support it.
Eagled eyes readers will notice the front lens element is bulbous. Because of this design, the lens hood is permanently attached and, more crucially, you’ll need to come up with some alternatives to your typical circular polarizers and filters. This lens has no threading or support for these types of filters. Instead, the larger square based filters are an option as they clip over the lens though your best bet is going with something like these small, packet-like filters that ultimately sit in between the lens and the camera body. It’s a bit more cumbersome to swap lens than what you may be used to but if you want to get some ultra wide goodness with this lens while also cutting out light, you really don’t have a choice. I will say that while this seemed like a decent con at first, I have found myself almost never even wanting to shoot scenes with this lens that require filters. Most all of my ultra wide shots are night time / astro type shots where I never use filters, urbex (again, no filters), or the rare, scenic outdoor shot. Your mileage may vary of course but in the end I didn’t find the filter arrangement to cause any real issues.
As I mentioned above, while this is perhaps my most intriguing lens, it is also my most challenging. Even months in, I’m still looking to find my rhythm with it. Some may find they adapt more quickly to shooting ultra wide. If so, I commend you. I feel like I’m at a pretty good spot now with my other lenses such as my Tamron 35-150 and Sigma 150-600 (reviews here and here respectively), so given time and determination, all things are possible.
This lens review has been a long time coming. As I mentioned above, I’ve desperately wanted an ultra wide lens for quite a while. And when I saw the Sigma 14-24 DG DN Art for the first time, I knew it was ultimately going to be “the one” to round out my kit. Fast forward a handful of long months and one global pandemic later and it’s finally a daily cary for me.
Whether you’re looking to have an extended trinity of zooms or just want a good ultra wide for exploration, you can’t go wrong with this lens. Sure, as far as zooms go, the overall focal range is limited. But at the end of the day, the build quality and image quality make up for it in my mind. At $1399, you’re getting a lot of potential for your money, and a lens that should last (and please you) for many years to come while also really pushing you creatively with your photography.
Get it: Sigma 14-24 DG DN Art for Sony E Mount (Affiliate link)