- Excellent build quality with exceptionally smooth zoom and focus controls
- Accurate focus with quick continuous autofocus
- Compact for a 14-24mm f/2.8 lens
- Astonishing sharpness: sharp to the extreme corners throughout the focal range
- Very flat focus plane
- Outstanding color and contrast
- Extremely good control of chromatic aberration
- Excellent flare control
- Very low coma
- Fairly large and heavy in absolute terms
- Can’t take screw-in front filters
- Single shot autofocus is a bit slow
- Some barrel distortion at the wide end
- Relatively high vignetting
The Sigma 14-24mm f/2.8 DG DN is not a cheap lens at $1,399 US, but it manages to justify that cost and then some, producing some of the highest image quality I’ve ever seen at these focal lengths. Truly exceptional image sharpness, even at 14mm, with outstanding color and contrast, great flare control, virtually non-existent chromatic aberration and an outstanding build quality make this lens not only outstanding for an ultra-wide zoom lens, but outstanding for an ultra-wide prime lens. I have heard some reports of people getting sub-par copies of the lens that don’t perform as well, which happens with every lens, but on a lens that can be so good, it stands out when a sub par example is found…don’t settle for less than exceptional with this lens, though: that’s the way it should be with this optic.
As no lens is truly perfect, you can point to some barrel distortion at the wide end, and somewhat high vignetting as marks against it optically, but that’s about it. The biggest detriment to the lens is one that is the case for all 14mm and wider lenses: the lack of a front filter thread. If you don’t use front filters often, it’s not a big deal, and if you only use ND filters, the rear filter slot has you covered; but for polarizer use, you’re limited to large and expensive filter holder systems. Whether that’s worth it to you will be the big choice here.
Looking at competing lenses, the Sigma 14-24mm f/2.8 goes up against the Sony 16-35mm f/2.8 GM, the 12-24mm f/4 G and the Tamron 17-28mm f/2.8.
Compared to the Sony 12-24mm, the Sigma is a little bigger and heavier, and not quite as wide, but has that extra stop of aperture. It’s also significantly better optically, and that’s saying something considering the 12-24mm is a good lens. However, given that the Sony 12-24mm is not only $400 more expensive than the Sigma, and also can’t take screw-in filters, this is a lens that I think is only worth it if you absolutely need 12mm in your ultra-wide zoom.
The Sony 16-35mm f/2.8 GM was the gold standard for E-mount wide zooms. I haven’t personally used the 16-35mm GM, but from what I’ve seen, it’s very, very good. I’m not sure if it as good as the Sigma, though, in the overlapping range. What you do get is the ability to use 82mm screw-in filters and a significantly broader zoom range going all the way to 35mm. On the negative side, it’s not quite as wide at the wide end, and it’s a hefty $800 more expensive than the Sigma.
The really tough decision is between the Sigma and the Tamron 17-28mm. The Tamron is significantly smaller and lighter, $500 less expensive, takes reasonably sized 67mm filters and is still very good optically. For those shooting on Sony’s 24 megapixel bodies, the optical advantage of the Sigma in the shared range will be fairly small. However, on the A7R series cameras, the Sigma will show a fairly substantial improvement at the corners and edges of the frame. The Sigma is also quite a bit wider. I think the Tamron will make sense for most shooters if the more limited 17mm wide end isn’t a problem, while the Sigma will be the choice for those who want the extra width or demand the ultimate in image quality.
Because of the front filter situation and the high total cost including those filters, the Sigma 14-24mm f/2.8 may not be for everyone, but if you want the best optical quality you can get in a wide-zoom, this is it. It’s by far the best ultra-wide zoom lens I’ve ever used, and I have personally swapped out my Tamron 17-28mm and a few of my wide-angle primes in place of the Sigma, which handily improves on all of those lenses in a single unit.
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18 thoughts on “Review: Sigma 14-24mm f/2.8 DG DN Art”
I contacted you yesterday regarding the Sigma 14-24 and the Tamron 17-35. Your review definitely makes clear which you find is best and I take that to mean, in particular, when they are challenged by a 60MP sensor! That still doesn’t totally answer my question from yesterday: Is the Tamron, in its own right, up to the 60MP demands. Seeing you use some images from it in your Sony A7R-IV review sort of says “YES”. But after reading the Sigma review, I almost read a “No”. Hope you are following.
45 to 55 years ago I was involved in the Redwood National Park creation and later its expansion. I donated over 5,000 images to them. They have just awarding me a very small contract to revisit a few places I can still access and show how the landscape has changed over a 50+ year time. It is unusual I think that the same photographer (now at 77) can once again photograph places within the park that only I and a few others saw before they were often compromised by logging, etc. before being protected. Can still hike 10-12 miles and 2-3,000 foot elevation elevation changes in a day hike, so still in decent shape.
I used a Hasselblad 500C, Nikon F and even a 4×5 briefly to do that early work. So I’m planning on acquiring the Sony A7R-IV for the camera and still deciding on lenses. (Current camera is aging Fujifilm X-Pro 1 and I believe a very good sample of the 18-55 F/2.8-4 lens). I’ve created numerous panorama shots in portrait orientation at 18mm that look quite good. I believe the Sigma could give me great “breathing” room in tight quarters!
You do not mention 2 other aspects of the 14-24 Sigma I’d love to hear about: using both camera & lens in wet conditions and using it in APS-C crop mode, where you could get 36mm at 26MP.
Thank you for taking time to guide me here.
For your first question, is the Tamron up to the 60 Megapixel demands? The answer is: Mostly. Over the majority of the image frame, it is definitely up to the task. Only at the edges and corners of the frame does it falter a bit on the A7R IV. It’s still ‘good’, it’s just not ‘great’ there. For most shots, it will make a pretty negligible difference, unless you’re printing huge and have detail at those edges. Even then, again, it’ll be fine, just not the biting sharpness at the edges that the Sigma gets you. I switched from my Tamron because the Sigma was able to basically quell my search for one of the ultimate landscape primes, since it performs as good or better than them anyway. It’s also wide enough that I was able to swap both my Tamron and my Voigtlander 12mm and 21mm f/3.5 and not really feel like I was losing anything at all, and was in fact gaining a image quality in the process (though I also added a Voigtlander 15mm, which I will use when I want to travel with three small primes….15, 40, 90…using APS-C mode when needed for 22., 60 and 135mm).
I haven’t used the lens in wet conditions (and I don’t generally shoot much in the rain.) The Sigma does have a rubber gasket on the mount and promises weather sealing, but I take all of those claims from any manufacturer with a grain of salt.
In APS-C mode, it works great. The lens can easily resolve the density of the A7R IV sensor, so it looks fantastic in APS-C mode. (I accidentally turned it on at one point in one of my shoots, such that one of the sample images is in APS-C mode).
What lenses are your other small primes ?
Yes, the 15mm Voigtlander (review coming at some point), Voigtlander 40mm f/1.2 and Contax G 90mm f/2.8.
Ahh I figured the 40 was a Voigtlander could not figure out the 90.
Thought it might be the macro lol
I like my 16-35 F4. Light, takes filters. Cheaper and I like the images that come out of it on my A73
The 16-35mm f/4 is a good lens, though it is only $50 cheaper. The 16-35 gives a nice range and is more convenient with use of filters, but it isn’t in the same league optically. I owned the 16-35mm f/4 for several years, and sold it for the Tamron 17-28mm, which was notably better than the 16-35mm at the edges of the frame, and the Sigma 14-24mm is yet another step up over the Tamron. The Sigma is sharper at f/2.8 at the edges throughout the shared focal range than the Sony 16-35/4 is even at f/8. These differences may not be majorly important when shooting on a 24MP body like the A73, though they would be noticeable (I could see a difference between the Tamron and Sony when I was shooting with the A73), and the Sony 16-35mm is definitely quite good at the wide end of the range when stopped down a little. On a higher megapixel body, however, the difference between the Sony and Sigma would be rather substantial.
With all that said, the Sony 16-35mm is a very nice lens and is certainly capable of creating great images. I used mine to great effect for about 4 years, and really liked it. Buying new now, I’d lean towards the Tamron if you want a smaller lens that takes screw in filters, or the Sigma for the wider field of view and the best optical quality.
Have you had any issues with the Kase rear filters breaking?
I have not as of yet, though I have seen several reports of people who have had it happen. To be fair, I also have only used them a handful of times so far. We shall see in the long term.
Thanks for the review.
Sigma has another UW lens 14mm f1.8. How would you compare both lenses for Leica SL?
Unfortunately, I haven’t had a chance to try out the 14mm f/1.8, though I’ve heard good things. This is just my impression from reading the reviews of others, but from what I have heard, the 14-24mm is sharper than the 14mm f/1.8 and has better chromatic aberration control. The f/1.8 is f/1.8, though. I think if your prime reason for buying a lens in this width is for astrophotography, the f/1.8 aperture of the prime may well serve you very well, but outside of that, I don’t see a lot of reasons to go that route. You really don’t gain anything outside of lens speed, and you lose the 15-24mm range, lose a little sharpness and gain a fairly hefty amount of weight, as the 14-24mm is significantly smaller and lighter.
Thanks a lot.
Thank you for the thorough review, Jordan. I just acquired the Sigma 14-24 from Guy on Fred Miranda. I have never used filter holder before. I am not interested in using the rear filter slot. So you have the NISI S5 holder and their CPL, which ND filters did you get?
I’m using the Kase rear filters right now for NDs. Mine haven’t broken yet, but from what I’ve seen, it’s likely only a matter of time. I do have the new Aurora magnetic rear filters coming soon, which should be super easy to swap on the rear, and more robust with the magnetic frame. I don’t plan on purchasing a front ND filter to us with my Nisi S5 system, as I like just having the threaded CPOL with the NISI cap on it, so I can shove it in my bag and not worry about the square filter holder.
I can’t believe Guy actually sold his 14-24…he was super high on it…but he doesn’t keep many lenses for that long.
This is an excellent review. Thank you for info on the Nisi filter holder. This is exactly the type of review that I was looking for. I have the rear attachable ND Filters, but the polarizing lens with the Nisi is what I’m after. I read some negative reviews about the Nisi and was very indimidated to buy. After seeing your review, I think Im going to give it a try. Thank you for an excellent thorough examination of the 14-24 DG DN Art for sony A7IV. I have the same setup, and am very excited that this has worked well for you.
I have been endlessly searching for the optimal lens for real estate photography/videography. $1300 was certainly way above what I could afford but I was willing to invest and sacrifice for the future. I went back and forth with Sony 16-35 f2.8 GM, Sony 16-35 f4, Tamron 17-28 f2.8 and I couldn’t make a decision which lens to get until I came across Sigma 14-24 f2.8 and read so many promising reviews that I jumped to conclusion quickly and purchased it. Now, I have been concerned after coming to the realization that although this lens has exceptional image quality, sharpness and all the rest, when it comes to real estate photography/videography, from what I have been reading, it is vital to have a polarizing filter to remove reflections off the floors etc.
What should I do? GM is very expensive but is able to attach polarizing filters, I don’t want to compromise image quality for going with a lesser quality lens. I guess my question is what is the best lens for real estate photography/videography when all things are considered?
Thank you for your time!
This is definitely a personal decision. The cheapest option is to pick up an external filter holder for your 14-24mm such that I discuss in this review (see first page discussion). I use the Nisi S5 filter holder with their 150mm circular polarizer, and it works very well. The filter is obviously very large and expensive, but it attaches quickly in the field and has been easier than expected. However, the 16-35mm GM is going to give you still very good image quality and the filter situation is definitely more convenient. You do lose 2mm of width, which may be important to you for real estate photography.
Hi there – Thanks for the review. Any way you can link to the filter adapter and holder? I have a 150mm ND already but need the adapter and 150m holder. Its crazy, but cant find them! Thanks