Sigma 24mm F1.4 DG HSM Art Review
By Yvonne
2022-09-29

Sigma's 24mm F1.4 DG HSM Art Lens is its widest entry. It has some drop-off when using wide apertures but is extremely sharp and very competitively priced.

Sigma 24mm F1.4 DG HSM Art Review

Sigma 24mm F1.4 DG HSM Art

Let's get to the bottom

Sigma's 24mm F1.4 DG HSM Art Lens is its widest entry. It has some drop-off when using wide apertures but is extremely sharp and very competitively priced.

The pros

  • Sharpen from edge to edge
  • Minimal distortion.
  • Large aperture
  • Close focus 9.8 inches
  • Full-frame coverage.
  • Multiple camera systems are supported.

Cons

  • Notable drop-off at F/1.4 and F/2
  • May require focus adjustment via USB Dock.
  • Heavy and large.
  • Omits stabilization.

Sigma's lenses have consistently impressed—both in the lab and in the field—since the launch of its Global Vision branding initiative. The Art range, with its wide aperture design that allows for low light photography and amazing control over depth, has been a standout in terms of image quality as well as value. This 24mm F1.4 DG HSSM Art (priced at $849) is no exception. Although it is sharp even at F/1.4, there are some glaring issues at wider apertures.

It's an exceptional value, especially when you consider the cost of name brand alternatives for full-frame cameras—the Nikon AF-S Nikkor 24mm f/1.4G ED ($2,199.95) and the Canon EF 24mm f/1.4L II USM ($1,549) are both significantly more expensive. If you prefer a smaller field of vision, Nikon photographers may consider the AF–S Nikkor 28mm f/1.8G at Amazon. It is a less expensive alternative but doesn't have the same light gathering and sharpness. This makes the 24-mm F1.4 DG SM Art our Editors Choice.

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Design

The 24mm lens ($848.00 on Amazon) has a large aperture. The lens measures 1.5 by 3.6 inches (HD), and weighs 1.5 pounds. It has large front elements that require the use of 77mm filters. It has a minimum focal distance of 9.8 inches. This is the same as for the Nikon and Canon alternatives. Sigma markets the 24mm for those mounts, as well as in Leica/Panasonic/Sigma L-mount mirrorless cameras, Sigma SA SLRs and mirrorless models, and Sony E-mount mirrorless cameras.

The lens barrel, like other Art lenses, is made of a hardened composite plastic. The barrel has a toggle switch to allow you to choose between autofocus and manual focus, as well as a rubberized focus band and a printed scale. Included are a soft-carrying case and a reversible lens cover.

Although the lens does not include optical stabilization, it is standard with wide-angle primes. Nikon does not offer this lens, however Canon has the stabilized EF 24-mm f/2.8 IS USM (599.99 USD) and EF 28mm f/2.8 IS USM (5499.99 USD) within its product line. Sony cameras employ in-body stabilization. A stabilized lens can be a great help when shooting stills, but it is not essential when you are working with such wide angles and apertures. If you frequently record handheld video it can be a problem. You might want to look into a better lens for this purpose.

The lens was not as sharp when I paired it with the Canon EOS 5DSR 50-megapixel camera ($1,295.00 on Amazon). The focus at far distances was very accurate even at f/1.4. However, it would not work well when you are close to a large aperture. The 5DS R allows you to dial in focus adjustment—a tool like the Focus Pyramid can help with that—and I was able to correct the behavior at close distances with a very minor adjustment, but at that point the focus at far distances was off.

Sigma also sells the USB Dock, an add-on to its autofocus tool. It costs only 54.99 on Amazon. It is possible that autofocus calibration does not need to be done with all cameras. The same lens with issues with the 5DSR focused perfectly with the EOS 6D ($1,699.00 Amazon).

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Image Quality and Conclusions

Imatest was used to test how sharp the lens looked when it was paired with the 20-megapixel 6-D. It scores 2,360 lines per inch on a center-weighted test at f/1.4, which is an excellent score. This is better than the 1,800 lines that we want in an image. There's also a decrease in sharpness around the edges (2,136 lines), but detail remains strong.

The lens shows 2,451 lines at f/2, which is quite a difference. Even at f/1.4, images show lots of contrast and high color saturation. When paired with my 50-megapixel 5DSR, I discovered that I actually was dropping saturation to achieve the image I desired.

The lens achieves very sharpness at f/2.8, with a score of 2,635 line center weighted. The lens shows a slight improvement at f/4 (2.707 lines), and a peak at f/5.6 (2.596 lines). The lens shows 2,328 lines when the aperture is reduced to f/16. However, diffraction occurs at f/8 (2.723 lines) and f/11 (2.554 lines).

The issue of fall-off can be a problem at f/1.4 or f/2 but it is not an issue beyond those levels. At f/1.4 there is a strong vignette, while at f/2 it's less. The illumination at f/2.8 is uniform across the frame. It's possible to lighten edges with a vignette adjustment tool ($9.99/Month) or any other image editor. The lens is able to capture lots of contrast and detail, even though its edges appear dimmed at large apertures. The lens's barrel distortion is very minimal for an f/1.4 lens with such wide fields of view.

Sigma's 24mm F1.4 DGHSM Art is another winning Sigma product. The 24mm F1.4 DG HSM Art captures crisp images even at the widest apertures. It can also take images at shallow depths of field, particularly at close focus distances. The fall-off issue is at f/1.4, f/2 and f/2.8. However, software can correct it. One of my test cameras had issues with focus calibration.

However, the optional USB Dock accessory can be used with that camera to match your focus performance perfectly with your body. The lens is a great value compared to Canon and Nikon alternatives. Even if you do not consider the value proposition, the 24mm F1.4 performs well and is worthy of being our Editors’ Choice.

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