Sigma 24mm F1.4 DG HSM Review

April 1, 2015 | Mark Goldstein | |

Introduction

The Sigma 24mm F1.4 DG HSM is a new wide-angle prime lens for full-frame and APS-C DSLR cameras. It offers the equivalent angle of view as a 36mm lens on an APS-C system (depending on the crop factor). The Sigma 24mm F1.4 DG HSM features a rounded 9 blade diaphragm which creates an attractive blur to the out of focus areas of the image. It has a minimum focusing distance of 25cm /9.8in and a maximum reproduction ratio of 1:5.3. The Sigma 24mm F1.4 DG HSM is the third lens in the new Art line (the other ranges are Contemporary and Sports). The Sigma 24mm F1.4 DG HSM lens is currently available for £799.99 / $899.99 in the UK and the US, respectively.

Ease of Use

Sigma 24mm F1.4 DG HSM The Sigma 24mm F1.4 DG HSM lens mounted on a Canon EOS 5D Mark III

Weighing in at 665 grams and measuring 9cm in length, the Sigma 24mm F1.4 DG HSM is quite a big lens given its focal length. As seen in the photos below, it complements a full-frame camera like the Canon EOS 5D Mark III very well and also doesn't look out of place on a smaller APS-C camera like the Canon EOS 700D.

Sigma 24mm F1.4 DG HSM The Sigma 24mm F1.4 DG HSM lens mounted on a Canon EOS 5D Mark III

Sigma 24mm F1.4 DG HSM The Sigma 24mm F1.4 DG HSM lens mounted on a Canon EOS 5D Mark III

Sigma 24mm F1.4 DG HSM The Sigma 24mm F1.4 DG HSM lens alongside a Canon EOS 5D Mark III

Build quality is excellent. The lens has a plastic shell with a mixture of metallic parts and a new compound material, TSC (Thermally Stable Composite), used inside. It also incorporates a brass bayonet mount that's supposed to be more durable. The optical elements are made of high-grade glass. The focus ring is pleasingly wide and ridged for easier grip.

Sigma 24mm F1.4 DG HSMSide of the Sigma 24mm F1.4 DG HSM lens

Sigma 24mm F1.4 DG HSMSide of the Sigma 24mm F1.4 DG HSM lens

In terms of features, the Sigma 24mm F1.4 DG HSM offers all the basics that you need from a prime lens. The main exception is the lack of built-in Vibration Reduction, although the very fast maximum aperture of f/1.4 makes up for this.

Sigma 24mm F1.4 DG HSMFront of the Sigma 24mm F1.4 DG HSM lens

Sigma 24mm F1.4 DG HSMRear of the Sigma 24mm F1.4 DG HSM lens

Focusing is usefully internal and manual focusing is possible when set via the Focus switch on the lens barrel. Full-time manual focus override is also available at any time simply by rotating the focus ring.

A clear distance scale in both feet and meters runs from the closest focusing distance of 0.25m / 0.82 ft to infinity.

Sigma 24mm F1.4 DG HSMFront of the Sigma 24mm F1.4 DG HSM lens

Sigma 24mm F1.4 DG HSMRear of the Sigma 24mm F1.4 DG HSM lens

The Sigma 24mm F1.4 DG HSM ships with a good quality soft case and also a plastic petal-shaped lens hood. It accepts 77mm filters.

Sigma 24mm F1.4 DG HSMThe Sigma 24mm F1.4 DG HSM lens in-hand

Sigma 24mm F1.4 DG HSMFront of the Sigma 24mm F1.4 DG HSM lens, with the supplied LH830-03 lens hood fitted

Focal Range

At the 24mm focal length the angle of view is 84.1 degrees.

 Sigma 24mm F1.4 DG HSMField of view at 24mm

Focusing

The Sigma 24mm F1.4 DG HSM lens has a wide focus ring. There are hard stops at both ends of the range, making it easier to set focus at infinity. Polariser users should be pleased that the 77mm filter thread doesn't rotate on focus.

When it comes to auto-focusing, the Sigma 24mm F1.4 DG HSM zoom is a fairly quick performer, taking about 0.25 seconds to lock onto the subject when mounted on the Canon EOS 5D III that we tested it with, although it's not as fast as the 35mm and 50mm Art lenses.

We didn't experience much "hunting", either in good or bad light, with the lens accurately focusing almost all of the time. It's also a very quiet performer, thanks to the built-in HSM (Hyper Sonic Motor), which makes this lens well-suited to video recording.

Chromatic Aberrations

Chromatic aberrations, typically seen as purple or blue fringes along contrasty edges, can be detected in some shots but they are not very prominent at all.

Sigma 24mm F1.4 DG HSM Sigma 24mm F1.4 DG HSM

Light Fall-off

With the lens set to its maximum aperture of f/1.4, there is very significant light fall-off in the corners. Stopping-down to f/4 virtually eliminates this.

Sigma 24mm F1.4 DG HSMLight fall-off

Macro

The Sigma 24mm F1.4 DG HSM isn't claimed to be a macro lens, but it delivers quite good performance nonetheless. It has a minimum focusing distance of 25cm/9.8in and a maximum magnification ratio of 1:5.3. The following example demonstrates how close you can get to your subject, in this case a Compact Flash memory card.

Sigma 24mm F1.4 DG HSMClose-up performance

Bokeh

Bokeh is a word used for the out-of-focus areas of a photograph, and is usually described in qualitative terms, such as smooth / creamy / harsh etc. In the Sigma 24mm F1.4 DG HSM lens, Sigma have employed an iris diaphragm with nine rounded blades, which has resulted in nice bokeh in our view. We do realise, however, that bokeh evaluation is subjective, so we've included several 100% crops for your perusal.

Sigma 24mm F1.4 DG HSM Sigma 24mm F1.4 DG HSM
   
Sigma 24mm F1.4 DG HSM Sigma 24mm F1.4 DG HSM

Sharpness

In order to show you how sharp this lens is, we are providing 100% crops on the following page.

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