Sigma 16mm F1.4 DC DN C Review

December 16, 2017 | Mark Goldstein |
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Introduction

The Sigma 16mm F1.4 DC DN C is a fast standard prime lens that offers a maximum aperture of f1.4. It offers the equivalent angle of view as a 24mm lens on an APS-C camera and 32mm on Micro Four Thirds. The Sigma 16mm F1.4 DC DN C 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 1:9.9, while the stepping AF motor ensures a silent, high-speed AF function. The Sigma 16mm F1.4 DC DN C lens is currently available for £449.99 / $449.99 in the UK and the US, respectively. We tested the Micro Four Thirds version of the lens.

Ease of Use

Weighing in at 405g and measuring 9.23cm in length, the Sigma 16mm F1.4 DC DN C is quite a compact lens given its fast f/1.4 aperture. As seen in the photos below, it complements a camera like the new Panasonic G9 very well.

Build quality is excellent given the affordable price tag. 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 wide enough given the size of the lens and ridged for easier grip.

Sigma 16mm F1.4 DC DN CThe Sigma 16mm F1.4 DC DN C lens mounted on a Panasonic G9

Sigma 16mm F1.4 DC DN CThe Sigma 16mm F1.4 DC DN C lens mounted on a Panasonic G9

Sigma 16mm F1.4 DC DN CThe Sigma 16mm F1.4 DC DN C lens mounted on a Panasonic G9

Sigma 16mm F1.4 DC DN CThe Sigma 16mm F1.4 DC DN C lens alongside the Panasonic G9

In terms of features, the Sigma 16mm F1.4 DC DN C offers all the basics that you need from a standard 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.

The Sigma 16mm F1.4 DC DN C lens has a very wide focus ring. There are no hard stops at both ends of the range, making it more difficult to set focus at infinity. Polariser users should be pleased that the 67mm filter thread doesn't rotate on focus.

Focusing is usefully internal and manual focusing is possible when set via the camera body. Full-time manual focus override is also available at any time simply by rotating the focus ring.

Sigma 16mm F1.4 DC DN CSide of the Sigma 16mm F1.4 DC DN C lens

Sigma 16mm F1.4 DC DN CFront of the Sigma 16mm F1.4 DC DN C lens

Sigma 16mm F1.4 DC DN CRear of the Sigma 16mm F1.4 DC DN C lens

When it comes to auto-focusing, the Sigma 16mm F1.4 DC DN C zoom is a very quick and reliable performer, taking about 0.10 second to lock onto the subject when mounted on the Panasonic G9 that we tested it with.

We didn't experience very 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 stepping AF motor, which makes this lens well-suited to video recording.

Sigma 16mm F1.4 DC DN CFront of the Sigma 16mm F1.4 DC DN C lens

Sigma 16mm F1.4 DC DN CRear of the Sigma 16mm F1.4 DC DN C lens

The Sigma 16mm F1.4 DC DN C ships with a good quality plastic circular-shaped lens hood. It accepts 67mm filters.

Sigma 16mm F1.4 DC DN CThe Sigma 16mm F1.4 DC DN C lens in-hand

Sigma 16mm F1.4 DC DN CThe Sigma 16mm F1.4 DC DN C lens fitted with the supplied LH716-01 lens-hood

Focal Range

At the 16mm focal length the angle of view is 83.2 degrees.

 Sigma 16mm F1.4 DC DN C

Chromatic Aberrations

Chromatic aberrations, typically seen as purple or blue fringes along contrasty edges, can be detected in quite a lot of our sample shots - this is definitely one of the Sigma 16mm F1.4 DC DN C's weaker points in terms of image quality.

Sigma 16mm F1.4 DC DN C Sigma 16mm F1.4 DC DN C
   
Sigma 16mm F1.4 DC DN C Sigma 16mm F1.4 DC DN C

Vignetting

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

Sigma 16mm F1.4 DC DN C

Macro

The Sigma 16mm F1.4 DC DN C isn't claimed to be a macro lens, but it delivers reasonable performance nonetheless. It has a useful minimum focusing distance of 25cm / 9.8in. and a maximum magnification ratio of 1:9.9. The following example demonstrates how close you can get to your subject, in this case a Compact Flash memory card.

Sigma 16mm F1.4 DC DN C

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 16mm F1.4 DC DN C lens, Sigma employed an iris diaphragm with nine rounded blades, which has resulted in quite 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 16mm F1.4 DC DN C Sigma 16mm F1.4 DC DN C
   
Sigma 16mm F1.4 DC DN C Sigma 16mm F1.4 DC DN C

Sharpness

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