Sigma 28mm F1.4 DG HSM Review
The Sigma 28mm F1.4 DG HSM is a new wide-angle prime lens for full-frame and APS-C DSLR cameras, offering a classic focal length of 28mm. It offers the equivalent angle of view as a 44.8mm lens on an APS-C system (depending on the crop factor).
The Sigma 28mm 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 28cm /11in and a maximum reproduction ratio of 1:5.4. The Sigma 28mm F1.4 DG HSM is the latest lens in the now extensive Art line (the other ranges are Contemporary and Sports). The optical design is comprised of 17 elements in 12 groups, including two F Low Dispersion (FLD) and three Special Low Dispersion (SLD) elements, plus three aspherical elements.
The Sigma 28mm F1.4 DG HSM lens is currently available in Canon EF, Nikon F and Sigma SA mounts for £1099.99 / $1399.99 in the UK and the US, respectively.
Ease of Use
Weighing in at 865 grams and measuring 10.8cm in length, the Sigma 28mm F1.4 DG HSM is a big lens given its short focal length, and some 200g heavier and 2cms longer than the very similar Sigma 28mm F1.4 DG HSM lens that we reviewed back in 2015.
As seen in the product shots, though, it complements a full-frame camera like the Canon EOS 5DS R very well, and also doesn't look or feel too out of place on a smaller APS-C camera like the Canon EOS 800D.
Build quality is excellent. The lens has a plastic shell with a mixture of metallic parts and a relatively 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, with 17 elements in 12 groups.
In terms of features, the Sigma 28mm 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.
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 0.28m / 0.92 ft to infinity.
The Sigma 28mm 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 28mm F1.4 DG HSM zoom is a quick performer, taking about 0.15 seconds to lock onto the subject when mounted on the Canon EOS 5DS R DSLR camera 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 HSM (Hyper Sonic Motor), which makes this lens well-suited to video recording.
The Sigma 28mm F1.4 DG HSM ships with a good quality soft case and also a plastic petal-shaped lens hood with a lock button. It accepts 77mm filters via threads on the front of the lens.
At the 28mm focal length the angle of view is 75.4 degrees.
Chromatic aberrations, typically seen as purple or blue fringes along contrasty edges, can be detected in a few of our test shots, but they are not very prominent at all.
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.
The Sigma 28mm 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 28cm/11in and a maximum magnification ratio of 1:5.4. The following example demonstrates how close you can get to your subject, in this case a Compact Flash memory card.
The Sigma 28mm F1.4 DG HSM produces some nice sunstars when stopped-down to f/16 or f/22, although be careful to watch out for flare effects when shooting directly into the sun.
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 28mm 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 examples below for your perusal.
In order to show you how sharp this lens is, we are providing 100% crops on the following page.