The Sigma 14-24mm f/2.8 lens is a brand new ultra-wide-angle zoom lens intended for full-frame mirrorless cameras. Launched in August 2019, this lens follows in the footsteps of the Sigma 45mm f/2.8 prime lens. Similar to that lens, the Sigma 14-24mm is available for Sony E-Mount cameras, or L-Mount mirrorless cameras made by Panasonic, Sigma, and Leica. It is currently the widest and fastest full-frame zoom lens made for Sony E-Mount, with FE 12-24mm f/4 as the closest match.
In the DSLR world, the 14-24mm f/2.8 lens is no stranger. Nikon made its own version, and Sigma has been making this lens for full-frame DSLRs for a while now. But the 14-24mm focal range is indeed for special use cases, with most photographers preferring the 16-35mm range to meet their wide-angle needs. Tamron echoes this sentiment with the recent release of the 17-28mm f/2.8 E-Mount lens. So what sets the 14-24mm lens apart, and who is this lens for? Read on to find out!
The Sigma 14-24mm has a maximum aperture of f/2.8 and a minimum aperture of f/22. It offers a 114.2 degree to 84.1-degree angle of view and has a minimum focusing distance of 11 inches (27.94 cm). This is an autofocus lens that also offers manual focus at the flip of a notch. There is no image stabilization or vibration reduction, making it unideal for video. It is on the larger side with dimensions of 3.35 x 5.16″ and a weight of 28.04 ounces. But it is slightly narrower and lighter in weight than its DSLR counterparts.
This lens is also weather-sealed, but the front lens element is curved and thus cannot be protected by standard screw-on UV filters. On that note, you also cannot use screw-on ND filters or polarizers with this lens either.
Currently, the lens retails for $1,399.00 USD. It’s not cheap, but it does cost less than the Sony FE 12-24mm f/4 and the Sony 16-35mm f/2.8.
Ultra-wide focal range
The biggest benefit of this lens its ultra-wide focal range. If you’re shooting in tight spaces or want to cram as much visual detail as possible in your image, this is the lens to use. It’s perfect for shooting architecture, real estate, or landscapes. However, ultra-wides can also be tricky to work with due to distortions (more on that below).
Solid build quality
Sigma declares this lens to be dustproof and splashproof (in other words, semi-weatherproof). The front lens also has a coating that repels water and oil. Given the heft of this lens, it indeed feels like it could withstand various outdoor environments, but I wouldn’t take it into a downpour.
Nice bokeh effects
With a relatively fast f/2.8 aperture, this lens is much faster than its wider yet slower cousin, the 12-24mm f/4. However, ultra-wide lenses are typically used for landscape and architecture, when you’ll be shooting an f/9 or f/11 to get as much of your scene in focus as possible. So whether you really need the f/2.8 aperture depends on what kind of photos you intend to shoot.
While ultra-wides are not a standard portrait or subject photography lens, the f/2.8 gives you a nice background blur if you prefer shooting wide. The smooth bokeh is thanks to the 11 rounded diaphragm blades, an increase to the 9 blades found in previous models.
Large and heavy
Pretty much all f/2.8 lenses are larger and heavier than their slower counterparts, and this lens is no exception. It’s a big and bulky lens that you likely won’t use for casual travel photography, not just because of its size, but because the front element is completely exposed.
All wide-angle lenses face the challenge of decreasing the amounts of barrel or pincushion distortion. In other words, the wider the lens, the more likely your vertical lines won’t be straight.
The Sigma 14-24mm handles this moderately. At its widest focal length, there is indeed some barrel distortion. For certain scenarios such as astrophotography or landscape photography, this is less of an issue. But for real estate, architecture, or anything that requires super straight vertical lines, this lens may not be the best choice.
You can, of course, attempt some perspective control in Photoshop.
Can’t use standard filters
As mentioned earlier, the front curve of this lens prevents standard ND filters or polarizers from being used. Sigma does say that the lens comes with a rear filter holder, but you would need to invest in this specific type of filter to make use of it. Standard filters that screw onto the front of the lens would not work.
Who is this lens for?
All in all, the 14-24mm f/2.8 is a specialty lens. At its widest focal length, there is typically quite a bit of barrel distortion. This makes for extra post-processing work for those trying to shoot real estate or architecture, but perspective control has improved in post-processing software.
While barrel distortion is less of an issue for landscape or astrophotography, this lens doesn’t allow you to attach screw-on ND filters and polarizers that are often needed when shooting outdoors. Sigma declares that the 14-24mm f/2.8 is intended to be “the definitive lens for astrophotography.” Unfortunately, it is not the season for night sky photos, so I was not able to test this aspect of this lens.
With all of that said, the image quality is fantastic. This lens produces tack-sharp images with excellent colors. It just requires a bit of extra work in post-production to make up for some of its shortcomings.
Would you buy this lens? Let me know in the comments below!