SIGMA 14-24mm F2.8 DG HSM ART Review
Armenia, the land of Noah, was chosen for my new photo expedition this time so that I could capture both ancient /medieval architectural beauty and landscape. Once the planning was done I rushed to my local sigma authorized re seller AAB world to check the availability of the newly announced lenses. Yes! My long awaited sigma 14-24 f/2.8 art would be there before travel. The day before travel i got a call from the store, with the good news that my magazine copy has arrived. I rushed to the store and received the lens. As soon as back home I opened the box to see the new creation from sigma global vision. And was not amazed…as the lens was exactly as I expected… The lens comes within the white sigma global vision box and a black padded pouch inside, same as in all the art series lenses.
The lens is with built in flower hood and the size is exactly 98 percent same as the earlier released 14mm 1.8 prime lenses.
The first look gave a great impression about the construction and shape. As in all the art lenses … It's made with a composite material to be used in extreme weathers, either hot or cold. The lens is weather sealed, along with a rubber gasket on the lens mount.
The front element will move inside and outside while zooming yet won't exposed beyond the hood. Packed the newbie with my Canon 5D mk3 camera, but I felt bad to mount the high resolution super sharp lens with my old low resolution 5D3 camera. Yes the lens is made as high-resolution to use with high resolution cameras such as 5Dmk4, Nikon D850 Sony a7r3 etc..
The visa procedures were done fast and journey was good, As soon as I landed there, I started my ride with a locally hired driver and car. First I went to the farthest place, the journey took around 5 hours, and I stopped at many places to shoot cloud scape and snow scape. The climate was snowy there and I tested the lens first time on the snowy mountains. The wide 14mm works great, with many handheld shots. Tried on wide aperture and closed aperture. Images below show the sharpness of the wide area and mid and corners.
After the first destination I went to a waterfall to shoot some slow shutter shots and planned to shoot some non-filter stacked shots. It was a great experience to shoot without filters, as multi photo stacking method. Took around 10 - 15 frames in 1/10 sec exposure at ISO 50 to get maximum slow shutter and merged the files to get a smooth feeling. The result was great and sharp throughout the frame.
The zoom 24mm is sharp and crisp without any issues, and once we reach 14mm the frame started to get some light vignette. I tried to avoid the vignette but it took 16mm zoom to clear it.
I have read the lens specs, which advised the hood change to circular by the factory can be good to avoid this. (a great option for multi camera work like VR & 360) Yes, the lens is good for videography. Therefore I changed the factory hood to circular instead of the flower hood. But in this case the front element would be exposed and needed extra care.
I had stayed 5 days in Armenia to test and shoot the landscape and architecture. Armenia is no doubt a wonderful destination for architecture photography lovers.
Plenty of monasteries, gorges, mountains, statues all made the place best for me to test this beast. It also has a great focal range for the travel/ landscape lovers. We can widen up to 14mm and also zoom in to some close distance upto 24mm .The low light capabilities f/2.8 helped me lot to shoot sometime as handheld.
Comparing with the NIKON 14-24 the one and only previously existing lens in this range, Sigma has an advantage of high resolution and extreme weather enduring construction than the old existing lens from Nikon (so far as on May 2018). The size is bit bulky than Nikon lens and bit more weighing too. Pricing is almost same for both lenses. But for canon and Sony users, this lens is a blessing as there is no such range in f2.8. The AF is working great and fast. I traveled from one end to the other end on those continuous days from the morning till the evening for capturing the historical beauty. The long days helped me a lot because the sunset in Armenia was at 7:30 PM, the experience I had was wonderful.
Some days I had experienced two to four climates like, snowfall, rain, hot sun and fog. In some destinations I couldn't even shoot due to dense Fog. Following Images shows the frames of interior shoot (non HDR) single frame 22MP RAW at 14mm in low light
The lens is equipped with full time focus override and same as the ultra-wide 12-24 Art & 14mm Art lenses, the focus ring is designed at the far end of the barrel.
The entire performance is good in the daylight, dawn and dusk. I did few interior shots and more in exterior & landscapes. In all levels the lens performed well with me. The only the issue I faced was a bit of vignette which i mentioned earlier, which i could easily correct with Light room.
I tried auto focus in the dark areas which is inside the monasteries; it catches the subject faster because of its high performance silent USM motor. The advantages of NO Distortion enabled me to capture the Architectural Lines perfectly. The lens is compatible with Canon Lens Aberration Correction and constructed as Dust- and splash-proof structure. Aperture range is from f/2.8 to f/22 and the Corresponding AF Mounts SIGMA, NIKON & CANON
Armenia is blessed with fruits, nature, mountain ranges and more…the month i visited was April, which is between winter and summer. even though it was Off season I had visited the places such as Garni, Geghard, Khorvirap, Sevanavank, Noravank, Noratus, Zwartnots arches , Armenian alphabets, Ghoshawank, Sanahin monastery, Lastiver, saghmoshwank, Amberd, Etchmiadzin, kareri symphonia, shaki & tatev, which is almost all the places to visit in Armenia.
Few more images which shoot in 14mm in different lighting and weather.
On the last day way back to the hotel, I saw the beautiful view of Yerevan from one of the nearby mountain; I called the car to halt and jumped out to take this view. The photo was taken around 9:00PM, which shows how beautiful the late blue hour are in Yerevan. One of the specialties of Armenia is that the main city Yerevan, could be viewed from nearly hundreds of viewpoints from the surrounding mountain range.
Later as i reached back in Kuwait, I went to the desert area to do some night photos with Milky way. Got quite good Milky Way frames and did a stitched panorama. Even though there were no lens correction applied, the panorama stitch got good without the corner vignette and commas.
The centers, mid stars are sharp and the far end stars came with a bit coma, a bit more than the previously released 14mm f/1.8. But still good enough for the travel night shooters because of the wide zoom range. Overall performance is good and got good results on my entire test trips.
I suggest this lens for those who are into serious travel and landscape photography, and those who are not yet having SIGMA 14mm art & 20mm Art & 24mm Art prime lenses in their collection.
Thanks AAB world for getting me this great lens and being with me in SIGMA lenses world and Thanks my FotografiaQ8 team for Sponsoring & Encouraging me for all my lens test rides & My Friend Chinnu for helping me to proof read the review.
See you all…. Another time....Another gear...