Price: $980 street price
THE LOW-DOWN: This 24mm f1.4 wide angle lens is for full frame cameras. (On an APS-C camera it will have an effective focal length of 36mm). It is the latest in Sigma’s Art range of premium lenses. As with others in the Art group it has very high quality optics and mechanics. The HSM auto focus mechanism is fast and silent and the manual focus ring is smooth and well damped. When set to AF the manual focus control is still engaged allowing for simultaneous auto focus and fine tuning. Closest focus is 25cm. While the manual focus ring keeps turning there is a focus scale on the barrel showing the focus distance from 25cm to infinity. A lens hood is supplied. For the fastidious there is a Sigma USB dock available as an option for updating firmware and customising the lens.
LIKE: Barrel distortion is barely perceptible, but if you need straight lines then correction in the computer is easy because the distortion is even across the image. Colour, contrast and sharpness are beyond reproach. While there is corner and edge fall-off of both light and sharpness at f1.4, as is common for wide angle lenses, it disappears by f4.
DISLIKE: This is a very heavy lens. It is not something that we dislike, because it balanced nicely on our Canon 5D MkII, but it could be an issue for anyone trying to reduce weight in their gear bag.
VERDICT: This lens is simply superb and for any photographer with an interest in landscape or architecture it is unbeatable. Making the product even more irresistible is the price: $1600 cheaper than the Nikon equivalent and $1100 under the Canon competition. And this price difference is not achieved by diminishing the quality of the product.