Since my switch to micro four-thirds, I haven’t been able to pick up a Sigma lens. When I checked out Sigma’s new offerings in their global vision contemporary series — the 16mm f/1.4 and 30mm f/1.4 — I was intrigued. And after spending a few weeks with the 16mm f/1.4 (full-frame field of view at 32mm), I must say that it opens up a lot of possibilities.
I took the lens on a photowalk last week to check out its capabilities. Wide open at f/1.4, this lens can only be described as dreamy, capturing the main subject with tack-sharp focus and a blurry background.
Performance and Specs
Just like its 30mm counterpart, the 16mm f/1.4 was near-silent and fast when it came to focusing. Sharpness was also impressive, which helped to further separate the subject from its background. However, there was quite a bit of chromatic aberration present, and there was some noticeable vignetting in the corners as well.
In the image below, a magenta-colored chromatic aberration could be seen when the dark concrete was met with the bright sky. Certainly not beyond fixing, but worth noting.
Despite the chromatic aberration and vignetting, the soft depth of field definitely makes up for any shortcomings by this lens.
The lens features nine diaphragm blades and a maximum aperture of f/16. While it doesn’t have image stabilization, the f/1.4 aperture certainly helps with low-light conditions.
Both the Sigma 16mm and 30mm lenses are a part of Sigma’s Contemporary lineup of lenses, which can be compared to their DSLR “Art” series of lenses. The styling — black with small, white text elements — is welcomed, especially while shooting in darker conditions.
Because of its plastic casing, the lens only weighs 0.89 pounds.
In what I was able to capture with the Sigma 16mm f/1.4, I was overly impressed. The blurring of the background here in these shots is best described as magical, allowing the subject to really shine as the focal point. All of these photos were shot out of camera with no processing applied.
If you’re looking for an artistic, creative lens to take shooting, the Sigma 16mm f/1.4 DC DN Contemporary lens is it. With its soft, creamy background provided by its f/1.4 aperture, you can create some truly remarkable images with this lens, which only retails for $449.
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