The Sigma I series collection of lenses is continuing to grow. The latest prime lens to join the family is the Sigma 24mm f/2 DG DN Contemporary. Will it fare as well as the others in the lineup? Find out in our full review.
I’ll admit, I was a little shocked when the Sigma 24mm f/2 DG DN hit the market. After all, it wasn’t that long ago when the company released the 24mm f/3.5 DG DN, which is also in the I series family. However, I have been pleasantly surprised by the differences between the two. Find out more below.
- Gorgeous design
- Rapid autofocus
- Sharp optics
- Aperture dial
- Some weather sealing
- Fast max aperture
- It’s affordable
- Heavy distortion
- Some fringing
Sigma 24mm f/2 DG DN — Technical specifications
All technical specifications for this lens are from the official Sigma website:
- Design: 13 elements in 11 groups, 9 rounded aperture blades
- Angle of view: 84.1°
- Max aperture: f/2, min aperture f/22
- Min focusing distance: 24.5cm / 9.7in.
- Filter size: φ62mm
- Dimensions (diameter × length)
- L-Mount: 70mm × 72mm, φ2.8in. × 2.8in
- E-Mount: φ70mm × 74mm, φ2.8in. × 2.9in
- Weight: L-Mount 365g / 0.80lbs., Sony E-Mount 360g / 0.79lbs
Sigma 24mm f/2 DG DN — Ergonomics and build quality
Like other lenses in the Sigma I series range, the Sigma 24mm f/2 DG DN is gorgeously designed and well constructed. The lens has a vintage appearance which is only enhanced by the aperture dial and the all-metal build. Even the lens hood is metal. The lens is nice and compact. It’s just three inches long and it weighs only 0.80lbs.
The lens isn’t covered with controls like a lot of modern lenses. You’ll find the aperture dial close to the mount. The manual focus ring sits just behind the 62mm front element. There’s a manual and autofocus selector switch on the left side of the barrel and that’s it. It’s a lens with a simple yet elegant design that also happens to feel nice in the hand. Unlike other contemporary lenses, I series lenses feel like premium products.
As mentioned above, the Sigma 24mm f/2 DG DN features an all-metal build. Even the manual focus ring is metal. The hood is metal and one of the included lens caps is also metal. The one switch has a nice feel to it when moved, the manual focus ring is nice and smooth and the aperture dial clicks nicely into place.
The Sigma 24mm f/2 DG DN has a gasket around the mount. While I wouldn’t shoot with this lens out in the rain or snow, the weather sealing should provide you with enough protection while you try to find a dry area to wait out a storm. This lens is solidly built. As long as you don’t shoot with it in inclement weather the Sigma 24mm f/2 will last you a long time.
Sigma 24mm f/2 DG DN — In the field
The Sigma 24mm f/2 DG DN Contemporary is easy to use thanks to the controls and ergonomics. If you don’t like changing the aperture via the aperture ring, just turn it to A and then adjust the aperture with the camera body.
Manually focusing this prime is easy thanks to the smooth focusing ring. Use it with focus peaking and you’ll nail every shot. There’s no learning curve with a lens like this. Photographers, both old and new, will have no issues using it.
The lens doesn’t feature image stabilization, but with the IBIS in the Panasonic S5, I had no issues hand holding this lens down to 1/4s. It’s also worth noting that the aperture dial cannot be de-clicked, which is a bummer for videographers. Overall, this lens is nice and easy to use. It’s a perfect size and weight and it will not become a burden when out on long photo walks or during long photo sessions.
Sigma 24mm f/2 DG DN — Autofocus performance
There’s not much to say here other than the Sigma 24mm f/2 DG DN is a speedy lens when it comes to autofocus. On my Panasonic Lumix S5, the lens was blazing fast in both single, tracking, and continuous focus modes when going from near to far.
Not only is the lens fast but it’s also very accurate in both good and low light situations. I didn’t notice any slow down or any hesitancy. This should be expected on a wide-angle prime and I’m happy to say that this is indeed the case.
Yes, the lens does pulse a little on Panasonic L mount cameras. However, it’s very well controlled. I would even go as far as saying it’s one of the best Sigma L mount lenses yet when it comes to pulsing. The pulsing doesn’t hinder photographers, but it certainly plays with videographers. So they will be pleased to hear this.
Sigma 24mm f/2 DG DN — Image quality
Overall, the Sigma 24mm f/2 DG DN doesn’t disappoint when it comes to image quality. However, there are a couple of caveats that need to be discussed. Let’s break things down below.
Distortion control and vignetting
Oof! The Sigma 24mm f/2 DG DN Contemporary suffers from some wicked barrel distortion. At first, I thought all was well and I was impressed. However, I then noticed that the lens’s profile correction was automatically enabled. When I turned it off I saw what you see in the slider above. Now, barrel distortion on wide lenses is common, but it’s usually controlled better than this.
Can you correct the distortion during processing? Yes, you can, but you’re going to have to pay close attention to the edges of your images. If there are any people, their faces will still look distorted. On a brighter note, the lens has no signs of vignetting, even when shooting wide-open at f/2. So, Sigma does need to be commended for that.
Ghosting, flaring and chromatic aberrations
The Sigma 24mm f/2 DG DN handles flaring well. The included lens hood goes a long way in helping with this. However, the lens is somewhat prone to ghosting. As you can see in the two identical images, ghosting is a problem at both smaller and larger apertures. It’s not terrible, still, it’s worth making a note of. You can also see some ghosting in the image of the sun star,
Sun stars are OK. They have some well-defined tones and look pleasant enough. You do lose a little contrast when shooting directly into light sources but it’s better than other lenses I have tested in this class. Unfortunately, there’s some chromatic aberration as well. You can see purple fringing in the foreground trees (second picture), and around the baseball mitt in the statue image. I have to say, though that overall CA control is very good and I had to look to find the fringing.
Sigma usually delivers when it comes to sharpness levels and this lens, for the most part, is no exception to that rule. Wide-open at f/2 images are crazy sharp in the center. However, there is a little softness in the corners and along the edges. However, stop this lens down to f/5.6 and it sings! Images are tack sharp across the board by this point. Images started to get a little soft due to diffraction at around f/14. You’re not going to have any issues when it comes to sharpness.
You don’t buy 24mm primes, regardless of how fast they are for bokeh. You buy them for low light performance. Still, having said that, the Sigma 24mm f/2 DG DN does dish out some pretty nice bokeh. Set the lens to f/2 and shoot at the minimum focusing distance of 9.7 inches and you can create some nice separation. It’s not the smoothest bokeh you’ll ever see but it’s still pretty nice.
Bokeh balls are of the Catseye variety. So if you dislike that characteristic you’ll likely not enjoy what the lens brings to the table. I think it looks just fine, but we’re all different when it comes to bokeh and what we think looks good. Have a look at the image samples and decide for yourself.
If you like your image warm, this is the lens for you. I have talked about the warm color renderings of Sigma lenses before. The 24mm f/2 DG DN might be the warmest of the bunch in the I series lineups. The colors aren’t bad at all, they’re quite inviting. However, the images aren’t accurate compared to how I saw the scene in person.
If you shoot RAW images, no problem. You can adjust the colors to your heart’s content during processing. If you shoot JPEGs and you don’t like warm tones, you’re going to want to select a color profile that’s cooler than you’d usually use or manually set your white balance.
Sigma 24mm f/2 DG DN — A solid wide prime for a decent price
Like with the other Sigma I series primes, it’s hard to go wrong here, especially for the price. For under $650 you’re going to get a well-constructed lens that has a gorgeous design and really good optics. Yes, the barrel distortion is a little strong, but it’s correctable.
Images are punchy and sharp, and the lens is fun to use thanks to its retro-inspired design and weight. It’s a great lens for those who want a compact photo walking lens, or for those who shoot documentary photography in low light situations. It would also be pretty good for landscapes and cityscapes.
Compared to the Sigma 24mm f/3.5 DG DN
There are just a few differences between these lenses from what I can tell. If you need the extra performance in low light, grab the 24mm f/2 DG DN. If you like to dabble with close focusing and macro photography, or if the price of under $550 sounds better, the 24mm f/3.5 DG DN with its close focusing distance of 4.3 inches will be better for you. Read our review of the Sigma 24mm f/3.5 here. Either way, you’re going to get a fantastic lens.
Sigma 24mm f/2 DG DN Contemporary
If you’re looking for a wide compact lens that’s great in low-light situations, the Sigma 24mm f/2 DG DN could be the lens for you. The lens has a stunning retro design, it features an all-metal build, and the optics will help you create images that sing. For under $650, the Sigma 24mm f/2 DG DN is a lens that punches well above its weight.