We Review The Sigma 14mm f/1.4 DG DN Art: Astrophotographers Will Fall in Love

I have been via numerous quick and large lenses for my nighttime images — low-cost bargains, costly extremely touted lenses. However I’ve by no means been as blissful as I’m with the Sigma 14mm f/1.4 DG DN Artwork lens. Designed particularly for Milky Manner and star subject images, it is by far the very best lens I’ve used and evaluated.

Whereas not cheap, at $1,599, it appeared low-cost in comparison with lenses with related, however not fairly nearly as good specs which are usually greater than $2,000. I bought the Sigma with my very own cash, as a result of nighttime images is a giant a part of my picture output. It is out there in L Mount (Leica, Sigma, and Panasonic cameras) and the Sony E Mount.


Here is among the tech data on this lens. First, and foremost, so far as I do know, that is the primary and solely full body lens that may mix an ultra-wide 14mm optical system with a most aperture of f/1.4.

The sky is troublesome, as a result of your picture comprises 1000’s of small factors of sunshine, usually unfold throughout your picture. In the true world, it signifies that with most lenses, even when the middle of the picture seems good, the corners look terrible, with stars stretched into sausages. They’re not factors of sunshine.

The Sigma additionally options high-speed autofocus with HLA (Excessive-response Linear Actuator) linear motor, though in my very own work below the celebrities, I choose handbook focus, and I will discuss that under. For panorama images, even in sundown or dawn gentle, the autofocus may be very helpful.

The Sigma is an advanced piece of drugs, and it must be to get these type of outcomes. It comprises 19 components in 15 teams, together with one SLD glass component, three FLD glass components, and 4 aspherical lens components.

This Sigma Artwork Lens comes with a removable tripod socket with an Arca-Swiss kind connector. The lens may be very heavy, and it stands proud so removed from my Sony a7 IV, I used to be nervous about it tipping over. Utilizing the tripod socket balances issues properly and modifications the middle of gravity.

The lens contains an all vital autofocus lock button and an aperture ring. The physique is dust- and splash-resistant, and the front-most floor of the lens is coated with a water- and oil-repellent coating so you may shoot open air in harsh environments. Based on Sigma, “The HLA (Excessive-response Linear Actuator) allows high-speed, quiet, and extremely correct autofocusing. To be able to keep efficiency whereas supporting a lens with a big aperture, the lens has a strong inside construction and makes use of light-weight supplies resembling polycarbonate TSC (Thermally Steady Composite), which has a thermal shrinkage charge equal to that of aluminum, and magnesium in acceptable places to scale back weight whereas guaranteeing robustness.”

As I stated, it is a heavy lens, nevertheless it’s constructed like a tank, and I anticipate years of excellent service.

Within the Discipline

After weeks of brutal monsoon climate in Southern Arizona, I lastly obtained my digital camera with the Sigma out for an evening of Milky Manner images. We now have Bortle 4 skies right here away from Tucson and Phoenix, and to see the Milky Manner, all you need to do is search for.

I hooked my digital camera physique as much as my Peak Design journey tripod, and standing below the evening sky, I had an terrible lot of hysteria concerning the weight of that heavy lens. My gear and I each survived, however subsequent time, I will use the tripod socket. I attempted it within the yard the following day on a good lighter tripod, and the stability was good.

Again to my evening below the darkish sky: I pointed the digital camera to the south-southwest, the place the Milky Manner was nearly vertical. My typical apply is to shoot 20-40 pictures. 13-second exposures work properly with my digital camera and lens combo. I do get some sky glow from Tucson low within the sky to the Southwest, however Tucson, residence of many observatories, takes steps to maintain lighting restricted.

I beloved focusing the Sigma lens utilizing the LCD display screen on my digital camera. As quickly as I touched the main focus ring, the celebrities magnified and focusing manually was simple. Then, I flipped the Focus Lock swap, and I used to be set for the evening. Autofocus typically labored, nevertheless it’s troublesome with stars. Often, once I do not focus manually, I attempt to deal with a distant object earlier than it will get too darkish, nevertheless it’s not so good as doing it manually when focus is so apparent within the magnified picture.

I took three units of pictures, some with solely the sky and the Milky Option to attempt to reduce the sunshine air pollution glow close to the horizon, and I took some footage that put the Milky Manner framed with some cactus.

I processed the pictures in Starry Panorama Stacker for Mac, so once I was completed, I had one stacked picture with the foreground and background in focus. On the Home windows facet, there is a related app referred to as Sequator.

What is the Competitors?

For my digital camera, the Sony a7 IV, I’ve had the venerable Rokinon 20mm f/1.8. It is a very properly priced lens, out there for almost each digital camera mount. At that low worth, you are going to get a subject that may be a bit distorted, however Photoshop and DXO present software program fixes for that. It isn’t a heavy lens, and the Rokinon (typically bought below the Samyang label) will do the trick with some flattening and cropping. They are often bought for a spread of about $350 to $499. Now, Rokinon lenses acceptable for evening sky use can be found in a number of quick focal lengths and aperture sizes. There’s quite a lot of costs, and all are a superb lens at low price.

I even have what is commonly touted as an excellent Milky Manner lens from Sony, their 20mm f/1.8 G lens. It’s a terrific lens, gentle in weight, particularly in comparison with the Sigma, and it presents a pleasant flat subject with minimal distortion. It has that all-important focus lock characteristic on a button, nevertheless it must be programmed by way of the digital camera. It is about half the worth of the Sigma at $799, and a wonderful lens. (Sony now gives an FE 14mm f/1.8 lens that’s inside 100 {dollars} of the Sigma. However it’s f/1.8, not f/1.4.)

Nonetheless, the Sigma is a good higher evening sky lens. It has much less distortion, sooner optics, and a wider subject of view than the opposite contenders I’ve used. The one disadvantage is its weight (4.2 lbs!), however as I famous above, it may be handled. Taking pictures at f/1.4 means much less time within the components as a result of you may shoot fewer frames by gathering extra gentle. I all the time shoot large open with the Sigma, and different lenses I’ve used need you to cease down some to maintain the celebrities from elongating on the edges.

You do get just a bit distortion out on the very corners, however at regular decision, it is invisible and higher than different evening sky lenses I’ve used. For those who picture at say, f/2 or f/2.4, the sides shall be tack-sharp, however I would relatively have the sooner efficiency.

For Milky Manner, evening sky, even large subject landscapes, the Sigma is actually excellent. For those who do evening sky astrophotography or panorama work, it’s value a critical search for Sony or L Mount digital camera house owners, and my hope is Sigma will make variations for different well-liked cameras.

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