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Sigma 20mm f/1.4 Art review: Could this be the perfect mirrorless wide-angle prime?


With Sigma introducing its widest DG DN Art lens to date, I was very excited to try out the 20mm f/1.4 Art lens. Throughout my tests, I was blown away with the optical quality of this lens, not to mention how fun it is to use.

This morning, the company introduced two additions, specifically at the wide side of things — the 20mm and 24mm Art lenses. These lenses replace the previous DSLR-oriented HSM versions that were adapted for L and E mounts.

Throughout my time with both lenses, I was impressed with what I was able to capture, and it further solidified my view of Sigma’s Art series as being one of the best for professionals out there.

With the 20mm f/1.4 Art lens, I found superior sharpness and beautiful depth of field. All in all, this is a lens that’s made to impress. Read on for my full thoughts.

Pros

  • Stunning optical quality and sharpness (even in the corners)
  • Fast and accurate autofocus
  • Weather sealing
  • Little to no ghosting, flaring or chromatic aberration

Cons

Sigma 20mm f/1.4 Art lens — Technical specifications

All technical specifications for the Sigma 20mm f/1.4 Art lens have been provided by Sigma:

  • Aperture range: f/1.4–f/16
  • Angle of view: 94.5°
  • Aperture ring: Yes, with click and lock switch
  • Minimum focus distance: 23cm / 9.1 in.
  • Maximum magnification ratio: 1:6.1
  • Optical design: 17 Elements in 15 Groups
  • Diaphragm blades: 11, rounded
  • Image stabilization: No
  • Filter size: 82mm (Front)
  • Rear filter holder: Yes
  • Dimensions: 87.8 x 111.2mm / 3.5 x 4.4 in.
  • Weight: 635g / 22.4 oz.

Sigma 20mm f/1.4 Art lens — Ergonomics and build quality

If you’ve ever used a Sigma Art lens, you’ll immediately feel right at home with the 20mim f/1.4 Art. It’s a similar size to the 35mm and 85mm Art lenses, and it features a clickable and lockable aperture ring.

The lens is equipped with a petal-shaped hood. The side of the lens includes an AFL button, a manual focus lock (MFL) switch and a focus mode switch. The rear of the lens is also compatible with rear filters, and Sigma includes a template right in the box.

The focus ring is large and smooth. Overall, the lens feels very nice in the hands, and was well-balanced on the Sigma fp L camera.

The 20mm f/1.4 Art is also dust and splash resistant, but it does not include image stabilization, instead relying on the camera body for stabilization.

Sigma 20mm f/1.4 Art lens — In the field

Despite its larger size, the Sigma 20mm f/1.4 Art was a fantastic lens to use. With amazing subject definition, you’ll be hard to find a lens that produces more gorgeous results — especially on the wide end of things. I’d put it up against any wide-angle prime I’ve tried.

With no image stabilization, the lens relies on your camera’s in-body stabilization technologies. While that’s no problem for more modern cameras like the Sigma fp L, Sony a1 and a7 IV, and the Lumix S1 or S5, it’s something to consider … especially if you’re a Sony APS-C user with older stabilization (and less effective) technology. Still, Sigma is going after the pro user base with this camera, and it’s easy to see why in the results I experienced.

Sigma 20mm f/1.4 Art lens — Autofocus performance

Autofocus performed great with the Sigma 20mm f/1.4 Art lens — even with a grown man on a playground dinosaur unable to keep his balance. Autofocus was fast and accurate.

Sigma 20mm f/1.4 Art lens — Image quality

If there’s one lens I’ve tried recently that blew me away, it’s this Sigma 20mm f/1.4 Art lens. The image quality simply blew me away. The fact that there are really no flaws to speak about was a breath of fresh air, especially given what I’ve experienced with some other primes in the past. Sharpness, distortion control, lack of ghosting … these are all huge wins in my book.

Distortion control and vignetting

Distortion is well-controlled with the Sigma 20mm f/1.4 Art. You might see some slight distortion in the corners, but that’s to be expected given its wide field of view.

There’s some very minor vignetting in the corners, but again, it’s not a distractor, and is very controlled. All in all, this lens is truly a showcase of what Sigma can do.

Ghosting, flaring and chromatic aberrations

Unlike its 24mm counterpart, ghosting was very well-controlled with the Sigma 20mm f/1.4 Art, as was flaring. Chromatic aberration was also not an issue.

Sharpness

Sharpness was wonderful with the 20mm, whether that be architectural details or portraits.

Bokeh

The 20mm has a nice depth of field, making your subjects really pop. Bokeh certainly present, but given it’s a wide-angle lens, I doubt most photographers would buy this for its bokeh qualities.

Color rendition

Colors were a tad on the warm side, but were very pleasing and looked natural to the eye. I used the Sigma fp L Camera Natural profile in the shots above.



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Rafael Jones

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