Sigma 14mm F3.5 ZEN A-mount lens reviews

reviews found: 9   
reviewer#11558 date: Dec-25-2013
sharpness: 5
color: 5
build: 5
distortion: 5
flare control: 4
overall: 4.8
tested on:
  • film camera:Film camera
  • APS-C: 6MP6 MP; 10MP10 MP; 12MP12 MP; 14MP14 MP; 16MP16 MP; 20MP20 MP; 24MP24 MP
  • full frame: 12MP12 MP; 24MP24 MP; 36MP36 MP; 42MP42 MP
ownership:I own this lens
compared to:Samyang 14mm (which I do not own, the rest I do)
Zenitar fish-eye 16mm
Minolta fish-eye 16mm
Tokina 17mm
Minolta 17-35
Cosina 19-35
Sigma 21-35
Minolta 2,8/20
Minolta 2,8/24
Sony 2,8/28
Zeiss 2,8/24-70
price paid:140 Euro
positive:It doesn't get wider than that.
Cheap if you wait enough.
The classic sharpness ( not sharpest at widest aperture, I consider that a plus).
The correction is amazing for a lens that size.
Great complement to my fish-eyes.
The close focusing. At small apertures it's only limited by fear of front element damage.
negative:Soft corners, actually not fair because it's a result of the good correction.
The attention to flare control it takes when shooting, but I am used to that.
Lack of filter usability - inherent.
Tired of explaining: It's not a fish-eye.
The attention it attracts. This is actually a good thing sometimes, but most cases not.
comment:The only real negative is the flare control, again inherent with the state of correction for 1990 technology. Sun and even bright skies are not agreeable with that 14mm and its coating and element curvature, but a dark scene and a flash do wonders.
As I wrote sharpness is classic and stopping down is needed for better results, but very usable wide-opened.
reviewer#8425 date: Dec-20-2010
sharpness: 3.5
color: 4
build: 3
distortion: 4
flare control: 2
overall: 3.3
tested on:
  • film camera:Film camera
  • APS-C: 6MP6 MP; 10MP10 MP; 12MP12 MP; 14MP14 MP; 16MP16 MP; 20MP20 MP; 24MP24 MP
  • full frame: 12MP12 MP; 24MP24 MP; 36MP36 MP; 42MP42 MP
ownership:I own this lens
compared to:Sigma 17-35
Tokina 20-35 f2.8
price paid:200 Euro
positive:Wide
Centre sharpness
Lack of distortion
Colour
negative:Edge sharpness
Vignetting
comment:Surprisingly sharp in the centre, what I expect towards the edges (not sharp).

Distortion is well controlled. This isn't a fish-eye. Not even a bit.

Vignetting is apparent, even when stopped down (even at f11).

Colour is very pleasing, which is a surprise.

Freakishly wide so I can't see it getting much use, but it's nice to have the option.
reviewer#7709 date: Jul-22-2010
sharpness: 4
color: 5
build: 4
distortion: 4
flare control: 3
overall: 4
tested on:
  • film camera:Film camera
  • APS-C: 6MP6 MP; 10MP10 MP; 12MP12 MP; 14MP14 MP; 16MP16 MP; 20MP20 MP; 24MP24 MP
  • full frame: 12MP12 MP; 24MP24 MP; 36MP36 MP; 42MP42 MP
ownership:I own this lens
compared to:Sigma 24 f2.8
Sigma 10-20 f4-5.6
Tokina 19-35 f3.5-4.5
price paid:$349 USD
positive:wide enough (14mm=21mm equivalent on APS)
nice color
manageable size
solid construction
negative:scary exposed front element
not the sharpest tool in the drawer
lens cap can slide off fairly easily
slight "Sigma color"
"Zen" finish sux IMO
comment:This review will undoubtedly get updated as I use the lens more;

I find the 14mm f3.5 acceptable in sharpness and very good in distortion rendering, the moderate but fairly constant barrel distortion is more pleasing to my eye than the odd pin-cushioned edges of the 10-20 (mustache distortion). Flare and contrast reduction are remarkably well controlled considering size and shape of the front element, but still demand the photographers attention to avoid completely. Sharpness in the center is decent and depending on the shot can be good at the edges and corners too, but can't compare with the Sigma 24 or 10-20 in sharpness. C/A is also well controlled for an ultra-wide. However some images have significant softness at the outer edges even stopped down and used on an APS-C camera. (noticeably softer on outer edges of the frame with FF use)

Even with the depth of focus this optic possesses the sheer width of coverage gives ample opportunity for having out of focus elements in the image, this effect was leading me to think that the edges were softer than they really are until I realized that the soft parts of the image were just inches from the lens! ...at f22 depth of focus is roughly from arms length to infinity :D

** it seems like this lens may have less depth of focus than the later UWA zooms Sigma has made, I also suspect that it has fairly serious field curvature, since corners *can* be sharp but frequently aren't. ** in retrospect most of the problem described above is caused by very subtle contrast reduction flare masking the true sharpness of the lens in the absence of stray light)

I think the newer zooms out perform this lens, but the FF 12-24 is still out of my price range and the 10-20 would be useless if/when I upgrade to FF.

** update, the 14 was used on an a900 today and showed very well in terms of sharpness, but suffered from an orange-ish reflected rectangle that I assume was caused by sensor reflection, this happened in overcast daylight, not even an overly bright scene.

** More updates This lens continues to frustrate me...it produces images I like, but which are just not *quite* sharp enough. To summarize my current feelings: Great perspective and distortion control, fairly good flare control, Excellent color, but the sharpness is not enough to satisfy, especially when compared to a Sigma 10-20 or 12-24 zoom.

** Yet another update; I think the apparent softness I have been seeing in images made with this lens are mostly due to contrast reduction caused by lens flare. That crazy front element looks like an invitation to flare issues and apparently it *is* (revised flare down to a 3 and sharpness up to 4 to reflect this characteristic).
reviewer#6665 date: Jan-2-2010
sharpness: 4
color: 5
build: 5
distortion: 5
flare control: 5
overall: 4.8
tested on:
  • film camera:Film camera
  • APS-C: 6MP6 MP; 10MP10 MP; 12MP12 MP; 14MP14 MP; 16MP16 MP; 20MP20 MP; 24MP24 MP
  • full frame: 12MP12 MP; 24MP24 MP; 36MP36 MP; 42MP42 MP
ownership:I own this lens
compared to:KM 18-70
Sony 18-70
MAF 24mm F2.8
price paid:230 EUR
positive:- low distortion!!!
- well-constructed and built
- full frame
negative:- lens cap
- gel filter
comment:
missing
reviewer#6567 date: Dec-12-2009
sharpness: 3.5
color: 3
build: 4
distortion: 1
flare control: 1
overall: 2.5
tested on:
  • film camera:Film camera
  • APS-C: 6MP6 MP; 10MP10 MP; 12MP12 MP; 14MP14 MP; 16MP16 MP; 20MP20 MP; 24MP24 MP
  • full frame: 12MP12 MP; 24MP24 MP; 36MP36 MP; 42MP42 MP
ownership:I own this lens
compared to:Minolta 11-18, Minolta 20mm, Sigma 10-20.
price paid:au$75
positive:Cheap. That was about its best attribute. I checked here and the very few reviews made it seem a reasonable purchase at the price I paid. It wasn't.
negative:Distortion is horrendous, colour biased toward red, flare and ghosting a constant issue. It is reasonably well made, though very noisy and not fast in focusing.
comment:It was cheap and it was new old (very old) stock so I bought it. After a day of testing I decided to get rid of it. The amount of post processing required to get anything decent makes it impractical. I have it for sale now. I have a feeling that it might have performed better or at least have been regarded better on a film body, but I didn't waste film to test that hypothesis.
reviewer#3612 date: May-19-2008
sharpness: 4.5
color: 4
build: 4
distortion: 3
flare control: 3
overall: 3.7
tested on:
  • film camera:Film camera
  • APS-C: 6MP6 MP; 10MP10 MP; 12MP12 MP; 14MP14 MP; 16MP16 MP; 20MP20 MP; 24MP24 MP
  • full frame: 12MP12 MP; 24MP24 MP; 36MP36 MP; 42MP42 MP
ownership:I own this lens
compared to:
missing
price paid:€160.00 (like new)
positive:WIDE, Full Frame
negative:Front element, Lens hood

UPDATE
tends to Flair on the A900
comment:I pick it up on E-Bay for €160 with all the original packaging and documentation. The old owner calmed he had only used it 3 times (I dought it had been even used that much, total mint condition). The first thing that you see it the front element its enormous and looks like it could be a fish eyes. I was surprised it is very sharp from F4.5 and excellent at F8, and very usable at F3.5

IMHO it works better on a digital crop than a FF (or film) camera as the distortion is extreme around the edges, abut naturally cropped out on the 7D and A700

AF isn't the fastest in the world and seems slower with close moving objects, but is more than acceptable with a stationary and/or distant subject.

All in all so far I am very happy with this lens so far
reviewer#2682 date: Sep-1-2007
sharpness: 3
color: 3
build: 4
distortion: 4
flare control: 2
overall: 3.2
tested on:
  • film camera:Film camera
  • APS-C: 6MP6 MP; 10MP10 MP; 12MP12 MP; 14MP14 MP; 16MP16 MP; 20MP20 MP; 24MP24 MP
  • full frame: 12MP12 MP; 24MP24 MP; 36MP36 MP; 42MP42 MP
ownership:I own this lens
compared to:Minolta 16 mm f/2.8 fisheye
Minolta 20 mm f/2.8
price paid:400 USD (new)
positive:* well-constructed
* adequate sharpness
* low distortion (excl closeups)
* lighter and more compact than the 14 mm f/2.8s
negative:* extreme distortion w/closeups
* high flare and ghosting w/point light sources in or near fov
* gel filter slot
* warm color cast - doesn't match up well with Minolta lenses
comment:Since I don't yet have a DSLR, my review differs a bit from the two others, in that I've used this lens for its full field of view on a film camera.

I bought this lens as a companion to my 20 mm, because I shoot a lot of interiors, and I wanted something wider "just in case". Fortunately, there have been few instances when I've needed the additional coverage, because, in terms of contrast and sharpness, the Minolta 20 mm is far superior to this lens. If you can keep point light sources out of the field of view (hard to do with interiors, using an ultrawide), this lens produces adequate images up to about 10X. But, don't use it for those nifty perspective-deceiving closeups; you'll be sorely disappointed; the barrel distortion becomes enormous, and color saturation drops precipitously, along with sharpness. Outdoors, the lens fares better, as long as direct sunlight is kept away from its fov.

The gel filter provision is extremely inconvenient, and you always risk touching the rear element, but this drawback is shared with the offerings from Canon and Nikon. (You'd think for the price, those lenses would be equipped with filter turrets.) Of course -- notwithstanding the color mismatch with Minolta's (now Sony's) own lenses -- digital processing obviates the critical need for in-camera color matching and balancing.

I know I've really beat up on this lens. Maybe it's because the Minolta 16 and 20 mm lenses are so outstanding. I paid $400 for this lens a dozen years ago, at what was then a very good price, so I'm really curious how the other reviewer paid less than $200 for his (new).
reviewer#912 date: Jun-14-2006
sharpness: 4.5
color: 3
build: 4
distortion: 3
flare control: 5
overall: 3.9
tested on:
  • film camera:Film camera
  • APS-C: 6MP6 MP; 10MP10 MP; 12MP12 MP; 14MP14 MP; 16MP16 MP; 20MP20 MP; 24MP24 MP
  • full frame: 12MP12 MP; 24MP24 MP; 36MP36 MP; 42MP42 MP
ownership:I have experience with this lens
compared to:Tokina 17/3.5 AT-X
price paid:US 199
positive:Great w/a on aps camera.
Very well controlled rectillinear distotion.
negative:Easy to mess up big front element.
Difficulty in using filters.
comment:I bought this lens new for $199, and thought it a good investment when compared to the current Sigma and Tamaron 14/2.8's. My Tokina 17/3.5 wasn't wide enough anymore on the 7D and I like wide!

The biggest surprise was how little rectilinear distortion it shows. Straight line at the bottom or top of the frame have less curve than my 28/2 Minolta. This is likely not the case when used FF, but on the aps crop, it is very satisfying.

I mostly use this as an interiors lens and have beautiful, detailed pictures shot at 3.5-4 from the British Natural History Museum and the Smithsonian in D.C. I haven't used it outdoors much, so have not really put it to harsh tests for flare, but what I've done has been well-controlled and expected in an ultra-wide.

The biggest (literally) problem is the big front element. Not only is it a magnet for dust, fingerprints and the occasional near-miss with bird droppings, it is almost impossible to use filters. There is a gel slot on the back, but this is near useless except for infra-red wratten filters. There is a partial work around on the front, however.

The lens cap comes in two pieces. A 72mm cap and a cowl-like cover that goes around the built-in lens hood. I discovered if you leave the cowling on, but remove the cap, you can screw a 72mm filter into the cowl. It WILL vignette in the corners, but I frequently make 4x10 and 4x12 inch prints and the corners are cropped out anyway. I can use my minolta 72mm CPL and cokin P filters to great effect, as long as I print panorama format.

This is not an EX lens, but the earlier ZEN coated lens line. Still robust, as many fixed focal length Sigma's are, but the ZEN coating is, well, funny. It almost feels like a very hard rubber, and it handles well. However, they are easy to stain and don't clean well. I do try to keep mine in a protedted spot in the bag when not being used as I feel it will look beat up with little use.

One last observation: I have had fairly consistant BF problems with wide angle lenses on the 7D, but not with this lens. I know, wides hide a lot of sins, however I frequently shoot at 3.5 and isolate foreground detail from the background and I usually get good lock-on immediatey.

So I am very pleased with this sigma and I don't feel the need to go out and spend on an ultra-wide zoom. Now I'm just hoping for a FF Sony to REALLY go wide with this one!

Finally updating for use on FF a850, and it does not rate as well.

Dropped both color and distortion ratings to 3, as this lens shows extensive problems at the edge even when stopped down to F8-11. Subjects were recorded almost like looking at a 3D image w/o glasses, the color separation is so severe. This is only on FF, but this is where it would be most useful. Still a fine lens in many circumstances, but not the performance on FF I could have wished for.
reviewer#457 date: Jan-30-2006
sharpness: 4
color: 5
build: 5
distortion: 5
flare control: 4
overall: 4.6
tested on:
  • film camera:Film camera
  • APS-C: 6MP6 MP; 10MP10 MP; 12MP12 MP; 14MP14 MP; 16MP16 MP; 20MP20 MP; 24MP24 MP
  • full frame: 12MP12 MP; 24MP24 MP; 36MP36 MP; 42MP42 MP
ownership:I have experience with this lens
compared to:
missing
price paid:
missing
positive:Bulbous Lens Makes people say "Wow, What is that!"
Well built
Wide enough for nearly anything, even on the 7D
negative:Bulbous Lens creates a fear for its safety.
Care must be used to avoid flare.
Lens cap comes off too easily.
comment:I picked this lens up used at a local camera shop for $175. It was worth the price. It is very well built with very little plastic.
Definitely a specialty lens! Care must be used if this lens is used around people because the rectilinear correction causes people on the edge of the frame to appear 2x their real weight. This being said, the rectilinear correction is perfect. This can be a great "perspective" lens and allows for some artsy compositions if care and time is used.
Flare control is good but, the very nature of this lens requires great care to be used during shots.
reviews found: 9   

rating summary

lens image
  • total reviews: 9
  • sharpness: 4.00
  • color: 4.11
  • build: 4.22
  • distortion: 3.78
  • flare control: 3.22
  • overall: 3.87

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