Sigma 14mm F2.8 EX Aspherical A-mount lens review by seagr112

reviewer#708 date: Apr-22-2006
sharpness: 4.5
color: 5
build: 5
distortion: 4
flare control: 3
overall: 4.3
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; 61MP61 MP
ownership:I have experience with this lens
compared to:
price paid:
positive:Ultra wide angle of view
Beautiful build
Nice optical performance, especially with aps-c sized sensor
Fast, quiet AF
Ultra close focusing
negative:Protruding front element
No front filter thread
Ineffective contiguous hood
comment:The crop factor issue inherent to the aps-c sensor size necessitates the use of an UWA lens in order to get any semblance of a wide angle view on these DSLRs. With my 7D, I knew I wanted an UWA lens and debated the purchase of this lens versus a competitor's, or one of the UWA zooms (Tamron/Minolta 11-18 and Sigma 10-20). . I enjoy landscape photography and shooting in tight locations and as such "needed" this lens or one like it. I decided on the Sigma 14mm due to it's superior optical performance and faster aperture, at the sacrifice of that wider angle of view offered by the zooms. The Sigma 14mm EX is almost double the price of the zooms, (I got mine used and minty at a discount.) but the price point is significantly lower and performance is equal or higher rated than the Tamron 14mm 2.8. The build is second to none on the Sigma.

My experience with this lens to date is limited and I will update my review with time. So far, I'm extremely pleased with the lens, but admittedly, for the price, you would expect premium performance keeping in mind that getting a rectilinear lens at this wide angle is a complex feat of engineering. According to pro reviewers, you will note some softness near the edges wide open, but you can't expect perfection in such an optically demanding lens! I haven't enlarged anything to the degree that I've been disappointed. Of course, the APS-C sensor results in an immediate cropping of these outside edges and inherently improves lens performance at the expense of the aforementioned decreased field of view.

The Sigma EX build is top notch, and the finish will likely hold up to decades of use. With all the metal and glass, the lens is relatively heavy but it is truly a beautiful lens.

The downside, inherent to any lens with this angle of view is that many factors need to be considered in order to use it effectively. Lens flare is crazy due to the bulging front element and the attached hood can only do so much. You need to shade the lens with your free hand in many lighting situations.

If you shoot off horizontal, you'll get wild converging lines which can be effective artistically, but not when it is a crooked horizon in a landscape or lopsided buildings or geometric lines in an architectural scene.

You can't attach filters up front (there is a holder for gelatins at the back end) and while a CPL isn't recommended with the UWA, a protective UV filter may have been a nice option for all the exposed glass of this expensive lens. (but would likely contribute to even more flare in any case...)

The front element is "out there"! Curious little fingers or a quick turn with camera in hand, followed by a sickening bump will likely have you thinking murderous or suicidal thoughts in quick order. This is not a walk around lens! Keep it covered with the lens "cowling" and only expose the glass for the photographic moment to minimize the risk to the front element.

If you like fast lenses, excellent build and finish, and need a UWA lens that delivers a great image, I would highly recommend the Sigma 14mm f/2.8 EX.

rating summary

lens image
  • total reviews: 14
  • sharpness: 4.11
  • color: 4.36
  • build: 4.79
  • distortion: 3.93
  • flare control: 2.79
  • overall: 3.99 - Home of the alpha system photographer
In memory of Cameron Hill - brettania