Sigma 24mm F1.8 EX Aspherical DG DF MACRO A-mount lens review by thePiRaTE!!

reviewer#5194 date: Apr-9-2009
sharpness: 3.5
color: 3
build: 3
distortion: 3
flare control: 3
overall: 3.1
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 own this lens
compared to:Most directly, Zeiss T*25/2.8 and 24/2 Distagons. Also CZ 16-35/2.8 Vario Sonnar, CZ 35/1.4 Distagon, Pentax 31/1.8 ltd.
price paid:289USD (used)
positive:-Solid IQ up the middle
-1:2.7 life scale performance
-Wide aperture
negative:-Moderate distortion and vignette on full frame
-Odd focus mechanism
-Lens group wobbles slightly in housing (pedestrian build, but does not affect performance)
-Susceptible to blown highlights in my use.
comment: Sigma did a brave thing by bringing a wide aperture to this focal range in a full frame lens at such a price. Considering its relatively budget market niche, it would seem a tall order to produce a great performer while pushing the boundaries of science around. Happily, I think results can match or exceed expectation given the modest investment.

I'll just speak my mind on this lens performance in my uses: Sharpness is fine overall. Bluntly, it's very sharp up the middle from 1.8, but the farther you get from the center, the less impressive it gets. Even at f4, the edges are very soft. While certainly capable, there are better options for recording architecture & landscapes, but one may continue to enjoy the Sigma's wide aperture in lowered light scenarios where other wides hide in the bag.

CA's, while visible seem no worse than average by todays standards, nothing to complain about. I haven't encountered any purple fringe yet at all, so it would be easy to suggest this won't be a major problem with this lens. Auto-focus is typical for screw-driven style. It has a tendancy to hunt at close-focus distances, but the manual focus ring would generally be the preferred method for handling focusing at this proximity anyways. With a 45 degree turn, the focus ring used manually is not a precise instrument, but the ring itself is large and tight enough to get the job done. Color and contrast are fine, if a bit plain from 1.8, but these things are always addressed in post. In use on the A900, I noted vignette at wider apertures and a clear barrel distortion, fairly typical results for a lens of this type. My experience tells me there is nothing extra-ordinary about these traits one way or the other with the Sigma. I did note that preservation of highlights tends to be more challenging than with some of my other wides and I found myself shooting under to save highlights.

The real fun however, begins at the Sigma's MFD. Though the height of the front element itself can overshadow ones subject when being only a couple of inches from contact, it is undeniably entertaining to have such a wide view and close proximity. While Sigma label the lens as a macro, it isn't really, but being able to produce a 1:2.7 life scale means very close focusing.


EDIT: People are rating this lens all 5's? This only goes to show a lack reference. Even the most expensive lenses in the world have trade-offs...

EDIT II: Added Zeiss's 24/2 to my repertoire and have adjusted again the Sigma's numbers down a bit accordingly. Its seems the bar has been raised.

rating summary

lens image
  • total reviews: 30
  • sharpness: 4.45
  • color: 4.60
  • build: 4.37
  • distortion: 4.40
  • flare control: 4.47
  • overall: 4.46 - Home of the alpha system photographer
In memory of Cameron Hill - brettania