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

reviewer#5553 date: Jun-17-2009
sharpness: 4.5
color: 4
build: 4
distortion: 5
flare control: 5
overall: 4.5
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; 61MP61 MP
ownership:I own this lens
compared to:Tamron 17-50/2.8
Minolta 50/1.4
Sony 50/2.8 macro
Tamron 90/2.8
price paid:Ł273 (new)
positive:+ Close focus
+ Large maximum aperture
+ Sharp
+ Smooth bokeh
+ Manual focus
+ 1:2.7 magnification
negative:- Slow AF for a prime (but better than most kit lenses)
- Can hunt a lot at close distances in low light
- Mild CA
comment:People have spoken about this lens being soft, so I'll start off with that. It's not soft. Centre sharpness is excellent wide-open. You'll notice a fair amount of corner softness on full-frame between f/1.8 and f/2.8, but this goes away if you stop down. On a cropped sensor, corner sharpness is very good after f/2.5, and not bad even wide open. I'd say the lens' sweet spot is from f/8 to f/11. Obviously because of the incredibly shallow depth of field this lens can give, precise focus is critical. But I've used this lens (with an A300) to photograph mediaeval manuscripts for research and gotten clear, sharp text from corner to corner. It's sharpest when focusing close. That's not to say it's bad at infinity focus, just that it's better when you're up close.

Flare is very well controlled. CA isn't 100% absent, but it's also well controlled for the most part - it's never been bad enough to affect any of my prints so far. You'll see slight barrel distortion on the A900 if you view the pictures in their full 24MP glory. On an APS-C sensor, it's hardly noticeable.

Out of camera JPEGs can seem a bit dull at f/1.8, so shoot raw if you're shooting in a situation where you need a wide aperture but also want rich colours. At smaller apertures, the colours are very good. Obviously we're comparing like to like - and not comparing a Sigma to a Zeiss. On all the points I've mentioned, it's way better than a typical kit lens. Bokeh is excellent, creamy smooth and very rarely "busy".

In my opinion, what really stands out about this lens is range of possibilities opened up with its combination of a wide angle, large minimum aperture and very close minimum focus distance - whether it's handheld street or building shots in the evening, close-ups with a wide background or something else. It can take some work to get the best out of it, but that's all part of the process of becoming a better photographer. Check out some of the sample images in the forum. If that appeals to you, go for this lens - you won't be disappointed.

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