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Review by Klaus Schroiff and Markus Stamm, published December 2016
Sigma keeps on rolling out more "Art" (professional grade) series lenses - obviously with quite some success as you can also conclude from our previous reviews of Sigma Art lenses. Slowly but steadily Sigma has gained quite a reputation in the professional community as well. This shows that Sigma's "A1" quality control system really does make a difference (are you listening Fuji, Samsung, Pentax, Tokina ...?) - after all pros value optical consistency as much as sheer performance. This time we'll have a look at the Sigma 24mm f/1.4 DG HSM | Art, a moderate ultra-wide angle lens.
Despite having improved the overall quality, Sigma managed to keep the price tags on a really fair level. This is surely a relief for many potential customers, since the original manufacturers ask for quite some money when it comes to ultra-fast f/1.4 primes. At the time of this review, the Sigma 24mm f/1.4 DG HSM | Art retails for roughly 700 EUR, while the competing Nikkor AF-S 24/1.4 costs more than 1700 EUR. So, the Sigma is no doubt at tempting lens ... if the quality is right.
Sigma's "Art" series tend to have a superb build quality and the 24mm f/1.4 is no exception to this rule. Besides some metal parts, Sigma uses a new material called TSC (Thermally Stable Composite) which contributes to the high quality perception. The broad focus ring is nicely rubberized and operated smoothly. One aspect is a bummer though ... there is no weather sealing which may shy off some customers. A petal-shaped (plastic) lens hood is part of the package.
You've probably read it here before, but we still feel the need to hint at it: the focus ring rotates in "Canon" style, which is the exact opposite of how focus rings works on Nikkor lenses. So, if you're used to the Nikon way of manual focusing, the Sigma lens may be a challenge for your muscle memory. And you'll also have to remember that the focus assist in the viewfinder assumes a Nikon lens and consequently suggest the wrong direction of focus ring movement.
Because of an internal focusing (IF) design, the physical length of the lens remains constant at all focus settings and the front lens does not rotate during focusing. So, using a polarizer is no problem.
The lens features HSM, which is Sigma's version of ultra-sonic drive. Thanks to that, the lens is fully compatible with all current Nikon DSLRs, including the entry-level DX models. Typical for many HSM lenses, the AF is virtually silent and very fast.
The lens is also compatible with Sigma USB dock, so you can fine-tune the AF calibration if you see the need and are willing to invest a little in the extra accessory.
The Sigma is a G-type lens and thus does not offer an aperture ring.
|Optical construction||15 elements in 11 groups including 3 SLD, 3FLD and 2 aspherical elements|
|Number of aperture blades||9 (rounded)|
|min. focus distance||0.25 m (max. magnification ratio 1:5.2)|
|Dimensions||85 x 90.2 mm|
|Filter size||77mm (non-rotating)|
|Hood||petal-shaped (bayonet mount, supplied)|
|Other features||Lens provides distance (D) information to the camera, Silent Wave AF motor|