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Lens review

Sigma A 24 mm f/1.4 DG HSM

8 March 2015
Szymon Starczewski

11. Summary

Pros:
  • high build quality,
  • excellent image resolution in the frame centre,
  • very good image resolution on the edge of the APS-C sensor,
  • proper correction of chromatic aberration, both longitudinal and lateral,
  • no reservations concerning spherical aberration,
  • slight distortion,
  • moderate vignetting on APS-C,
  • not very bothersome astigmatism,
  • silent and quite accurate autofocus.

Cons:

  • high coma,
  • too high vignetting level on full frame,
  • slow autofocus.

The test of the Sigma A 24 mm f/1.4 DG HSM shows that reputable producers really raise the prices a lot in this segment. The Nikkor AF-S 24mm f/1.4G ED which loses the duel with the Sigma in the most important categories, being less sharp both in the centre and on the edge of the frame, costs two times as much. It is also optically simpler and its build quality makes a less solid impression. This test also shows how difficult it is to manufacture full frame 1.4/24 class lenses – practically every producer had huge problems with the coma and vignetting correction; also none of them managed to ensure good image quality on the edge of full frame near the maximum relative aperture.

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The autofocus is traditionally a weak point of the Sigma when compared to other brand name producers. You see how bad it is especially if you stack it up against the Canon which mechanism was able to set the focus over two times faster and its ring had a working range of 160, not 90 degrees like the ring of the Sigma. If you feel you are able to get used to it in other categories the Sigma will be quite reliable. It is true the tested lens didn’t win its duels as decisively as the 1.4/35 and 1.4/50 models but overall we assessed the optical properties of the 1.4/24 slightly higher than those of the rival Canon and the Nikkor. Mind you the price is noticeably lower than the prices of its competitors – it would be difficult to find a better purchase recommendation. By the way the situation in the segment of 1.4/24 lenses equipped with autofocus is very curious: the best lens is also the cheapest one and the worst – the most expensive…