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Lens review

Sigma C 16 mm f/1.4 DC DN

22 January 2018
Maciej Latałło

11. Summary

Pros:

  • good quality casing,
  • sensational image quality in the frame centre,
  • sensible resolution on the edge of the frame,
  • slight lateral chromatic aberration,
  • moderate vignetting,
  • nice out-of-focus areas,
  • silent and fast autofocus,
  • good price quality ratio.

Cons:

  • a bit too high longitudinal chromatic aberration,
  • not completely corrected spherical aberration,
  • too high distortion,
  • coma visible in the corners of both types of detectors,
  • noticeable astigmatism.
The Sigma C 16 mm f/1.4 DC DN is not a flawless device; especially in the area close to f/1.4 you can find several distinct shortcomings. Still you have to remember that those shortcomings disappear on slight stopping down of the aperture and image quality improves very quickly too. As a result this lens’s resolution levels are close to record values on both types of sensors and we mean here records achieved by lenses several times more expensive than the tested one.

When it comes to both types of detectors it would be difficult to find other instruments which could offer you something more than the Sigma. For the Micro 4/3 system you get the Olympus M.Zuiko Digital 17 mm f/1.8 which is, slower, optically inferior, and still more expensive than the Sigma. We still don’t know the results of the Olympus M.Zuiko Digital ED 17 mm f/1.2 PRO because we haven’t tested it yet but its price makes it hardly a direct Sigma rival.

In the Sony E system only the Sony E 16 mm f/2.8 has the same focal length but it is by 2 EV slower than the Sigma so again, it hardly qualifies as a direct competitor of the tested lens. Enlarging our comparison group by other mirrorless systems you can also notice the Fujinon XF 16 mm f/1.4 R WR which is a good lens but, like the Sigma, with several distinct flaws. Mind you it’s over two times more expensive.

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To be honest I don’t know whether or not it was Sigma strategy; maybe offering a perfect lens wasn’t in their best interest after all. In the mirrorless segment they still develop their basic “Contemporary” series, consisting of devices of lower quality and lower price tags. I suppose they would want to leave real fireworks for the launch of the “Art” series, something we have been expecting with impatience. After that launch you might find out that for $850 – $950 (an average cost of full frame “Art” instruments) Sigma will offer lenses which outclass their rivals and remain a bit cheaper than them.