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Lens review

Sigma A 28 mm f/1.4 DG HSM

21 January 2019
Maciej Latałło

11. Summary

Pros:

  • solid and stylish casing,
  • sensational image quality in frame centre,
  • very good image quality on the edge of the APS-C/DX sensor,
  • good image quality on the edge of full frame,
  • lack of problems with longitudinal chromatic aberration,
  • slight lateral chromatic aberration,
  • imperceptible distortion, with the lowest result in this class of equipment,
  • sensible coma correction,
  • very low astigmatism,
  • slight vignetting on the APS-C/DX sensor,
  • nice out-of-focus areas,
  • silent autofocus.

Cons:

  • very high vignetting at the maximum relative aperture on full frame,
  • performance against bright light leaves a bit to be desired.

The launch of the Sigma A 28 mm f/1.4 DG HSM was an interesting even, concerning a very demanding segment with fierce competition. First of all, the Sigma has serious rivals among its own Art line, like very well made A 1.4/24 and 1.4/35 models. The new Sigma lens is better than them but also more expensive and bigger – after all, you get nothing for nothing… Still if somebody couldn’t make up their mind, what to buy, the 24 mm or the 35 mm, now might choose the 28 mm instrument and enjoy the best image quality of all three.

When it comes to rivals produced by other companies the new Sigma doesn’t have it easy either. In this segment the Otus 1.4/28 manufactured by the Zeiss is a kind of show of force. Apart from that, the Nikkor AF-S 28 mm f/1.4G ED happens to be one of the most successful launches of the Nikon in recent years. As a result this trio of lenses performed neck and neck in particular categories, often winning by a hair’s breadth. The competition was won slightly by the Otus but you have to remember its physical dimensions and the price, currently amounting to almost $5000. The well-done Nikkor is not cheap either; if you want to buy it you have to spend nearly $2000. Compared to that the Sigma, with a price tag of less than $1400, seems to be a real bargain; mind you, it occupies a very favourable second place, even though we admit its advantage over the more expensive Nikkor was really slight.

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Finally one more remark. The tested model was launched along with the Sigma A 40 mm f/1.4 DG HSM, a lens optically outstanding but really big and heavy. I’ve been wondering why Sigma didn’t reduce physical dimensions of the 40 mm device and they clearly did the opposite in the case of the noticeably smaller 28 mm lens. A 1.4/28 instrument is much more difficult to design than a 1.4/40; it would be only natural to expect that the former would be bigger and heavier than the latter, in order to avoid too many compromises. Sigma decided to optimize weight and dimensions of the 28 mm lens to a certain point and produced an optically weaker instrument than the outstanding 40 mm.