Hands-on with Sigma’s new compact full-frame 16-28mm F2.8 zoom for mirrorless (Sample Gallery)
posted Wednesday, June 1, 2022 at 8:30 AM EDT
Sigma adds a new Contemporary lens to its already-extensive mirrorless lens lineup in the form of a surprisingly small and lightweight wide-angle zoom with a fast F2.8 aperture. The new Sigma 16-28mm F2.8 DG DN Contemporary lens is designed for both Sony E-mount and L-mount full-frame mirrorless cameras, and despite the zoom design and the bright aperture, the lens is surprisingly small compared to other most other full-frame wide-angle F2.8 zoom lenses.
We were able to have some early hands-on time with the new Sigma 16-28mm F2.8 in an L-mount flavor, paired with a Panasonic S1R. And while our in-depth review is still in the works, we've included some initial handling notes as well as a batch of real-world sample images alongside the usual rundown of features and specs of the new lens. If you're a Sony or L-mount camera owner looking for a lightweight and well-built wide-angle zoom, the Sigma 16-28mm F2.8 DG DN C is shaping up to be an impressive option.
Key Features & Specs:
- Compact ultra-wide zoom with a constant F2.8 aperture
- Sony E-Mount or L-mount versions available
- 16 elements in 11 groups, with 5 FLD and 4 aspherical lens elements
- Inner Zoom design
- Stepping Motor-powered AF system
- Switchable linear and non-linear focus ring settings (L-Mount only)
- Compatible with SIGMA USB DOCK UD-11 (sold separately; L-Mount only)
- Designed to minimize flare and ghosting
- 9-blade rounded diaphragm
- 77.2mm (3.04 in) diameter and 72mm filter thread
- High-precision, durable brass bayonet mount
- Weather-sealed lens mount
- Available in Late June 2022; MSRP: $900
As mentioned, the new Sigma 16-28mm F2.8 DG DN C lens is impressively small and lightweight, despite being a full-frame wide-angle lens with a constant F2.8 aperture. Weighing in at just 450g (0.99 lbs.) and only 100.6mm (3.96 in.) in length, the new Sigma 16-28mm F2.8 lens is dwarfed by several similar lenses for other camera platforms, especially those for DSLR systems. For example, a directly-similar comparison in terms of focal length range and aperture, the Tokina 16-28mm F2.8 for DSLR system weighs in a whopping 950g (2.09 lbs.) and is 133mm (5.24 in.). Plus, the Tokina has a large, bulbous front element, which can make the lens somewhat front-heavy. Even a more modern lens, the RF 15-35mm F2.8L IS lens, for instance, is also quite a bit larger and heavier, at nearly 5 inches long (126.8mm) and weighing 1.85 lbs. (840g).
The Sigma is essentially a polar opposite. Thanks to a modern optical design that incorporates two large-diameter aspherical elements and five FLD glass elements, the overall lens size and weight are kept to a minimum while still achieving excellent image quality. Nonetheless, the lens still utilizes 16 total lens elements, which is a lot of glass, but in the hand, the lens does feel shockingly lightweight. Further reducing the weight of the lens is the use of Sigma's "Thermally Stable Composite" material. This polycarbonate material is thermally similar to aluminum and is not only sturdy but also lightweight. All in all, it's a wonderfully portable lens that doesn't weigh you down.
Another notable handling characteristic is the lens's internal zoom design. In other words, the lens does not change length as you zoom in or out. The lens also maintains the same center of gravity as you zoom, giving you the same balance no matter the focal length. Using the lens on the rather large Lumix S1R body, the lens is actually quite small in comparison, and I certainly never noticed any sort of front-heaviness with using this lens on this camera body. The fact that the lens maintains the same balance through the zoom range is especially good news for video creators, as the camera rig can be easily used on gimbals or other balance-critical devices without sacrificing zoom versatility.
In addition to the size and weight characteristics, the use of 5 FLD and 4 aspherical lens elements also helps suppress lateral and vertical chromatic aberrations that are typical with ultra-wide-angle lenses. Further, the use of advanced digital corrections from modern camera bodies helps maintain high image quality despite the small size of the lens. Additionally, the Super Multi-Layer Coating helps increase contrast and minimize ghosting and flare.
The lens's constant F2.8 aperture not only gives the lens excellent low-light shooting capabilities but also decent subject isolation when shooting close-ups. The out-of-focus areas appear smooth, and the bokeh looks nice and circular, thanks to the rounded, 9-bladed aperture. The minimum focusing distance is 25cm (9.9 in.), which results in a maximum magnification ratio of 1:5.6. It's not the best wide-angle lens for close-up shooting, but you can still get decently slow to smaller, detailed subjects and blurred backgrounds.
Other features include a fast and quiet focusing system powered by a stepping motor. In use, at least for photos, the AF system proved swift and indeed nearly silent. The silent focusing also makes it a good choice for video creators, as well. The lens includes a brass bayonet mount with a "dust- and moisture-resistant structure." You can see a rubberized gasket around the lens mount, but it's unclear at this time if the entire lens barrel is also weather-sealed.
Pricing & Availability
The Sigma 16-28mm F2.8 DG DN Contemporary lens will be available in late June 2022 for a retail price of $899.