Hands-on with Sigma’s new 20mm F1.4 DG DN Art and 24mm F1.4 DG DN Art prime lenses for full-frame mirrorless cameras

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posted Monday, August 8, 2022 at 7:30 AM EST

 
 

Update: We have published our Sigma 20mm F1.4 DG DN Art Hands-on Review and Sigma 24mm F1.4 DG DN Art Hands-on Review

Sigma has announced a pair of new fast wide-angle prime lenses for E-mount and L-mount full-frame mirrorless cameras. The Sigma 20mm F1.4 DG DN Art is the world's first and only 20mm F1.4 lens designed exclusively for full-frame mirrorless cameras, and the Sigma 24mm F1.4 DG DN Art is a premium wide-angle prime at a very reasonable price.

The new 20mm F1.4 DG DN Art and 24mm F1.4 DG DN Art are the two widest lenses in Sigma's DG DN Art F1.4 lens lineup, joining the existing 35mm F1.4 DG DN Art and 85mm F1.4 DG DN Art lenses that were released in 2021 and 2020, respectively.

 
Sigma 20mm F1.4 DG DN Art (left) versus Sigma 24mm F1.4 DG DN Art (right)

We've gone hands-on with each of the two new prime lenses using a Sony A7R IV camera, and the lenses are very impressive. While each share a general aesthetic and some features and fit a somewhat similar use case, we're going to look at them separately, starting with the Sigma 20mm F1.4 DG DN Art.

Sigma 20mm F1.4 DG DN Art Hands-on ReviewSigma 24mm F1.4 DG DN Art Hands-on Review

Sigma 20mm F1.4 DG DN Art

The Sigma 20mm F1.4 DG DN Art is the mirrorless follow-up to the Sigma 20mm F1.4 DG HSM Art. Make no mistake, though, the new mirrorless version isn't a simple reskin. It's a new lens. It's designed exclusively for mirrorless cameras and is the only lens of its kind available for full-frame mirrorless cameras. It includes the largest double-sided aspherical element Sigma has ever put in a lens while maintaining an 82mm filter thread, which is impressive for a fast lens this wide.

Despite the large front element, and it is large, the lens isn't that heavy, nor does it feel overly big when mounted on a Sony A7R IV. The lens weighs 635 grams (22.4 ounces), which is 262g more than the Sony 20mm F1.8 G and 190g more than the Sony 24mm F1.4 GM. Granted, Sony's 20mm, while a great lens, isn't as fast as the Sigma 20mm F1.4, and the 24mm F1.4 GM isn't as wide.

 
Sigma 20mm F1.4 DG DN Art on Sony A7R IV

The Sigma 20mm F1.4 Art is 111.2mm (4.4 in.) long without its detachable petal-shaped lens hood, and its max diameter is 87.8mm (3.5 in.). Most of the lens barrel is slightly narrower than that, though, because the max diameter is 87.8mm due to the filter thread area at the front of the lens.

The lens looks like any recent Sigma Art lens, which is to say that it's a semi-flat black lens with high-quality materials and construction. The lens includes a manual aperture dial with labeled full-aperture stops (F1.4, 2, 2.8, 4, 5.6, 8, 11, and 16) and hash marks for every one-third aperture in between F1.4-16. There's also an "A" position, allowing you to control aperture via the camera, either with a dial or letting the camera select aperture in a semi-automatic or fully automatic shooting mode. The lens includes a switch to lock the aperture dial.

 
Sigma 20mm F1.4 DG DN Art on Sony A7R IV

Nearly half the lens barrel comprises a wide focus ring with a ridged rubber surface. The focus ring has tight rotation, providing a decent amount of resistance. It feels great. As for utility, it depends a bit on the camera and your settings since it's a focus by wire lens, but I think the overall manual focus experience is pretty good. There's also a manual focus lock button, which is great, so you don't accidentally change the focus distance when using manual focus. This is especially useful when doing astrophotography. Unfortunately, the weather didn't cooperate with me during my hands-on time with the new Sigma lenses, but this lens looks amazing for astrophotography on paper. The lens also includes a de-click switch for the aperture ring, a focus button, and a focus switch.

Lens hoods aren't an exciting topic, but it's worth pointing out that the LH878-04 petal-type hood that ships with the Sigma 20mm F1.4 DG DN Art lens is top-notch. It has a high-quality feel and works well. The lens also ships with a nice zippered soft case. It's a nice case, and it's great to see lenses, especially those that cost under $1,000, ship with a good case.

 
Sony A7R IV with Sigma 20mm F1.4 DG DN Art lens at F1.4, 1/40s, ISO 100. This image has been edited.

Let's move on to image quality. The Sigma 20mm F1.4 DG DN Art includes 17 elements in 15 groups, including a pair of SLD elements and 3 aspherical lens elements. I mentioned that one of these aspherical elements is the largest double-sided aspherical Sigma has ever put into a lens, which is a neat bit of trivia.

 
Sony A7R IV with Sigma 20mm F1.4 DG DN Art lens at F8, 20s, ISO 400. This image has been edited.

The resulting image quality is good. The lens is sharp, although its performance at F1.4 leaves a bit to be desired. That said, even though the lens is noticeably softer at F1.4 than at F2 and F2.8, the sharpness is still plenty good. As for control over aberrations and flare, the lens is great. There's minor purple fringing, but that's about it, and it's only apparent in especially challenging situations.

 
Sony A7R IV with Sigma 20mm F1.4 DG DN Art lens at F1.4, 1/3200s, ISO 100. This image has been edited.

The impressive quality demands a sound autofocus system to match. The Sigma 20mm F1.4 DG DN Art delivers here, too. The lens uses a stepping motor that delivers swift and mostly quiet focusing. The lens supports DMF, AF+MF, AF Assist, and other Sony focusing features when using the E-mount version. The lens' minimum focusing distance is 23cm (9.1 in.), resulting in a max magnification ratio of 1:6.1. It doesn't focus very closely. Still, it's sufficient for focusing on close-up foreground elements in landscape shots if that's something you enjoy.

 
Sony A7R IV with Sigma 20mm F1.4 DG DN Art lens at F8, 1/250s, ISO 100. This image has been edited.

Overall, the Sigma 20mm F1.4 DG DN Art is an excellent, high-quality, fast ultra-wide-angle prime lens. Not only is it one-of-a-kind for full-frame mirrorless cameras, but it's also a very good lens. Plus, it's $899, which is a very reasonable price. The Sigma 20mm F1.4 DG DN Art will be available in late August for E-mount and L-Mount systems.

Sigma 20mm F1.4 DG DN Art Hands-on ReviewGallery

Sigma 24mm F1.4 DG DN Art

The other new fast wide-angle prime is the Sigma 24mm F1.4 DG DN Art. Unlike the 20mm F1.4 DG DN Art, the 24mm F1.4 DG DN Art has competition from other brands, including Sony itself with the FE 24mm F1.4 GM. However, like with the 20mm lens, Sigma achieves an aggressive price with its new 24mm F1.4 prime. The Sigma 24mm F1.4 DG DN Art is $799, undercutting Sony's G Master lens by $600.

What about build quality? Like the 20mm F1.4, Sigma has used a Thermally Stable Composite (TSC) for its 24mm F1.4 DG DN Art lens. Also, like the 20mm lens, the 24mm prime includes dust and splash resistance.

 
Sigma 24mm F1.4 DG DN Art on Sony A7R IV

In terms of size and weight, the 24mm F1.4 DG DN Art is quite a bit smaller and lighter than the 20mm F1.4 DG DN Art. That's not to say that either lens is large or heavy, but the 24mm is noticeably smaller. The max diameter is 75.7mm (3 in.), and the lens is 95.5mm (3.8 in.) long. The lens has a 72mm filter thread. The 24mm F1.4 DG DN Art weighs 520g (18.3 oz.), which is 115g lighter than the 20mm F1.4 DG DN Art. Compared to the Sony 24mm F1.4 GM, the Sigma 24mm F1.4 DG DN Art is 75g (2.6 oz.) heavier and a few millimeters longer. Both lenses are similar in diameter, although the Sony GM lens uses a 67mm filter size.

 
Sigma 24mm F1.4 DG DN Art on Sony A7R IV

In terms of styling, the 24mm F1.4 DG DN Art looks a lot like the 20mm lens, only smaller. It includes a wide focus ring, AF/MF switch, MFL lock, aperture ring de-click switch, and aperture ring lock switch. The aperture ring includes the same markings from F1.4 to F16. Speaking of the aperture, the 24mm lens also includes an 11-bladed rounded aperture diaphragm. Both lenses include a rear filter holder, by the way, so you can use rear-mounted filters without worries about distortion or vignetting. The lens also comes with a nice petal-type lens hood and the same style of soft case, although, like the lens, the case itself is smaller than the one that comes with the Sigma 20mm F1.4 lens.

 
Sony A7R IV with Sigma 24mm F1.4 DG DN Art lens at F1.4, 1/8,000s, ISO 160. This image has been edited.

The Sigma 24mm F1.4 DG DN Art includes 17 elements organized across 14 groups. Special elements include two FLD elements, a single SLD element, and four aspherical lens elements. The lens has been designed to minimize flare and ghosting and deliver strong sharpness performance across the frame, even when shooting wide open. The lens lives up to these promises and offers excellent image quality.

 
Sony A7R IV with Sigma 24mm F1.4 DG DN Art lens at F1.4, 1/4000s, ISO 100. This image has been edited.

The 24mm F1.4 lens performs better at F1.4 than the new 20mm prime lens. The lens is very sharp when shot wide open, at least in the center of the frame. You need to stop the lens down to F2.8 or F4 to get good corner performance on a full-frame camera. Like the 20mm lens, the 24mm lens exhibits good control over aberrations and flare. The lens also has minimal distortion, at least with lens corrections applied.

 
Sony A7R IV with Sigma 24mm F1.4 DG DN Art lens at F8, 1/40s, ISO 100. This image has been edited.

Like the Sigma 20mm F1.4 lens, the Sigma 24mm F1.4 offers great autofocus performance via a stepping motor system. The lens is compatible with Sony's various autofocus features and Lens Aberration Correction. The lens doesn't focus very closely. It focuses as close as 25cm (9.9 in.), resulting in a 1:7.1 max magnification ratio. In case you're curious, it's almost identical to close-focusing performance as Sony's 24mm F1.4 GM lens.

 
Sony A7R IV with Sigma 24mm F1.4 DG DN Art lens at F11, 1/8s, ISO 100. This image has been edited.

The Sigma 24mm F1.4 DG DN Art is a great lens. While it's not quite as exciting as Sigma's new 20mm F1.4 DG DN Art lens because it is not a truly unique offering, that doesn't take anything away from the 24mm F1.4 Art lens. It delivers great sharpness, impressive autofocus, and good build quality, all at a very nice $799 price point. The Sigma 24mm F1.4 DG DN Art will be available for E-mount and L-mount in late August.

Sigma 24mm F1.4 DG DN Art Hands-on ReviewGallery