The Sigma 20mm F1.4 DG HSM | Art is the world’s first full-frame 20mm F1.4 ultra-wide angle lens. It is also the first lens in the Art category to sport an integrated petal-type lens hood to protect its bulbous front element, designed to take in a sweeping 94.5º angle of coverage.
This lens replaces the earlier 20mm F1.8 EX lens, introduced well over a decade ago; and is designed for outstanding edge to edge performance, even on today’s super-resolution DSLRs.
Of course, as a Sigma lens in the Art line of the Sigma Global Vision, each lens is individually tested on the exclusive A1 MTF testing device to ensure the optical performance before shipping from our Aizu, Japan factory.
The lens is unabashedly big, weighing in at 33.5 ounces. Art lenses are designed first and foremost to exhibit exceptional imaging characteristics for its focal length; and the new optical configuration is a serious upgrade from its lighter, smaller F1.8 predecessor.
At widest apertures, close focusing to just over 10 inches from the focal plane, or just mere inches from the front element offers the ability to isolate a subject from the background to render the background very abstract and lovely, thanks to nine rounded aperture blades. Stopping down and focusing a bit farther afield yields excellent edge to edge sharpness from near to far.
I’ve been lucky enough to have spent over a week with one of the very first samples to arrive in the US, an early production sample that’s running beta firmware. You can view the full tech specs and performance data here. This lens is super-sharp on the focal plane, even at widest apertures—in other words, it is an Art lens!
Outdoors, autofocus is swift and responsive, and, even using the outermost focusing points on a Canon EOS 6D, in typical interior household lighting, it is just as swift to achieve and lock focus on a good contrast target.
Tonal adjustments for my personal visual aesthetic were made in Adobe Camera Raw 9, but no lens corrections have been applied, because this lens is too new to have an ACR/LR profile!
Landscape, astrophotographers, photojournalists and architectural specialists, in particular, are going to appreciate everything the 20mm F1.4 DG HSM | Art has to offer. This is an incredibly sharp, fast-aperture ultra-wide prime lens designed and tested on, and for, super-resolution DSLRs.
Jack Howard is a lifelong photographer and author of two editions of the how-to book, Practical HDRI. Based in Central Jersey, Jack's go-to photography spots are backroads and beaches of his home state. He loves to travel far and wide with his wife and daughter, visiting national parks, museums, tropical islands and more along the way.