I’m dozing restlessly in the bed of my pickup truck, having finished an old western paperback, when the moon hits its peak and covers the mountainside with its silvery light. It’s chilly at 11,700 feet, so after grabbing my photo pack and tripod, I’m sure to don my warm puffy down jacket. A short trail leads me to a beautiful stand of ancient bristlecone pines, bent and twisted by the prevailing northwest wind.
I pull out my SIGMA fp L camera with the brand new 24mm F1.4 DG DN | Art lens attached. The perfect lens for a night shoot like this. I put the rig on the tripod and spend the next hour happily tripping the shutter pointed at the timeworn moonlit trees.
Introducing the SIGMA 24mm F1.4 DG DN | Art
To nobody’s surprise, the engineers at SIGMA have once again made a beautiful new lens that is sure to intrigue many a photographer. First off, the SIGMA 24mm F1.4 DG DN | Art lens was designed specifically for mirrorless cameras. This premium quality Art lens is smaller, lighter, and optically superior to its predecessor. Plus, like other DG DN Art line lenses, it features a tactilely pleasing manual aperture ring that can be “de-clicked” when the lens is used in video mode.
Additional features include a programmable AFL button as well as a new manual focus lock switch which will be great for time-lapse images and long exposures. The 72mm front thread is useful for folks that use filters (I frequently use polarizer filters for landscape work). Oh, and it has a rear filter holder as well, along with a template that can be used to trim your own filter material. It comes with a locking lens hood, and being an Art lens, is dust and splash resistant.
The 24mm F1.4 DG DN | Art in the field
So what do all these features add up to? I took the 24mm F1.4 DG DN | Art lens out with me on a variety of shoots to find out. In addition to night shooting the bristlecones, I also had it out for some classic landscape shoots and mountain biking photography. As you can see here, landscapes are beautifully sharp edge to edge, and sunstars look great with the 11-blade aperture.
A wide prime can also work quite well for action sports photography, being light, sharp and fast. For much of my action work, I use continuous autofocus (usually known as AF-C or Servo). This means the my camera and lens “tracks” the athletes as they move through the landscape. How did it do? Really well! I was very impressed with how many shots in a row were perfectly sharp even with riders moving at high speeds. I shot manual focus a few times too, and found it to be extremely accurate and also very smooth.
The optics of the 24mm F1.4 DG DN | Art lens are truly impressive. The Colorado wildflowers were in full bloom so I had to get a few shots. Images were super colorful and contrasty, not to mention extremely sharp. While shooting sunrise at an alpine lake, I really got a sense of how sharp images were not just at the center but all the way to the corners.
One of the unique qualities of a super fast F1.4 lens is the subject separation you can get. Shooting wide open at F1.4 or even close to wide at F1.8 or F2 can be challenging, especially at close distances. But done correctly, it can yield beautiful results that really put the focus on your subject.
Overall thoughts on the 24mm F1.4 DG DN | Art
The SIGMA 24mm F1.4 DG DN | Art lens is yet another incredible option for full-frame mirrorless cameras. Its professional level optics and build quality make it a fantastic choice for demanding photographers. I believe this fast, wide lens will really appeal to concert, wedding, astro, landscape, and action sports photographers alike, as well as video shooters.
But no matter what genre you enjoy, a fast, wide prime lens is a great addition to your kit, and the 24mm F1.4 DG DN | Art is simply a great choice that delivers incredible image quality across the frame. Give it a try, and I hope to see you out there!