Lens Guides

First Look: SIGMA 16-28mm F2.8 DG DN Contemporary Lens

There are a number of reasons I love working with SIGMA, but one of the most important is this… constant innovation. The engineers at the factory in Aizu just continue to create wonderful new lens options that are both incredibly useful and technically superior.

Case in point, the new 16-28mm F2.8 DG DN | Contemporary lens. This new super wide-angle lens is the latest in a long line of fantastic super wide zooms that I have personally used throughout the years. I started with SIGMA’s 10-20mm F3.5 APS-C format lens, and soon moved to the 12-24mm EX lens when I upgraded to full-frame. Then I shot with the 12-24mm F4 DG HSM | Art and 14-24mm F2.8 DG HSM | Art lenses for my full-frame DSLR for a few years. When I made my switch to mirrorless, I began using (and still do today) the 14-24mm F2.8 DG DN | Art lens.

And now we have a compact 16-28mm F2.8 lens, also designed exclusively for mirrorless. How does it stack up? Let’s find out.


Getting acquainted with the 16-28mm F2.8 DG DN | Contemporary

The very first thing you will notice about the 16-28mm F2.8 DG DN | Contemporary is that it is significantly smaller and lighter than any other super wide-angle lens in SIGMA’s lineup. This will come as great news to anyone who needs to lighten their photo packs for long days traveling or on the trail. While light and small, the lens still feels great in the hand, with wonderful build quality that will hold up to extended use.

Another phenomenal feature is that this lens features a constant F2.8 aperture. Yes, you heard me right. Most lenses this small and light would offer an F4 or variable maximum aperture. But somehow, SIGMA made the 16-28mm F2.8 DG DN | C both light and fast! Photographers shooting in low light situations or looking for a modest amount of subject separation will find the constant F2.8 an incredibly helpful component.

If you have read any of my previous blog articles or seen any of my videos for SIGMA, you know that I don’t photograph my cat or my bookshelf. I’m an outdoor photographer, so when I want to see how a lens performs, I take it out into the field and put it in real-world situations that I would actually shoot. For me that means landscape, travel, and action sports.


Putting the lens to the test

While my time with the 16-28mm F2.8 DG DN | Contemporary was short (and punctuated by a massive late-spring snowstorm) I did get to put it thought its paces. How did it perform? Brilliantly! The lens is very sharp, contrasty and colorful throughout the zoom range. It handles ghosting and flare incredibly well thanks to the Super Multi-Layer Coating and included petal lens hood. Additionally, the digital corrections that I applied in post — which are conveniently embedded in the RAW files (as long as you have corrections turn on in-camera) — virtually eliminated any distortion and vignetting, and didn’t require any guesswork.

The autofocus, powered by a smooth stepping motor, was fast and accurate. In continuous / servo mode it tracked fast-moving athletes without issue. Video and hybrid shooters will also appreciate the quietness of the autofocus. And speaking of video, have I mentioned yet that the zoom is internal? This will be great for gimbal users as the balance point remains the same from 16mm to 28mm. The lens also has a 72mm front filter thread making it easy to use ND and polarizing filters. I don’t shoot much video, but I did find the focus ring and zoom action to be very smooth while racking focus and zooming.

The 16-28mm F2.8 DG DN | Contemporary lens dovetails perfectly with SIGMA’s 28-70mm F2.8 DG DN | C lens. I packed them together almost every day I went out. Anytime I needed a bit more reach, I could easily switch to the longer lens, effectively giving me a 16-70mm F2.8 lens. And if you really need the reach for kids’ sports or wildlife, be sure to pack the 100-400mm DG DN OS | C lens too!


Why reach for the 16-28mm F2.8 DG DN | Contemporary?

So, who is this lens for? Well, the 16-28mm F2.8 DG DN | Contemporary is small, light, sharp and optically excellent, so it’s going to be for all sorts of photographers needing a high-quality, easy-to-pack lens. Are you a backcountry landscape photographer on a multi-day trip? Or maybe a run-and-gun video shooter that needs speed and versatility. Heading to Italy to shoot landscapes and cathedrals? Or maybe an outdoor photographer climbing high peaks or biking long distances. For all these photographers and more, this lens is hard to beat.

I have been shooting with SIGMA super-wide zoom lenses for over a decade, and this latest addition absolutely amazes me with its diminutive size and high image quality. I mentioned earlier that results in the field are what matter to me, and the results I got were extremely impressive. This lens has unequivocally earned a spot in my pack and I look forward to using it heavily this summer. Hope to see you out there!


More 16-28mm F2.8 DG DN | Contemporary images!

Want to see more adventure and travel shots with the new 16-28mm F2.8 DG DN | Contemporary? This is only a small sampling of the images I was inspired to capture with this lens:

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