As photographers, storytelling is at the heart of our work. It’s deeply rooted in what we do. Whether it’s to tell others something about ourselves or something about our subject, the end goal is to move the viewer. For as long as I’ve been a children’s portrait photographer, I’ve tended to gravitate towards storytelling lenses. I love to include lots of environment within my portraiture, and details that strengthen my subject’s story. That’s why I love the new SIGMA 14mm F1.4 DG DN | Art lens.
Exploring the 14mm F1.4 for the first time
Most photographers would view the SIGMA 14mm F1.4 lens as a fantastic landscape and astrophotography lens, and it certainly is! However, I love to use lenses in an unconventional way, and the 14mm is a fantastic environmental portrait lens for many reasons. From the sturdy, ergonomic feel to the sharpness, this lens is hands down one of my new favorites.
The physical design of the 14mm F1.4 DG DN | Art is one of my favorite things about it. It has an aperture ring, making it easy for me to quickly change my depth of field if needed. This is especially handy when photographing fast moving children. Of course, aperture can be controlled through the camera too, but the manual ring is quite intuitive to use.
Speaking of aperture, it’s the world’s first 14mm full-frame interchangeable lens to have a F1.4 aperture, which is amazing for low-light situations, indoors or out. With it being a 14mm length, it’s easy to keep the lens steady, so optical stabilization isn’t needed, but a removable Arca-Swiss tripod foot is included for shooting longer exposures, self-portraits, or family photos.
Additionally, the lens cover design proved to be a favorite feature. Whereas most wide-angle lens covers just slide on, this cap has a pinch design that fits over the lens hood. This stops it from slipping off the lens. And if you use rear filters (the same size filters as with the 14-24mm and 24mm DG DN lenses), there are handy storage slots in the lens cover.
The SIGMA 14mm F1.4 DG DN | Art has a very sturdy, yet ergonomic feel to it. This is especially important to me since I’ve never been very easy on my gear when out and about with my children. It’s built to last in inclement weather with excellent sealing and a built-in hood. This is another important feature, especially living in an area that has an average snowfall of 200 inches per winter. Overall, the general quality of the lens is very well-built and perfect for just about any sort of outdoor environment.
Capturing an unexpected point of view
One thing that really impressed me is the sharpness of the lens. Not just at the center, but at the edges too, which is something you don’t often see with such a wide angle. The SIGMA 14mm F1.4 DG DN | Art maintained beautiful detail and sharp results at the edges of my frame.
Oftentimes, dreamy images are associated with longer focal lengths, but I found that the SIGMA 14mm captured beautiful backlight while still maintaining lots of contrast. The built-in lens hood is definitely an effective and welcomed characteristic of this lens. I loved shooting with this lens in backlight, which surprised me because I tend to gravitate towards longer lens lengths for this type of lighting.
I absolutely loved the quick autofocus of the 14mm F1.4 DG DN | Art which is crucial when photographing little children. From low light to backlight, the lens never struggled to grab focus on my exploring subjects. This is one of the key reasons I find this lens ideal for environmental portraiture with children.
When I’m out and about with my children, I often need to be close to them for safety reasons. This lens gave me the ability to do that while capturing my children exploring. Whether we are at the beach or running errands in town, I was able to capture a lot of the unique and beautiful environment around them with ease. For being such a wide angle lens, the distortion was minimal and easily adjusted in Lightroom.
A lens that captures virtually everything
There’s a reason the SIGMA 14mm F1.4 DG DN | Art lens has received so many awards. It’s understandably an incredible lens for landscape and astrophotography, but has also proven to be amazing for environmental portraiture as well. Especially for a photographer like me who needs to be close to my children in certain environments while out exploring. I’m able to capture a lot of the beautiful scenery we are so grateful to live in. This lens is truly versatile and can be used in so many ways.
Find your new perspective
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