Sigma 16mm f/1.4 DC DN Contemporary (Sony E-mount) - Review / Test Report - Sample Images & Verdict
Lens Reviews - Sony Alpha/NEX (APS-C)

Sample Images

Click on an image for downloading the full-size variant.

MakeSONY
ModelILCE-6300
ISO Speed100
Focal Length16.0mm
Aperture:f/2.0
Exposure1/4000s

MakeSONY
ModelILCE-6300
ISO Speed100
Focal Length16.0mm
Aperture:f/1.4
Exposure1/4000s

MakeSONY
ModelILCE-6300
ISO Speed100
Focal Length16.0mm
Aperture:f/1.4
Exposure1/4000s

MakeSONY
ModelILCE-6300
ISO Speed200
Focal Length16.0mm
Aperture:f/4.0
Exposure1/2000s

MakeSONY
ModelILCE-6300
ISO Speed200
Focal Length16.0mm
Aperture:f/3.5
Exposure1/3200s

MakeSONY
ModelILCE-6300
ISO Speed200
Focal Length16.0mm
Aperture:f/6.3
Exposure1/2000s

MakeSONY
ModelILCE-6300
ISO Speed100
Focal Length16.0mm
Aperture:f/7.1
Exposure1/500s

MakeSONY
ModelILCE-6300
ISO Speed100
Focal Length16.0mm
Aperture:f/1.4
Exposure1/4000s

MakeSONY
ModelILCE-6300
ISO Speed100
Focal Length16.0mm
Aperture:f/8.0
Exposure1/320s

Competition

There isn't really any APS-C format lens that competes directly with the Sigma 16mm f/1.4 DC DN Contemporary (shown to the left). If we include full format lenses there may be two alternatives that come into mind. Size-wise the Laowa 15mm f/2 Zero-D (center) is at least somewhat similar. It's obviously a little wider and a stop slower. Its biggest drawback is the lack of electronic coupling - thus also no AF. It should perform nicely on an APS-C format camera thanks to the sweet spot effect within the (full format) image field. The Sigma 14mm f/1.8 ART is closer in terms of optical specs but it's obviously a very different, much bigger beast and rather alien on small APS-C cameras - also because it's merely an adapted DSLR lens.

Visual comparison courtesy of camerasize.com.

Verdict

While there are numerous fast, full format E-mount lenses available, they are very expensive and simply oversized when mounted on APS-C cameras. Sony showed little interest in providing dedicated APS-C prime lenses lately so it's most welcome that Sigma has taken the leap of faith by providing some new and interesting designs for the smaller format. The Sigma 16mm f/1.4 DC DN Contemporary is about as fast as it can reasonably get without running into a cost trap especially considering the rather wide-angle of view - equivalent to a "24mm" full format lens. Performance-wise it is pretty good but it has a couple of weak spots, too. At maximum aperture, the center resolution is very decent but the corner quality falls apart. Whether sharp corners at f/1.4 are really important is a question of application. For astrophotography, it's clearly not ideal whereas for shallow depth-of-field scenes, it's hardly relevant. Stopping down to f/2 helps a lot in the image corners and the results are sharp across the image field from f/2.8 onward until diffraction effects set in. The native vignetting characteristic could be better and image distortions are on the high-side. However, this isn't too much to worry about with activated auto-correction. Lateral CAs are generally very low. The quality of the bokeh is a bit of mixed bag with very nice out-of-focus highlights but also with a fairly smeary general bokeh rendition.

The overall build quality is very good. The lens body is made of metal and the huge, rubberized focus ring is both smooth as well as very grippy. It also has basic sealing of some kind. On the downside, manual focusing is way too coarse to be useful at shorter focus distances. The AF is quite speedy and noiseless though.

The Sigma 16mm f/1.4 DC DN is may not be flawless but given the very reasonable pricing, it's a great value offering.


Optical Quality:    
★★★★★
Mechanical Quality:
★★★★★
Price/Performance:
★★★★★

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