The Sigma 23mm F1.4 DC DN Modern ($549) turns the corporate’s value-minded F1.4 Modern trio right into a quartet, with an angle that sits comfortably between the large 16mm F1.4 and the usual 30mm F1.4 (a $479 56mm F1.4 finishes off the set). Just like the others, it is gentle on aptitude with a fundamental black polycarbonate end, however is able to snapping razor-sharp photographs with softly defocused backgrounds. We prefer it sufficient to advocate it as an Editors’ Alternative winner, particularly for Sony APS-C cameras versus the getting older Zeiss 24mm F1.8 ZA ($1,099.99).
F1.4 for APS-C
As with different lenses with the DC DN designation, the 23mm F1.4 Modern’s optical formulation is made for APS-C format sensors. In full-frame phrases, that makes its angle of view just like a 35mm prime, a favourite focal size for road pictures and reportage. The picture circle is not sufficiently big to cowl full-frame chips, so Sigma is ready to ship sharp, brilliant optics in a satisfyingly light-weight kind. The 23mm F1.4 measures 3.1 by 2.6 inches (HD), weighs about 11.6 ounces, and helps 52mm entrance filters.
Sigma markets the lens for 3 completely different digital camera methods: Fujifilm X, L-Mount Alliance, and Sony E. Sigma despatched an E-mount model over for analysis, and whereas I did not have an APS-C digital camera out there, the 60MP a7R IV proves a wonderful choice for testing (when the suitable in-camera crop is about it captures 26MP photos).
Sony APS-C homeowners are probably to weigh this lens towards the Zeiss 24mm F1.8 ZA, a lens that is now in its second decade of availability. We took a (comparatively) recent have a look at the lens in 2017 and located it to nonetheless be performer, although it isn’t as compelling now that the Sigma delivers comparable image high quality for a lot much less.
Fujifilm photogs will have a look at this one towards the just lately refreshed XF 23mm F1.4 R LM WR, on sale for round $900. The Fuji lens contains full climate safety and on-barrel aperture management, not included with the Sigma, and does a greater job suppressing false colour than both the Sigma or Zeiss 24mm F1.8.
The L-mount launch is a little bit curious, if solely as a result of nobody is presently making an APS-C digital camera for the system. The Leica CL and TL2 are each out of manufacturing, although it isn’t out of the query that followers of the sequence could look to this as an F1.4 different to the Summicron-TL 23mm F2 ASPH. ($1,950).
Dealing with and Controls
As talked about, there’s not an excessive amount of to the 23mm F1.4 Modern. The black barrel is a mixture of aluminum and polycarbonate, with the silver C badge the one adornment of observe. The main focus ring takes up about half the house and is completed with rubber ridges, just like most modern-day lenses.
You will want to leap into the digital camera menu (or use an on-lens swap with some Fuji fashions) to alter focus modes, although, because the lens doesn’t embrace an AF/MF toggle. Likewise, Fuji homeowners could discover the dearth of an aperture ring to be a disappointment.
Guide focus followers can discover one thing to love right here. The main focus ring has a little bit of resistance, and nonlinear response (for Sony and Fuji) means it is simple to make exact changes to get your airplane of focus set excellent. The main focus throw is pretty lengthy too, so it takes a few very fast twists to maneuver throughout your entire vary.
A stepping motor (STM) drives autofocus. The lens racks from close to to far shortly with our a7R IV take a look at physique (0.1-second). The lens focuses precisely and, for probably the most half, confidently. I observed the lens searching backwards and forwards to seek out the main target level on a few events, however its struggles had been short-lived and solely occasional.
The 9.9-inch minimal focus makes for 1:7.3 macro magnification at finest, so this would possibly not be your first selection for bugs, cash, watches, and different small topics related to macro pictures. It is a helpful working distance for portraits, and I managed to get an honest photograph of blossoming dogwood flowers, however I might like one thing with a bit extra close-up versatility for sakura season.
Sigma 23mm F1.4 Modern: Within the Lab
I used the full-frame Sony a7R IV to check the 23mm F1.4 Modern, however set the digital camera to its 26MP APS-C crop mode to simulate use with an APS-C digital camera. The pair places up excellent decision, even large open, on this mode (3,300 traces), and delivers picture-perfect outcomes down via f/11.
We observe a loss in image high quality at f/16 as a consequence of diffraction, however you should still need to set the aperture down all the way in which to get the best-looking sunstars. The 23mm F1.4 readily attracts crisp, multi-point starbursts when set to its smallest aperture. There’s some ghosting evident when pointing the lens into the solar with the aperture closed, a results of gentle rays bouncing round contained in the lens, however flare is minimized at wider apertures.
Distortion is not an enormous concern for many use instances with this lens. The optics present a little bit of barrel distortion, however in-camera digital corrections compensate for the impact when snapping JPGs or recording video. For Uncooked seize, builders that leverage embedded correction information take away the undesirable impact. Adobe Lightroom Traditional depends on a customized profile to do that; Sigma offered it for us to make use of throughout testing and likewise, it eliminated the slight fisheye bulge from the barrel impact.
Illumination is powerful throughout the body, even when utilizing the lens large open at f/1.4. The shortage of vignette is little question tied to the optical formulation, which presents near full-frame protection. Check out the comparability above, which reveals a full-frame view (left) versus the identical scene in APS-C. The odd-shaped vignette is made by the lens hood; with out the hood, the vignette is round.
Apart from gathering extra gentle than zooms, a advantage of F1.4 optics is the flexibility to seize pictures with a particularly shallow depth of discipline. When solely a razor-thin slice of a scene is in focus, the look of background blur may be as essential as what’s in focus. The bokeh right here is gorgeous, with soft-edge blur and highlights which can be usually round. False colour is clear, although, one thing to remember in case you are delicate to the inexperienced and purple bokeh colour shifts (LoCa).
The Quick Search for Much less
It is a little bit stunning that it took Sigma this lengthy to deliver out a 23mm F1.4 for APS-C mirrorless methods. The angle of view matches up with a full-frame 35mm prime, one of many all-time favorites for documentary and road pictures, and is smart in a lens sequence that already contains large 16mm F1.4 and customary 30mm F1.4 entries.
Just like the others within the line, the 23mm F1.4 DC DN Modern is a improbable worth choice. At $549 it is a lot less expensive than the Sony Zeiss 24mm F1.8 ZA, an older lens that skips climate safety solely and is much more liable to false colour. As we speak we expect Sony homeowners ought to snag this one as an alternative, except you are in love with the extra characterful Zeiss optics.
For Fuji homeowners, the selection is much less clear. The XF 23mm F1.4 R WR LM is available in at $900, however is extra completely climate sealed, respiratory corrected, and does a greater job of suppressing false colour. In the meantime, most L-mount homeowners ought to skip this one, except you are holding on to one of many few APS-C sensor fashions. If that is the case, there is not any purpose to not get this lens when you’re after a reasonably large prime. We just like the 23mm F1.4 Modern sufficient to name it our Editors’ Alternative, and it is exhausting to argue with the image high quality you get for the worth.