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Sigma 16mm f/1.4 DC DN Contemporary Review
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Sigma 16mm f/1.4 DC DN Contemporary Review

While this review for the Sigma 16mm f/1.4 DC DN Contemporary was done on a Sony Camera, it's still a very relevant review for those using the EOS-M platform as this was one of the Sigma lenses that Sigma also released for the EOS-M.

OpticalLimits tested the lens, and generally, they liked the lens, but it was not without it's flaws.

They summed the lens with ratings of;

Optical Quality: 3/5 stars
Mechanical Quality: 3.75/5 stars
Price / Performance: 5/5 stars

The Sigma 16mm F1.4 has the following general characteristics;

  • As part of the Contemporary line within Sigma's Global Vision series, this lens is designed to achieve a balance between convenience and performance, and meshes a compact, lightweight build and versatile handling with notable optical attributes.
  • Wide-angle prime is designed for APS-C-format Canon EF-M-mount mirrorless cameras and provides a 25.6mm equivalent focal length.
  • Bright f/1.4 maximum aperture excels in low-light conditions and also affords increased control over depth of field for achieving selective focus effects.
  • Two Special Low Dispersion (SLD) elements and three F Low Dispersion (FLD) elements reduce color fringing and chromatic aberrations in order to achieve greater clarity and color accuracy.
  • Two aspherical elements are used to limit distortion and spherical aberrations and also contribute to greater overall sharpness and accurate rendering.
  • A Super Multi-Layer Coating has been applied to lens elements in order to minimize lens flare and ghosting and contribute to producing contrast-rich and color-neutral imagery, even in backlit conditions.
  • A stepping AF motor benefits both photographers and videographers with its fast, precise, and near-silent performance.
  • Rounded nine-blade diaphragm contributes to a smooth and pleasing bokeh quality.
  • The bayonet mount is constructed from brass for ensured accuracy and durability. Additionally, rubber sealing is incorporated in the mount design to render it dust- and splash-resistant.

OpticalLimits 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 choices are pretty limited for 16mm F1.4 for the EOS-M mount, so the lens should be a high consideration for you if you want a 24mm equivalent lens, versus the 35mm F2.0 equivalent lens via the EF-M 22mm F2.0.

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