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

Review by Klaus Schroiff, published February 2020


SIgma is maintaining a small set of three very fast prime lenses dedicated to APS-C and Micro-Four-Thirds mirrorless cameras - a 30mm f/1.4, a 56mm f/1.4 and the Sigma 16mm f/1.4 DC DN Contemporary that we are going to discuss here. If you are familiar with Sigma's naming convention, it may surprise you that it doesn't belong to Sigma's professional grade "ART" series albeit at least the large aperture seems to suggest otherwise. However, if anything there's a positive side effect to the consumer-grade designation - the pricing is very moderate at less the 400EUR/USD. So mirrorless lenses can be affordable after all. Thanks, Sigma!

Upon the initial contact, you will immediately notice two things. First of all, it's not a small lens and as such it follows a bit of a Sigma tradition. Sigma tends to prefer compromising size in favor of performance. The other aspect is the build quality. It may be a "Contemporary" lens but there's nothing cheapish about it. The lens body is made of metal. The ginormous, rubberized focus ring is super smooth. It's almost too big when trying to get a handle on the lens for mounting/unmounting. Sigma's statement regarding the degree of sealing is a bit fuzzy. They are referring to a sealed lens mount but this leaves a question mark regarding the focus ring at least. The lens does not extend during focusing so that's certainly positive when it comes to surviving in harsher environments. A petal-shaped hood is part of the package.

The AF is quite fast and essentially noiseless. Typical for most E-mount lenses, manual focusing works by wire. Considering the huge focus ring, you may expect that it is a joy to use this lens in manual focus mode but, unfortunately, this is not the case here. Among all the mirrorless lenses that we tested so far - and that's not a small number - this is the one with the worst manual focus mechanism to date. The focus "steps" are way too coarse which is a pain at short to medium focus distances. Thus as unfortunate as it may be, you should better stick to autofocusing which is reasonably accurate.

Equiv. focal length (full-format)"24mm" (in terms of field-of-view)
Equiv. aperture (full-format)"f/2.1" (in terms of depth-of-field)
Optical construction16 elements in 13 groups inc. 2x aspherical, 2x SLD, 3x FLD elements
Number of aperture blades9 (rounded)
min. focus distance0.25m (max. magnification 1:9.9)
Weight 405g
Filter size67mm
Hoodpetal-shaped (bayonet mount, supplied)
Other features-
MountsSony E (APS-C), Canon EF-M, Micro-Four-Thirds

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