Sigma has a superb selection of wide-angle primes. Michael Topham reviews the latest addition
Sigma 28mm F1.4 DG HSM Art review: Features
After reviewing the hulk that is the Sigma 40mm F1.4 DG HSM Art, it’s somewhat of a relief to be testing a lighter prime lens that weighs less than a kilogram. That said, the lens we’re looking at here isn’t exactly small and is both larger and heavier than Sigma’s 24mm f/1.4 and 35mm f/1.4 primes.
The reason for this is the sheer amount of glass that’s used in its optical construction. It arranges 17 glass elements in 12 groups, which includes two FLD (‘F’ Low Dispersion) glass elements and three SLD (Special Low Dispersion) glass elements. The three aspherical lenses, which include a large-diameter aspherical lens just behind the front element, are designed to prevent chromatic aberration and sagitatal coma flare whilst keeping curvilinear distortion under control.
With a more complex optical construction than the 15 elements in 11 groups you find inside the 24mm F1.4 DG HSM Art and the 13 elements in 11 groups you get inside the 35mm F1.4 DG HSM Art, it’ll come as no great surprise that it is indeed heavier. With the 24mm F1.4 DG HSM Art and 35mm F1.4 DG HSM Art both weighing 665g, the 28mm F1.4 DG HSM at 865g works out 200g heavier.
Like Sigma’s other fast wide-angle primes, the lens features the manufacturers Super Multi-Layer Coatings to prevent flare and ghosting causing issues when shooting directly towards the light. These are also designed to maximise high contrast images in backlit conditions. A water-and-oil-repellent coating is applied to the front and rear elements too, allowing water to be wiped away easily and prevent any oil or grease sticking to the surface.
Photographers who find themselves shooting in wet weather or demanding environments will be pleased to read that it features a dust and splash proof structure, with special seals at the mount connection, manual focus ring, zoom ring and cover connection. As we’re used to seeing, the lens incorporates Sigma’s Hyper Sonic Motor (HSM), which performs autofocus duties and supports manual override (MO), allowing you to switch to full-time manual focus at any time without having to flick the AF/MF switch to manual first.
The nine-bladed rounded diaphragm can be set across an aperture range of f/1.4-f/16. Used at its maximum aperture, these nine aperture blades are intended to create attractive blur in the out-of-focus areas of an image, with pleasing spherical bokeh in the highlights. The minimum focus distance is 28cm/11in and what with being physically larger than the 35mm F1.4 DG HSM Art, screw-in filters and adapters are mounted via a 77mm thread size as opposed to a 67mm thread.
As well as being made in Canon, Nikon and Sigma mounts, it’s one of Sigma’s Art lenses to be offered in E-mount for Sony users and L-mount for Leica and Panasonic cameras. By making the lens available in E-mount and L-mount it rules out the need of a Sigma MC-11 or MC-21 converter, plus it opens up the possibility of being able to use the lens in combination with Sony, Leica and Panasonic’s continuous AF modes. The E-mount and L-mount examples also work with in-camera image stabilisation and in-camera lens correction.