Sigma isn’t short of fast primes in its lineup, so where does this latest addition fit in? Michael Topham takes a closer look
Sigma 40mm f/1.4 DG HSM Art review: Build & Handling
Viewed alongside Sigma’s 35mm f/1.4 and 50mm f/1.4 Art lenses, the 40mm f/1.4 DG HSM Art is a bit of a brute. As well as having a chunkier barrel than the company’s 50mm f/1.4 DG HSM Art, it’s 31mm longer and 385g heavier.
The Sigma 35mm f/1.4 Art looks rather diminutive alongside it too and with a substantial 535g weight difference, the extra glass inside the 40mm f/1.4 is very noticeable, especially over prolonged spells of shooting. Being as large and heavy as it is, the lens balances best with full-frame cameras with a good sized handgrip, or one that has a battery grip fitted. Couple it to smaller APS-C DSLR or mirrorless models and the camera/lens combination has a tendency to feel rather front heavy.
In terms of appearance, the lens conforms to many other Sigma’s Art primes. The barrel widens just beyond the lens mount to a large, thinly ribbed rubberised focus ring. This operates smoothly with just the right level of resistance. You can get from one end of its focus distance range to the other with just over a quarter turn, and though it’s not impossible to shoot with it single handedly, you’ll find that you’re very reliant on your left hand to distribute the weight of the lens and offer some additional support.
The AF/MF switch on the side of the barrel is well positioned and nicely profiled. It can be easily flicked with your thumb and the focus distance window on top clearly displays its information in feet and meters. To ensure it meets the demands of professionals and those who don’t get put-off by adverse weather conditions, it also features a dust-and splash-proof structure with seals at the mount connection, manual focus ring, zoom ring, and cover connection. No issues were encountered when it was tested in persistent drizzle, so users can be confident it won’t get damaged when wet.
The lens also comes supplied with a new hood with a lock. It’s the bayonet type and secures with a 90-degree twist, but can’t be removed until a small release button is depressed. The hood has a strip of rubberized texture to make it easier to grip too, but I did find that this is prone to getting marked and is a magnet for dirt.