Looking for an APS-C wide-angle prime lens with large aperture for astrophotography, I found the Sigma 16mm f/1.4 DC DN.
First things first:
All the images showed in this post were taken in raw and then converted to jpeg in Lightroom without any other post processing. Here’s a public folder with all raw images (copyright infringement will be prosecuted)
I am not affiliated with Sigma, nor did I get any discount on the lens or money for writing this review. Links in this post may be to affiliates and sales through affiliate links may benefit this site with no additional cost for you. This will keep the website running.
I wrote this review to the best of my knowledge but cannot guarantee its correctness. Moreover, it is my opinion about the lens.
All images shot with the Sony Alpha 6500 and no filters.
Background of purchase: Due to upcoming travels into the Atacama desert of Chile, I was looking for an APS-C wide-angle prime lens with large aperture for astrophotography which should be better than the Sony 10-18mm f/4.0
Sigma 16mm f/1.4 Specifications
- Lens Construction: 16 Elements in 13 Groups
- Angle of View (DC) 83.4°
- Weather sealed
- Number of Diaphragm Blades: 9 (Rounded)
- Aperture 1.4 to 16
- Minimum Focusing Distance 9.8 in (25 cm)
- Filter Size 67mm
- Maximum Magnifications 1: 9.9
- Dimensions 72.2mm×92.3mm / 2.8in. ×3.6in (Diameter x Length)
- Weight 14.3 oz (405 grams)
- Corresponding Mounts: Micro Four Thirds, Sony E-mount
The Sigma 16mm f/1.4 with lens hood and 2 caps (about 40 grams) weighs 450 grams (measured by myself)
Performance of the Sigma 16mm f/1.4
At f/1.4 the edges look slightly soft but increase to solid sharpness at f/2.8. For the sharpest image throughout frame one has to stop down the Sigma 16mm to f/8.0. Smaller apertures than this started to show softness due to the effects of diffraction. See images in gallery of the bottom left corner.
The Sigma 16mm f/1.4 has almost no chromatic aberration in the centre, but increases at the edges.
Being considered a wide-angle lens, it comes as no surprise that the Sigma 16mm f/1.4 has some distortion. Yet, as far as I am concerned it is not that bad. Furthermore, this can easily be corrected in post.
At f/1.4 clearly visible, the vignette disappears at f/4. However, it is already at f/2.8 drastically less than at f/1.4
Usage + Videography
Despite the weight and size, the Sigma 16mm f/1.4 convinced with its smooth focus ring allowing cinematic focus pulls. Moreover, the autofocus works a treat and is remarkably faster in comparison to the Tamron 18-200mm lens I use. The 24mm full frame equivalent feels comfortable to film oneself and I did not feel reduced by the narrower field of view yet. However, I had no time to photograph the Milky way because of bad weather. Admittedly, I probably will be limited in astrophotography due to the narrower angle of view, but this remains to be seen. So far, I am very pleased with the fast aperture and the ease of use of the Sigma 16mm f/1.4.
Summary about the Sigma 16mm f/1.4
– Fast f/1.4 aperture (Lowlight capabilities)
– Sharpness from f/2.8 superb
– Smooth focussing (being the major drawback of the Sigma 30mm f/1.4 E-mount)
– Low Chromatic Aberration
– Fast autofocus
– lovely sun star at f/16
– Reasonable prize
– strong vignette at f/1.4
– No scales on the lens (focus, DoF)
Competitors for my requirements:
Samyang/Rokinon/Walimex 12mm f/2.0 (Used one of a friend, the results were satisfying but not outstanding)
Sony 16mm f/2.8 (Many bad reviews but I never got my hands on one)
Sony 10-18mm f/4.0 (I own this lens and it is not very suitable for night photography due to the small aperture)
Overall, I am very happy with the Sigma 16mm f/1.4 E-mount lens and am looking forward to use it on my upcoming adventure in Chile. My personal results of the lens are congruent with the ones from other professional lens reviewers, although I have to stress that I had not yet the chance to photograph the brightest part of the Milky Way. This is because I live in the northern hemisphere where it is not visible during winter. Images from Chile will follow soon to show its capabilities as astrophotography lens. Make sure you follow me on social media to stay up to date or subscribe to my e-mail list down below.
The price of this item is currently CHF 415.80.- in Switzerland and can be purchased here.
What is your experience with the Sigma 16mm f/1.4? Do you have any questions?