As mirrorless cameras continue to grow in popularity and become more capable, increasing numbers of people are wanting to make the switch from their bulky traditional DSLR’s. However, one thing that is holding many of us back is the lack of options of quality lenses. With the release of the new 16mm f/1.4 DC DN Contemporary Lens with Sony E Mount, Sigma is continuing to fill the gaps of quality lens options for mirrorless camera users.
“The lens has a fast f/1.4 aperture allowing for great low light and shallow depth of field photography.”
The new 16mm is being released under the Contemporary lens line and is made specifically for cameras with APS-C for Sony or other Micro Four Thirds sensors. The lens has a fast f/1.4 aperture allowing for great low light and shallow depth of field photography. It is also dust and splash proof. While the lens is pretty long, especially when mounted on an A6500, it isn’t as heavy or as big as other Sigma lenses of similar focal lengths in the Art series. What is most appealing though, is the $449.00 price tag. Most other fast primes in the Sigma line up cost twice as much. While not in the top tier of Sigma’s Art line up, this lens comes with a good amount of higher-end features while saving on weight and cost.
I was given the lens to try out right before Thanksgiving weekend and only had a few days to play around with it. So, while I would have liked to do a few additional shooting scenarios to test out the capabilities of the lens, I wanted to focus on how most people looking at this focal length would use it. Primarily, wide angle portraiture and landscapes.
With family being in from out of town for Thanksgiving, I thought this would be the perfect opportunity to get a large group shot. Once everyone had their fill of turkey and stuffing, I set up a couple of speed lights in the living room to allow for even light, then told everyone to cram onto the couch and save a spot for me. After setting the timer and running to find my place, we let the shenanigans begin.
Shot with Sony A6500, 1/80th sec @ f/3.5 ISO 400.
One of the things I wanted to look out for was the amount of distortion toward the edges of the frame. Though you can see a little toward the left edge of the couch, I was impressed with how little there was left to right in the lines of the couch and with the pattern on the rug. I was also happy with the shapes throughout the frame. Here is a close up of the top right corner where the plants are to give you a closer look.
Here is another shot, obviously a silly one because that’s what you do in family photos.
Shot with Sony A6500, 1/80th sec @ f/3.5 ISO 400.
After everyone was done fooling around and settling down into their turkey-induced comas, I decided this would be a good time for me to break away and get some shots outside. It was almost sunset. Luckily, I live close to a lake and so after a short drive, I was hiking to a couple of my go-to spots to capture some beautiful landscapes.
Shot with Sony A6500, 1/15th sec @ f/16 ISO 100.
In the first image, I was again pleased with the lack of edge distortion as well as the sharpness throughout the picture. The other thing I wanted to look out for was any chromatic aberration around the tree branches where they transition to the sky. In the crop below you can see it does struggle with the color change. It’s not overtly obvious when zoomed out, but once you zoom in it’s hard to miss.
“One thing that really impressed me about the lens was it’s ability to control lens flare when shooting into the sun.”
One thing that really impressed me about the lens was it’s ability to control lens flare when shooting into the sun. Here are two shots that have the sun solidly in the frame. The lens flare is controlled, adding a nice burst to the sun and also allowing for the camera to still pull detail out of some of the darker areas of the photo. This can be seen really well on the left of the second photo.
Shot with Sony A6500 1/80th sec @ f/7.1 ISO 200
Shot with Sony A6500 1/200th sec @f/11 ISO 100
As with everything I’ve seen so far, I was impressed with the sharpness throughout the image at the different aperture settings as well as the lack of distortion. With the sun in the frame, the lens created a nice flare that, in my opinion, made the sun look really nice- especially when peeking through the trees. Once the sun set behind the trees, I quickly ran out of any usable light and decided it was time to head home for games and coffee with the family. It was Thanksgiving after all.
Overall, I enjoyed the lens and found that it exceeded my expectations in build and image quality. While I know there are better options out there, they are also going to come with a much larger price tag and a lot of additional weight. If you’re thinking about investing in the mirrorless camera market or needing to add to your kit, I would definitely recommend the new Sigma 16mm f/1.4 DC DN Contemporary Lens with Sony E Mount for anyone needing a wider field of view.