Sigma 16mm F1.4 DC DN C Review

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Introduction

The Sigma 16mm F1.4 DC DN C is a fast standard prime lens that offers a maximum aperture of f1.4. It offers the equivalent angle of view as a 24mm lens on an APS-C camera and 32mm on Micro Four Thirds. The Sigma 16mm F1.4 DC DN C features a rounded 9 blade diaphragm which creates an attractive blur to the out of focus areas of the image. It has a minimum focusing distance of 25cm / 9.8in and a maximum reproduction ratio of 1:9.9, while the stepping AF motor ensures a silent, high-speed AF function. The Sigma 16mm F1.4 DC DN C lens is currently available for £449.99 / $449.99 in the UK and the US, respectively. We tested the Micro Four Thirds version of the lens.

Ease of Use

Weighing in at 405g and measuring 9.23cm in length, the Sigma 16mm F1.4 DC DN C is quite a compact lens given its fast f/1.4 aperture. As seen in the photos below, it complements a camera like the new Panasonic G9 very well.

Build quality is excellent given the affordable price tag. The lens has a plastic shell with a mixture of metallic parts and a new compound material, TSC (Thermally Stable Composite), used inside. It also incorporates a brass bayonet mount that’s supposed to be more durable. The optical elements are made of high-grade glass. The focus ring is wide enough given the size of the lens and ridged for easier grip.

Sigma 16mm F1.4 DC DN C

The Sigma 16mm F1.4 DC DN C lens mounted on a Panasonic G9

Sigma 16mm F1.4 DC DN C

The Sigma 16mm F1.4 DC DN C lens mounted on a Panasonic G9

Sigma 16mm F1.4 DC DN C

The Sigma 16mm F1.4 DC DN C lens mounted on a Panasonic G9

Sigma 16mm F1.4 DC DN C

The Sigma 16mm F1.4 DC DN C lens alongside the Panasonic G9

In terms of features, the Sigma 16mm F1.4 DC DN C offers all the basics that you need from a standard prime lens. The main exception is the lack of built-in Vibration Reduction, although the very fast maximum aperture of f/1.4 makes up for this.

The Sigma 16mm F1.4 DC DN C lens has a very wide focus ring. There are no hard stops at both ends of the range, making it more difficult to set focus at infinity. Polariser users should be pleased that the 67mm filter thread doesn’t rotate on focus.

Focusing is usefully internal and manual focusing is possible when set via the camera body. Full-time manual focus override is also available at any time simply by rotating the focus ring.

Sigma 16mm F1.4 DC DN C

Side of the Sigma 16mm F1.4 DC DN C lens

Sigma 16mm F1.4 DC DN C

Front of the Sigma 16mm F1.4 DC DN C lens

Sigma 16mm F1.4 DC DN C

Rear of the Sigma 16mm F1.4 DC DN C lens

When it comes to auto-focusing, the Sigma 16mm F1.4 DC DN C zoom is a very quick and reliable performer, taking about 0.10 second to lock onto the subject when mounted on the Panasonic G9 that we tested it with.

We didn’t experience very much “hunting”, either in good or bad light, with the lens accurately focusing almost all of the time. It’s also a very quiet performer, thanks to the built-in stepping AF motor, which makes this lens well-suited to video recording.

Sigma 16mm F1.4 DC DN C

Front of the Sigma 16mm F1.4 DC DN C lens

Sigma 16mm F1.4 DC DN C

Rear of the Sigma 16mm F1.4 DC DN C lens

The Sigma 16mm F1.4 DC DN C ships with a good quality plastic circular-shaped lens hood. It accepts 67mm filters.

Sigma 16mm F1.4 DC DN C

The Sigma 16mm F1.4 DC DN C lens in-hand

Sigma 16mm F1.4 DC DN C

The Sigma 16mm F1.4 DC DN C lens fitted with the supplied LH716-01 lens-hood

Focal Range

At the 16mm focal length the angle of view is 83.2 degrees.

Sigma 16mm F1.4 DC DN C

Chromatic Aberrations

Chromatic aberrations, typically seen as purple or blue fringes along contrasty edges, can be detected in quite a lot of our sample shots – this is definitely one of the Sigma 16mm F1.4 DC DN C’s weaker points in terms of image quality.

Sigma 16mm F1.4 DC DN C Sigma 16mm F1.4 DC DN C
Sigma 16mm F1.4 DC DN C Sigma 16mm F1.4 DC DN C
Vignetting

With the lens set to its maximum aperture of f/1.4, there is some light fall-off in the corners. Stopping-down to f/4 virtually eliminates this.

Sigma 16mm F1.4 DC DN C

Macro

The Sigma 16mm F1.4 DC DN C isn’t claimed to be a macro lens, but it delivers reasonable performance nonetheless. It has a useful minimum focusing distance of 25cm / 9.8in. and a maximum magnification ratio of 1:9.9. The following example demonstrates how close you can get to your subject, in this case a Compact Flash memory card.

Sigma 16mm F1.4 DC DN C

Bokeh

Bokeh is a word used for the out-of-focus areas of a photograph, and is usually described in qualitative terms, such as smooth / creamy / harsh etc. In the Sigma 16mm F1.4 DC DN C lens, Sigma employed an iris diaphragm with nine rounded blades, which has resulted in quite nice bokeh in our view. We do realise, however, that bokeh evaluation is subjective, so we’ve included several 100% crops for your perusal.

Sigma 16mm F1.4 DC DN C Sigma 16mm F1.4 DC DN C
Sigma 16mm F1.4 DC DN C Sigma 16mm F1.4 DC DN C
Sharpness

In order to show you how sharp this lens is, we are providing 100% crops on the following page.

Sharpness at 16mm

For this test, the Sigma 16mm F1.4 DC DN C lens was attached to a Panasonic G9 body, which in turn was mounted on a sturdy tripod. Exposure delay mode was activated. Tonal and colour variances across the crops are due to changes in natural light during the session.

The full frame at 16mm

The full frame at 16mm

Centre sharpness remains high through from f/2 to f/11, with f/16 being adversely affected by diffraction. The edges aren’t quite as sharp as the centre, with f/2.8 to f/11 producing the sharpest results.

Aperture Centre Crop Edge Crop
f/1.4 f1_4.jpg f1_4.jpg
f/1.8 f1_4.jpg f1_4.jpg
f/2 f2.jpg f2.jpg
f/2.8 f2_8.jpg f2_8.jpg
f/4 f4.jpg f4.jpg
f/5.6 f5_6.jpg f5_6.jpg
f/8 f8.jpg f8.jpg
f/11 f11.jpg f11.jpg
f/16 f16.jpg f16.jpg

Sample Images

The thumbnails below link to full-sized samples taken with the Sigma 16mm F1.4 DC DN C lens mounted on a Panasonic G9 camera.

1/80s · f/1.4 · ISO 200 – 32mm (35mm) 

1/125s · f/1.4 · ISO 200 – 32mm (35mm) 

1/160s · f/2.8 · ISO 200 – 32mm (35mm) 

1/60s · f/8 · ISO 200 – 32mm (35mm) 

1/2000s · f/1.4 · ISO 200 – 32mm (35mm) 

1/1000s · f/5.6 · ISO 200 – 32mm (35mm) 

Specifications
Lens construction 16 elements in 13 groups
Angle of view (DC) 83.2°
Number of diaphragm blades 9 (Rounded diaphragm)
Minimum aperture F16
Minimum focusing distance 25cm / 9.8in.
Maximum magnification ratio 1:9.9
Filter size φ67mm
Dimensions (diameter x length) Φ72.2mm × 92.3mm / 2.8in. ×3.6in.
Weight 405g / 14.3oz.

Conclusion

The Sigma 16mm F1.4 DC DN C lens offers two classic focal lengths depending on the camera system that you use – either a wide-angle 24mm for APS-C compact system cameras, or a slightly longer 32mm for Micro Four Thirds cameras, which is close enough to the classic 35mm focal length. It’s acceptably sharp when shooting wide-open at f/1.4 (at least in the centre), has good build quality, nice bokeh and fast and quiet auto-focusing, all at an affordable price.

The Sigma 16mm F1.4 DC DN C is tack-sharp in the centre of the frame from f/2 onwards, although you need to stop down to f/2.8 to get acceptable results at the edges of the frame. Disappointingly, as with its 30mm f/1.4 sibling, the lens does suffer from obvious chromatic aberrations when shooting wide-open at f/1.4, along with some vignetting, although stopping down to f/2 almost completely removes the purple and green fringing that is so prevalent at f/1.4.

Build quality is again very good, with the brass lens mount and sober all-black design adding to the high-quality feel, and Sigma have even generously included a very good circular lens hood. The auto-focusing system proved to be very quick and reliable on the brand new Panasonic G9 camera that we tested the lens with, and manual focus over-ride at any time is a great feature.

The £449.99 / $449.99 asking price of the Sigma 16mm F1.4 DC DN C is pretty good for such a fast, well-built lens. Although shooting wide-open at f/1.4 isn’t without some issues, we can still heartily recommend the new Sigma 16mm F1.4.

(photographyblog.com, https://goo.gl/r5qzTc)

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