The 16mm f/1.4 DC DN Contemporary has just been announced by Sigma; a fast wide-angle optic for both Sony E-mount and Micro Four Thirds cameras. According to Sigma, it’s the “world’s first interchangeable lens for mirrorless Sony E-mount cameras in the APS-C format to offer a 24mm focal length (35mm equivalent) and f/1.4 brightness.” On Micro Four Thirds cameras like the Olympus OM-D or Panasonic G series, it offers a 32mm equivalent focal length (35mm equivalent) with the same fast aperture.
The combination of a large angle of view and huge light gathering potential means it should have plentiful applications: low-light landscapes and nightscapes; reportage and street work, and for general photography where you want to shoot wide with a shallow depth-of-field to name but a few.
The lens has a lightweight design and it’s reasonably compact too, weighing in at 405g and measuring 92.3×72.2mm, so it’s the kind of versatile model you could keep attached for ever everyday use. Made in Japan, and with a barrel using Thermally Stable Composite (TSC) material, it’s also splash and dust resistant, so should be able to handle typical landscape or travel conditions.
Despite being in the company’s Contemporary range, Sigma is making some bold claims about optical performance, too, hence the ‘DN’ categorisation. In fact, the 16mm f/1.4 DC DN C is claimed to rival the image quality of lenses in Sigma’s Art lineup, such as the 19mm f/2.8 DN A, 30mm f/2.8 DN A, and 60mm f/2.8 DN A. The new lens has a construction of 16 elements in 13 groups, including three FLD glass elements, two SLD glass elements, and two molded glass aspherical elements, and uses “the finest materials… effectively minimizing optical aberrations and offering superb resolution wide-open and throughout the aperture range.”
According to Sigma, the lens also produces superior bokeh thanks to two aspherical lens elements “minimizing the onion-ring bokeh effect that some aspherical elements produce”. What’s more, images are claimed to have minimal sagittal coma flare (the smearing of points of light at the edges of the frame), another reason why it should be of great interest to low-light landscapers and astrophotographers.
The 16mm f/1.4 also uses a stepping motor in its AF design for smooth and quiet autofocus, which should be especially useful during video shooting, while it’s said to “fully accommodates the Fast Hybrid AF of Sony E-mount cameras for super-fast autofocus functionality.”
Price and availability are TBA, but Sigma is next promising a telephoto lens in the series, making it “a complete system for mirrorless camera users.” We’ll be looking out for that one.