Work in Progress: Review of Sigma 16mm f1.4 lens

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Marco Cinnirella
Marco Cinnirella Veteran Member • Posts: 8,133
Work in Progress: Review of Sigma 16mm f1.4 lens

This is a WIP review of my new Sigma 16mm 1.4 AF lens for Fuji X cameras. The lens gives a 35mm focal length equivalent of 24mm.

The lens (made in Japan) and lens hood both feel very solid in the hand and are made from high quality metal and composites (metal lens mount). The lens is quite long at 92mm, making it longer than the Fuji 16mm 1.4 and considerably longer than the Fuji 16mm f2.8. Weight is 405g. It balances well on an X-H1, while on an X-T body IMHO it balances best with a VG or L bracket attached. There is some minor weather sealing at the lens mount via a thin gasket, this is not as good as the Fuji WR weather sealing.

The elephant in the room: no aperture dial. Sacrilege I hear you cry ! OK, fair point, but only if you haven't just ordered your X-H2 with Canon/Nikon style controls and no dedicated dials for ISO etc. that used to be the Fuji trademark

Currently in most territories this lens sells for roughly half or less of the price of the Fuji 16 1.4 and at just about the same price or slightly less than the Fuji 16 2.8

AF appears snappy for stills, and accurate, tested on my T3 and H1. AF is stronger and more reliable in AF-S mode than AF-C although I have not yet done extensive testing on this. AF for video is generally good although there is an occasional "pulsing", however this also can be seen with some Fuji lenses too. AF is pretty quiet.

The lens arrived during a period of torrential rain where I live so for now this is a WIP review since I could only test indoors at a local transport museum. Thanks to the IBIS of the X-H1 I was able to keep ISO quite low much of the time. I don't tend to do brick wall or test chart shots - look to published reviews for those. Obviously when I can I will get out and test outdoors on landscape and architecture.

My initial observations so far are that the lens is:

1. Quick and accurate to AF

2. Blessed by pleasing colour rendition, being perhaps slightly less contrasty/punchy than the Fuji 16mm lenses or indeed Sigma's 56mm 1.4 for Fuji X, but with a colour rendition that is well suited for landscape, architecture and street photography and to post processing.

3. Sharp ! Wide open at f1.4 there is a large central area of excellent sharpness while corners and extreme edges are good. Stopped down to f2 things are very sharp across the frame, by f4 extremely sharp everywhere. I have no hesitation using this wide open.

4. Distortion is very well controlled

5. Flare, CA, PF seem well controlled

Overall this is an excellent alternative, at half the cost, to the legendary Fuji XF 16mm f1.4 lens. Is it an alternative to the Fuji 16mm f2.8 ? Well yes and no. The Sigma is sharper and a faster lens. However it is larger and heavier and so perhaps not as ideal for "go small and light" street photography. You decide - I mean it's still smaller than a FF 16mm 1.4

A few sample shots. I will update with outdoor shots when I can. You can open these up to full size. They are processed with minimal sharpening in LR and then basic edge sharpening in Photoshop using Photokit sharpener, which is a standard workflow I use.

f1.4 focus on Bugatti logo

f1.4 focus on Halford logo

f1.4 focus on fuel tank

As I said, more samples to follow when I get to shoot outdoors, but so far so good, very capable lens at an excellent price.

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"When words become unclear, I shall focus with photographs. When images become inadequate, I shall be content with silence." Ansel Adams.

 Marco Cinnirella's gear list:Marco Cinnirella's gear list
Sony a99 II Sony Alpha a99 Fujifilm X-H1 Sony a7 III Fujifilm X-T3
Canon EOS 1100D (EOS Rebel T3 / EOS Kiss X50) Fujifilm XF 16mm F1.4 R WR Fujifilm X-H1
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