Lloyd Buys the Sigma 14-24mm f/2.8 DG DN Art ($200 off promo code) and the Voigtlander FE 65mm f/2 Macro APO-Lanthar Aspherical
Along comes the new Sigma 24-70mm f/2.8 DG DN Art and if it’s as good as the Sigma 14-24mm f/2.8 DG DN Art it’s going to change the game for high-quality shooting. Not that zooms do it all—distortion remains a concern, particularly at 35mm.
Clearly the Sigma FE 14-24mm f/2.8 DG DN Art is the best zoom lens in its range ever produced, beating out every prime lens I tested it against except the Zeiss Loxia 24mm f/2.4. The only zoom that comes close is the Canon EF 11-24mm f/4L, but it’s a DSLR lens.
I shot both on my 7-week trip recently, the Sigma 14-24mm most of all. Thing is, the sample I used was weakest at the 24mm end, and it still delivers the goods beautifully by f/8. OTOH, the Zeiss Loxia 25mm f/2.4 is a compact gem... though I found myself using 14mm a lot, so a 25mm prime leaves a lot to be desired in coverage terms.
At 14mm... OMG the Sigma 14-24 is good. More coverage coming in my review.
I am sure that there is a better sample of the Sigma 14-24mm that could be found (also sure there are worse ones, since the first sample I had was clearly less good). Sigma quality control is all over the place.
It is incredibly useful and convenient to use a 14mm to 24mm zoom in canyons and such. And with Sony sensor dust which takes the prize for “worst ever” for any digital camera I have ever used with its faux sensor cleaning (absolutely worthless), it's a post-processing spotting nightmare to change lenses too often—and that’s in air that is far cleaner than most places!
Rare for Lloyd to buy lenses these days, but..
Update: symmetry issues, see my report on the Sigma 14-24/2.8 that I bought/returned.
The Sigma 14-24mm f/2.8 DG DN Art is so good that I’ve ordered one—the first zoom ever which can substitute for prime lenses for Lloyd, one of the world’s pickiest photographers.
I also bought the incredible Voigtlander 65mm f/2 APO-Macro-Lanthar, which for the sample I have I rate as standing head and shoulders above all but a very few other lenses for Sony mirrorless, for its sharpness, field flatness and corner-to-corner sharpness. It’s a screaming deal at $950.
Be sure to sign up for the B&H Payboo card so that B&H pays the sales tax, which is a steep 9.25% where I live.
Note: with all high performing lenses, it is critical to get a good sample. Sigma sample variation is troubling, Voigtlander is very good, Zeiss Loxia is best of all. But none should be assumed. Test and verify.
ZOOM REALITY (all brands): it is highly unlikely to get a zoom that is good at all zoom settings and focus distances Good symmetry at two of three focals is about as good as you’re going to get. For example, the Sigma 14-24mm f/2.8 DG DN Art that I teste is world class at 14mm, very strong through 18mm, then declines and with less good symmetry at 24mm, though at 24mm at f/8 I am quite happy with it... though I still do have to focus stack to get full sharpness left/right (near 24mm). The Zeiss Loxia 25mm f/2.4 is more symmetric and overall better at f/2.8 and f/4 and then at f/5.6 the zoom and prime are similar with f/8 delivering similar results.