Your Complete Guide to Capturing Wedding Details

Gear Announcements

Sigma 20mm F/1.4 Officially Announced, Available Late November

By Anthony Thurston on October 16th 2015

The leaks of the last couple of days were correct, as this morning Sigma officially announced their latest Art prime, the 20mm F/1.4 DG HSM. The new lens is set to be available in late November, and will be available in Canon, Nikon, and Sigma mounts.

sigma-20mm-art

Joining the 24mm, 35mm, and 50mm, this new 20mm F/1.4 Art prime continues with the design and build styling that we have come to expect from the Sigma Art line. An interesting piece to this lens is the large front element and integrated lens hood.

Sigma 20mm F/1.4 Art Specs

  • EF/F/SA Mounts
  • Aperture Range: f/1.4 to f/16
  • Two FLD Elements and Five SLD Elements
  • Two Aspherical Elements
  • Super Multi-Layer Coating
  • Hyper Sonic AF Motor, Manual Override
  • Rounded 9-Blade Diaphragm
  • TSC Material, Brass Bayonet Mount
  • Built-In Petal-Shaped Lens Hood
  • Compatible with Sigma USB Dock

Sigma-20mm-f1.4-DG-HSM-Art-lens-3

The front element does not have a filter thread, so it will NOT be compatible with standard filters. This will be a major disadvantage to landscape photographers who will need the ability to use filters for their work. It is a real shame though too; the 20mm FoV is a great landscape view and the low distortion being talked about here would be great.

So if landscape photographers are likely not going to be interested in this lens out of the box, who is this lens for?  Astro-photographers, who have almost no need for filters, will love this lens. It could also be pretty useful as an environmental portrait lens on the wider side of the spectrum.

In typical Sigma fashion, this lens is a great deal , coming in at only $899 in the US. It will be hitting stores in late-November too, perfect for a holiday gift to yourself.

If you are interested, you can pre-order the lens now over on B&H here.

Anthony Thurston is a photographer based in the Salem, Oregon area specializing in Boudoir. He recently started a new project, Fiercely Boudoir to help support the growing boudoir community. Find him over on Instagram. You may also connect with him via Email.

20 Comments

Please or register to post a comment.

  1. adam sanford

    Sadly, at only two weeks old… RIP the Sigma 20mm f/1.4 Art:

    http://goo.gl/G9K5wZ

    Why make this lens and then give us *that*?! It’s the ONE thing they had to get right!!!

    | |
  2. Morgan Grosskreutz

    This was looking like an awesome lens for me, shooting surf in the water. But the built in lens hood makes it not fit in my ports. Disappointing

    | |
    • Rambo Estrada

      You always shave the hood off. I’ve done it on a few different fisheyes over the years.

      | |
  3. Stephen Velasquez

    Why not a macro, tilt-shift of fisheye for the art series? Put them at a good price and you’ll have a winner like the 35 and 50 art. I herd the 24 art is good but not on par with the 35 and 50. Sigma make a fisheye lens set at a good price.

    | |
  4. Sean Goebel

    It seems like astro-landscape photography is the best use of this lens, but I am not at all optimistic about its quality. If you compare its MTF side-by-side with the Sigma 24 1.4 (see http://www.sigma-global.com/en/lenses/cas/product/art/a_20_14/data.html and http://www.sigma-global.com/en/lenses/cas/product/art/a_24_14/data.html), they are almost the same, except that the 20mm has more astigmatism. The 20mm also has the most vignetting of any Art prime. The 24mm already has extremely mediocre corner sharpness (I chose the Rokinon 24mm over it because of the better corners), and the 20mm looks to be worse.

    There’s also the fact that coma isn’t mentioned ANYWHERE in the press release, which doesn’t bode well. Night photography is only mentioned in laundry lists of every genre, which isn’t meaningful.

    I pre-ordered the lens, but am prepared to cancel it if/when f/1.4 corner sharpness results appear.

    | |
    • adam sanford

      1) I’d like to see data on *any* FF lens wider than 24 that has razor sharp corners when shot under f/4. I hear you, I do, I’d keep your feet on the ground expectation-wise there.

      2) Agree 100%. Coma (or lack thereof) makes or breaks this lens.

      | |
    • Sean Goebel

      Adam, the Nikon 14-24 f/2.8 fits that bill. Ridiculously sharp corners and basically no coma. That lens is magical. It’s my go-to for night photography–I adapt it onto my Canon 6D. The Rokinon 14mm f/2.8 also is pretty sharp (assuming you get a good, well-centered copy), but it has completely outrageous vignetting at f/2.8 that basically disqualifies it as a full-frame lens…

      | |
    • Matthew Saville

      Sean, keep in mind that Adam is a Canon shooter like you. So, aside from adapting a Nikno 14-24, there hasn’t been a sharp Canon lens wider than 50mm and faster than f/4 in….ever…?

      | |
    • adam sanford

      Matthew, we have a Tilt-Shift 24mm that is very, very sharp. At f/3.5 it sneaks right under your criteria, thankyouverymuch.

      So, sharp? Yes. Coma free? No idea.

      | |
    • Matthew Saville

      Yeah, Adam, astro-landscape photographers aren’t exactly itching to lug a $1900, 1.7 lb 24mm f/3.5 lens up a mountain.

      The fact that Canon shooters have ONLY ever pointed me to the 17 and 24 TSE as examples of wide lenses “faster than f/4”, just says something about the inability to deliver the goods for a more common breed of photographer. The only “regular” lens they’ve done wider than 35mm and faster than f/4, the 24 and 28 2.8 IS, have pretty bad corners. There’s the Canon 24-70 2.8 mk2 that is pretty impressive at 24mm, but that’s a mid-range zoom that no astro-landscape photographer wants to lug around. A 16-35 2.8 is a much better option, if it’s sharp throughout the zoom range.

      Canon has done great things with two new killer f/4 ultrawide zooms recently, but they’re totally lost in the dust behind Nikon, Sigma, Tokina, Tamron, and Rokinon in the arena of 2.8 wide zooms, and 1.8 / 1.4 wide primes.

      Based on the 24-70 2.8 mk2 though, I do have high hopes that they’ll eventually get back on the horse. It’s just taking them forever to deliver both L and non-L competitors. I don’t know if we’ll ever see as complete of a line of affordable f/1.8 primes as Nikon has done from 20mm to 85mm; Canon will probably opt to cater more to video shooters by compromising on aperture a bit and making f/2 or f/2.8 primes with stabilization instead. Which is a great gameplan for most consumers, but bad news for an astro-landscape shooter. Considering the price and weight of the new Canon 35 L mk2, I really am not looking forward to seeing what a 24 1.4 L replacement will cost and weigh, let alone a fast 20mm, L or not…

      | |
    • adam sanford

      Matthew, I just think that the explosively high expectations of astro folks, who want fast + coma free + sharp corners + ultrawide FLs + not too heavy for hikers = a recipe for disappointment.

      I agree Canon is overdue here. A 16-35 f/2.8L III is overdue to complete Canon’s three-headed push towards specialty UWA zooms, so perhaps that will be a winner. That said, I don’t know if coma is a major priority for such a staple event/sports lens.

      So, as you have already surmised, astro on an EF mount = 3rd party glass.

      | |
    • Matthew Saville

      Indeed, Adam, as an astro-landscape photographer I am not holding my breath over this lens, but I am at least keeping my expectations low.

      The unfortunate truth is that it appears Sigma is recycling some of their optical formulas. The 18-35 DC and 24-35 DG (DX and FX) were the first hint of this; they basically took a nearly identical optical formula and wiggled its image circle to fit those particular focal lengths on those particular sensor sizes.

      The same thing appears to be true with this 20mm. It has lens element clusters that are identical to the 24mm f/1.4 Art, they basically just crammed 20mm into the image circle. (Apparently this involved going nuts with the front element.)

      TLDR; I’m expecting the 20mm f/1.4 Art to have either slightly or significantly inferior corner performance versus the existing 24mm f/1.4. A lens which is already beaten by the Rokinon 24 1.4 for coma, but does have some impressive sharpness and slightly less vignetting.

      | |
  5. Trey Mortensen

    As an astro-photographer, I’m drooling. I love getting Milky Way shots and if I don’t have to live at ISO 6400 to get the exposure I want, I’ll be extremely happy. I’m currently running around with the Rokinon 14 2.8 and I sometimes wish it would be brighter. This is the answer to those wishes. Yes, it’s a small market, but I’m glad they made it.

    | |
  6. adam sanford

    So it’s astro or bust with this one. The #1 priority for this lens is coma.

    Daylight landscapers have far better options than lugging this monster around. This would need to be jaw-droppingly sharp for me to ditch my 16-35 f/4L IS.

    | |
    • Anthony Thurston

      agreed, assuming the performance is up to par, this is THE astro lens to beat right now.

      | |
    • Stan Rogers

      And your landscape would need to be jaw-droppingly weird for f/1.4 to be of much help. Architecture types might like the FOV and the speed (sometimes), but that sort of aperture only makes sense with movements (tilt/shift). It probably makes a lot more sense as a “long 28” or a “short 35” on APS-C — at that focal length equivalency, it’s a whole lot less of a one-trick pony. There isn’t much to gain by making a lens APS-C-only these days if the basic optical design can accommodate full-frame coverage; even if the lens winds up being a specialty tool (mostly) on the “other format”, you’ll still sell enough copies between formats to make higher overall profits at lower unit prices. (‘Twas ever thus. There are an awful lot of 24-70s making a comfortable living in the much more practical 35-105-equivalent range on APS-C.)

      Which gets me to wondering… might this be a harbinger of a Quattro version of the SD 1 just over the horizon?

      | |
    • adam sanford

      Stan, the f/1.4 isn’t needed but may simply be along for the ride. I got my ears boxed on another forum for implying ‘you don’t need an f/1.4 lens for landscapes’. Though the statement is 99% true, the responder implied that for some folks, their budgets are constrained such that their one wide prime is their only wide prime, and it to wear many hats — events, astro, landscape, etc.

      So yes, some poor soul will hike this pickle jar up a mountain for an f/8 – f/11 daylight landscape shot because it’s the only wide he/she owns. I suppose if you are only buying one, it should be as versatile as possible…

      | |
    • Stan Rogers

      I guess I’m just old and cranky. I come from a time when f/3.5 or f/4 was a normal max aperture on most lenses other than your 50 (in Leica-speak, Elmarit or Elmar), and people needed a reason to pay for the fast glass (which usually meant f/2 or f/2.8 or thereabouts outside of the 35-85mm range). When we talked about depth of field, it was usually about how to get more, not less. And we spent most of our time at ISO 20 (Tech Pan and later Ektar 25, slightly overexposed) to 125 (VPS plus 1/3 or Ektachrome 100 minus 1/3) in those days; 1600 was for double-nought spy work and 6400 was a Rorschach test at best. Don’t get me wrong — I paid a whole lot of money for a couple of f/1.2 lenses that spent all of their time at f/5.6-8 (I’m not not an idiot at times), but that was during a “more dollars than sense” period when unburdening myself of excess currency seemed the prudent thing. But you don’t get bokehlicious at 20mm on full frame in any case, so why would this be anyone’s only wide-angle again?

      | |
    • Stephen Jennings

      Same with the 14-24 .. which I personally think is one of if not thee sharpest lens I own. Can’t really compare a zoom and a prime, but just from a usability standpoint, I prefer other options like the 14-24 or 16-35 over super fast primes (I’m usually around f/7ish or higher anyways) .. I don’t even know what I would shoot at 20mm with f/1.4

      | |
    • Matthew Saville

      Stan, you’re not old or cranky, you’re just thinking in practical, traditional terms. Nothing wrong with that, I know plenty of landscape photographers who do this and their work is beautiful.

      There are, however, plenty of scenes that can be photographed at f/1.4 without looking weird. Many times an ultra-wide starry night sky scene is almost all at a greater distance than 100 yards, at which point focusing on stars will render the foreground “enough” in focus that it’s not a problem. See my “Milky Way Over Half Dome Diving Board” photo for a good example.

      Only when the subjects are 10-20 ft away do I really start to worry about DOF, and even then, it’s much easier to do focus stacking often times than it is to do a panorama of a night sky at f/1.4.

      The bottom line is, f/1.4 is f/1.4 and 20mm is 20mm, and if you need to “freeze” the stars, this is by far the easiest way to do it at 20mm. It sure as heck beats stitching together 24mm or 35mm f/1.4 exposures, trust me!

      | |