I’ve owned this lens for a little while now and haven’t used it much – when I go walking I have tended to just take my Sony A7ii and a Tamron SP 24-135mm f3.5-5.6 AD IF Aspherical lens with me as it offers so much versatility. I also haven’t really used something as wide as the Sigma before, as the majority of my photography until recently was wildlife, where maximum reach and large apertures were what I was after.
This is a fully manual lens from the late ’80s and I have it in Canon FD mount, which enables me to use it with my Novoflex FD to Sony E adaptor.
It sounds kind of obvious, but 14mm on a full frame camera like the Sony A7 series is wide, really wide. You can take a photo of someone walking towards you through the electronic viewfinder and they look a long way away, take the shot and drop the camera and the person is right in front of you. It’s interesting, but given how little use I’ve got out of the lens I wanted to know whether the photos taken with it were actually any good or not.
I also took out with me my trusty Canon FD 50mm f1.4, which is sharp across the frame at f8, and it also provides a nice way of demonstrating how wide 14mm is compared to the ‘standard’ 50mm view of the world.
The answer, it seems, is not. My copy might be a bad one – although it seems in reasonable condition – but the left hand side of the image is always soft, even stopped down to f8-11. The right hand side is much better on all of the shots I took. Even at f8-11 vignetting is still visible, although sharpness in the centre of the frame and towards the right-hand side and corners isn’t too bad (the less said about the left the better).
Added to this is the issue that the lens suffers from vast amounts of purple, green and red to orange fringing – in particular towards the edge of the frame. I’ve used Lightroom to remove it as best I can from the above image, but the red / orange fringing remains as you start to lose colour from the bracken if you try to remove it! Using the vignetting tool in Lightroom (+100!) just about removes the dark corners.
The sharpness across a lot of the frame doesn’t look too bad, considering the lens is inexpensive and being used on a digital sensor that it was never designed for. It might also reflect my lack of skills with such a wide lens – with regards to what you have in the foreground and whether the sensitive focusing of the lens was perfect. I’ve posted some more samples below, some I’ve played with in Lightroom, some I’ve left as are – just using Auto to make the best of the exposure / contrast – I’ve left the vignetting and fringing alone.
I’ve been doing a bit more landscape photography lately and I don’t think I have much of an eye for it – whether that is a result of the scenary I walk in – and the conditions / lighting in which I walk, or my composition I don’t know. I’m also a big fan of a zoom lens to aid composition. Today there was plenty of interesting lighting over other mountains and more distant scenes, and I found carrying a prime very restrictive in this respect. I wanted more reach – the reach offered by the Tamron SP 24-135mm.
The Sigma will be going back on Ebay and I’ll look at other options – I am still tempted by primes, but I think 14mm is too wide for me.