Are you tired of struggling to capture the vastness of landscapes and architecture within the constraints of a standard lens? Look no further than the Sigma 20mm f/2 DG DN, the brilliant niche lens that is set to revolutionize your photography experience. In a market flooded with various options, finding a lens that stands out can be challenging. However, the Sigma 20mm f/2 DG DN effortlessly sets itself apart from the crowd, offering photographers exceptional image quality, impressive versatility, and an affordable price tag. Whether you’re a professional or an amateur, this lens promises to elevate your creativity and deliver breathtaking results.
Sigma 20mm f/2 DG DN: Brilliant Niche Lens in a Crowded Market
Like a light lighting up in the dark, you make it right. I forgot how to act, it’s so classic. Every time you make me nervous and I lose my words. It’s been a while since I forgot the most sinful words.
Hey everybody, I’m Hugh Brownstone for Three Blind Men and an Elephant, and I’ll just cut to the chase. Like the rest of Sigma’s burgeoning i-series family, the full-frame 700 DG DN Contemporary 20mm f/2, available in Sony E and Leica L mount, is wonderfully sharp, compact, well-built, well-corrected. A joy in the hand with a real aperture ring and accessibly priced, you can practically hear it whispering to you, “Seriously, why would you ever want anything more? Just go out and shoot.”
A Niche Lens in a Crowded Market
But there is an answer to those questions, and that is this: even though I am a primes kind of guy, even though I like the i-series so much that I already own all but two of them for my Leica SL2 (well, two now that this one is available), even though Sigma has managed to shrink the optical performance of their benchmark DSLR-era 20mm f/1.4 HSM Art lens into a smaller, lighter, less expensive, better autofocus-ing, and altogether more pleasing native mirrorless design, a) because the moderately fast, very wide 20mm f/2 (nevermind 1.4) is very much a niche lens, and b) because we live in an era of vastly more performant lenses than just a decade ago. I mean, primes and zooms, OEM and third-party, autofocusing and manual focus, full-frame and APS-C, all formats, actually.
This 20mm f/2 enters a surprisingly crowded market where zoom lenses will, I think, make more sense for 99% of us 99% of the time. Which, on the other hand, takes nothing away from the fact that it faces zero competition, like-for-like: that is, a moderately fast 20mm prime for moderately fast 20mm prime in the L-mount ecosystem. And it is bested optically and feature-wise at the margin by just one lens in Sony’s entire E-mount ecosystem – their own $900 20mm f/1.8 G.
But is the Sigma good enough to keep you from buying the Sony? Well, in the real world, competition or not, in my experience this is just a brilliant little lens.
Zoom Lens Alternatives
Now, if you’re in the Sony ecosystem and want a 20mm autofocusing prime but are willing to relax your image quality standards a bit and maximum aperture by one stop, you can pick up f/2.8 options from Sony or Tamron for $350 or $300, respectively. If you’re not willing to give up a stop’s worth of maximum aperture, but maybe are willing to give up a bit of image quality and forego autofocus, the number of alternatives in the Sony ecosystem grows with lenses like Viltrox’s $400 21.8, Rokinon’s $480 T 1.9 geared cine lens, and Tokina’s $??? 20mm f/2.
Although, if you’re not willing to give up image quality, are willing to give up speed, are willing to use an adapter, and have the budget and inclination, either system will allow you to use Leica’s stellar, jewel-like $3400 21mm f/3.4 LMR-M, which, at that price, fair enough, does exist on another astral plane.
But then there are the zooms. When it comes to full-frame autofocusing zooms that include 20mm within their focal range, I count five lenses in the Sony lens ecosystem and four in the L-mount. I may be missing a couple, so please if you realize I have, let me know which ones in the comments section or via email.
In the E-mount ecosystem, we’ve got Sony’s own $3000 12-24mm f/2.8 G Master, $2200 16-35mm f/2.8 G Master, $1350 16-35mm f/4 Vario-Tessar, Tamron’s $900 17-28mm f/2.8, and Sigma’s $1300 14-24mm f/2.8 DG DN Art.
For the L-mount alliance, we have the surprisingly competent for a kit lens $600 Lumix 20-63.5mm f/3.5-5.6, Sigma’s $1300 14-24mm f/2.8, Panasonic’s $1500 Lumix S Pro 16-35mm f/4, and Leica’s spectacular $6300 Super-Vario Elmar-SL 16-35mm f/3.5-4.5.
I think all of these zooms are between very good and outstanding, but all of them are from a little bit more to dramatically more expensive and/or larger and/or heavier than the Sigma 20mm f/2. At least the ones I have in-house at the moment, the S-Pro 16-35mm f/4 and the 20-60mm kit lens, do not offer image quality as good when you go pixel peeping. Although, at 4K video resolution, then full-frame stills or stopped down to f/5.6 or f/8, one would likely be hard-pressed to see the difference when using even the 16-35mm. Most viewers probably wouldn’t notice the difference for stills either, although I did – no pixel-peeping necessary.
But if one uses a camera like the Sony A7S III, where one can only shoot 4K 60p in APS-C/Super 35 mode, and we like shooting in 4K 60p, especially handheld or on a gimbal, at that point, on the one hand, the whole world of APS-C lenses (zooms and primes) becomes relevant as well. But, on the other hand, it also becomes problematic too.
Why? Because APS-C coverage lenses on what, in this case, one might call a part-time full-frame camera or full-frame coverage lenses on what one could just as easily call a part-time APS-C camera is a bit of a pain. Turns out, it is often the case that the best APS-C coverage lenses will render better results on an APS-C sensored camera than will the best full-frame lenses. I know this is counter-intuitive, but it is what it is. Though now is not the time to get into the hows and whys (so you can look that up for yourself).
The flip side is that if one, therefore, chooses to use an APS-C lens on a camera like the A7S III or S5, one is forgoing its use to cover the entirety of a full-frame sensor. The question then becomes (and there are simply too many lenses for me to do all of the testing on my own, and I therefore welcome your input in the comments), where is the appropriate trade-off?
A 20mm f/2 for Wider Field of View
This is especially relevant in our case because, as I just said, we do like shooting 4K 60p for B-roll, and sometimes, anyway, we do want a wider field of view than that offered by our Tamron 28-75mm f/2.8 G2. Which, at its widest, becomes an APS-C/Super 35 42mm f/4 or so. Using a 20mm f/2 in this instance makes it less of a niche lens and, for our purpose, just about an ideal 30mm (call it f/2.8) full-frame equivalent.
Now, 4K 60p or not, if you want or need f/2 or f/1.8 in crop mode, none of the zoom lenses I’m about to mention will matter to you at all. But within the E-mount ecosystem, Sony’s $1400, 120-gram-heavier, and one-inch-longer 16-55mm f/2.8 G gives you the full-frame equivalent of an even wider 24-80mm f/4 with excellent image quality in the real world. Sigma’s $550, almost 100 grams lighter and slightly smaller than the 20mm f/2, gives you the full-frame equivalent of a 28-75mm f/4, although unlike some reviewers, I did not find the image quality compelling, but maybe I just had a bad copy. And Tamron offers two APS-C zooms which cover 20mm, although I’m excluding the super zoom-y 17-70mm and 11-20mm f/2.8, giving you the equivalent, at the wide end, of [???].
All things considered, the Sigma 20mm f/2 DG DN is a truly brilliant niche lens in a crowded market. While zoom lenses may be the go-to option for most photographers, the 20mm f/2 provides a unique perspective and superior image quality. Whether you’re a Sony or Leica user, this lens offers exceptional performance and value. So, if you’re in need of a moderately fast 20mm prime, don’t hesitate to give the Sigma 20mm f/2 DG DN a try.
Frequently Asked Questions – Sigma 20mm f/2 DG DN: Brilliant Niche Lens in a Crowded Market
1. What is the Sigma 20mm f/2 DG DN lens?
The Sigma 20mm f/2 DG DN is a high-quality lens designed specifically for mirrorless cameras. It offers a focal length of 20mm and a bright maximum aperture of f/2, making it ideal for landscape, astrophotography, and architectural photography.
2. What sets the Sigma 20mm f/2 DG DN lens apart from other lenses in the market?
This lens stands out due to its excellent image quality, build construction, and affordability compared to its competitors. It delivers stunningly sharp and detailed images with minimal distortion, thanks to its advanced optical design.
3. Is the Sigma 20mm f/2 DG DN a full-frame lens?
Yes, the Sigma 20mm f/2 DG DN lens is designed for full-frame mirrorless cameras. However, it can also be used with APS-C sensor cameras, providing an equivalent focal length of approximately 30mm.
4. Can I use the Sigma 20mm f/2 DG DN lens with my Sony E-mount camera?
Yes, this lens is available in both Sony E-mount and L-mount options. It is compatible with Sony E-mount cameras, including the popular Sony Alpha series.
5. Does the Sigma 20mm f/2 DG DN lens have autofocus capabilities?
Yes, this lens features a fast and accurate autofocus system, ensuring sharp focus on your subject. It also provides a manual focus override for precise adjustments when needed.
6. Is the Sigma 20mm f/2 DG DN lens weather-sealed?
Yes, this lens has a weather-sealed construction that offers protection against dust and moisture. It enables photographers to confidently shoot in various weather conditions without worrying about damaging the lens.
7. Can I use filters with the Sigma 20mm f/2 DG DN lens?
Yes, the lens has a 67mm filter thread, allowing you to attach various filters such as UV, polarizing, or neutral density filters to enhance your creative options and achieve different effects.
8. What accessories are included with the Sigma 20mm f/2 DG DN lens?
When purchasing this lens, you will typically receive a lens hood and a carrying case. However, the exact accessories may vary depending on the retailer and lens version.
9. Is the Sigma 20mm f/2 DG DN lens compatible with lens adapters?
Yes, this lens can be used with appropriate lens adapters to increase its compatibility with different camera systems. However, it is always recommended to check the compatibility and functionality details with the manufacturer or retailer before using an adapter.
10. What is the price range of the Sigma 20mm f/2 DG DN lens?
The price of this lens can vary depending on the specific mount, market, and retailer. However, it typically falls into the mid-range category, offering great value for its exceptional performance and features.
I hope you find useful my article Sigma 20mm f/2 DG DN: Brilliant Niche Lens in a Crowded Market, I also recommend you to read my other posts in my blog at this link.
If you need help with anything join the community or do not hesitate to contact me.
Best of luck! and follow your passion.
Please consider joining my newsletter or following me on social media if you like my content.