Sigma 16/1.4 C: A few thoughts, plus an "aftermarket" lens hood solution

bargainguy

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I just got this 16/1.4 "C" at a good price used, knowing full well it came without the original lens hood (LH716-01). With a bulbous front element, I knew that working without a lens hood would be problematic. Before shelling out $24 plus shipping for the hood, thought I'd get the lens first and see if anything I had fit.

In this case, I had two Nikon HB-32 hoods with a 67mm thread, original to the Nikkor 18-105 VR.

Did they work on the Siggy? You betcha. Not only did they work, they rotate and lock into position nicely. A check at the smallest aperture I'd be using in real life (f/8) showed no vignetting.

A very informal test between the Siggy 16/1.4 and the Oly 17/1.8 showed the Siggy ahead in resolution, but not by much. The Oly 17 is a splendid design for such a small package. The Siggy is three times bigger, but balances very nicely on my E-M1's and GH2; not so much on the smaller body Pens with the lesser grips.

I really like where Sigma is going these days. The 16/1.4 was originally designed for an APS-C sensor (Sony E-mount) and then reworked for m4/3. I might be looking at the Sigma 56/1.4 as well if the 16 proves as good as it seems.
 

bargainguy

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Took the 16/1.4 out for a spin tonite in L-Monochrom mode on my GX85. Both images shot at f/2.8.

Really a joy to manually focus this lens. The focus ring is big, wide and nicely damped for fly-by-wire focusing.

Balance is much better on my E-M1 than on the GX85, where my left hand cups the lens for better support. The lens is bulky but not particularly heavy for its size. It seems lighter than my 25/1.2 Oly and about the same size.

Wide open, center resolution is excellent, corners a bit soft. At f/2, the corners come up dramatically, but still lag behind the center a bit. By f/2.8, I'm getting fairly even sharpness across the frame, so that's where I planted myself tonite.

More testing is needed, especially in challenging and backlit situations. But so far, I like what I see.
 

bargainguy

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I put the 16 on my GX85 and went out for some night test shots. Since I do a fair bit of shooting at night, figured this would be a good acid test. Both shot handheld at full aperture.

The first image tests OOF circles. Really nice performance here, approaching round circles and no odd texture. Very similar to my O25 Pro if memory serves.

In the second image, I wanted to look at three areas: overall contrast, detail in the corners, and flare. Many fast primes flare out with multiple light sources in the frame, but there is none here. Mind you, this is with my improvised Nikon hood, but I imagine the lens design has something to do with it too. Corners look nice and crisp. Contrast overall looks excellent, none of that washed out look. Exemplary performance at f/1.4.

Really quite taken with this lens. The O25 Pro convinced me just how good this format can be, and I was actually thinking about the O17 Pro when I stumbled on this one. The 16 was about a third the price I paid for my O25 Pro, and the performance is right up in the same league. I'm seriously considering the 56/1.4 Siggy as a result.

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Michael Meissner

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That is one scary picture. I'll stick with f1.8 lenses, thank you ;)
It is more that the Sigma lenses were designed for a larger sensor (such as the APC cameras), and Sigma just slapped the micro 4/3rds lens mount on the lens. I would imagine the lens would have been somewhat smaller if it had been designed exclusively for the micro 4/3rds cameras.

The Sigma 16mm f/1.4 and Sigma 56mm f/1.4 (but not the Sigma 30mm f/1.4) lenses are the cheapest splash proof lenses that are faster than than f/2.8. I bought my Sigma 16mm especially for Steampunk events, where I might need to go between outdoor settings (where rain unfortunately does happen) and indoor settings, often with poor lighting. Unfortunately, I couldn't use it on the first outing two weeks ago because the pins on my HLD-6 were bent.
 

bargainguy

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That is one scary picture. I'll stick with f1.8 lenses, thank you ;)
I hear you. No getting around it, the Siggy is humongous compared to the O17. If you need a svelte lens, this ain't it.

It's similar to the difference between my O25 Pro and my 25/1.4 Panny. The Panny is good enough for 80% of my shooting and it's super compact, so it tends to get packed in my bag more (wish the lens hood were reversible, tho). But if I need that last little bit of sharpness across the field or a super creamy background, I'm reaching for the Pro. At that point, I don't care that it's bigger, because it's the one that gets the job done.
 

saladin

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If I was starting out from fresh, and opted for one of the Dslr style bodies (em1, g90 etc) , I think the three sigma 1.4's are the way I'd go in beginning my kit.
 

bargainguy

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Thought I'd report back with another metric: infrared performance. Image below shot on a 720nm modified E-P5 at f/4 in the rain.

Specifically, I'm looking for central hot spots that become more prominent as you stop down, as well as odd flare and/or loss of contrast in high contrast situations.

Can't see any central hot spot in this one, which is good IR performance. I suspect that the lens will have good flare resistance in IR based on good flare resistance in normal spectrum (e.g., the night shot above), but more testing is needed to confirm.
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