Sigma 40mm f / 1.4 DG HSM Art, analysis: a blunt, fixed lens to get all the performance out of your camera’s sensor

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We are facing a lens of the Sigma Art series. In other words, we are ahead of the premium class of the brand. There are no concessions. Everything has to be perfect. And that requires a high material quality and of course a clear optical quality. The Sigma 40 mm 1: 1.4 DG HSM Art comes from the world of cinema and should reach the highest level of sharpness.

In the September presentation, Sigma made it clear that the lens is to present top quality targets at a price free of competition. There are no limits to achieve excellence. And unlike higher-profile brands, they paradoxically sell at a price that is acceptable to most photographers who are aware of the importance of the lenses of taking full advantage of their camera’s sensor. However, there are not as many differences as with other focal lengths.

Sigma 40mm f / 1.4 DG HSM Art, analysis: a blunt, fixed lens to get all the performance out of your camera's sensor
Sigma 40mm f1.4 DG HSM Art

The introductory letter of the Sigma 40mm f / 1.4 DG HSM type impressed. Its design comes from the material that dreams are made of, the cinema. It has three FLD lenses and three other SLDs. What does that mean?:

  • FLD are optical glasses that have been developed together with the Hoya brand with the virtue of having the lowest degree of chromatic dispersion possible with a great transmission of light. This means lower costs, lighter weight and a quality equivalent to fluorite glasses.
  • SLD are lenses that allow to correct the chromatic aberrations thanks to the low dispersion of the light they cause.

The focal length of 40 mm is very curious, because it is closer to the diagonal of the full-format sensor for which it is intended. This makes it a more dynamic target without the distortion problems we already find in the 35mm lenses. Let’s look at the main features to know what we will have in our hands.

Main features of the Sigma 40mm f / 1.4 DG HSM Art

As you can see in the pictures, we are standing in front of a small tank. It is common within Sigma’s line of art where quality prevails over everything else. It seems to confirm a popular saying of these countries. We’ll see if that compensates, or we can use light pancakes of the same focal length.

FOCAL LENGTH40 mm
VISION ANGLE56.8 °
MAXIMUM-MINIMUM OPENINGF1,4-F16
MOUNTSIGMA / NIKON / CANON / SONY E
FORMAT COMPATIBILITYFF
MINIMUM FOCUSING DISTANCE40cm
NUMBER OF BLADES9 (Circular diaphragm)
NUMBER OF ELEMENTS / GROUPS12/16
FILTER DIAMETERø 82mm
DIAMETER / LENGTH87.8㎜ / 131㎜
WEIGHT1200gr

Design and construction

It weighs more than a kilo and has to carry 82 mm filters . It is therefore not discreet and small. It’s huge. You can not lie Follow the Art line of Sigma with all the consequences. You will never go unnoticed with him. But you will always enjoy its quality.

Sigma 40mm f / 1.4 DG HSM Art, analysis: a blunt, fixed lens to get all the performance out of your camera's sensor
Detail of the parasol

It transmits security through all its pores. Starting with the bayonet, which is metallic and ends with the umbrella made of petals attached to the set, without breaking the clear and minimalist line of the series. And it also contributes to the overall big aspect of the lens .

Sigma 40mm f / 1.4 DG HSM Art, analysis: a blunt, fixed lens to get all the performance out of your camera's sensor
Working with the objective

The focus ring is well dimensioned and allows you to perfectly adjust the sharpness in case you want to use manual focus. If we trust our camera’s autofocus it does not make sense, but invites us to go back to the old days and the feeling of having absolute control.

Sigma 40mm f / 1.4 DG HSM Art, analysis: a blunt, fixed lens to get all the performance out of your camera's sensor
Minimalist design

To help with this task, the lens has a small window and the classic diaphragm scale to play with the hyperfocal focus and to know first hand how the focus lies on the different planes. Of course, there is a small button that allows you to adjust the AF or manual focus. And like the Sigma 105mm f1.4, DG HSM Art is sealed against dust and moisture.

The diaphragm is 9 blades , as we can find in the other objectives Art . This, added to how bright it is, helps us to find perfect blurs in combination with the full format sensors. In this sense it does not disappoint either.

Sigma 40mm f / 1.4 DG HSM Art, analysis: a blunt, fixed lens to get all the performance out of your camera's sensor
Metal frame

The size itself may be a problem for some. You have to be strong to get on the road with an SLR. It’s impossible to hide it, and it’s easier to get lost behind the set we’re wearing around your neck. It is not a street in times when a small size is in fashion. It is one of the few that can be found.

Performance and image quality

We come to the section that gives meaning to an article about a lens. Is that clear? Does it concentrate well? We can not forget that Sigma ensures that it will be suitable for future cameras capable of recording 8k at the next Olympics. These are big words. And when we see the photos, we see that what they say is true. We are faced with a lens that makes the most of our cameras.

Sigma 40mm f / 1.4 DG HSM Art, analysis: a blunt, fixed lens to get all the performance out of your camera's sensor
1/250 f8

It’s not fair to judge the accuracy of focus and speed with a dinosaur like the Canon EOS 5D Mark II. But it impressed me in that sense. The HSM engine is full and I do not want to imagine their reaction with more modern devices. It is not an action lens, but it reacts with power in that sense.

Sigma 40mm f / 1.4 DG HSM Art, analysis: a blunt, fixed lens to get all the performance out of your camera's sensor

When we adjust the focus, the clarity of that lens is impressive. From the middle to the corners, it does not surprise even at the maximum opening. We can not forget that it is a f1.4. When closing the sharpness increases and the vignetting disappears at f2,8. When we close f4, it is no longer perceived.

Sigma 40mm f / 1.4 DG HSM Art, analysis: a blunt, fixed lens to get all the performance out of your camera's sensor

In terms of the feared diffraction problem, I could only solve one quality problem at f16. However, this is the comparison of all membranes with 100%. And with the help of the right software, it can be solved. And the quality in the corners did not surprise me even with most closed membranes.

Sigma 40mm f / 1.4 DG HSM Art, analysis: a blunt, fixed lens to get all the performance out of your camera's sensor
1/8 f16

We can therefore work with all available diaphragms (it is very brave to offer no f22 that would lower the final quality average). It is exactly what we can demand for a high quality lens with higher prices than this Sigma 40mm f1.4 DG HSM Art. That’s why it keeps drawing our attention.

Sigma 40mm f1.4 DG HSM Art, our opinion

It is difficult to find another objective of 40 mm with such quality in the market (like the Zeiss for cameras without a mirror ) And it is an impossible mission if we want it for the price that we can buy this Sigma. Again, the Art series leaves the bar very high. It is the lens to beat in every way. However, many may attribute two major problems that are evident:

Sigma 40mm f / 1.4 DG HSM Art, analysis: a blunt, fixed lens to get all the performance out of your camera's sensor
1/1000 f5,6
  • First the size and weight. It is huge, gargantuan, gigantic compared to other fixed targets with the same focal length. Even if we compare it with the similar Zeiss we can find. In this sense it seems that they have wanted to associate the Art range with irremediably heavy objectives.
  • Second, it lacks a stabilizer. And that’s a problem to mount on SLR cameras. Surely in a mirrorless will be somewhat absurd to look at this point. But with such a weight it would be something really positive to ensure the shot. Many people just knowing that they do not have stabilization forget about it.

But I think there are two points that we need to take if we want to get the highest quality. The sharpness, the absence of distortion, the quality of center to corner of the photographs, make a photographer who wants to make large extensions seriously consider their purchase. Even those who do not have a leading camera can improve the quality of the camera to an unsuspected extent.

Sigma 40mm f / 1.4 DG HSM Art, analysis: a blunt, fixed lens to get all the performance out of your camera's sensor
1/3200 f1,4

It is a lens for those photographers who only want the best . They do not mind carrying more weight in exchange for enjoying the file as soon as they see it on the giant screens of their computers. Or that they want to count every last blade of grass in their large expansions.

With a full-format camera with state-of-the-art sensors, it becomes a piece of equipment that can get the feeling of being shot with a medium-format one. If we work with a tripod, the experience can exceed any expectation . Everything depends on our needs and aspirations. It is heavy and big but those things are forgotten as soon as we see the photographs that we have taken with it.

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