Today it’s time again to compare two lenses I enjoy using a lot. It may be a somewhat untypical comparison, however, I’d still like to do it. Both lenses I want to compare are quite different and both have their clear advantages on which I will also briefly focus.
The comparison shall be made between two lenses of the much-appreciated SIGMA Art series. I’m going to compare my all-round favorite, the SIGMA 24-105mm F4 DG OS HSM | Art, with the newcomer in the lens series, the SIGMA 24mm F1.4 DG HSM | Art. To make the comparison a bit “more fair” I’m going to limit the SIGMA 24mm F1,4 DG HSM | Art to a 24mm focal length. By doing so, I want to be sure to be able to compare “equal photos” (equal/similar details and perspectives).
Of course, the advantages of the zoom lens are evident! It has a fantastic range of focal lengths, which makes the lens a true all-rounder. From high quality wide-angle landscape shots to impressive tele-range pictures the lens has a lot to offer. With focal lengths between 50mm and 100mm you already have some “classical portrait focal lengths” in your pocket (50mm, 85mm and 100mm).
As its name suggests, the SIGMA 24mm F1.4 DG HSM | Art has been a member of the product series founded at the Photokina in 2012. This series is based on high-quality fixed focal lengths and justifies its high reputation over and over again. The 24mm lens, of course, tops the zoom lens in terms of sharpness, projection performance and excellent image quality. With a 1.4 aperture it’s also much more light-intense and creates wonderful bokeh with an open aperture.
However, I wonder if the difference is really so big that buying both lenses is “necessary” to achieve top image quality?
Now I’ll show you a couple of examples to see how big or how small the difference between the lenses actually is. I tried to take some photos with similar details and test different aperture levels. I chose an open aperture, apertures 4, 8 and 16. On the left side you can see the zoom lens and on the right side the fixed focal length.
Of course, the test wasn’t really much of a surprise but only proved what is evident. Obviously the 24mm lens can’t be topped in terms of sharpness and quality. But I think the 24-105mm lens still does a good job when compared to the fixed focal length!
What’s striking is the vignetting which is clearly visible with the zoom lens. The main reason for this is the fact that I tested it at a lower fixed focal length range. However, vignetting can easily and quickly be removed in some RAW editing programs.
I often think about when to put both lenses in my camera bag and when limiting myself to the zoom lens will be enough. In my opinion, the 24-105mm is a great travel companion with which you can shoot a great variety of pictures without a lot of lens swaps and carrying heavy weight.
A clear advantage of the 24mm fixed focal length, of course, is its light-intensity. When it got dark I had some problems shooting with the zoom lens with a light-intensity of 4. So I decided to only take the last few pictures with the 24mm lens on 1.4 and to show once again the quality of this lens.
The decision which kind of lens you should use is up to you. I can only tell you that both are really good lenses with which I enjoy taking pictures.