Sigma 14-24mm vs Nikon 14-24mm - Astrophotography

April 20, 2018  •  7 Comments

This morning I had the opportunity to test out the new Sigma 14-24mm!  For this test, I drove down to the local "dark" sky park in Ohio and took some test shots.  As you will see, it's virtually impossible to find a truly dark sky here in Northeast Ohio...  Just 2 more weeks and I'll be back under an actual dark sky - in the Utah desert!

*If you would like to get a closer look at these photos, you can download the full-resolution JPEGs here.  Desktop users can click the download icon at the top-left of each image.  Mobile users can scroll up, click the arrow in the upper right, and click download.

 

RAW Photos

This first comparison looks at the RAW files, straight out of camera, at both 14mm and 24mm.  The 14mm photos were taken at f/2.8, ISO 800, and 15 seconds, while the 24mm images were shot using an 8 second Shutter Speed.

*Note: The Nikon image is slightly out-of-focus in the 24mm example, making the stars appear brighter / larger

 

Nikon @14mm
Sigma @14mm

 

 

Nikon @24mm
Sigma @24mm

 

 

Edited Photos

For this comparison, I increased the Exposure, Saturation, Contrast and I reduced the Highlights.  I also used the automatic Lens Profile Correction for the Nikon to remove the vignette, and fixed the vignette manually on the Sigma.  The same edits were applied to each photo.

 

Nikon @14mm
Sigma @14mm

 

 

Nikon @24mm
Sigma @24mm

 

 

Coma / Astigmatism

I cropped heavily into the upper right corner of the image, to show a clear look at any star distortion.  The Shutter Speed was 15 seconds, which means there is a slight amount of motion blur due to the Earth's rotation.

 

Nikon
Sigma

 

 

Vignette

For this comparison, I took the edited images, removed any Profile Corrections, and brightened the Sigma by roughly 1/3 Stop to compensate for the T/Stop difference.  At this point, we should have a clear look at the vignette for each lens. 

Both lenses have minimal vignette, however the Sigma has a slight advantage.  The Nikon is rated at -1.6 EV on DXO Mark, I would guess the Sigma will be rated around -1.5 EV.

 

Nikon
Sigma

 

 

Verdict


 

Overall, the Sigma did a fantastic job!  Remember, you can visit the image gallery and download all the test images for a better look.  Also, if you want an even more in-depth look at how the Sigma 14-24mm performs, here's Dustin Abbot's fantastic video review

Let's break down each point:

 

  • Coma: I was very impressed with the Sigma's coma performance!  Both lenses do remarkably well, but the Sigma does a slightly better job. 

 

  • Transmission: After carefully comparing the images, the Sigma appears to be a 1/3 Stop darker than the Nikon.  The Nikon is rated at T/3.0 Stops, which would make the Sigma roughly T/3.3 Stops.

 

  • Distortion: The Nikon is just slighly wider at 14mm than the Sigma, however the Sigma appears to have better distortion control.

 

  • Colors: The color balance on the Sigma is quite close to the Nikon 14-24mm, but slightly warmer.  By subtracting 200K and adding +4 Purple Tint, I was able to get the Sigma looking nearly identical to the Nikon 14-24mm.

 

 

 

  • Focusing: Having spent a lot of time focusing lenses at night, I found the Sigma to be a bit easier to achieve sharp focus.  

 

After these tests, it's clear that the Sigma 14-24mm Art lens will make an excellent addition to any night photographer's collection!

 

To learn more about Astrophotography, be sure to check out my free tutorial!

 

 

 


Comments

Jake(non-registered)
Thanks for the review. Do you have any thoughts or experience on the Sigma 14mm f/1.8? Is it better at 2.8, than these two (It has a bit of coma, wide open at 1.8.)? Thanks!
BillJ(non-registered)
I picked up the Sigma in December of 2018 when it was on sale at B&H for $900. Such a steal for this lens! I use a tracker so usually shoot it at f4 and I'm completely satisfied with the results. Since I use Canon, buying the highly regarded Nikon 14-24mm wasn't a good option.
Patrick(non-registered)
Hi Peter,

Thanks to this very interesting review.
I bought the sigma 20mm/1.4 for night shots and astrophotography. This lens does a very good job too. I am really happy with it.

Patrick
Larry(non-registered)
Hi Peter,

I've seen your comparisons between the Nikon 14-24mm and Tamron's 15-30mm G2, as well as the Nikon 14-24mm versus the Sigma version. I realize for astrophotography you can't go wrong with any of these lenses but if you had to choose one, would it be the Tamron or the Sigma?
Wonderful review(non-registered)
Hi Peter.

Thank you for that wonderful review.
Looking at your images, I can't help notice that the Nikon seems a little wider than the Sigma - maybe ~1mm or so.
It's apparent when observing the tree line and the bright star to the right.
Does it have something to do with your setup, or is it a real difference in the optics?

Thanks
Tom
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