The number of full-frame prime lenses covering a 20mm focal length with a fast maximum aperture of f/1.4 are few and far between. Though it’ll be most popular with people who specialise in astrophotography, its stunning optical performance can be applied to landscapes, interiors and architecture. It’s a large and heavy lens that features a focus distance window and bulbous front element. A permanently fixed petal-shape hood protects the latter. It returns its best results across the frame at f/4 and is just as sharp in the centre at f/1.4 as it is at f/8. It’s an exceptional prime for shooting in low-light conditions. The only downside is that it’s not weather sealed.
This lens from Sigma is a first-class example that can be used for a wide variety of genres and its stunning optical quality won’t leave those who shoot weddings, portraits or documentary images disappointed. It’s incredibly sharp in the centre between f/2 and f/11. Full-time manual focus override is great to have for fine-tuning focus and is aided by a delightfully smooth manual focus ring. Regrettably it’s not weather sealed, but this is a minor criticism on what is otherwise a sublime prime that produces striking results.
Sigma’s award-winning 50mm F1.4 DG HSM Art lens isn’t small or light, yet it excels in terms of its optical performance and features a specially developed algorithm that ensures accurate, quiet and smooth focusing. The quality of out-of-focus areas at wide apertures is exquisite. It’s a lens that lends itself to isolating subjects and emphasizing them in the frame, with quite astonishing sharpness from corner to corner between f/2.8 and f/11. It lacks weather sealing and optical image stabilisation, but these are omissions you’ll be prepared to live without for the outstanding results it produces.