Of course, not every ultra-wide shot has to be expansive. Sometimes we just want to capture the full scope of a structure or geologic form or even a tree without having to step back more and more until we find ourselves on the edge of a precipice—or standing in the middle of traffic. And of course there’s always that in-your-face forced perspective that lends a dramatic flair to any subject photographed close up with these lenses.
Normally, I’d say, go with an ultra-wide zoom. But zooms, even at f/2.8, can be considered slow when we’re shooting at dawn or dusk, and especially after nightfall or in a dimly lit interior, without cranking ISO all the way up. What about using a tripod? I often prefer to leave my tripod at home, opting instead to shoot with the camera handheld. This way I’m free to move about, without worrying about the attached tripod bumping into people on a crowded street, or catching it in brambles or scraping against rock along the side of a trail, or having to take everything apart and set it up from scratch each time the tripod is needed.
Enter the Sigma 20mm f/1.4 Art lens. This lens, which Sigma is calling "the world's first" 20mm f/1.4 lens for full frame digital SLRs, is eminently suited to handheld photography. That said, it would work just as nicely seated on your favorite pod. In fact, it has one advantage for tripod users. You know how you always forget to disengage the image-stabilization (IS) mechanism on a lens equipped with this tech when the camera is on a tripod? Well, I always do. (That can result in blurred shots.) This lens does not feature IS, or OS (optical stabilizer) in Sigma parlance, so no worries. Now, is that entirely a good thing? Let’s find out.
Read the full review here, at shutterbug.com.