Sigma 17mm F4 DG DN Review

Howdy folks, Sigma has always been known for making some what off-kilter (aka weird) lenses that fulfill very specific niches, and the recent Sigma 17mm F4 is no exception.

If you’ve read any other content on my site, you know that I’m the type that often prefers a compact kit over pure image quality or versatility, so this lens really struck a chord with me when it came out. So, I decided to rent it out for about a week to put it through its paces.

Why You Can Trust Me

Chance (that’s me) has been practicing photography for 10 years and has been a paid professional for most of it. I bought my first Sony camera in 2018 so this site is a culmination, so to speak, of 5 years of Sony experience (full site history). For this lens in particular, I rented it for a week and took it out every day (read how I review/test gear).

So, in this review, I’ll be breaking down my opinions on whether or not this niche little lens is worth the purchase, plus I’ll be sharing plenty of sample photos. Let’s dive in!

  • Super compact & light
  • High-quality build/materials
  • Very sharp, minimal optical flaws
  • Fast & reliable AF
  • F4 can be limiting
  • Distortion is strong

Verdict: An excellent lens for landscape shooters or anyone else who doesn’t care about having a wide F-stop. Keep scrolling to read my impressions or check out what other people have to say about it (affiliate link).

Size & Weight

So, first up, I want to go over my favorite aspect of this lens: the compact size and weight! It weighs a measly 9.5oz (270g) and measures a length of only 2.3in (5.8cm). That is INCREDIBLY tiny!

Lenses like this are what got me to move over to Sony from Canon many years ago. Compact yet still capable. It even fits in my jacket pocket!

Build Quality

Now, small size doesn’t equate to poor build quality, as this thing is actually pretty robust and sturdy in the hand. It’s made entirely out of metal and, despite the 9.5oz weight, FEELS heavy duty.

As for caps, it comes with standard front/back caps (generic plastic). The lens hood, however, is also metal and is slightly magnetic, which makes taking it on and off super smooth.

One thing in particular that surprised me is that the Sigma 17mm F4 is actually partially weather sealed as it has a gasket around the lens mount. The two APS-C cameras I tested it with (a6000 & ZV-E10), however, are not sealed so I didn’t risk taking it out into any bad conditions beyond some light snowfall.

Design/Usability

When it comes to the actual design of the lens, Sigma opted for a simplistic, no-BS minimalist design. The barrel is largely clean of any distractions besides a (very) compact AF/MF switch. I like it.

The lens also includes a physical aperture ring which feels great to use and is quite clicky! For those who prefer camera-controlled aperture, it does allow you to set the lens to “A” mode.

Sharpness

Next up: sharpness. Sigma has always been known for their stupidly sharp glass, and the 17mm F4 is no exception. The lens, from my tested, is razor sharp at any aperture (besides for diffraction at higher F-stops).

Part of this is due to the fact that the widest aperture is, in fact, F4, so you don’t get a lot of the typical softness issues you may run into at something like F1.8. I’ll drop a few image samples below at various crops so you can judge for yourself.

Optical Flaws

Now, despite this lens being absolutely incredible overall, I do need to talk about one flaw: distortion. The distortion is fairly strong, and it’s mustache style so it can be a bit finnicky to correct in post.

Now, I’ll be honest, it doesn’t really bother me. So many of my shots are ever-so-slightly distorted, and I tend to just not have an eye for it. Either way, I’ll drop a before/after correction sample below.

Vignette is also a bit heavy when shooting wide open, but I prefer a bit of vignette anyway so it doesn’t bother me. Easily fixable in post-processing.

Chromatic aberrations are entirely unnoticeable, even when shooting something intensive like branches against a sunlit sky. No complaints from me there. I usually just click the automatic CA removal button in Lightroom and it does the job.

Finally, flare resistant is just decent. You won’t get JJ Abrams level of flaring, but you will notice a bit of ghosting when shooting directly into sunlight (although, oddly, you won’t notice any significant loss of contrast).

flare resistance at night
Minimal ghosting and no loss of contrast from light sources (besides very bright sunlight).

Focusing System

As for autofocus, the Sigma 17mm F4 performs the same as most modern lenses. That is to say: fast, reliable, and quiet. Literally no complaints, and there’s not much more to talk about there.

For manual focus users, the lens actually feels great to use. It’s still focus-by-wire of course, but it has a tactile feel to it (no hard stops, though), and the physical AF/MF switch lets you swap quickly.

random light things
I didn’t have any focusing issues at all.

Final Thoughts

So who exactly is this lens for? Personally, I think it’s a great pick for any wide-angle photographer who doesn’t care about having a fast F-stop. Either you always shoot in good light or you use a tripod. For myself, I found it particularly awesome for landscapes. Super tiny so it didn’t take up much space/weight in my bag, yet still quite capable for daytime shots.

So, if this little Sigma sounds like a winner to you, I’ll drop an Amazon (affiliate) link below. Thanks for reading!

Buy from Amazon <– affiliate link, which means I get a (very) small commission if you purchase at no extra cost to you. Thank you!

Additional Sample Photos

hallway
A skywalk hallway.
street scene in Milwaukee
A random street scene in Milwaukee.
black and white club
A cool looking club.