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In the classic fairytale about Goldilocks everything comes in sets of threes. One is too hot, one is too cold, but one is just right. For many photographers, the 35mm F2 dn will be too small (not a wide enough aperture), the 35mm F1.2 too big (literally and cost-wise), but it is Sigma’s hope that the new 35mm F1.4 doanh nghiệp ART will be the “just right” option. Và frankly, that seems like a likely scenario in my mind. The new lens weighs 450g less (640g) than the 35mm F1.2 (1090g), is 25mm shorter, và costs $600 less. It isn’t as compact as the new Sony 35mm F1.4 G Master lens (which is a svelte 524g and is only 96mm long), but it also has the advantage of being $500 cheaper. The kích cỡ between the two F1.4 options isn’t radically different, và Sigma’s price advantage and optical prowess will almost certain catch the eye of the “discerning budget” shopper that wants a premium lens but doesn’t want khổng lồ pay a premium price. This is a pretty wide swath of photographers in my experience.
The 35mm F1.4 space on Sony had been rather slim until the arrival this year of the GM lens, và this purpose-built Sigma lens for Sony mirrorless (it is also available for Leica L) will now really flesh out the options. I had hoped to do some direct comparisons lớn the GM lens, but it is unfortunately running a little behind in production, & I haven’t gotten my hands on one yet. I’ve been impressed with the Sigma 35DN, however, which is perhaps the sharpest 35mm lens that I’ve ever used.
This is a lens that laughs at the demands of the 50MP sensor that I tested it on, with absolutely incredible contrast và detail from F1.4 on. It may even be too sharp for some, but I’ll let you determine that for yourself as we dive into the review. You can read on or watch my long format definitive or standard đoạn phim reviews below…
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Thanks to Sigma Canada for getting me an early loaner of the lens. As always, this is a completely independent review.
Sigma 35DN Build & Handling
As I noted in the introduction, the 35DN strikes a compelling balance between the massive 35mm F1.2 doanh nghiệp and the more compact F2 lens. This isn’t a smaller lens, but it is very reasonably sized relative to lớn the performance. Here’s a look at a few competing lenses & their basic specs:
Sigma’s formula on Sony mirrorless is similar to lớn their previous designs on DSLRs, but with a few key tweaks and improvements. The early ART series lenses lacked weather sealing, but this new dn version has a “dust and splash proof structure” which includes a seal at the gasket along with internal seals at the switches & rings và even a weather & oil repellant coating (like fluorine) on the front element.
Sigma has also taken steps to use a wider variety of materials in the construction of the newer lens to reduce the weight relative khổng lồ older Sigma lenses. The weight savings over the previous F1.4 lens is only 115g, but we’ve also got a lens with two additional elements, more features, & a higher optical performance.
Some of those new features include the now ubiquitous aperture ring on Sigma dn lenses, which gives you a really versatile approach to lớn aperture. You can choose either manual or automatic aperture control, choose to have “clicks” at the one third stop detents, or to “declick” the aperture ring for smooth control, and you can even engage a quality aperture lock switch that will keep you from inadvertently switching between manual và automatic aperture. That’s a degree of control over the aperture that you rarely see on any lens.
Sigma also includes a focus hold button that can be programmed lớn different functions in the camera body along with the always-welcome AF/MF switch that still gives you the quickest, most logical way to control that option.
This is a focus-by-wire lens like all true mirrorless lenses, but Sigma has gotten quite good at focus emulation. The focus ring is wide, nicely ribbed, và has a good amount of damping that makes focus feel quite similar lớn mechanical manual focus. Focus seems to be quite linear, from what I can tell, making this a decent choice for video clip work.
The iris does a better than average job of keeping a circular shape when the lens is stopped down, which contributes khổng lồ nice geometry from the lens in bokeh highlights.
Our minimum focus distance is 30cm (one foot), and that gives us a very useful magnification figure of roughly 0.19x. Here’s what MFD looks like:
Contrast và sharpness are good up close, but some field curvature means that you don’t have a good flat plane of focus if you want a lot in focus. If you shooting three dimensional objects, however, it works just fine, và gives you some chất lượng creative options:
The 35DN comes with a nice pouch và a petal-shaped lens hood that has a lock, texture variations, and is certainly a cut above your typical lens hood.
This is a lens that checks all the boxes. It is weather sealed, feature rich, and handles well while maintaining a moderate form size and weight. Sigma has found a way to manage kích thước and weight while still delivering the goods optically, which definitely makes their lenses more tempting khổng lồ me, personally.
Sigma 35mm F1.4 dn Autofocus Performance
My main objection lớn the original 35mm F1.4 ART lens was on the basis of its autofocus. I just didn’t find it reliable in important situations, like shooting weddings, và I ended up purchasing the much more expensive Canon 35mm F1.4L II instead because I needed a reliable option at this important focal length. But Sigma has come a long way from those days, and I’ve had little complain about in the autofocus department on any of the dn lenses. That’s certainly the case here, where the 35DN employs a STM (stepping motor) that seems to lớn have plenty of torque và smoothness, too. Part of the success here is due khổng lồ having a single focus lens element, which means that the focus motor has less weight lớn move, which results in smoother, faster focus action.
As a result, focus changes are essentially instantaneous & utterly silent. Even focus pulls during clip are very snappy and I didn’t pick up any focus sound even using the on-board microphones on my Alpha 1. I’m not sure we can appreciate how good autofocus is today even compared lớn where we were a few years ago. One of the great mirrorless innovations is that gone are the days where the first thing I had to vì with a new lens that arrived on my door was run focus calibration to assure that I could get accurately focused results. Now I can get focus results like this right out of the box:
It goes without saying that Pet Eye AF works perfectly these days (here’s the obligatory Loki shot):
I did a brief portrait session with my youngest và had the expected result. Eye AF was locked in perfectly and I had one accurately focused result after another.
Out in the field, I was able khổng lồ get accurately focused results in all situations. In the case of this very thin subject, focus immediately locked on và accurately focused:
I put on a ND1000 (ten stop) filter lớn get long exposure results midday. Autofocus didn’t slow down a bit, locking quickly & accurately.
I see no application where this lens wouldn’t provide satisfactory focus results. I give it very high marks for focus speed, precision, và smoothness/quietness of operation. Great stuff, Sigma!Sigma 35DN Image Quality
There’s a good chance that if you’ve watched or read my nhận xét before, you’ve heard me discuss the challenge that lensmakers face as they weigh the tension between sharpness and chất lượng of rendering. The dirty little secret of optical thiết kế is that it is often optical flaws, quirks, và imperfectly corrected aberrations that give lenses character. Sometimes the very process of carefully correcting every flaw causes a lens to thua trận the character that endears it khổng lồ photographers. The ineffable quality, that “special sauce” that is so hard lớn define but makes a lens special is so often found in lenses that aren’t technically perfect. Sigma has often tipped the scales towards the highly corrected kết thúc of the spectrum, and I’ve ironically accused some ART lenses of being rather “unartful” and a little clinical in their rendering. So where does the Sigma 35mm F1.4 DG dn ART fall on the spectrum?
Well, first of all, this is definitely a very highly corrected lens that is incredibly sharp across the frame even at F1.4. I used APS-C mode on my camera lớn get a little closer to Lok for this shot, & yet look just how incredibly sharp this shot is at F1.4.
Portrait photographers may in fact find the lens almost too sharp, as it will definitely show every skin detail when paired with a high resolution body. This portrait shot và crop are at F1.4:
Opinions vary, obviously, but I’m of the mind that I would prefer khổng lồ reduce sharpness in post than try to showroom it. I’ll also lưu ý that 35mm lenses will often be used for environmental portraits rather than closer ones like this, & having a lot of detail at F1.4 allows a portrait photographer to lớn capture full body, environmental portraits and keep the aperture at F1.4 rather than needing to lớn stop down lớn get max detail. This section will first detail the technical perfection of this lens và then see if it has been done at the cost of overall rendering.
First of all, let’s break down the vignette and distortion. There is a very mild amount of barrel distortion that I used a +3 to correct for. Vignette is moderate at F1.4 at right under 2 stops. I fixed it with a +51 và slid the midpoint over to zero for a smooth, linear correction.
The vignette itself is fairly linear, so there will be plenty of situations where it will create a nice, natural frame for the subject. This shot, for example, is at F1.4 và without any correction of any kind.
Nothing significant here, and before long correction profiles will show up in editing software and make correcting these mild flaws even easier. You will receive corrections in camera for JPEGs and đoạn clip when using the lens.
Let’s go back lớn this high contrast, wide xuất hiện shot of Loki bathed in bright window light. The angle of his head allows for a nice thử nghiệm of Longitudinal Chromatic Aberrations (LoCA).
You can see that there is a bit of purple fringing before the plane of focus và some green fringing after the focal plane. This was the strongest example I saw in my tests, so I suspect this won’t be a real world issue for much of anyone.
LaCA (Lateral CA) is essentially perfectly corrected, with no apparent fringing to lớn the sides of the black to trắng transitions.
The stage has been set for some very high resolution results, so let’s get lớn the kiểm tra chart on the 50MP Sony Alpha 1 demo body. Here’s the chart:
We can see that resolution is fantastic across the frame with just the slightest bit of drop-off at the very edge of the frame. This is a near flawless performance in terms of resolution và contrast.
So is there more still in the tank? Absolutely, as it turns out. You can see even more punch at F2 relative to lớn F1.4:
After this there is little change khổng lồ the center of the frame, but we see an uptick in corner contrast & resolution starting at F2.8.
The 35DN isn’t just optimized for portrait distances, too, as it is sạc pin sharp at F1.4 even for further distances.
So the resolution side of the equation is unequivocally solved. This is a brilliantly sharp lens in every facet. But how about that rendering? Does the incredible resolution undo the unique of the rendering? That’s been the verdict I’ve been working on coming khổng lồ over the course of my review.
I don’t think this lens has the epic creaminess of the Zeiss Milvus 35mm F1.4, & perhaps not even of the Canon 35L II that I’ve loved for years, but I vì chưng think that somehow Sigma has done a pretty good job here of preserving a nice quality of bokeh despite the lens being so sharp và contrasty. The bokeh falloff here, for example, looks quite nice.
I’ve been able to bởi vì creative things with the bridge supports in this image, & foreground bokeh is in no way distracting.
Here’s one more photo showing bokeh falloff that gets ever-so-slightly busy at the end, but that’s just nit-picking.
Colors seems lớn be fairly neutral, with perhaps the slightest tendency towards being cool. I think saturation levels are nice, & I’m happy with what I’m getting out of the lens:
This is also a very high unique astro option, delivering crisp star points that have little comatic distortion even at the edge of the frame (third image in sequence).
This is one of the best performances I’ve ever seen from a wide aperture prime like this, and it only adds lớn the value of the lens.
I also saw nothing but good in the flare resistance from the lens. Even intense bursts of sun from behind the clouds on a partly cloudy day showed almost no loss of contrast & no ghosting artifacts.
The final image was the only shot I took that showed any kind of flare patterns, and it was mostly just a nice artistic bit of veiling in the background.
This is one of Sigma’s best lenses to lớn date optically, with many, many strengths, and very, very few flaws. Check out the image gallery here to see more photos from the lens.
To return khổng lồ our early analogy, I bởi think that Sigma’s fourth 35mm lens on the Sony FE and Leica L platform is the “just right” option. The combination of reasonable size, affordable price, great, feature rich built, & amazing optical performance is going to be the “goldilocks” formula for many photographers. The idea of getting such a complete lens at a price point of $500 less than the new GM option is going to be an intriguing one, and I know a lot of photographers these days who essentially feel like their lenses choices are first các buổi tiệc nhỏ or a Sigma ART alternative. Sigma has done a rather masterful job of creating the market perception that their lenses are a viable (and professional!) alternative.
And that’s true here, khổng lồ be sure. There is nothing not professional grade about the Sigma 35mm F1.4 DG DN. It has a quality build that is complete with the pro-grade features lượt thích weather sealing và features lượt thích the focus hold button along with aperture control options. It has fast, silent autofocus that seems lớn be extremely reliable in my tests. It has a linear manual focus motor that will work just fine for clip shooters. It has an exceptionally good optical performance that is almost too sharp…except the unique of the bokeh really is quite good.
All of this for around $900 USD is going lớn get a lot of photographers very interested, and, while some chose Sony’s 35mm F1.8 over the Sigma 35mm F1.2 doanh nghiệp because of the sheer size and price difference, the new 35mm F1.4 is going khổng lồ put a very different kind of pressure on that buying choice because the kích cỡ is less extreme, the optical performance so high, và the fact that there is less than $200 difference in price. I haven’t had a chance yet to chạy thử the new Sony 35mm F1.4 GM lens, & while I fully expect that lens lớn be very, very good, it will be hard pressed to lớn really outclass this new Sigma. I suspect that many photographers will find the Sigma 35mm F1.4 DG dn ART khổng lồ be the “just right” blend of price lớn performance.
Pros:Good build quality complete with weather sealingStrikes a good balance of kích thước relative to performanceAs feature rich as the GM seriesFast, quiet, accurate autofocusIncredibly sharp across the frameNice bokehGood resistance to lớn flareAberrations extremely well controlledVery good coma performanceAwesome price point
Cons:Too sharp?Larger và heavier than GM lens
Gear Used:Purchase the Sigma 35mm F1.4 dn ART
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Keywords: Sigma 35mm F1.4, Sigma 35 F1.4 DN, 35mm F1.4 DN, Sigma 35mm F1.4 DN, DN, DG, 35mm, F1.4, Review, Sigma 35mm F1.4 Review, ART, Review, Sony, Review, Hands On, Dustin Abbott, Real World, Comparison, Sharpness, Bokeh, Flare Resistance, Autofocus, Image Quality, Sample Images, Video, Photography, Sony a9, sony a7III, sony a7RIII, a7R3, Leica L, Sony Alpha 1, Sony A1
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