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Keywords: Sigma Art Canon Nikon Pentax Sony Wide Prime 35mm HSM tested


JPMuller

Registered: June 2010
Posts: 12
Sigma 35mm f/1.4 DG HSM "A" review by JPMuller
Review Date: 5/30/2014 Would you recommend the product? Yes | Total Spent: $899.00| Rating: 10 

 
Pros: Sharp, Low Distortion, Controlled CA's, Price
Cons: Heavy Vignetting

I recently ran into an issue with my beloved Canon 35mm 1.4 L lens. After many years of exceptional quality and loyal service, it started to back focus when photographing an object or subject from that was more than 3 meters away. I find the 35mm focal length to be essential for wedding photography.. especially when it is a prime and can capture subjects in dark situations and help them to pop with its wide aperture. In a pinch with a wedding in a couple days, I picked up the Sigma 35mm 1.4 DG HSM Art Lens from a local vendor. I have read really great reviews so I decided to give it a try. Price when purchased was $899 plus tax compared to the Canon 35 f/1.4L USM which is presently going for around $1,499 plus tax.


I was instantly taken with the great, sleek look of the lens. I liked how it felt on my camera and to the touch. I can’t say I really missed the red ring that is synonymous with Canon’s professional “L” series lenses. The Sigma felt and looked like a really well made lens. With only a couple days until the wedding, I needed to take some pictures to make sure the automatic focus ( AF ) working and that there weren’t any other issues with sharpness, etc..


First thing I noticed is that the AF seemed a tad bit slower. Because I have used the Canon 35mm 1.4 so much, I really have gotten to know it. The AF is blazing fast.. probably one of if not the fast AF out of all the lenses I own. The Sigma wasn’t slow by any means, it just wasn’t quite as fast. Not a super big deal since it WAS fast, just not AS fast.


Another thing I noticed was that the Sigma seemed to be a bit warmer. I didn’t mind this at all when working in post. I always felt the Canon was a bit cool (or more blue). However, to be honest, when shooting in dark situations with low light, I often liked the coolness of the Canon since it helped to balance out incandescent and ambient lights which can make the image look orange or yellowish.


Lastly, it felt like the Sigma was a bit underexposed in a lot of the shots. I came to find out what that was about, but I will explain that more in detail down below.


After the wedding and after getting my Canon back I decided to do a head to head to see how the two lenses compared to one another. When it comes to lens comparison and reviews, I love to do it, but I don’t consider my methods to be super scientific or clinical. In addition, I often test the lenses only at the widest aperture. I do this because when buying/using a prime lens, my intention is to isolate the subject and/or use it in low light. Therefore the performance at the widest aperture is most important to me. Therefore for this particular comparison every shot was taken at an aperture of 1.4. No retouching or editing was done whatsoever. I simply shot in RAW and then exported as sRGB Jpegs


Here are the results!


http://johncarnessali.com/camera-lens-tests/6141
dom8632

Registered: April 2014
Posts: 1
Sigma 35mm f/1.4 DG HSM "A" review by dom8632
Review Date: 4/5/2014 Would you recommend the product? Yes | Total Spent: $760.00| Rating: 10 

 
Pros: Sharpness, build quality, feel
Cons: None

Great lens, very sharp wide open, nice build quality, feels like a quality lens. AF seems good, but haven't used it for fast action. Bokeh is very nice. Good lens cap and lens hood, better than Canon. Hood included in price. Not weather sealed is about the only negative aside from the fact this is a fairly heavy lens. Not a negative but something to be aware of. Highly recommended.
spressa777

Registered: February 2014
Posts: 2
Sigma 35mm f/1.4 DG HSM "A" review by spressa777
Review Date: 2/27/2014 Would you recommend the product? Yes | Total Spent: $785.00| Rating: 9 

 
Pros: sharpness and bokeh, magical combo at wide apertures
Cons: none, maybe weight

I have Sigma 70mm 2.8 Macro which is the sharpest lens I owe (it is a perfect lens optically). Sigma 35mm 1.4 Art is as sharp or bit sharper in the center and slightly softer on the corners. I have 3 other sharp lenses (Nikon 135mm 2D DC , Nikon 85mm 1.8G and Nikon 50mm 1.8G) , but they are nowhere near these 2 Sigmas in sharpness. I compared all lenses at F5.6 in 3 occasions and results are consistent.
PeterM1_Leica

Registered: December 2013
Posts: 3
Sigma 35mm f/1.4 DG HSM "A" review by PeterM1_Leica
Review Date: 12/8/2013 Would you recommend the product? Yes | Total Spent: $700.00| Rating: 9 

 
Pros: Sharp, well made
Cons: None that I would really criticise apart perhaps from its size - but I dont really class that a failing, more of a "feature"

All the lies they tell about this lens are true.


I have never before bought a Sigma lens believing that the best lenses tend to be the ones from the major manufacturers like Nikon and Canon. This is the lens that proves that to be wrong. Its is well built, handles well and is sharp from the get-go. At something not much over half the cost of the Nikon equivalent this is actually a slightly superior lens in terms of its image quality and not that far behind so far as I can see in terms of build.


There is one slight oddity I have noticed with this lens and others have commented on from time to time. It seems to under expose slightly on my D700 body. Nothing too problematic and nothing that can't be fixed by dialing in a little exposure compensation. And I imagine it might be fixed by using the USB connector and fiddling with the firm ware. But in any event its not an issue for me as I tend to habitually use a one third under exposure adjustment when I am shooting outdoors anyway. (There have been a number of reports of Sigma lenses having problems with Nikon Cameras and requiring firmware adjustments or updates but the above issue is so minor I would not bother.)


One other minor issue I would note. I have noticed that the satin finish on the plastic hood and lens cap seems to readily acquire rub marks. Something about the finish and the hardness (or rather softness) of the plastic. I have bought cheap aftermarket ones for use in the field thereby keeping my original ones more or less pristine in case I should ever sell. Again I don't know if I would class this as a problem or a "con" - just something of which to be aware if you are picky about keeping your gear in good condition over time.
lensreporter

Registered: May 2010
Posts: 12
Sigma 35mm f/1.4 DG HSM "A" review by lensreporter
Review Date: 8/2/2013 Would you recommend the product? Yes | Total Spent: $700.00| Rating: 10 

 
Pros: supersharp, no CA´s, strong colour (like Zeiss), f1.4, nice made
Cons: cornershading up to f4

suprem lens, every thing is fine
Sigma shows how to make topoptics with fair prizes!
Prime Minister

Registered: May 2011
Posts: 34
Sigma 35mm f/1.4 DG HSM "A" review by Prime Minister
Review Date: 5/28/2013 Would you recommend the product? Yes | Total Spent: None indicated| Rating: 10 

 
Pros: Build quality, image quality, design
Cons: It's big and heavy

Short version:
This is an awesome lens, just get one!*


Longer version:
Despite the use of some plastic the Sigma 35mm f/1.4 DG feels sturdy and durable. It's somewhat big and heavy though. Because of the size and weight of the lens, I think it pairs nicely with a camera body like the Nikon D600, D700 or D800. On a lighter body it probably feels a little front heavy.


The lens hood fits like a glove. I really like the black semi gloss minimalistic design. The zoom ring doesn't rotate super smooth, but it's good enough and it provides good grip. I don't really need a manual zoom ring on this lens, so I don't care.


Autofocus is fast, silent and accurate. However there are reports of focus errors on some cameras. Specifically on the D800. I often only use the center focus point of my camera (D700 and D600), and that seems to work just fine.


The optical quality of this Sigma 35mm is excellent. Wide open at f/1.4 the center is totally usable and it gets better if you stop down. At f/2.8 most of the frame is nice and crisp and peak performance is at f/4 - f/5.6. This is a super sharp lens. Contrast and colors are perfect.


The out of focus area looks good to me. Some people say the bokeh is a little busy. It depends on the subject, the distance and the light I guess.


I think this lens beats all the alternatives from Nikon and Canon and also the manual focus Samyang. Try one, you'll be smiling about the results.


*Update!


Although the image quality of this lens is excellent, it does have some issues with focussing on a Nikon D800. It seems to randomly front and back focus. I can’t find a pattern in this behaviour. Other lenses work fine on my camera. I’ve found more messages on the internet about this focus issue. It surely makes the lens less desirable. Hopefully Sigma finds a solution for this problem.
oregoncameradog

Registered: April 2013
Posts: 1
Sigma 35mm f/1.4 DG HSM "A" review by oregoncameradog
Review Date: 4/14/2013 Would you recommend the product? Yes | Total Spent: $889.00| Rating: 10 

 
Pros: Sharp, sharp, sharp!
Cons: None to speak of.

This is the sharpest lens I have ever owned. It has no peer or close competitor in either quality or price. I have no regrets about getting it.
hdhani

Registered: March 2013
Posts: 14
Sigma 35mm f/1.4 DG HSM "A" review by hdhani
Review Date: 3/26/2013 Would you recommend the product? Yes | Total Spent: $880.00| Rating: 10 

 
Pros: build quality, sharpness wide-open, 67 mm filter thread
Cons: no weathersealing, focus ring attracts dust, otherwise it's a stellar lens

This lens is a HUGE improvement from Sigme!!! Focus is fast, silent and very accurate. I've never experienced any back- or front-focusing problem. The focus ring is well-damped; manual-focusing felt great. However, the rubber easily cathches dust, but it's minor problem.
Picture quality-wise, I found this lens to be very sharp corner-to-corner, with minimal fringing. Bokeh quality is great IMHO. Buid quality is top notch; felt more like a CZ lens. Regarding the weight, this lens is heavier compared to other 35 mm f1.4 lenses but it handles very well.
All in all, a wonderful lens at a bargain price!
sako

Registered: October 2010
Posts: 4
Sigma 35mm f/1.4 DG HSM "A" review by sako
Review Date: 3/15/2013 Would you recommend the product? Yes | Total Spent: $820.00| Rating: 10 

 
Pros: A sharp lens wide open and an extremely sharp lens stopped down. Autofocus is fast and quite.
Cons: Not weather sealed but that's of no importance to me.

The build quality of this lens is very, very good with a Zeiss like feel to it. The focusing ring is large and quite smooth for an AF lens. The optics are quite astonishing and it's one of the sharpest lenses I've ever used and I have some good ones. It's looks great too, which can't hurt.
Value for money it can't be beat. Sigma deserve all the accolades they get producing a lens of this quality at the price, in fact, even if it was double the price.
coololli

Registered: February 2013
Posts: 1
Sigma 35mm f/1.4 DG HSM "A" review by coololli
Review Date: 2/24/2013 Would you recommend the product? Yes | Total Spent: $1,252.00| Rating: 10 

 
Pros: Sharp already at 1.4 on my D800, great bokeh, great Body. I love this lens.
Cons: Not sealed, but is not so important!

I have the Sigma, because I like the Nikkor 35mm and is too expensive. The D800 works great with this lens. The high light intensity can be fully utilized, even at f/1.4 it produces sharp images. Each aperture, the sharper it becomes more. My sharpest lens far the Macro Nikkor VR was 105. The lens makes it easy to enjoy and has the great bokeh pictures.
Sorry for my english....


 






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