Intro

The Sigma 35mm f1.Four DG DN Artwork is a large angle prime lens for full-frame mirrorless cameras and, on the time of testing, accessible in Sony e and Leica L-mount variations; right here’s hoping for Canon RF and Nikon Z variations of Sigma’s mirrorless lenses quickly.

Introduced in April 2021 and costing $899 or 799 kilos, it’s the successor to the 35 1.Four DG HSM, a DSLR lens that launched Sigma’s Artwork sequence again in September 2012 – round eight and a half years beforehand. Optical design, to not point out digicam mounts, have come a good distance in that point and in 2021 Sigma now provides three 35s in a local mirrorless mount, with the most recent 1.Four becoming a member of the prevailing f1.2 and f2 fashions. 

Sigma loaned me a 35 1.Four to check for this evaluation and whereas they described it as a pre-production pattern, the standard and efficiency was close to to closing – and the field it got here in definitely seemed fairly closing. As a pre-production pattern although, the ultimate fashions could fluctuate. Discover out every thing you must know in my video evaluation under, however as at all times if you happen to choose to learn the written highlights, hold scrolling!

Sigma has excessive aspirations for the 35 1.4, so On this evaluation I’ll instantly examine it towards Sony’s 35 1.Four G Grasp. Costing $1399, the Sony is a substantial $500 dearer however extensively thought to be among the finest 35s ever made – no strain there then. Since I’m a radical sort of man I’ll additionally embrace comparisons towards the Sigma 1.2, which at $1499 is the costliest of the group, and the Sigma f2 which at $639 is the most affordable. 

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Above: Measuring 76x110mm and weighing 645g, Sigma’s mirrorless 35 1.Four is definitely 16mm longer and 20g heavier than the earlier DSLR model. That mentioned, if you happen to’re evaluating the DSLR model with the built-in e-mount adapter, the brand new lens turns into 10mm shorter and 110g lighter.

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Above: Sony’s 35 1.Four G Grasp right here on the precise is definitely 14mm shorter than the brand new Sigma and 120g lighter. As soon as mounted on a physique although they’re in the same ball-park and also you gained’t discover a lot distinction in a bag. The undisputed heavy-weight right here is the Sigma 35 1.2 on the far proper, longer and wider at 88x136mm and round 50% heavier at 1090g – you actually know if you’re carrying that one. And eventually on the far left, the Sigma 35 f2 is smaller at 70x65mm and roughly half the burden of the 2 1.4s at 325g. Oh, and in case you questioned, Sony’s 35 1.8G measures 66x73mm and is lighter than all 4 right here at simply 280g.

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Above: right here’s the Sigma 35 1.Four with its equipped petal lens hood. Be aware the Sony lens with its hood is sort of the identical size as the brand new Sigma with out it.

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Above: When it comes to controls, the Sigma 35 1.Four has a clicky aperture ring working between f1.Four and f16 with a change to 1 facet locking it within the A place if you happen to choose body-based management. A change under the barrel to the opposite facet declicks the aperture ring for easy and silent operation most well-liked by videographers. The handbook focusing ring is wider than the Sony 35 1.Four and whereas each flip very easily, the Sigma felt a bit of stiffer and required an extended flip to journey by means of its focus vary; that mentioned I discovered the Sony simpler to manually focus. There’s additionally a spotlight maintain button that’s customisable on suitable our bodies.

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Above: Sigma describes the design as mud and splashproof, together with a rubber grommet on the mount. You’d anticipate weather-sealing on a high-end lens, however keep in mind the unique DSLR model of the lens was not sealed so this is a crucial improve.

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Above: In the meantime the 35 1.Four employs a 67mm filter thread, the identical because the Sony 35 1.4, though unsurprisingly the Sigma 1.2 calls for bigger 77mm filters whereas the compact Sigma f2 and Sony 1.eight use 58 and 55mm filters respectively.

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Above: When it comes to focusing, the Sigma 35 1.Four is pretty swift, though like most Sigma lenses I’ve examined there’s a visual contrast-based hunt at every finish to substantiate. Set the physique to steady AFC although and the focusing is far sooner. Compared, the Sony 35 1.4 (additionally in AFS mode on the Alpha 1) is visibly snappier than the Sigma, though once more when set to AFC, each lenses centered at the same pace. That mentioned, Sony doesn’t at all times help its quickest burst speeds with third get together lenses when utilizing steady autofocus. On the Alpha 1, the 35 1.Four G Grasp was in a position to shoot at as much as 30fps utilizing the digital shutter with AFC, whereas the Sigma 35 1.Four slowed to between 12 and 14fps in my exams, giving me roughly half as many frames to play with. Now that’s nonetheless numerous photos, however if you happen to’re shopping for a Sony physique for the quick burst speeds, verify for lens restrictions.

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Above: Let’s transfer onto optical high quality now, beginning with a portrait with the Sigma 35 1.Four at f1.Four on the Alpha 1 utilizing eye detection.

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Above: Taking a better look reveals sharp particulars round my eyes in addition to engaging easy rendering within the background – an enchancment over the previous DSLR model of the lens which regularly suffered from busy bokeh. Considered in isolation you’d be pleased with this outcome, however I’ve three extra to point out you.

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Above: Beginning with the cheaper Sigma 35 f2 on the precise at f2, the place you possibly can see it’s rather less crisp on the centered areas of my eyes, whereas the areas within the background are clearly much less blurred and extra distinct because of the slower f2 aperture. So the pricier 35 1.Four unsurprisingly wins this pairing.

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Above: However now let’s change to the Sony 35 1.Four G Grasp on the precise at f1.Four the place it’s clear the Sony is delivering a lot crisper particulars with greater distinction too. It nearly appears just like the Sigma on the left is a bit of out-of-focus however I reshot this a number of occasions and selected the most effective examples for every lens, and as you’ll see in a second, this efficiency is mirrored in my different exams too. When it comes to background rendering, they’ve barely totally different kinds however look equally good to me, however by way of centered element and distinction, the Sony is solely higher at f1.Four and it additionally delivered a better hit price on focusing than the Sigma. However then it’s additionally $500 dearer.

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Above: And eventually for the Sigma 35 1.2 on the precise at f1.2, delivering a extra magnified view because of its barely longer precise focal size. However look past the dimensions distinction and once more it’s simple to see how this dearer lens is crisper on the main points, related in actual fact to the Sony though missing its final distinction right here. In the meantime the marginally better magnification and barely sooner aperture are delivering barely larger bokeh blobs which are arguably the smoothest of the 4 lenses. A powerful outcome for the Sigma 1.2, though it’s by far the largest of the 4 lenses and the costliest too, a complete $600 greater than the Sigma 35 1.4. Plus the upper value didn’t enhance the AF consistency over the Sigma 1.4, with the Sony delivering the most effective hit-rate, not less than in my exams on the Alpha 1.

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Above: Now for bokeh blobs and in my video I run by means of your complete aperture vary of the Sigma 35 1.Four from f1.Four to f16, taken from near its minimal focusing distance of 30cm. Right here you possibly can see the brand new lens places to relaxation the bokeh demons of its predecessor, now delivering engaging and well-behaved bokeh blobs with minimal outlining and barely no textures inside. Certain there’s inevitable rugby balls within the corners on the most aperture, however shut it even by one cease and so they largely develop into round whereas the 11-bladed diaphragm maintains a pleasant largely rounded form at f2.eight and f4. The geometric form turns into extra apparent at smaller apertures however general I’m very pleased with these outcomes.

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Above: Okay now for a comparability on the most apertures of every lens, all shot from the identical distance, beginning with the extra reasonably priced Sigma 35 f2 on the precise the place there’s a dramatic distinction within the measurement of the bokeh blobs. Wanting intently, the blobs on the f2 model on the precise are additionally a bit of extra textured than the 1.Four on the left. I ought to say the Sigma 35 f2 is definitely fairly good in its class, nevertheless it’s up towards a number of the greatest right here.

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Above: Subsequent up the Sony 35 1.Four G Grasp at f1.Four which is delivering similarly-sized blobs to the Sigma 35 1.Four that are additionally largely bereft of textures inside – notice any dots on the Sony blobs are attributable to some mud on the lens, sorry. The Sony blobs even have much less outlining which can have you ever preferring one outcome over the opposite, however each lenses listed below are rendering very engaging blurred areas – a great outcome for the Sigma given its cheaper value, though notice the Sony can focus a bit nearer, permitting it to ship larger blobs if you happen to choose.

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Above: And eventually the Sigma 35 1.2 on the precise at 1.2, delivering the biggest bokeh blobs of all of them from the identical distance once more because of its barely longer precise focal size coupled with the marginally sooner 1.2 aperture. Each lenses present a bit of outlining which you’ll or could not like, and arguably the 1.2 blobs have barely extra seen textures inside, however I’d be delighted with both – so once more a great outcome for the brand new 35 1.Four given its lower cost.

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Above: On the small-end of the aperture scale, right here’s a fast take a look at diffraction spikes on the Sigma 35 1.Four at its minimal aperture of f16. UK skies could be fairly hazy, so this isn’t going to be as crisp as different climates, nevertheless it bodes effectively for sunstars and night time cityscapes alike.

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Above: One final close-up check with every lens centered as shut as it will enable when set to handbook and with the apertures wide-open. Right here’s the Sigma 35 1.Four from about 30cm away the place it’s reproducing 162mm throughout the body. It’s pretty sharp within the center however turns into fairly smooth on the edges the place I wanted to cease it right down to f4 to f5.6 for a great outcome on the extremes.

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Above: For comparability, I’ll put the Sigma 35 1.Four on the high and begin with the Sigma 35 f2 on the backside the place the cheaper lens is reproducing 170mm throughout the body, fractionally lower than the 35 1.4, though the extra attention-grabbing side is how the 35 f2 is a bit of sharper on the far edges however dips a bit of in sharpness across the APSC edges. I’ve seen this earlier than on some lenses and it’s at all times value checking sharpness round this mid level in addition to within the center and the perimeters.

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Above: Now for the Sony 35 1.Four G Grasp on the backside the place it’s reproducing 134mm throughout the body, delivering the best magnification on this foursome, though you will want to manually focus from this distance. Extra importantly although it’s crisper within the center and whereas it softens in the direction of the perimeters, it’s nonetheless forward of the Sigma 1.4.

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Above: And eventually the Sigma 35 1.2 on the backside, reproducing 165mm throughout the body, making all three Sigma lenses related on this regard. The Sigma 1.2 is nonetheless sharper than the 1.Four within the center and maintains this nearer to the perimeters too – and keep in mind this was shot at f1.2 as effectively. All 4 lenses enhance their edge sharpness when closed, however the two most costly fashions are already wonderful out of the gate.

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Above: And now for my distant panorama scene, taken with the Alpha 1 and angled as at all times in order that particulars run proper into the corners the place the lenses wrestle probably the most; I used the default Lens Correction settings which on the Alpha 1 has Distortion set to Off. I’m beginning with the Sigma 35 1.Four at f1.Four the place I needed to manually focus for the most effective outcome.

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Above: Taking a better look within the center exhibits a good quantity of element, though at f1.Four it’s missing the final word crispness and distinction of higher-end lenses just like the Sony GM or Sigma 1.2.

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Above: Cease it down even a bit of although and also you’ll acquire sharpness and distinction with the lens peaking round f4 to f5.6.

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Above: shifting into the nook exhibits some darkening attributable to vignetting and once more some softness when the aperture is wide-open.

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Above: As you shut the aperture this improves rapidly, and once more the most effective result’s round f4 to f5.6 right here.

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Above: Now for a comparability within the center with the Sigma 35 1.Four on the left and the Sigma 35 f2 on the precise, each at their most apertures and zoomed-in for a better look the place they’re each wanting fairly related.

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Above: Shifting into the far nook additionally exhibits the same outcome after they’re at their most apertures and coincidentally each lenses seize nearly precisely the identical subject of view – keep in mind simply because the mannequin quotes the identical focal size, doesn’t imply the protection shall be an identical in observe.

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Above: Subsequent on the precise is the Sony 35 1.Four G Grasp, with each lenses at f1.Four and you’ll clearly see how the Sony is delivering crisper particulars and better distinction, avoiding the gentle softening impact of the Sigma when capturing at their most apertures – plus I might obtain this outcome utilizing autofocus.

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Above: The Sony maintains this lead throughout the body, though when you’re wanting within the far corners, a number of the profit is misplaced attributable to darkening from vignetting. Be aware the Sony 35 1.Four captures a barely smaller field-of-view than the Sigma 35 1.4, maybe attributable to some geometric correction happening. Be aware the Sigma lens exhibited some barrel distortion at distant focus or pincushion close-up, each of which could be diminished with Distortion Compensation on the digicam set to Auto.

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Above: And eventually on the precise is the Sigma 35 1.2 at f1.2 and just like the 1.Four mannequin on the left, manually centered for the most effective outcome; I discovered each lenses generally barely missed optimum deal with the Alpha 1 when autofocusing wide-open whether or not in AFS or AFC. Wanting intently within the center exhibits the 1.2 lens on the precise delivering crisper particulars and better distinction, identical to the Sony within the earlier comparability. In some earlier exams I discovered the Sigma 1.2 often missing, however it could have been right down to lower than optimum focusing. Get it spot-on and this lens can ship the products, however chances are you’ll want to modify from auto to handbook focus to realize it.

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Above: Shifting into the nook exhibits the Sigma 1.2 struggling extra from vignetting, however look by means of it and also you’ll see it impressively sustaining sharpness throughout the body – and keep in mind that is with the aperture wide-open. Be aware the Sigma 35 1.2 is delivering a barely narrower subject of view than the opposite 4 lenses, and might be nearer to round 38mm. I’m glad I’m in a position to present this lens at its sharpest right here, however once more it struggled to carry out persistently in my exams with the Alpha 1 in autofocus.

Earlier than wrapping-up my evaluation, just a few notes for the videographers on the market. Similar to for stills, 35mm is a perfect general-purpose size for filming, wide-enough to squeeze in larger scenes, however not so large to undergo from distortion. Film autofocus is easy, quiet and hassle-free with not one of the looking of AFS in stills, nor any points with accuracy or repeatability. That mentioned, it’s not a difficulty with the opposite three lenses both.

Focus respiratory is nonetheless a difficulty for the Sigma 35 1.Four which visibly reduces the sector of view as you focus from infinity to the closest distance of round 30cm. It nearly seems as if the lens is zooming-in and this may be distracting when pulling focus for video. You might also discover some barrel distortion at infinity regularly turning into pincushion on the closest distance, though enabling Distortion Compensation within the Alpha 1 menus can appropriate this for stills or video. It’s not alone in focus respiratory points although. The Sigma 35 f2 will not be fairly as dangerous because the 1.4, nevertheless it’s not far off both.

In the meantime Sony’s 35 1.Four G Grasp, regardless of acing nearly each check, is definitely the worst behaved by way of respiratory. Right here the discount within the subject of view is larger than the Sigma 35 1.4, though not by an enormous quantity. The winner of this explicit foursome by way of respiratory is the Sigma 35 1.2 which can present a light discount within the subject of view and require fairly a flip of the focusing ring to get from far to close and again once more, however it’s the mildest offender by way of respiratory right here.

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