A 24-70mm f/2.8 lens is a staple in a high percentage of photographers' kits, and Sigma's 24-70mm f/2.8 DG DN Art Lens has the additional properties required to make it a #1 seller at B&H.
This lens is well built, nicely designed, optically excellent, and very reasonably priced. That the focal length range and wide aperture combination is so useful means that this lens will often be mounted, making its value very high.
The focal length range (or individual focal lengths for prime lenses) is a primary consideration for a lens purchase or selection for use. Focal length matters greatly because it drives focus distance choices, and perspective is determined by those distances. Most subjects can be photographed with any focal length, but not all angles of view provided by those focal lengths are practical from a working distance perspective, and they do not all provide the ideal perspective when the desired subject framing is obtained. For example, photographing a group of 15 people with a 600mm lens requires a working distance that might require a large sports field to keep all group members in the frame, and a phone may be required to communicate with them.
The wide-angle through short telephoto 24-70mm focal length range covers a huge range of general-purpose needs, making it an ideal option for photographing a vast range of subjects. This is the type of lens that you can take when you are not sure which focal lengths you will need and usually, it will be found to be the right choice.
The 24-70mm range is great for photographing people, and it is ideal for portraits, weddings, parties, events, family gatherings, documentaries, interviews, lifestyle, theater, fashion, studio portraiture, candids, and even some sports. Use 70mm for head and shoulders portraits and the wider end for group portraits and environmental imagery.
This lens is a perfect choice for media and photojournalistic needs. It is a great option for street photography.
This lens is an excellent choice for landscape and cityscape photography with ideal compositions waiting for every focal length available in this lens. It is not difficult to create compelling landscape compositions using the 24mm perspective, allowing emphasis on a foreground subject against an in-focus background, providing the viewer a sense of presence in the scene. At the other end of the range, 70mm works great for mildly-compressed landscapes featuring distant subjects such as mountains.
With a wide aperture, this lens is attractive for photographing the night sky with the 24mm end being of most interest in that regard.
This lens is well-suited for commercial photography, and the wide end of the range is ready to capture exterior architecture and larger interior spaces. Cityscapes, countrysides, flowers, medium and large products, and much more are on this lens' capabilities list.
Following are examples of this focal length range:
APS-C imaging sensor format cameras utilize a smaller portion of the image circle, framing a scene more tightly. The Sony field of view crop factor is 1.5x, with the 24-70mm range providing a 36-105mm full-frame angle of view equivalent. This angle of view has greater value for portraiture while foregoing some of the best landscape angles.
As of review time, very few zoom lenses have a maximum aperture opening wider than this one, and only one of those covers most of this lens' focal length range. A wide aperture is a big feature advantage this lens holds.
Wide apertures are useful for stopping action, both that of the subject and that of the camera, in low light levels while keeping ISO settings low. While having an f/2.8 aperture may not be greatly advantageous from ISO and shutter speed perspectives when photographing under bright light (daylight, for example), the story is different in low light scenarios.
Wide apertures benefit AF systems, enabling them to work better in low light environments. Even when photographing under bright light conditions, wide apertures are useful for creating a strong background blur that makes a subject cleanly stand out, isolated from even highly distracting backgrounds.
Here is an example of the maximum background blur this lens can produce at the specified focal lengths:
Remember that wide-angle lenses render the background details smaller in size? That includes the background blur. Still, this lens can create a strong amount of background blur, even at 24mm.
A disadvantage of a wide aperture is the required increased physical size of the lens elements that come with heavier weight and higher cost. This lens keeps especially that last factor in check.
The Sigma 24-70mm f/2.8 DG DN Art Lens is not optically stabilized, but Sony generally takes care of that omission with Steady Shot or IBIS (In-Body Image Stabilization). On a traditional DSLR with an optical viewfinder, IBIS results in an unstabilized view, meaning that stabilization was not helpful for composition or for providing a still subject to the camera's AF system. With EVFs being prevalent in Sony's compatible E-mount lineup, the viewfinder image is directly from the imaging sensor, which is stabilized. Therefore, the viewfinder image is very nicely stabilized, and sensor-based AF takes advantage of the stabilized view for improved accuracy.
With no IS switch on the lens, the camera menu must be used to enable or disable IBIS, an additional step that is annoying when speed is important such as when going from tripod to handheld.
Best-selling lenses usually reach that status in part because they have excellent optical performance. This lens checks that box.
Sharpness, a combination of contrast and resolution, is a primary optical quality we are interested in. Photographers want, minimally, the option of keeping their subjects sharp.
In the center of the frame, this lens is very sharp wide-open throughout the entire focal length range. At the focal length extents, very minor sharpness increase is realized by selecting a narrower aperture. In the midrange, stopping down brings on more noticeable sharpness increase, at least at closer distances.
In lens designs, light rays are increasingly bent as the image circle radius increases, and peripheral performance seldom matches the center of the frame performance. In this case, f/2.8 peripheral results at the wide and long ends are very good, and the midrange performance is only modestly lower. Modest sharpness improvement is brought on by selecting a narrower aperture.
Next, let's view some real-world examples. Below you will find sets of 100% resolution center of the frame crops captured in uncompressed RAW format using a Sony a7R III. The images were processed in Capture One using the Natural Clarity method with the sharpening amount set to only "30" on a 0-1000 scale. Note that even modestly-high sharpness settings are destructive to image details, hiding the true characteristics of a lens.
All of these results look excellent.
In some lens designs, the plane of sharp focus can move forward or backward as a narrower aperture is selected. This effect is called focus shift (residual spherical aberration or RSA), it is seldom (never?) desired, and this lens does not exhibit such.
Next, we'll look at a comparison showing 100% extreme-top-left-corner crops captured and processed identically to the above center-of-the-frame images. The lens was manually focused in the corner of the frame to capture these images.
Right, the 40mm results are missing. I didn't catch a problem with the test images until the lens was gone. Use the image quality test chart for the midrange results. Expect 40mm to provide performance similar to what is seen above.
Samples taken from the outer extreme of the image circle, full-frame corners in this case, can be counted on to show the worst performance a lens is capable of. The 24mm results are impressive, and the 70mm results are not bad.
Corner sharpness does not always matter, but it does matter for many disciplines, including landscape and architecture photography. This lens is a great choice for those purposes.
When used on a camera that utilizes a lens's entire image circle, peripheral shading can be expected at the widest aperture settings. At 24mm, expect about 3-stops of shading in the extreme full-frame corners. The shading improves slightly at the longer focal lengths, with about 2-stops of darkening in the extreme corners. Vignetting continuously clears as the aperture is narrowed, but the per-stop reduction is low. At f/16, a relatively strong about-1.6-stops of shading remains in the 24mm corners. The longer focal lengths again fare better with about 0.5-stops remaining at 70mm f/16.
APS-C format cameras using lenses projecting a full-frame-sized image circle avoid vignetting problems with this lens.
One-stop of shading is the amount often used as the visibility number, though subject details provide a widely varying amount of vignetting discernibility. Vignetting is correctable during post-processing with increased noise in the brightened areas being the penalty, or it can be embraced, using the effect to draw the viewer's eye to the center of the frame. Study the pattern showing in our vignetting test tool to determine how your images will be affected.
The effect of different colors of the spectrum being magnified differently is referred to as lateral (or transverse) CA (Chromatic Aberration). Lateral CA shows as color fringing along lines of strong contrast running tangential (meridional, right angles to radii) with the mid and especially the periphery of the image circle showing the most significant amount as this is where the most significant difference in the magnification of wavelengths typically exists.
With the right lens profile and software, lateral CA is often easily correctable (often in the camera) by radially shifting the colors to coincide. However, it is always better not to have the problem in the first place. Any color misalignment present can easily be seen in the site's image quality tool, but let's also look at a set of worst-case examples. These are 100% crops from the extreme top left corner of ultra-high-resolution Sony a7R IV frames showing diagonal black and white lines.
There should only be black and white colors in these images, with the additional colors indicating the presence of lateral CA. Not unusual is for a zoom lens to have noticeable color separation in the corners at the focal length extremes (with the fringing colors being reversed) with mid-range focal lengths showing little lateral CA. The color shift crossover (colors aligning and then reversing) happens at approximately 40mm where little color shift is seen.
A relatively common lens aberration is axial (longitudinal, bokeh) CA, which causes non-coinciding focal planes of the various wavelengths of light, or more simply, different colors of light are focused to different depths. Spherical aberration along with spherochromatism, or a change in the amount of spherical aberration with respect to color (looks quite similar to axial chromatic aberration but is hazier) are other common lens aberrations to observe. Axial CA remains at least somewhat persistent when stopping down with the color misalignment effect increasing with defocusing. The spherical aberration color halo shows little size change as the lens is defocused, and stopping down one to two stops generally removes this aberration.
In the real world, lens defects do not exist in isolation with spherical aberration and spherochromatism generally found, at least to some degree, along with axial CA. These combine to create a less sharp, hazy-appearing image quality at the widest apertures.
In the examples below, look at the fringing colors in the out of focus specular highlights. Created by the neutrally-colored subjects, fringing color differences were introduced by the lens.
The 24mm and 35mm examples show modest color separation. The 50mm results show strong color separation, and the 70mm results show very strong color separation.
Flare and ghosting are caused by bright light reflecting off the surfaces of lens elements, resulting in reduced contrast and sometimes-interesting artifacts. Sigma utilizes Super Multi-Layer and Nano Porous Coatings to combat these issues. With a wide-open aperture, this lens shows very minor flare effects in our sun in the corner of the frame test. F/16 usually brings on stronger flaring, and this lens indeed shows more flare effects at this narrow aperture. Still, the amount is not strong.
Flare effects can be embraced or avoided, or removal can be attempted. Removal is sometimes very challenging, and in some cases, flare effects can be quite destructive to image quality.
Two lens aberrations that are particularly evident when shooting images of stars, mainly because bright points of light against a dark background make them easier to see. Coma occurs when light rays from a point of light spread out from that point, instead of being refocused as a point on the sensor. Coma is absent in the center of the frame, gets worse toward the edges/corners, and generally appears as a comet-like or triangular tail of light which can be oriented either away from the center of the frame (external coma), or toward the center of the frame (internal coma). Coma clears as the aperture is narrowed. Astigmatism is seen as points of light spreading into a line, either meridional (radiating from the center of the image) or sagittal (perpendicular to meridional). Remember that lateral CA is another aberration apparent in the corners.
The images below are 100% crops taken from the top-left corner of a7R III frames.
While these results are not unusual for a lens in this class, they are not great.
This is a standard zoom lens, and the standard zoom lens geometric distortion statement holds. This lens has barrel distortion at the wide end that transitions into negligible distortion (at just wider than 35mm) and on into pincushion distortion at the long end. The amount of barrel distortion at 24mm is moderate, with a strong bulge in the central portion of the frame. The pincushion distortion at 50mm through 70mm is moderately strong. These amounts are not unusual for this class of lens.
Most modern lenses have lens correction profiles available, and distortion can easily be removed using these. Still, distortion correction is destructive at the pixel level as some portion of the image must be stretched, or the overall dimensions reduced.
The amount of blur a lens can produce is easy to show, and as seen earlier in the review, this lens can create a strong blur. Assessing the quality is more challenging due in part to the infinite number of variables present among all available scenes. Here are some f/11 (for aperture blade interaction) examples.
The first set of examples show defocused highlights. These are being rendered especially circularly, though the fill seems slightly mottled. The second set show 100% crops from outdoor scenes, results that appear nice.
Except for a small number of specialty lenses, the wide aperture bokeh in the corner of the frame does not produce round defocused highlights with these effects taking on a cat's eye shape due to a form of mechanical vignetting. If you look through a tube at an angle, similar to the light reaching the corner of the frame, the shape is not round. That is the shape seen here.
The 24mm corner element truncation is relatively strong, while the 40mm and 70mm results show only the deep corner highlights being unrounded. As the aperture narrows, the entrance pupil size is reduced, and the mechanical vignetting absolves with the shapes becoming rounder.
With a very high 11-blade count aperture, point light sources captured with a narrow aperture setting and showing a sunstar effect will have 22 points. In general, the more a lens is stopped down, the larger and better-shaped the sunstars tend to be. Wide aperture lenses tend to be advantaged in this regard, and for that reason, I often select a wider aperture lens than is required by other constraints. This lens can produce beautiful stars.
The examples above were captured at f/16. In general, the wider the focal length used on a fixed max aperture zoom lens, the larger and better shaped the sunstars are due to the aperture opening being made considerably smaller at 24mm than at 70mm to achieve the same aperture setting.
The design of this lens is illustrated above and described below.
"As extra-low dispersion glass materials, six sheets of “F” low dispersion (FLD) glass and two sheets of special low dispersion (SLD) glass are lavishly employed while taking advantage of an optical design dedicated for mirrorless lenses. By employing three aspheric lenses, this zoom lens thoroughly subdues aberrations such as axial chromatic aberration or sagittal coma aberrations, which are difficult to correct in post-processing, tailors the resolution and achieves uniformity and superior optical performance from the center to the periphery throughout the zoom range." [Sigma]
While the color fringing is strong at the long end, and lateral CA, vignetting, coma, and distortion results are only average. Yasuhiro Ohsone (Head of Product Planning, SIGMA) mentions, "Leaving distortion correction and vignetting reduction to the camera’s image processing allows us to focus on a higher effectiveness of other optical corrections and have more liberty in our optical design." The sharp images produced by this lens overshadow the other issues, resulting in a very-high-performing lens.
Sigma describes the AF system in this lens: "Employing a stepping motor and the latest algorithm successfully establishes a good balance between acceleration and quietness of the AF drive."
This lens focuses with good speed, aside from the a7R III and IV insisting on defocusing before refocusing in AF-S mode. Accuracy is a key factor for AF, and accuracy is what this lens delivers.
Sigma provides an AFL (AF Lock) button. While in continuous focus mode, this button can be pressed to lock focus at the currently selected focus distance, permitting a focus and recompose technique. This button also acts as a custom button (C5) and can be programmed to another function using the camera's menu.
FTM (Full Time Manual) focusing is supported in Sony's DMF (Direct Manual Focus) AF mode.
Normal is for the scene to change size in the frame (sometimes significantly) as the focus is pulled from one extent to the other, referred to as focus breathing, a change in focal length resulting from a change in focus distance. Focus breathing negatively impacts photographers intending to use focus stacking techniques, videographers pulling focus, and anyone very-critically framing while adjusting focus. This lens shows a moderate change in subject size as full extent focus adjustments are made at the wide end, but minor size change is observed at the long end.
A focus distance window is not provided, but a focus distance meter shows in the lower portion of the camera's electronic viewfinder during manual focusing.
While it can be an individual lens-specific attribute, parfocal-like behavior is a characteristic of the reviewed lens. When focused at 70mm and zoomed to 24mm, the subject remained at least very close to sharply focused.
The Sigma 24-70mm f/2.8 DG DN Art Lens provides a large focus ring, ideally positioned toward the front of the lens. This strongly-rubber-ribbed ring is raised slightly from the lens barrel, making it easy to find. With 320° of nicely-resisted rotation provided, this electronic manual focus ring is easy to adjust precisely.
With a minimum focus distance of 7.1" (180mm), this lens's 0.34x maximum magnification spec does not disappoint.
|Canon RF 24-70mm F2.8 L IS USM Lens||8.3"||(210mm)||0.30x|
|Nikon Z 24-70mm f/2.8 S Lens||15.0"||(380mm)||0.22x|
|Sigma 24-70mm f/2.8 DG DN Art Lens||7.1"||(180mm)||0.34x|
|Sony FE 24-70mm f/2.8 GM Lens||15.0"||(380mm)||0.24x|
|Tamron 28-75mm f/2.8 Di III RXD Lens||7.5"||(190mm)||0.34x|
At 24mm, a subject measuring approximately 4.0 x 2.7" (102 x 68mm) fills the frame of a full-frame camera at the minimum focus distance. At 70mm, an approximately 5.25 x 3.5" (133 x 89mm) subject fills the frame at the minimum focus distance.
The minimum focus distance is measured from the imaging sensor plane with the balance of the camera, lens, and lens hood length taking their space out of the number to create the working distance. At the minimum focus distance at 70mm, there is plenty of working distance, but at 24mm, the plane of sharp focus is behind the lens hood. Removing the hood is required for using the minimum focus distance at 24mm, but the lens will usually affect the subject lighting.
Need a shorter minimum focus distance and higher magnification? An extension tube mounted behind this lens should provide a very significant decrease and increase, respectively. That is if there is still room between the lens and the subject — certain to be an issue at the wide end.
Extension tubes are hollow lens barrels that shift a lens farther from the camera, allowing shorter focusing distances at the expense of long-distance focusing. Electronic connections in the extension tubes permit the lens and camera to communicate and otherwise function as normal. Sigma does not publish extension tube specs, nor do they manufacture these items, but third-party Sony-mount extension tubes are available.
This lens is not compatible with Sigma or Sony teleconverters.
Sigma's Art series lenses all have excellent build quality and good looks to match.
The sharply-rubber-ribbed zoom ring is nicely sized, easy to find, and smooth to use. The barrel extends 1.27" (32.2mm) at 70mm, with the extended barrel having no noticeable play. The end of the barrel contributes significantly to the maximum width of this lens.
An AF/MF switch is provided along with the previously mentioned AFL button on a modestly-raised panel. A zoom lock switch is provided below the panel, enabling the lens to be locked in its fully retracted size.
"The lens adapts to various uses and usage environments through employment of the dust- and splash-proof structure." [Sigma]
Lenses in this class have (mostly) similar size and weight. These are not especially small or light models, but they are not uncomfortable to use for extended shoots or to carry in a pack or case. The Tamron option is the outlier in this comparison.
|Model||Weight oz(g)||Dimensions w/o Hood "(mm)||Filter||Year|
|Canon RF 24-70mm F2.8 L IS USM Lens||31.8||(900)||3.5 x 4.9||(88.5 x 125.7)||82||2019|
|Nikon Z 24-70mm f/2.8 S Lens||28.4||(805)||3.5 x 5.0||(89.0 x 126.0)||82||2019|
|Sigma 24-70mm f/2.8 DG DN Art Lens||29.5||(835)||3.5 x 4.8||(87.8 x 122.9)||82||2019|
|Sony FE 24-70mm f/2.8 GM Lens||31.3||(886)||3.4 x 5.4||(87.6 x 136.0)||82||2016|
|Tamron 28-75mm f/2.8 Di III RXD Lens||19.4||(550)||2.9 x 4.6||(73.0 x 117.8)||67||2018|
For many more comparisons, review the complete Sigma 24-70mm f/2.8 DG DN Art Lens Specifications using the site's lens specifications tool.
Yes: My knuckles slightly impact the barrel of this lens when using the Sony a7R IV.
Here is a visual comparison:
Positioned above from left to right are the following lenses aligned on their mounts:
Tamron 28-75mm f/2.8 Di III RXD Lens
Sigma 24-70mm f/2.8 DG DN Art Lens
Canon RF 24-70mm F2.8 L IS USM Lens
Nikon Z 24-70mm f/2.8 S Lens
Sony FE 24-70mm f/2.8 GM Lens
The same lenses are shown below with their hoods in place.
Use the site's product image comparison tool to visually compare the Sigma 24-70mm f/2.8 DG DN Art Lens to other lenses.
The Sigma is modestly smaller than the Sony, but noticeably larger than the Tamron.
The 82mm filter thread size is nearly standard for this class of lens. While 82mm filters are rather large and expensive, they have become quite common and can be adapted to most other filter thread sizes. A standard thickness circular polarizer filter will increase peripheral shading. Opt for a slim model such as the Breakthrough Photography X4.
We can count on Sigma to include the lens hood in the box, and this lens comes with the substantial LH878-03 lens hood model. This is a semi-rigid plastic petal-shaped hood with a ribbed interior designed to avoid reflections. A thin ribbed ring and rubberized rear section are provided for easy grip, with the push button making installation and removal easy. This hood offers a good amount of protection from both impact and, especially at wide focal lengths, from bright light.
Sigma provides a nice zippered, padded nylon case in the box.
At roughly half the price of the Sony equivalent, and with solid overall build and performance, the Sigma 24-70mm f/2.8 DG DN Art Lens is a great value. It is not surprising that this lens is a #1 bestseller.
The Sigma 24-70mm f/2.8 DG DN Art Lens is compatible with all Sony E-mount mirrorless ("DN") cameras, including both full-frame ("DG") and APS-C sensor format models, and a Leica L-mount version is also available. Sigma provides a limited 1-year limited warranty, and Sigma USA provides a limited 3-year warranty extension.
The reviewed Sigma 24-70mm f/2.8 DG DN Art Lens was online-retail sourced.
It seems that the most logical lens to compare the Sigma 24-70mm f/2.8 DG DN Art Lens to is the Sony FE 24-70mm f/2.8 GM Lens, pitting flagship models from the two brands together.
In the image quality comparison, the Sigma is sharper in the center of the frame throughout much of the focal length range and sharper in the periphery at 70mm. The Sigma lens shows slightly fewer flare effects. The Sony lens has less barrel distortion at 24mm but stronger pincushion distortion over the mid and long focal lengths.
Looking at the specs and measurements, the Sigma 24-70mm f/2.8 DG DN Art Lens vs. Sony FE 24-70mm f/2.8 GM Lens comparison shows the Sigma lens weighing very slightly less and measuring a small amount less in length. The Sigma lens has 11 aperture blades vs. 9. The Sigma lens has a shorter minimum focus distance, 7.09" vs. 14.96" (180mm vs. 380mm), and generates a higher maximum magnification, 0.34x vs. 0.24x.
I find it difficult to justify spending twice as much for the Sony lens.
The Tamron 28-75mm f/2.8 Di III RXD Lens is another high-performing, high-value Sony-mount lens in this class. Optically, the Sigma and Tamron lenses perform very similarly. In the image quality comparison, it is challenging to determine a winner. The Tamron lens has modestly less peripheral shading at 24mm when stopped down to f/11.
Looking at the specs and measurements, the Sigma 24-70mm f/2.8 DG DN Art Lens vs. Tamron 28-75mm f/2.8 Di III RXD Lens comparison shows the Tamron lens being considerably lighter and narrower. Along with being narrower comes a smaller filter size, with the Tamron requiring 67mm filters vs. 82mm filters. The Tamron lens shifts the focal length range to slightly longer numbers, and I expect that most will miss the 24-27mm range more than they will appreciate the 71-75mm range. The Sigma lens appears to have a stronger construction. The Tamron lens has a noticeably lower price to its strong advantage.
Use the site's comparison tools to create more comparisons.
"The F2.8 Art zoom flagship zoom lens series is developed primarily to achieve superior optical performance." [Sigma] Most photographers can appreciate that goal, and it appears that the goal has been accomplished.
The Sigma 24-70mm f/2.8 DG DN Art Lens is a great all-around lens choice for the Sony and Leica mounts. The focal length range encompasses the most-used angles of view. This lens is well built and functions as beautifully as it looks. While some color fringing at the long end, vignetting at the wide end, and distortion have an impact, this lens produces very sharp imagery. The low price seals the deal.
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