Nearly nine years prior to the release of the Sigma 35mm f/1.4 DG DN Art Lens, Sigma introduced the Sigma 35mm f/1.4 DG HSM Art Lens, "HSM" vs. "DN" in case you missed the minor naming difference. This DSLR lens brought affordability to the ultra-popular 35mm focal length and extreme-wide aperture combination without forsaking nearly best-available image quality. This lens met immediate and long-term success.
With the popularity of Sony Alpha mirrorless cameras increasing rapidly, Sigma first provided Sony FE mount compatibility to the original 35mm f/1.4 DG HSM Art Lens via the Mount Converter MC-11 and then released an FE-mount version of this lens.
Next on Sigma's 35mm to-do list was to design directly for the mirrorless lens mount, releasing two DN lenses. The Sigma 35mm f/1.2 DG DN Art Lens brought us an incredibly wide aperture while delivering impressive image quality, and the Sigma 35mm f/2 DG DN Contemporary Lens took us to the other end of the size, weight, and price scale.
The Sigma 35mm f/1.4 DG DN Art Lens we are reviewing here is a return to the original value proposition, this time designed for the mirrorless mount along with a roll-up of nine years of optical design improvements. The 35mm focal length is extraordinarily useful, the ultra-wide aperture is ready for the darkest events and for blurring the background into submission, and the price of this lens is highly attractive. The success of this lens model seems assured.
The which lens to review next question is typically answered by demand and availability. Interestingly, the same specced Sony FE 35mm f/1.4 GM Lens was the previous model to go through the lab. As the focal length is the same, I'll share a copy of the 35mm focal length description from that review.
How popular is the 35mm focal length? Counting the number of 35mm prime lenses currently available at B&H gives us a strong indication. Hint: the number is much higher than you expected and is perhaps only exceeded by the ubiquitous 50mm models. Sony currently offers four 35mm lens models.
Why choose a 35mm lens? That this moderately wide angle of view invites a subject distance that creates a natural perspective and makes the viewer feel present in the image is one reason. This focal length is wide enough to capture the big scene but not so wide that people and other subjects are readily distorted by the close perspective invited by ultra-wide angles. It is often easy to sneaker zoom to the right distance to get the ideal 35mm subject framing.
The 35mm focal length has great general-purpose use, making it an ideal choice to leave on the camera for whatever needs arise. I often press whatever lens I'm reviewing into the around-the-house, walk-around, general-purpose lens role, and 35mm works superbly for this purpose. Leave this lens mounted and ready for use.
For similar reasons, the 35mm focal length has long been a top choice for photojournalists. Wedding photographers, who work in some of the darkest venues to be found, also frequently use 35mm lenses. Portrait photographers like the 35mm focal length for full to mid-body portraits and for group portraits. This is a great lens to take for a walk with your friends.
The 35mm angle of view is inviting for street photography. Landscape photographers have plenty of uses for the 35mm focal length.
Sports photographers able to get close to their subjects (such as basketball shot from over or under the net) or wanting to capture a wider/environmental view of their events appreciate this focal length. The angle of view invited by 35mm can make action figures large in the frame.
Parents love 35mm lenses for capturing their indoor events, and most pets will let you get close enough to capture a nice perspective with such a lens. 35mm is popular with videographers, especially for documentary work. Many medium and large products are ideally captured at 35mm.
With the ultra-wide f/1.4 aperture available, the night sky is an inviting subject for this lens, and those photographing the night sky frequently target the milky way. The 35mm angle of view is narrower than optimal for that subject, but the heart of the milky way significantly filling the frame is beautiful. Relative to wider focal lengths, 24mm for example, 35mm requires a faster shutter speed to avoid star trails and provides a shallower depth of field, increasing the challenge of including in-focus foreground subjects in a starry sky image.
To visualize where 35mm fits among other common focal lengths, I'll borrow a focal length range example from a zoom lens review.
The full list of 35mm uses is massive and limited only by our imaginations.
On an ASP-C/1.5x sensor format body, the 35mm focal length provides an angle of view similar to a 52.5mm lens on a full-frame sensor format body. This angle of view is essentially the same as 50mm and useful for all applications this extremely popular "normal" focal length is used for. Those uses coincide with most uses of the 35mm focal length with slightly tighter framing or slightly longer perspective for the same framing being the difference.
Again, the f/1.4 aperture is shared by the previously reviewed Sony lens, and I'll include portions of the aperture description from that review.
This lens's f/1.4 max aperture is nearly as wide as it gets at 35mm (the f/1.2 is available), though most major lens manufacturers offer a 35mm lens with an f/1.4 aperture. This wide aperture is a huge advantage.
Use f/1.4 to allow a significant amount of light to reach the imaging sensor. Use that light to enable action (subject and camera) stopping shutter speeds in very low light levels while low ISO settings keep noise levels down. It seems there is always enough light for handholding 35mm at f/1.4.
Another advantage of a wide aperture lens is the background blur it can create. While wide-angle lenses are not able to create the strongest blur, this lens set to f/1.4 with a close subject creates a very shallow DOF, drawing the viewer's eye to the in-focus subject against a smoothly blurred background. Add artistic capabilities to this lens's list of highly-desired features.
The following examples show the maximum blur this Sigma lens can create at the respective aperture setting.
The above f/1.4 example illustrates the maximum blur this lens can create, and here is another sample:
If you are shooting under a full sun at f/1.4, you will likely need at least 1/8000 sec shutter speeds at ISO 100 to keep the exposure dark enough. Positive is that there is little action that a 1/8000 sec shutter speed cannot stop, but if the subject has very bright or reflective colors, even a 1/8000 sec shutter speed might not be fast enough to avoid blown highlights. Some cameras have an extended ISO setting as low as 50 that can optionally be used in this situation (though the dynamic range may be impacted). Better still is that some cameras have shutter speeds faster than 1/8000 available.
Using a neutral density filter is a good solution to retaining the use of f/1.4 under direct sunlight when the shutter limitation is exceeded, and this is an especially good option for cameras with 1/4000 sec. maximum speeds. Stopping down (narrowing) the aperture is always an option for preventing an image from getting too bright, though stopping down negates the need for the wide f/1.4 aperture, and the subject-isolating shallow depth of field is lost.
This lens features an aperture ring that enables a manually-selected aperture. With the ring in the A (Auto) position, the camera controls the aperture setting. All other settings electronically force the aperture to the chosen opening. A 2-position switch on the bottom left side of the lens toggles the aperture ring between 1/3 stop clicks and smooth, quiet, non-clicked adjustments, ideal for video recording.
Aside from a slightly more complicated design, I find inadvertent aperture changes the primary disadvantage of an aperture ring. Sigma's inclusion of a lock for this ring eliminates that issue.
There are notable drawbacks to lenses that feature very wide maximum apertures. Making wide apertures available requires larger, heavier lens elements, translating into larger, heavier, and more expensive lenses. Regardless, this lens is not large or heavy compared to its peers, and the price tag is quite reasonable.
For most photographers, the benefits of a wide max aperture prime lens far outweigh the drawbacks. Usually, no flash is required.
The Sigma 35mm f/1.4 DG DN Art Lens is not optically stabilized. Sony takes care of that omission with Steady Shot or IBIS (In-Body Image Stabilization) in their mirrorless cameras. In addition to reducing camera shake, the stabilized imaging sensor provides a still viewfinder image, enabling careful composition. 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, a slight impediment to working quickly, going from tripod to handholding, for example.
The first Sigma 35mm Art lens made headlines for its image quality, including usable results at f/1.4. Fast forward nearly a decade, and we see 35mm f/1.4 image quality that noticeably surpasses the original lens's results. The results from the Sigma 35mm f/1.2 DG DN Art Lens and Sony FE 35mm f/1.4 GM Lens are quite obviously superior. The designed for mirrorless optics in the Sigma 35mm f/1.4 DG DN Art Lens take the 35mm f/1.4 Art lens option up to the next image quality level, competing strongly with those two lens options at a considerably lower price point.
In the center of the frame, this lens produces decent sharpness at f/1.4. Only 1/3-stop narrower, the f/1.6 aperture produces a noticeable sharpness improvement, and f/2 delivers razor-sharp results. Only a slight sharpness increase are noticeable at f/2.8, and no improvement is needed.
In general, lenses are not as sharp in the periphery, where light rays are refracted to a stronger angle than in the center. Prime lenses such as this one typically produce sharper corner imagery than zoom lenses, and this one holds that norm, performing well. At f/1.4, peripheral shading hinders contrast, but the resolution is very good. As the shading reduces at narrower apertures, the contrast increases significantly. By f/2.8, the extreme corner performance is excellent, and the f/4 corners are remarkable.
Below you will find sets of 100% resolution center of the frame crops captured in uncompressed RAW format using a Sony Alpha a1. These 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 images from most cameras require some level of sharpening, but too-high sharpness settings are destructive to image details and hide the deficiencies of a lens.
The sharpness improvement at f/2 is quite noticeable, but the f/1.4 results are decent, especially with modest additional sharpening applied. Be sure to find details in the plane of sharp focus for your evaluations.
If present, focus shift, the plane of sharp focus moving forward or backward as the aperture is narrowed (residual spherical aberration or RSA), is often made apparent in such a comparison. Many modern lenses automatically correct for focus shift by adjusting the focus distance (made visible by focus breathing in aperture brackets). I have examples that show most of the f/2 depth of field increase from f/1.4 going to the back, that case does not seem to hold up in the field, and focus shift has not been an issue with this lens.
While capturing test images of the spruce tree, I heard something behind me. I turned to see a small black bear about 15 or 20' (3-5m) away. Apparently the bear wanted a closer look at the Sigma lens.
Next, we'll look at a comparison showing 100% extreme top left, then right, 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.
Samples taken from the outer extreme of the image circle, full-frame corners, can be counted on to show a lens's weakest performance. As mentioned earlier, and as usual, the f/1.4 results are darkened, but details remain well defined. Stop down to decrease the shading, and the corner image quality looks excellent, ready for landscape, architecture, and other discerning needs.
When used on a camera that utilizes a lens's entire image circle, peripheral shading can be expected at the widest aperture settings, and obvious from our discussion, this lens has the expected effect. Wide-angle, ultra-wide aperture lenses tend to show strong peripheral shading wide open, and the about-3.5 stops of shading at f/1.4 is noticeable. Stopping down one stop to f/2 reduces the corner shading by over one stop. At f/2.8, less than two stops of shading remain. The diminishing shading ends at about f/5.6, with just over one stop remaining throughout the balance of the aperture range.
APS-C format cameras using lenses projecting a full-frame-sized image circle avoid most vignetting problems. In this case, the just-over-one stop of shading showing at f/1.4 may be visible in some images, especially those with a solid color (such as a blue sky) showing in the corners.
One stop of shading is 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.
Lateral (or transverse) CA (Chromatic Aberration) refers to the unequal magnification of all colors in the spectrum. 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 to avoid this aberration in the first place.
Color misalignment can easily be seen in the site's image quality tool, but let's also look at a worst-case example. The image below is a 100% crop from the extreme top left corner of a Sony a1 frame showing diagonal black and white lines.
Only black and white colors should appear in these images, with the additional colors indicating a minor presence of lateral CA.
A relatively common lens aberration is axial (longitudinal, bokeh) CA, which causes non-coinciding focal planes of the various wavelengths of light. 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 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.
The examples below look at the defocused specular highlights' fringing colors in the foreground vs. the background. The lens has introduced any fringing color differences from the neutrally-colored subjects.
The color fringing at f/1.4 is very strong, and by f/11, it is essentially gone. Expect to see the color separation in your f/1.4 images, especially those with white subjects, such as a wedding dress.
Bright light reflecting off of lens elements' surfaces may cause flare and ghosting, resulting in reduced contrast and sometimes interesting, usually destructive visual artifacts. The shape, intensity, and position of the flare in an image are variable, dependant on the position and nature of the light source (or sources), selected aperture, shape of the aperture blades, and quantity and quality of the lens elements and their coatings. Sigma utilizes Super Multi-Layer Coating to combat flare in this lens model, and even at f/16, very minimal flare effects are noticeable.
Flare effects can be embraced (there are lenses designed to produce these effects) or avoided, or removal can be attempted. Removal is sometimes challenging, and in some cases, flare effects can be quite damaging to image quality. High flare resistance is a welcomed trait of this lens.
Two lens aberrations 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 sagittal (radiating from the center of the image) or meridional (tangential, perpendicular to sagittal). Remember that Lateral CA is another aberration apparent in the corners.
The image below is a 100% crop taken from the top-right corner of an Alpha a1 frame.
While these stars are not perfect pinpoints, they look very good relative to usual results.
From a geometric distortion standpoint, this lens has modest barrel distortion, with a modest bulge showing in the middle of the frame.
Most modern lenses have correction profiles available (including in-camera), 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.
As shown earlier in the review, it is easy to illustrate the amount of blur a lens can create. Due to the infinite number of variables present among all available scenes, assessing the bokeh quality is considerably more challenging. Here are some f/8 and f/11 (for diaphragm blade interaction) examples.
The first example shows defocused highlights in a 100% crop rendered very nicely, including a smooth fill. The outdoor results are full images reduced in size, and again, looking very nice.
Except for a small number of specialty lenses, the wide aperture bokeh in the frame's corner 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 frame's corner, the shape is not round, and that is the shape seen here.
The wide-open results show moderate corner shape truncation, but the corner shapes quickly become circles as the aperture narrows.
With an 11-blade count diaphragm, point light sources captured with a narrow aperture setting and showing a sunstar effect will have 22 points. In general, the more a lens diaphragm is stopped down, the larger and better-shaped the sunstars tend to be. Wide aperture lenses tend to have an advantage in this regard, and this lens is capable of producing beautiful stars, as illustrated below.
The example above was captured at f/16.
The design of this lens is illustrated below.
"The optical layout incorporates two SLD Special-Low Dispersion, one ELD Extra-Low Dispersion, and one FLD Low Dispersion elements. It also incorporates two aspherical elements and high refractive index elements to achieve a notable degree of clarity and sharpness with well-controlled distortion and aberrations." [B&H]
Overall, the Sigma 35mm f/1.4 DG DN Art Lens is optically a strong performer. The color separation at wide apertures is strong, there is a bit of barrel distortion, and wide-open results are not razor-sharp, but those issues diminish quickly when the price is considered.
The Sigma 35mm f/1.4 DG DN Art Lens utilizes a stepping motor for AF.
This lens internally focuses very quietly. The focus speed is relatively fast, though Sony cameras' normal defocusing prior to focusing increases lock time significantly in AF-S (single shot) mode. The review lens tends to focus slightly behind the subject, indicating minor calibration required.
FTM (Full Time Manual) focusing is supported in Sony's DMF (Direct Manual Focus) mode with the shutter release half-pressed or the AF-ON button pressed.
Sigma provides a customizable AF hold button on this lens. While in continuous focus mode, this button can be pressed to lock focus at the currently selected focus distance, facilitating 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.
Normal is for the scene to change size in the frame 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 big change in subject size as full extent focus adjustments are made.
The rubber-coated, sharp-ribbed focus ring is large in size and, being raised slightly from the lens barrel behind it, is easy to find. This ring rotates very smoothly, has an optimal amount of resistance, imparts change with reasonable smoothness, and the long 990° of slow rotation MF adjusts focusing at a rate that facilitates precise manual focusing even at close distances. Turn the ring fast to go the full extent range in about 190° of rotation
This lens has an AF/MF switch, a feature that is going missing on many modern lenses and one that I appreciate greatly.
With a minimum focus distance of 11.8" (300mm), this lens has a 0.19x maximum magnification spec., a mid-level number that is in line with its peers, of which there are many.
|Canon EF 35mm f/1.4L II USM Lens||11.0"||(280mm)||0.21x|
|Canon RF 35mm F1.8 IS STM Macro Lens||6.7"||(170mm)||0.50x|
|Canon EF 35mm f/2 IS USM Lens||9.4"||(240mm)||0.24x|
|Nikon 35mm f/1.4G AF-S Lens||11.8"||(300mm)||0.20x|
|Nikon Z 35mm f/1.8 S Lens||9.8"||(250mm)||0.19x|
|Nikon 35mm f/1.8G AF-S Lens||9.8"||(250mm)||0.16x|
|Sigma 35mm f/1.2 DG DN Art Lens||11.8"||(300mm)||0.19x|
|Sigma 35mm f/1.4 DG DN Art Lens||11.8"||(300mm)||0.19x|
|Sigma 35mm f/1.4 DG HSM Art Lens||11.8"||(300mm)||0.19x|
|Sigma 35mm f/2 DG DN Contemporary Lens||10.6"||(270mm)||0.18x|
|Sony FE 24mm f/1.4 GM Lens||9.4"||(240mm)||0.17x|
|Sony FE 35mm f/1.4 GM Lens||9.8"||(250mm)||0.26x|
|Sony FE 35mm f/1.4 ZA Lens||11.8"||(300mm)||0.18x|
|Sony FE 35mm f/1.8 Lens||8.7"||(220mm)||0.24x|
|Sony FE 35mm f/2.8 ZA Lens||13.8"||(350mm)||0.12x|
|Tamron 35mm f/1.4 Di USD Lens||11.8"||(300mm)||0.20x|
|Tamron 35mm f/1.8 Di VC USD Lens||7.9"||(200mm)||0.40x|
|Tamron 35mm f/2.8 Di III OSD Lens||5.9"||(149mm)||0.50x|
|Zeiss 35mm f/1.4 Milvus Lens||11.8"||(300mm)||0.22x|
|Zeiss 35mm f/2 Milvus Lens||11.8"||(300mm)||0.19x|
A subject measuring approximately 6.2 x 4.1" (157 x 105mm) fills a full-frame imaging sensor at this lens's minimum focus distance.
Need a shorter minimum focus distance and higher magnification? Mount an extension tube behind this lens to significantly decrease and increase those respective numbers. 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 extension tubes permit the lens and camera to communicate and otherwise function as normal. As of review time, Sony does not publish extension tube specs, nor do they manufacture these items, but third-party Sony compatible extension tubes are available.
This lens is not compatible with Sigma or Sony teleconverters.
From aesthetic and construction perspectives, Sigma's Art lenses are beautifully built.
"In addition to the dust- and splash-proof structure, the lens uses materials such as aluminum and TSC (Thermally Stable Composite) where they are best suited, achieving a level of build quality that is worthy of the Art line. In addition to the durability of the body, the lens pursues quality in terms of how users "feel" as well, such as the smooth motion in which each ring or switch works, and the precise hand feeling." [Sigma Corporation of America]
Mounted on a low profile switch bank, the three easy-to-use 2-position switches (already discussed) click firmly into position with a white background displayed when the enabled position is selected.
This lens has weather sealing, including a rear mount gasket.
While not the smallest or lightest in its class, the Sigma 35mm f/1.4 DG DN Art Lens is not large or heavy. It can comfortably be used and carried for long periods.
|Model||Weight oz(g)||Dimensions w/o Hood "(mm)||Filter||Year|
|Canon EF 35mm f/1.4L II USM Lens||26.8||(760)||3.2 x 4.2||(80.4 x 105.5)||72||2015|
|Canon RF 35mm F1.8 IS STM Macro Lens||10.8||(305)||2.9 x 2.5||(74.4 x 62.8)||52||2018|
|Canon EF 35mm f/2 IS USM Lens||11.8||(335)||3.1 x 2.5||(77.9 x 62.6)||67||2012|
|Nikon 35mm f/1.4G AF-S Lens||21.2||(600)||3.3 x 3.5||(83.0 x 89.5)||67||2010|
|Nikon Z 35mm f/1.8 S Lens||13.1||(370)||2.9 x 3.4||(73.0 x 86.0)||62||2018|
|Nikon 35mm f/1.8G AF-S Lens||10.8||(305)||2.8 x 2.8||(72.0 x 71.5)||58||2014|
|Sigma 35mm f/1.2 DG DN Art Lens||38.5||(1090)||3.5 x 5.4||(87.8 x 136.2)||82||2019|
|Sigma 35mm f/1.4 DG DN Art Lens||22.6||(640)||3.0 x 4.3||(75.5 x 109.5)||67||2021|
|Sigma 35mm f/1.4 DG HSM Art Lens||23.5||(665)||3.0 x 3.7||(77.0 x 94.0)||67||2012|
|Sigma 35mm f/2 DG DN Contemporary Lens||11.5||(325)||2.8 x 2.7||(70 x 67.4)||58||2020|
|Sony FE 24mm f/1.4 GM Lens||15.7||(445)||3.0 x 3.6||(75.4 x 92.4)||67||2018|
|Sony FE 35mm f/1.4 GM Lens||18.5||(524)||3.0 x 3.8||(76.0 x 96.0)||67||2021|
|Sony FE 35mm f/1.4 ZA Lens||22.2||(630)||3.1 x 4.4||(78.5 x 112.0)||72||2015|
|Sony FE 35mm f/1.8 Lens||9.9||(281)||2.6 x 2.9||(65.6 x 73.0)||55||2019|
|Sony FE 35mm f/2.8 ZA Lens||4.2||(120)||2.4 x 1.4||(61.5 x 36.5)||49||2014|
|Tamron 35mm f/1.4 Di USD Lens||28.8||(815)||3.2 x 4.1||(80.9 x 104.8)||72||2019|
|Tamron 35mm f/1.8 Di VC USD Lens||16.9||(479)||3.2 x 3.2||(80.4 x 81.3)||67||2015|
|Tamron 35mm f/2.8 Di III OSD Lens||7.4||(210)||2.9 x 2.5||(73.0 x 63.5)||67||2019|
|Zeiss 35mm f/1.4 Milvus Lens||41.3||(1170)||3.3 x 4.9||(84.8 x 124.8)||72||2017|
|Zeiss 35mm f/2 Milvus Lens||24.8||(702)||3.0 x 3.3||(77.0 x 83.0)||58||2015|
For many more comparisons, review the complete Sigma 35mm f/1.4 DG DN Art Lens Specifications using the site's lens specifications tool.
Here is a visual comparison of Sigma's current 35mm full-frame lens family:
Positioned above from left to right are the following lenses:
Sigma 35mm f/2 DG DN Contemporary Lens
Sigma 35mm f/1.4 DG HSM Art Lens
Sigma 35mm f/1.4 DG DN Art Lens
Sigma 35mm f/1.2 DG DN Art Lens
The same lenses are shown below with their hoods in place.
Here is a visual comparison across brands:
Positioned above and below, from left to right, are the following lenses:
Sony FE 35mm f/1.4 GM Lens
Canon EF 35mm f/1.4L II USM Lens
Tamron 35mm f/1.4 Di USD Lens
Sigma 35mm f/1.4 DG DN Art Lens
Note that these lenses are aligned on their mounts, not caps.
To function on a Sony camera, the Canon and Tamron lenses require a mount adapter.
Use the site's product image comparison tool to visually compare the Sigma 35mm f/1.4 DG DN Art Lens to other lenses.
You may be catching on by now, but relatively compact prime lenses with a Sony E-mount typically get 67mm filter threads. This filter size is relatively compact, attractively priced, and popular, with increased popularity increasing the filter sharing convenience.
Sigma includes the lens build quality matching LH728-01 lens hood in the box. This is a rather solid petal-shaped plastic hood with a ribbed interior designed to avoid reflections. An advantage of this hood shape is easier alignment (simply learn the small petal to the top installation orientation), though a round-shaped hood enables the lens to stand on its hood. This hood offers substantial protection from impact and bright light. A release button makes installation and removal easy with the rubberized rear portion of the hood enhancing grip.
Sigma provides my favorite lens packing material in the box — a nice zippered padded nylon case. This case does not feature a neckstrap or attachments for such, but a belt loop is provided.
Priced well below the Sony GM alternative yet competing strongly from optical and build quality standpoints, the Sigma 35mm f/1.4 DG DN Art Lens is a great value.
The "DG" refers to full-frame camera compatibility, and the "DN" indicates that this lens was designed for short flange mirrorless cameras. The Sigma 35mm f/1.4 DG DN Art Lens is compatible with all Sony E-mount cameras, including APS-C sensor format models, and it is also available in the Leica L mount.
Made in Japan, each Art lens is tested with Sigma's proprietary MTF measuring system, ensuring a quality product. In regards to the Sony E-mount version of this lens, Sigma develops, manufactures, and sells lenses based on the specifications of E-mount, disclosed by Sony Corporation under license agreement. Sigma provides a 1-year limited warranty, and Sigma USA provides a limited 3-year warranty extension.
The reviewed Sigma 35mm f/1.4 DG DN Art Lens was online-retail sourced.
With so many wide-aperture 35mm lenses available, a considerable number of comparisons can be created. I'll start with the original 35mm Art lens, the Sigma 35mm f/1.4 DG HSM Art Lens.
In the image quality comparison, the DN lens clearly outperforms the HSM lens. The DN lens shows fewer flare effects but more geometric distortion.
The Sigma 35mm f/1.4 DG DN Art Lens vs. Sigma 35mm f/1.4 DG HSM Art Lens comparison shows the DN lens slightly larger and slightly lighter. The DN lens has 11 diaphragm blades vs. 9. These two lenses share the same low list price, but the older HSM lens has a nice discount available at review time. The HSM lens features a Hypersonic AF motor vs. a stepping motor. If you have a Sony camera, getting the DN version of this lens seems a no-brainer decision.
Let's look at the Sigma 35mm f/1.2 DG DN Art Lens next. This lens's obvious advantage is the wider aperture.
In the image quality comparison with wide-open apertures, the f/1.2 delivers slightly sharper images. The f/1.2 lens has slightly less peripheral shading, including at narrow apertures, but shows slightly more flare effects and stronger barrel distortion.
The larger aperture requires larger lens elements, and that fact is revealed in the Sigma 35mm f/1.4 DG DN Art Lens vs. Sigma 35mm f/1.2 DG DN Art Lens comparison. The wider-aperture lens weighs considerably more and measures noticeably larger. The larger size brings larger diameter filter threads, 82mm vs. 67mm. The price is also upsized.
I mentioned that the previous review was of the Sony FE 35mm f/1.4 GM Lens, and that lens is an obvious comparison model.
In the image quality comparison, the Sony lens shows itself producing sharper image quality, especially in the center of the frame. The Sigma lens has slightly less peripheral shading at narrow apertures. The Sony lens's modest pincushion distortion contrasts with the Sigma lens's modest barrel distortion.
The Sigma 35mm f/1.4 DG DN Art Lens vs. Sony FE 35mm f/1.4 GM Lens comparison shows the Sony lens modestly smaller and lighter. The Sony lens's 0.26x maximum magnification is higher than the Sigma lens's 0.19x spec. Most will find the nicely lower price to be the primary Sigma lens advantage.
Use the site's comparison tools to create additional comparisons.
The Sigma 35mm f/1.4 DG DN Art Lens is an optically and physically attractive lens with a useful focal length and aperture combination. The relatively compact size, light weight, and low price are also appealing. This lens delivers quality imagery, including from low light venues and potentially with a strong background blur (if the subject is close).
This lens's biggest downsides are the strong wide aperture color fringing, modest barrel distortion, and slightly soft f/1.4 results (that are considerably sharper than the highly successful first 35mm Art lens). The price puts those aspects in the rearview mirror.
The Sigma 35mm f/1.4 DG DN Art Lens is a smart choice for portraits and other 35mm needs. In the latter regard, you will find more 35mm needs if this lens is in your kit.
Bringing you this site is my full-time job (typically 60-80 hours per week). Thus, I depend solely on the commissions received from you using the links on this site to make any purchase. I am grateful for your support! - Bryan