After a review of one of the largest 35mm lenses, Sigma 35mm f/1.2 DG DN Art Lens, we go to the other end of the size and weight scale to the little Sigma 35mm f/2 DG DN Contemporary Lens. This lens is an initial member of Sigma's "Premium Compact Primes" for mirrorless series, referred to as the "I series."
"This all-new wide standard lens is designed for photographers who value the experience of taking a picture just as much as the quality of the results." [Sigma]
Characteristics including small, light, and affordable describe this lens. The metal build quality, great image quality, and valuable focal length complete a very attractive Sigma 35mm f/2 DG DN Contemporary Lens package.
How popular is the 35mm focal length? Counting the number of 35mm lenses currently available at B&H gives us a strong indication. Hint: the number is considerably higher than you expected.
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. As a prime lens, it is often not difficult to sneaker zoom to the right distance to get the ideal 35mm subject framing.
This 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.
For similar reasons, the 35mm focal length has long been a first-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.
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 wide f/2 aperture available, the night sky is an inviting subject for this lens. 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 such as 24mm, 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 an 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 complete list of 35mm uses is unlimited.
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.
For a 35mm prime lens, f/2 is a moderately wide aperture. Most major lens manufacturers offer a 35mm lens with an f/1.4 aperture, but only a small number of zoom lenses open to f/2 at 35mm.
A wide aperture, allowing significant amounts of light to reach the imaging sensor, provides tremendous benefits. Use that light to enable action (subject and camera) stopping shutter speeds in very low light levels, along with low ISO settings for reduced noise. A 35mm f/2 lens can be handheld indoors under average ambient light without image stabilization or ultra-high ISO settings.
Another advantage of a wide aperture lens is the background blur it can create. F/2 with a close subject creates a nicely-shallow DOF, drawing the viewer's eye to the in-focus subject. It is hard to blur the background diffusely with a wide-angle lens, but the relatively wide f/2 aperture helps with that issue.
Here is a look at the widest apertures this lens avails.
At a reasonably close working distance, the background objects remain recognizable at f/2. Still, they are blurry enough to show separation from the subject.
Compare the above apertures to your current widest 35mm lens aperture. That difference illustrates the new capabilities this lens offers your kit.
These examples illustrate the maximum blur this lens can create:
At the minimum focus distance, the background blur becomes relatively strong.
The advantages of not having the widest aperture available are the smaller size, lighter weight, and lower cost associated with smaller lens element size. This lens has all of those features.
This lens features a 1/3-stop clicked aperture ring that enables a manually-selected aperture. With the ring in the A (Auto) position, the camera controls the aperture setting, while all other settings electronically force the aperture to the chosen opening.
Aside from a slightly more complicated design, I find inadvertent aperture changes the primary disadvantage of an aperture ring. Incorporating a lock for this ring would eliminate that issue, and learning not to grasp the aperture ring when mounting the camera reduces the problem.
The Sigma 35mm f/2 DG DN Contemporary Lens is not optically stabilized. Fortunately, 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.
When receiving a lens for evaluation, I usually have a good idea about how it will perform optically, but the first lens in a new series can be more adventuresome. Sigma has been introducing one great performing lens after the next, so that past performance tilted the expectation toward the great side of the scale. The tiny size, light weight, and low price of this lens pulled back the meter somewhat. While Sigma's Art and Sports lenses tend to be the highest performing models, the economical Contemporary models are not slouches. The great-looking metal design with gear-like rings seemed to assure high optical performance.
Getting right down to the test results, the Sigma 35mm f/2 DG DN Contemporary Lens turns in very good sharpness in the center of the frame at f/2. Perhaps more remarkable are the similarly good results in the periphery, where lenses typically perform worse. With significant contrast improvement, the center of the frame sharpness at f/2.2 is very good. Go to f/2.8, and this lens is razor sharp across the entire frame, with only the extreme corners still lagging slightly until f/4.
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 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.
Ignore the limb shadow in the f/2.8 example. I didn't notice that issue when capturing the samples, but the still fully lit areas provide adequate details for comparison. Be sure to find details in the plane of sharp focus for your evaluations.
Focus shift, the plane of sharp focus moving forward or backward as the aperture is narrowed (residual spherical aberration or RSA), often shows in this comparison and is not an issue with this lens (many modern lenses automatically correct for it).
Next, we'll look at a comparison showing 100% extreme 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. The first set shows the bottom-left corner and the next set is from the top-left corner.
You can count on samples taken from the outer extreme of the image circle to show a lens's worst performance. In this case, the f/2 extreme corners look decent, and the f/4 corners appear excellent.
Corner sharpness does not always matter, but it does matter for many disciplines. For example, when I'm photographing landscapes and architecture, I typically want sharp image corners. When I'm photographing those subjects, I'm probably using f/8 or f/11 to obtain enough depth of field for in-focus corner details. This lens works well wide-open, and it performs excellently at those narrow apertures. When shooting at wide apertures, the corners are often out of focus and not intended to be sharp. Videos captured at typical wide-aspect ratios also avoid the use of corners.
When used on a camera that utilizes a lens's entire image circle, peripheral shading can be expected at the widest aperture settings. Wide-angle, wide-aperture lenses tend to show noticeable peripheral shading wide open, and this lens's about-3-stops of corner shading is noticeable. Stopping down to f/2.8 drops shading by approximately one stop (you can see this in the corner crops shared above). At f/4, just over one-stop of shading remains, with narrower apertures yielding little further change.
APS-C format cameras using lenses projecting a full-frame-sized image circle avoid most vignetting problems. In this case, the close to one-stop of shading showing at f/2 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.
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 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. This example is a 100% crop from the extreme top left corner of an a7R III frame showing diagonal black and white lines.
There should only be black and white colors in these images, with the additional colors in this sample indicating a very mild 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/2 is strong, and color reduction at narrower apertures is gradual.
Bright light reflecting off of lens elements' surfaces may cause flare and ghosting, resulting in reduced contrast and sometimes-interesting, usually destructive artifacts. The shape, intensity, and position of the flare in an image are variable. It depends on the position and nature of the light source (or sources) and on the selected aperture, shape of the aperture blades, and quality of the lens elements and their coatings. Sigma utilizes Super Multi-Layer Coating to combat flare, and the low 10-element count additionally helps in this regard. Even at f/16 with the sun in the corner of the frame, very minimal flare effects are seen for an excellent performance.
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 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-left corner of an a7R III frame.
There is some stretching happening here, but the amount is relatively low.
With only a single focal length to be designed for, prime lenses tend to have low amounts of geometric distortion. Still, the 35mm f/3.5 DN lens does show mild barrel distortion.
Most modern lenses have lens 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 illustrated earlier in the review, the amount of blur a lens can produce is easy to show, and wide-angle lenses are disadvantaged in this regard. Assessing the bokeh quality is more challenging due to the infinite number of variables present among all available scenes. Here are some stopped down (for diaphragm blade interaction) examples.
The f/11 example is a 100% crop showing defocused highlights looking nice. The f/8 examples are full images reduced in size and also looking 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.
As the aperture narrows, the entrance pupil size is reduced, and the mechanical vignetting absolves with the shapes becoming rounder.
With a 9-blade count diaphragm, point light sources captured with a narrow aperture setting and showing a sunstar effect will have 18 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 have an advantage in this regard, and this lens can create attractively-shaped stars.
The example above was captured at f/16.
The Sigma 35mm f/2 DG DN Contemporary Lens design includes 1 SLD glass and 3 aspherical lenses.
Overall, especially for this lens's price and size, the Sigma 35mm f/2 DG DN Contemporary Lens's optical performance is very good.
Driven by a stepping motor, the Sigma 35mm f/2 DG DN Contemporary Lens auto-focuses quite fast. The focusing is internal and very quiet, with only a light "shhhhh" heard during AF.
Remember that (at least some) cameras, including the Sony a7R IV, defocus the image slightly before final focusing in AF-S mode even if the subject was initially in focus. This process adds significantly to the focus lock time. Autofocus speed is noticeably faster in AF-C mode.
With adequate contrast on the subject, this lens focuses in extremely dark environments.
Unless one is primarily using manual focus, a lens's autofocus accuracy is very important for realizing the ultimate image quality a lens can produce. Seldom do lenses not perform stellarly in this regard when used on mirrorless cameras. Unfortunately, I have found this lens to not be fully trustworthy in this regard, including when focusing on our test chart. Usually, this lens's AF system gets the distance correct, but incorrect distances were selected often enough for full disclosure to be warranted.
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.
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 produces a strong change in subject size through full extent focus distance adjustment.
The Sigma 35mm f/2 DG DN Contemporary Lens features a metal ribbed focus ring. Located immediately behind the lens hood, the focus ring is easy to find. The hood being raised from the lens barrel slightly restricts access to the full size of this relatively slim ring.
Overall, this lens provides a high-quality manual focus experience, with a nice rotational resistance, no play, and, when turned slowly, a slow rate of adjustment that facilitates precise manual focusing. As hinted, this focus ring has a variable adjustment rate based on the rotation speed. A full extent focus distance change requires 750° of rotation when turning the focus ring slowly. Turn the ring fast, and only 270° of rotation does the same. The rotation speed difference required to switch into the faster rate is great enough that I seldom inadvertently changed rates.
With a minimum focus distance of 10.6" (270mm), this lens generates a 0.18x maximum magnification spec. This spec is not remarkable, but it is adequate for most 35mm uses.
|Canon RF 35mm F1.8 IS STM Macro Lens||6.7"||(170mm)||0.50x|
|Sigma 20mm F2 DG DN Contemporary Lens||8.7"||(220mm)||0.15x|
|Sigma 24mm F2 DG DN Contemporary Lens||9.6"||(245mm)||0.15x|
|Sigma 24mm F3.5 DG DN Contemporary Lens||4.3"||(108mm)||0.50x|
|Sigma 35mm F1.4 DG HSM Art Lens||11.8"||(300mm)||0.19x|
|Sigma 35mm F2 DG DN Contemporary Lens||10.6"||(270mm)||0.18x|
|Sigma 45mm F2.8 DG DN Contemporary Lens||9.4"||(240mm)||0.25x|
|Sigma 65mm F2 DG DN Contemporary Lens||21.7"||(550mm)||0.15x|
|Sigma 90mm F2.8 DG DN Contemporary Lens||19.7"||(500mm)||0.20x|
|Sony FE 35mm F2.8 ZA Lens||13.8"||(350mm)||0.12x|
|Tamron 35mm F1.8 Di VC USD Lens||7.9"||(200mm)||0.40x|
|Tamron 35mm F2.8 Di III OSD Lens||5.9"||(149mm)||0.50x|
|Zeiss 35mm F2 Milvus Lens||11.8"||(300mm)||0.19x|
A subject measuring approximately 6.8 x 4.5" (173 x 115mm) fills the imaging sensor of a full-frame camera at this lens's minimum focus distance.
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. 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 teleconverters.
"All I series lenses have an all-metal construction. The precision-cut aluminum parts not only give the barrel a sleek, stylish finish, but provide superb durability, which improves the quality of the entire product. Metal materials are also used in internal structures that slide with the operation ring for added robustness. These high-precision components crafted with SIGMA’s cutting-edge metalworking technology are also used in SIGMA’s cine lens line-up for professional cinematographers and provides an exquisite feel to touch as well as sound effects, making photographers want to reach for it and play with it over and over again." [Sigma]
Interesting is that Sigma refers to this product line as the "I series", while the product name bears no mention of this designation. Regardless, the description is accurate. This is a well-built lens.
While many current lens designs feature smooth lens barrels, this one goes in the opposite direction, featuring gear-like ribs standing out on the focus and aperture rings, and the cold, solid feel of metal is included. This lens's look and feel are very different from many other lenses, but this is a good look and feel in its own way.
This lens is compatible with lens-based optical correction when used on cameras supporting this feature.
With a relatively small space available for an AF/MF switch, Sigma opted to rotate the conventional switch direction by 90°, allowing a relatively large switch to fit nicely into the design. The AF/MF switch clicks assuredly into position, and a white background shows when the switch is in the AF position.
From a weather sealing perspective, Sigma state,s "Mount with dust- and splash-proof structure." There is a gasket seal on the mount of this lens, but the "Mount with" part leaves us wondering about the rest of this lens's sealing.
The Sigma 35mm f/2 DG DN Contemporary is a compact lens and, despite the metal construction, it is among the lightest in its class. Even carried all day, this lens will not become a burden.
|Model||Weight oz(g)||Dimensions w/o Hood "(mm)||Filter||Year|
|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 F2 IS USM Lens||11.8||(335)||3.1 x 2.5||(77.9 x 62.6)||67||2012|
|Nikon Z 35mm F1.8 S Lens||13.1||(370)||2.9 x 3.4||(73.0 x 86.0)||62||2018|
|Nikon 35mm F1.8G AF-S Lens||10.8||(305)||2.8 x 2.8||(72.0 x 71.5)||58||2014|
|Sigma 20mm F2 DG DN Contemporary Lens||13.1||(370)||2.8 x 2.9||(70.0 x 72.4)||62||2022|
|Sigma 24mm F2 DG DN Contemporary Lens||12.9||(365)||2.8 x 2.8||(70.0 x 72.0)||62||2021|
|Sigma 24mm F3.5 DG DN Contemporary Lens||7.9||(225)||2.5 x 2.0||(64.0 x 50.8)||55||2020|
|Sigma 35mm F1.2 DG DN Art Lens||38.5||(1090)||3.5 x 5.4||(87.8 x 136.2)||82||2019|
|Sigma 35mm F1.4 DG HSM Art Lens||23.5||(665)||3.0 x 3.7||(77.0 x 94.0)||67||2012|
|Sigma 35mm F2 DG DN Contemporary Lens||11.5||(325)||2.8 x 2.7||(70.0 x 67.4)||58||2020|
|Sigma 45mm F2.8 DG DN Contemporary Lens||7.6||(215)||2.5 x 1.8||(64.0 x 46.2)||55||2019|
|Sigma 65mm F2 DG DN Contemporary Lens||14.3||(405)||2.8 x 3.0||(72.0 x 76.7)||62||2020|
|Sigma 90mm F2.8 DG DN Contemporary Lens||10.4||(295)||2.5 x 2.4||(64.0 x 59.7)||55||2021|
|Sony FE 35mm F1.8 Lens||9.9||(281)||2.6 x 2.9||(65.6 x 73.0)||55||2019|
|Sony FE 35mm F2.8 ZA Lens||4.2||(120)||2.4 x 1.4||(61.5 x 36.5)||49||2014|
|Tamron 35mm F1.8 Di VC USD Lens||16.9||(479)||3.2 x 3.2||(80.4 x 81.3)||67||2015|
|Tamron 35mm F2.8 Di III OSD Lens||7.4||(210)||2.9 x 2.5||(73.0 x 63.5)||67||2019|
|Zeiss 35mm F2 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/2 DG DN Contemporary Lens Specifications using the site's lens specifications tool.
Notable is that my finger joints clear the barrel of this lens when tightly gripping the Sony a7R III and IV.
Here is a visual comparison:
Positioned above from left to right are the following lenses:
The Canon lens hood barely qualifies for that definition, so I omitted that lens in the with-hoods comparison below.
Use the site's product image comparison tool to visually compare the Sigma 35mm f/2 DG DN Contemporary Lens to other lenses.
A small lens gets narrow filter threads, and this lens's 55mm thread diameter is very small. Small filters are convenient to pack and inexpensive to purchase. The 55mm filter size is not especially popular, but Sigma uses the same thread size in the 24mm and 45mm variants in this lens series.
The Sigma LH636-01 lens hood is included in the box. Designed to match the lens body, this round hood has a solid, ribbed (inside and out) metal construction. Hoods built for prime lenses, vs. zoom lenses, can be tuned to a single focal length's angle of view, and this hood provides good protection from bright flare-inducing light and from impact.
Sigma does not include a case in the box with this lens, but finding a case should not be challenging. Consider a Lowepro Lens Case or Think Tank Photo Lens Case Duo for a quality, affordable single-lens storage, transport, and carry solution.
Along with Sigma's standard (nice) center- and side-pinch lens cap, this lens ships with a very nice aluminum magnetic cap. Snapping into place, the magnetic cap is easy to install, and it stays firmly in place. Unfortunately, there is no provision to grip the center of the cap, and with inadequate space provided inside the hood to grasp the cap's edges, the hood must be removed to get the cap off. That was enough of a disadvantage for me to put the metal cap back in the box. If you leave your hood in the box (not recommended), you'll love the magnetic lens cap. The optional Sigma CH-11 Magnetic Cap Holder provides a simple method of attaching the lens cap to a camera bag, etc., via a carabiner.
The smaller metal cap under the larger one is from the Sigma 24mm f/3.5 DG DN Contemporary Lens.
Sigma's name has become synonymous with good value, and Sigma's I series lenses continue that legacy. This lens performs very well, is strongly constructed, incorporates a nice design, and is very affordable.
The "DN" in the name indicates that this lens was designed for short flange mirrorless cameras. The Sigma 35mm f/2 DG DN Contemporary Lens is available in Sony E-mount, compatible with both full-frame and APS-C sensor format models, and is also available in Leica L-mount.
"Made in Japan" craftsmanship. "Every single lens undergoes SIGMA's proprietary MTF measuring system 'A1'" Sigma provides a 1-year limited warranty, and Sigma USA provides a limited 3-year warranty extension.
The reviewed Sigma 35mm f/2 DG DN Contemporary Lens was online-retail sourced.
The Sony FE 35mm f/1.8 Lens seems a very appropriate lens to compare the Sigma to. In this image quality comparison at f/2, the Sony lens has better contrast in the center of the frame while the Sigma lens produces sharper image quality in the periphery. The two lenses perform similarly at f/2.8. The Sigma lens has less peripheral shading, including at narrow apertures. The Sony lens has less geometric distortion (mild pincushion vs. moderate barrel).
The Sigma 35mm f/2 DG DN Contemporary Lens vs. Sony FE 35mm f/1.8 Lens comparison shows the two lenses similar in size and weight. The Sony lens has a 1/3-stop wider aperture available and a higher maximum magnification (0.24x vs. 0.18x). The Sigma lens is moderately less expensive.
Though it is not available in the Sony E-mount, the Tamron 35mm f/1.8 Di VC USD Lens shares the focal length and similar max aperture. In the image quality comparison at f/2, the Tamron lens has better contrast in the center of the frame while the Sigma lens produces sharper image quality in the periphery. At f/2.8, the Sigma lens catches the Tamron lens in the center and maintains a slight periphery advantage until f/4, where the two lenses perform similarly. The Tamron lens has less geometric distortion and less peripheral shading, including at narrow apertures. This Sigma lens shows less flaring.
The Sigma 35mm f/2 DG DN Contemporary Lens vs. Tamron 35mm f/1.8 Di VC USD Lens comparison shows the Tamron lens slightly larger and moderately heavier. The Tamron lens uses larger 67mm filters vs. 55mm, has a much higher maximum magnification (0.40x vs. 0.18x), and has vibration compensation. The Tamron lens is slightly less expensive, though the required mount converter will swing the cost advantage to the Sigma lens.
Use the site's comparison tools to create additional comparisons.
Are you looking for a small, light, well-built, affordable lens that has a wide aperture, performs well, and covers the 35mm focal length? The Sigma 35mm f/2 DG DN Contemporary Lens has your name on it.
This compact lens features metal interior and exterior construction, creating a solid build quality and increasing the fun factor for use. The 35mm focal length ensures plenty of use opportunities, which increases the value of the lens. This lens produces decent image sharpness wide-open and stopped down one stop, this lens's results are razor sharp.
That is, razor-sharp when focused accurately. I experienced enough misfocusing with this lens that it bears mention. The color blur showing in defocused areas of the image are relatively strong at wide apertures.
For the overall quality and features of this lens, the price is very attractive.
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