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I’ve been reading a lot of really good reviews lately about the new Sigma 35mm f/1.4 DG HSM Lens. At almost half the cost of a new Canon EF 35mm f/1.4L USM, I figured it was worth a look. I rented one for a week from BorrowLenses and I must say it definitely lives up to the hype.
Part of the Art series of lenses from Sigma, the lens is compatible with the Sigma USB Dock. This allows you to connect the lens to your computer, and, using the included Sigma Optimization Pro software, to update firmware and other parameters such as focus specifically tailored to your needs.
The DxO Marks for the lens clearly blow the Canon lens out of the water, and it definitely stands up to the test. On my Canon 60D, the lens is closer to a 50mm lens than a 35mm lens , but it still works great for street photography and portraiture.
I’ve tried a few tests with exceptional results (see the self-portrait at the end of this post). Chromatic aberrations are practically non-existent. There is slight distortion, but compared to the more expensive Canon EF 35mm f/1.4L USM, it’s hardly noticeable. I read some reviews with people complaining about slow focus and I was a little worried, but it focuses just as fast as any glass I’ve ever tried and is quieter by far than most.
The real test will come this Sunday when I head to New York City for the day to shoot some street photography. I’ll post some shots then.
Details for the Sigma 35mm f/1.4 DG HSM Lens are as follows:
The 35mm f/1.4 DG HSM Lens for Canon DSLR Cameras fromSigma is the first entry into Sigma’s Art series of professional lenses, with an emphasis on artistic expression and the creative potential of the lens. With a bright f/1.4 maximum aperture, floating inner focusing system, and Hyper Sonic Motor (HSM) you’ll have quick and accurate control over the artistic effects achieved by the lens’ high quality elements.
For wide angle photography, this 35mm lens and its circular 9-bladed f/1.4 aperture ensure excellent brightness and blurred background (bokeh) effects. The Super Multi-Layer Coating reduces flare and ghosting and provides sharp and high contrast images even in backlit conditions.
The lens’ Hyper Sonic Motor (HSM) and floating inner focusing system ensure that you experience quick, quiet and precise autofocusing whenever you need it. Adjust focus using either autofocus (AF), or full-time manual focus, without having to switch camera modes or change settings – just flick the switch from AF to MF.
For greater build quality and strength, all metallic parts and the new Thermally Stable Composite compound material (TSC), are housed internally. Its brass made bayonet mount has both high accuracy and durability, and a special treatment is applied to its surface giving it greater strength and making it highly resistant to long-term daily use.
- Aperture Range: f/1.4-16
- With a bright maximum aperture of f/1.4 this lens allows you to capture images with beautiful defocused background bokeh effects in darker conditions – using faster shutter speeds and lower ISO sensitivities.
- Hyper Sonic Motor (HSM)
- This lens’ motor is driven by ultrasonic waves to provide quiet, high speed autofocus. This Hyper Sonic Motor (HSM) ensures high speed and quiet AF as well as full-time manual focus override by rotating the focus ring.
- Floating Internal Focus System
- For stable focusing, this lens moves its inner lens groups without changing the lens length. It also compensates for astigmatic aberration and provides extremely high optical performance for close-up photos.
- Minimum Focusing Distance: 11.8″
- This lens has a minimum focusing distance of 11.8″ so you can capture wide-angle close-ups from nearly a foot away.
- Anti-Flare Super Multi-Layer Coating
- This lens’ coatings reduce lens flare, internal reflections and light scattering that can occur between the surfaces of its glass elements.
- USB Dock & SIGMA Optimization Pro Software
- Because of its redesigned series of lenses, Sigma developed proprietary software (SIGMA Optimization Pro) and an optional USB docking system that allows you to update the lens’ firmware and adjust its parameters such as focus. The 35mm f/1.4 DG HSM A1 Lens is compatible with the USB Dock.
- Special & “F” Low Dispersion Elements
- This lens incorporates “F” Low Dispersion (FLD) glass elements, which have performance equal to that of fluorite, and Special Low Dispersion (SLD) glass elements. By optimizing the power alignment of the lens, chromatic aberration has been corrected, achieving high image quality through the entire focusing range.
- DG Lens for Digital & 35mm Film SLRs
- This is a large-aperture lens with wide angles and a short minimum focusing distance. Because of its great peripheral illumination, or lack of vignetting, it is an ideal lens for DSLR Cameras and traditional 35mm SLRs alike.
- Sigma’s Artistic A-Series Lens
- Sigma has organized all of its interchangeable lenses into three product lines: Contemporary, Art and Sports. The Art line delivers high-level artistic quality with a focus on sophisticated optical performance and abundant expressive power. The SIGMA 35mm f/1.4 DG HSM is the first lens from the Art line. Developed with an emphasis on artistic touch, Sigma’s Art line lenses are designed to meet the expectations of users who value a creative, dramatic outcome above compactness and multifunction.
- Front Filter Thread Diameter: 67mm
- The 67mm front filter thread is fixed, allowing rotating polarizing filters to be used with the lens.
- 9x Circular Aperture Blades
- With nine circular blades, the lens’ diaphragm delivers very pleasant, soft bokeh background effects.
- Brass Bayonet Mount
- This lens incorporates a brass made bayonet mount which has both high accuracy and durability. A special treatment to reinforce it is applied to the surface, giving it greater strength and making it highly durable for long-term use.
- Ease Of Use
- For better usability, the designs of the lens cap and AF/MF switch have been improved, as well as the rubberized lens hood attachment. In order to ensure accuracy and precision, all metallic parts and the new Thermally Stable Composite material are housed internally.
- Quality Control & Sigma’s MTF “A1″ Measuring System
- Sigma used to measure lens performance with the standard MTF (modulation transfer function) measuring system, using conventional sensors. However, they have since developed a proprietary MTF measuring system – dubbed “A1″ – using 46MP resolution Foveon direct image sensors. Previously undetectable high-frequency details are now within the scope of their quality control inspections.
- Canon 60D, Sigma 35mm f/1.4
- 35mm, f/11, 1/160s