Sigma 35mm F1.2 DG DN Art Review
The Sigma 35mm F1.2 DG DN Art is a new moderate wide-angle prime lens for full-frame Sony or Leica, Panasonic and Sigma L-mount mirrorless cameras. It's also Sigma's first ever lens with a maximum aperture of F1.2.
This lens is comprised of 17 elements in 12 groups including three SLD glass elements and three aspherical lenses, one of which is a double-sided aspherical lens.
It features a rounded 11 blade diaphragm which together with the F1.2 maximum aperture creates a very attractive blur to the out of focus areas of the image.
There's a Hyper Sonic Motor (HSM) for quiet, smooth and accurate auto-focusing, and a fly-by-wire system for manual focusing.
The Sigma 35mm F1.2 DG DN Art boasts a dust- and splash-proof structure, while the lens coating on the front helps to repel water, dust, and dirt. Sigma's Super Multi-Layer Coating also reduces flare and ghosting.
This lens has a minimum focusing distance of 30cm /11.8in and a maximum reproduction ratio of 1:5.2.
It's compatible with Sony’s Continuous AF (AF-C) and high-speed auto-focus modes, plus the camera's in-body image stabilisation system, if it's available.
The Sigma 35mm F1.2 DG DN Art lens is priced at £1459 / $1499 in the UK and the US, respectively.
Ease of Use
Weighing in at 1,090 grams and measuring 13.6cm in length, the Sigma 35mm F1.2 DG DN Art is one of the biggest and heaviest 35mm prime lenses that we've ever tested.
It's also significantly larger and heavier than all the other 35mm lenses that are currently available for Sony mirrorless cameras.
As seen in the photos below, it dwarves even a full-frame mirrorless camera like the Sony A7 III, requiring you to cradle the lens barrel in your left-hand and hold the camera grip with your right.
Build quality is excellent, which is reassuring given the high price tag. The lens has a plastic shell with a mixture of metallic parts and a compound material, TSC (Thermally Stable Composite), used inside.
It also incorporates a brass bayonet mount that's supposedly more durable, while the optical elements are made of high-grade glass.
The focusing ring is generously wide and ridged for easier grip.
In terms of features, the Sigma 35mm F1.2 DG DN Art offers most of the things that you need from a prime lens.
The main exception is the lack of built-in Vibration Reduction, although the very fast maximum aperture of f/1.2 certainly makes up for this, as does the camera's in-body image stabilisation system, if it's available (as on the Sony Alpha A7 III camera that we tested this lens with).
Focusing is usefully internal and manual focusing is possible when set via the Focus switch on the lens barrel. Full-time manual focus override is also available at any time simply by rotating the focus ring, with the lens employing a focus-by-wire system.
There is no distance scale on this lens, though, which is a shame.
The Sigma 35mm F1.2 DG DN Art lens has a very wide focus ring. There are no hard stops at both ends of the range, making it a little more difficult to set focus at infinity.
Polariser users should be pleased that the 82mm filter thread doesn't rotate on focus.
When it comes to auto-focusing, the Sigma 35mm F1.2 DG DN Art lens is a quick performer, taking about 0.15 seconds to lock onto the subject when mounted on the Sony A7 III camera that we tested it with.
We didn't experience very much "hunting" at all, either in good or bad light, with the lens accurately focusing virtually all of the time.
It's also a very quiet performer, thanks to the built-in HSM (Hyper Sonic Motor), which makes this lens well-suited to video recording.
The Sigma 35mm F1.2 DG DN Art lens has a traditional aperture ring on the lens barrel, which allows you to set the aperture in 1/3 steps, complete with markings for the full apertures and every 1/3 step.
The aperture ring is nicely damped and makes a distinctive click as you change the setting. You can toggle it between auto aperture control (when the ring is set to A) or manual aperture control (the ring is set to one of the aperture values).
The aperture ring can also be de-clicked using the dedicated Click switch on the lens barrel to make it better-suited to video use.
Finally, there's a customizable AFL (Auto Focus Lock) button on the side which can be assigned with various functions.
The Sigma 35mm F1.2 DG DN Art ships with a good quality soft case with a strap and also a plastic petal-shaped lens hood (LH878-02) with a lock button. It accepts 82mm filters.
At the 35mm focal length the angle of view is 63.4 degrees.
Chromatic aberrations, typically seen as purple or blue fringes along contrasty edges, can be detected in a few of our test shots, but they are not very prominent at all.
With the lens set to its maximum aperture of f/1.2, there is some noticeable light fall-off in the corners. Stopping-down to f/4 virtually eliminates this.
The Sigma 35mm F1.2 DG DN Art isn't claimed to be a macro lens, but it delivers quite good performance nonetheless.
It has a minimum focusing distance of 30cm/11.8in and a maximum magnification ratio of 1:5.1.
The following example demonstrates how close you can get to your subject.
Bokeh is a word used for the out-of-focus areas of a photograph, and is usually described in qualitative terms, such as smooth / creamy / harsh etc.
In the Sigma 35mm F1.2 DG DN Art lens, Sigma have employed an iris diaphragm with 11 rounded blades, which has resulted in spectacular bokeh and incredibly shallow depth of field.
We do realise, however, that bokeh evaluation is subjective, so we've included several examples below for your perusal.
In order to show you how sharp this lens is, we are providing 100% crops on the following page.