Sigma 35mm F1.4 DG DN Review
The Sigma 35mm F1.4 DG DN is a great, moderately wide-angle prime lens that delivers the goods in terms of image quality, features and handling whilst significantly undercutting its main rival, Sony FE 35mm F1.4 GM, in price.
This relatively lightweight yet well-built optic delivers excellent sharpness in the centre of the frame almost throughout its aperture range with the exception of F1.4 where it's a little soft, and you'll need to stop down a little more to get similar quality at the edges of the frame.
Despite the wide-angle 35mm focal length, the 11-bladed aperture, f/1.4 maximum aperture and 30cm minimum focusing distance combine to produce some lovely bokeh effects.
The Sigma 35mm F1.4 DG DN lens does suffer from some barrel distortion plus vignetting and chromatic aberrations at f/1.4, which our Sony A7R IV camera body didn't automatically correct even for JPEG files.
This lens features fast, virtually silent, reliable auto-focusing on the A7R IV camera that we tested it with, with the lockable Click switch for the aperture ring making it well-suited to both stills and movies.
It also offers dedicated AF On/Off and AFL buttons, a very high level of build quality, plus it's usefully dust and moisture resistant too.
The only real drawbacks for the new Sigma when comparing it to the Sony FE 35mm F1.4 are that it's slightly longer and heavier and it isn't quite as sharp wide-open at f/1.4 - otherwise, it more than holds its own in every other department, even in our view being slightly better built than the Sony.
We gave the Sony FE 35mm F1.4 GM a very rare 5-star Essential award when we reviewed it at the start of 2021, commenting that "if you don't already have a 35mm prime lens in your camera bag, then this one should be at the top of your shopping list."
Sigma have hit back with a brilliant lens that's much, much cheaper than the Sony 35mm F1.4, especially in the UK where it's actually half the price. Unless you really need the slight weight and size advantage or the extra sharpness at F1.4 that the Sony offers, we'd pick this new Sigma and probably spend the cash saved on another lens.
It's fair to say that the Sony Alpha camera system doesn't lack 35mm prime lenses, though, with lots of other alternatives available. There's the very similar Distagon T* FE 35mm f/1.4 ZA, the smaller and lighter Sony FE 35mm F1.8, and the tiny Sonnar T* FE 35mm F2.8 ZA pancake, not to mention a multitude of third-party options from the likes of Sigma themselves, Tamron and Samyang, perhaps most notably the much bigger and heavier Sigma 35mm F1.2 DG DN Art.
Unless you absolutely must have the ultimate sharpness at F1.4 or a slightly lighter, shorter lens, given the substantial price difference between them, we'd recommend the Sigma 35mm F1.4 DG DN instead of the Sony FE 35mm F1.4 GM as the new best all-round 35mm lens for Sony Alpha camera owners.
|Ratings (out of 5)|
|Value for money||5|