Sigma 35mm F2 DG DN Review

January 7, 2021 | Mark Goldstein | Rating star Rating star Rating star Rating star Half rating star


There are now well over a dozen different 35mm prime lenses available for the Sony Alpha full-frame system, so how can the new Sigma 35mm F2 DG DN stand out from the literal crowd?

Well, its main unique selling point is undoubtedly its superlative build quality and vintage feel.

Coming across like a Zeiss Loxia with auto-focusing, the Sigma 35mm F2 DG DN is an incredibly well-built lens considering its mid-range price-tag,

From the weather-proof all-metal construction to the incredible attention to detail, such as the beautifully damped aperture and focus rings, ribbed lens hood and the clever, and free, magnetic lens cap, it's clear that Sigma have lavished a huge amount of time and love on this lens.

The stepping motor auto-focus system isn't completely silent or quite as fast as Sony's native lenses, but it is almost 100% reliable and quick and quiet enough for most typical users.

The traditional aperture ring is a feature that we love on any lens, and Sigma's implementation of it on the 35mm F2 DG DN is nigh on perfect.

It has a lovely action, positive enough movements between the 1/3rd aperture stops, and a pronounced gap between f/22 and the Auto setting so that you can't inadvertently select it.

The only thing that we would have liked to see is a way of de-clicking it for video use.

Thankfully, it's also a great performer optically, being pin-sharp throughout the frame almost from the get-go of wide-open at f/2.

Vignetting is a little heavy wide-open, but chromatic aberrations and distortion are well-controlled by the in-camera profile and the bokeh is very nice for an f/2 lens.

Compared to its main rival, the Sony FE 35mm F1.8, the new Sigma 35mm is priced a little too closely for comfort - we suspect that many would-be buyers will pay the extra £100 / $100 for the Sony lens, just because it is a Sony lens.

But then they'd be missing out on the much better build quality and handling that the Sigma 35mm F2 DG DN offers, not to mention the physical aperture ring, better manual focusing, and the magnetic lens cap.

The Sony FE 35mm F1.8 does have a very slight edge in auto-focusing speed and quietness and obviously offers a slightly faster maximum aperture, but you'd be hard-pushed to tell the two lenses apart in terms of their image quality.

Sigma have commendably put a lot of time and energy into making the 35mm F2 DG DN a uniquely designed, compact and discrete lens that doesn't forget to be optically excellent. In a crowded market, it offers more than enough to make everyone's shortlist of 35mm prime lenses.

4.5 stars

Ratings (out of 5)
Design 5
Features 5
Ease-of-use 4.5
Image quality 4.5
Value for money 4