Sigma 35mm F/1.4: My Experience from recent test

Started Mar 2, 2013 | Discussions thread
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Sigma 35mm F/1.4: My Experience from recent test
Mar 2, 2013

I just rented the Sigma 35mm f/1.4 from Lensrental to test in Park City, Utah last weekend (quick ski trip).  I was interested in testing the quality of results from this lens at f1.4 (low light/blur/bokeh) with my Canon 5DMKii.

I've posted a few pictures below for those who are interested.

I really like the lens overall.  Excellent color and contrast.  The auto-focus speed was quick, relatively silent and seemed consistently accurate in my testing.  The lens performed very well in low light (see a couple of night street shots below taken with no flash).

On the negative side, I did see the busy/nervous bokeh described in many reviews of this lens (DP Review's review stated: "The rendition of out-of-focus regions is generally quite attractive, although complex backgrounds can end up looking rather 'fussy'."  You can really see this in the outdoor photo below with the "spruce tree (?)" in the background.  looking at the background blur in this photo almost gives me headache.  Plus the lens is "heavy"....although I knew this going in!

One surprise:  at apertures at 2.8 and up, my 40MM Pancake lens compared very well against the Sigma.  I did many tests to compare the two....and the results are almost indistinguisable in terms of quality.

Although I really liked the lens overall.....I think the weight of this lens and the nervous boheh at 1.4 will steer me away from this lens.  I'm looking for an under 70mm solution (ie I already own the 85 1.4, 135 2.0L and 200 2.8L....and the 40mm Pancake)  Can't decide to bite the bullet ($$$) and get the 24-70 MKII and be done with it, or go with a combination of primes.....perhaps 24 2.8IS combined with either the  35 2.0IS (or my 40 Pancake).  I tested the 24 f/2.8 IS recently (liked it)....may test the 35 2.0 IS next.

Anyway, the test photo's are below:  Please keep in mind....I was just trying to get some examples in low light and to test the bokeh at 1.4.....not trying to post "award winning" photos!  Also keep in mind, these are just straight out of the camera jpeg's....I accidentally turned off my raw capture when trying to micro-adjust this lens...

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