Sigma 35mm F1.4 DG HSM review
5 Conclusion & samples
Conclusion - Pros
- Superb optics that beat anything else in its class
- Impressive flare resistance
- Fast, silent, and accurate autofocus
- Excellent build quality
- Very competitive price
Conclusion - Cons
- Slightly fussy rendition of out-of-focus backgrounds under some conditions
- No weather sealing
Sigma has produced some really fine lenses over the past few years, including the 50mm F1.4 EX DG HSM (which we liked a lot when we reviewed it in 2008) and the 85mm F1.4 EX DG HSM. But the 35mm F1.4 DG HSM may possibly be its best yet. In fact it's one of those rare lenses for which finding any fault seems almost churlish, so good is its overall performance.
Let's start with the optics. It's remarkably sharp, even wide open, outperforming not only its Canon, Nikon and Sony equivalents, but also the far more expensive Carl Zeiss Distagon T* 1,4/35 in lab tests. Chromatic aberration is also impressively well controlled (both lateral and longitudinal), distortion is low and vignetting more-or-less typical for its class. The rendition of out-of-focus regions is generally quite attractive, although complex backgrounds can end up looking rather 'fussy'. The overall result, though, is a lens that delivers fine-looking images with the minimum of fuss, shot after shot.
There's nothing to complain about with regards to handling either. Focusing is fast, silent and positive, and we've found our Canon-mount test sample to be very accurate too (although this being an F1.4 prime, you've got to take great care over where you place your focus point). The manual focus ring is smooth and precise, and allows the focus position to be adjusted after autofocus. Several small-but-useful touches, such as a ridged grip on the underside of the barrel, and even a redesigned, unusually-positive centre-pinch front cap, all add to the usability. Sigma has clearly put a lot of thought into every aspect of the lens's design.
Equally, it's difficult to find fault with the build quality, which feels reassuringly solid. But one point to note is that Sigma doesn't describe the lens as weather-sealed, unlike its more expensive Nikon counterpart. So if this is particularly important to you, then the Sigma may not be the best choice. The aren't many other obvious reasons not to buy it (although Canon users who value image stabilisation over outright speed, perhaps for video work, should also consider the EF 35mm f/2 IS USM).
The Final Word
Every now and then we come across a camera or lens that hits a sweet spot of image quality, usability and price that makes it an easy recommendation. The Sigma 35mm F1.4 DG HSM is just such a beast - it manages the impressive trick of being substantially cheaper than the camera manufacturers' equivalents while matching or beating them optically. If you're after a top quality fast prime at this focal length it should be right at the top of your short list, and it easily earns our top award.
Sigma 35mm F1.4 DG HSM Art
Category: Normal Lens
Ergonomics and Handling
The Sigma 35mm F1.4 DG HSM is a truly excellent lens, that performs as well in the field as its superb lab test results suggest. With fast silent focusing and solid build, its lower price makes it a compelling alternative to the camera manufacturers' equivalents if you don't need weather-sealing.
There are 25 images in the review samples gallery and 19 images in the preview samples gallery. Please do not reproduce any of these images on a website or any newsletter / magazine without prior permission (see our copyright page). We make the originals available for private users to download to their own machines for personal examination or printing (in conjunction with this review), we do so in good faith, please don't abuse it.
Unless otherwise noted images taken with no particular settings at full resolution. Because our review images are now hosted on the 'galleries' section of dpreview.com, you can enjoy all of the new galleries functionality when browsing these samples.
Sigma 35mm F1.4 DG HSM review samples
Sigma 35mm F1.4 DG HSM Preview Samples
|Something Blue by Gerard Beullac|
from Your City - One Way Only
|Glen Canyon Dam on the Colorado River by wam7|
|Volvo by Jill Hancock|
from V is for...
One of the weirdest copyright cases in the history of photography is finally over. The courts have sided with photographer David Slater and rejected PETA's claim that the monkey who took the infamous selfie has any claim over the photograph's copyright.
In his latest video, Ted Forbes of The Art of Photography shares his thoughts on how equipment nowadays is seen less as a means to an end, and more as the end in and of itself.
The latest update to Lightroom Classic CC brought with it a slew of major bugs, including some that would cause the program to crash. Adobe has now released an update to address these bugs, along with an apology.
The new drives come in the M.2 form factor and with the latest PCIe Gen 3×4 lane interface, offering NVM Express (NVMe) bandwidth. In other words: they're an interesting option for anyone editing large batches of photos or 4K/8K video.
Photographer Alexander Gee has created something pretty cool: the first (to our knowledge) E-Mount film camera. It's called LEX, and when it's finished, Gee intends to make the camera's design files open source so that anybody can built their own from scratch.
Researchers at the University of Washington have developed a low-power HD video streaming method that could eventually allow tiny, maybe even battery-free wearable cameras to stream high definition video.
Nikon Corporation has warned investors that an assessment of its Belgium-based metrology business based is worth much less than expected, and that they should brace themselves for an 'extraordinary loss' of 10,343 million yen.
In 2009, photographer Michael Benanav joined a family from the nomadic Van Gujjar tribe on their annual journey from the lowland jungles of the Shivalik Hills to the alpine meadows of the Himalayas. This is the story behind the images he captured.
NVIDIA's Content-Aware Fill competitor is getting better and better. A new demo from shows how the latest version can fill in entire chunks of a person's face, or pieces of an image that are missing, with incredibly realistic results.
This hacked Polaroid Sonar Autofocus 5000 puts a digital spin on instant photography, but not in the way you're used to seeing. It's one of the most ambitious and well-executed DIY camera projects we've seen.
Chinese smartphone manufacturer Meizu has launched a new high-end model, the Meizu 15 Plus. And based on specs alone, the phone is well-worth a closer look for mobile photographers who are open to buying from a less established brand.
Open source photo editor GIMP is a popular (and free) Photoshop alternative, but can it really be used on a professional edit? In this video, photographer Shane Milton shows you that it most certainly can.
Photographer Jolyon Ralph pit the new Huawei P20 Pro against his beloved Canon 5DS R, and was "somewhat stunned" by how well the 40MP smartphone performed against the 50MP DSLR.
Thanks to a low-res proxy version of the Insta360 Pro 8K footage, stitching times and computer processing requirements are reduced significantly when editing 360° footage from the six-lens system.
DxO Labs has filed the initial proceedings to start the bankruptcy process in France. The company is currently under "judicial administration," which allows it some time to restructure and find a buyer before the liquidation process occurs.
SmugMug has acquired struggling photography site Flickr for an undisclosed sum, with CEO Don MacAskill promising to give the neglected photo sharing service "the resources that it deserves."
YouTube channel Filmmaker IQ has put together a very interesting, technically detailed, and scientifically accurate description of exactly how various image sensors (and photographic film) work. One of the best overview videos we've seen.
In Part 1 of his series on photographing Greenland in winter, landscape photographer Erez Marom shares the freezing details of his arrival on the town of Uummannaq where the temperature was -25°C. Still, he went out shooting.
The APO-Makro-Plasmat 105mm F2.7 is Meyer Optik's latest Kickstarter lens revival, and it promises "natural sharpness, unbelievable color reproduction, and a glowing bokeh united at every step of the aperture" ... whatever that means.
The update also comes with "post-scan cloud processing," which allows you to render 3D models with 4K resolution textures for better detail and realism.
Chinese accessories brand Meike has announced it will introduce an 85mm F1.8 lens for Canon and Nikon full frame DSLRs that will feature autofocus. This will be the company’s first AF lens.
The World Photo Organization has finally revealed the overall winners for the 2018 Sony World Photography Awards, including the coveted Photographer of the Year, Open Photographer of the Year, Youth Photographer of the Year, and Student Photographer of the Year winners.
Venus Optics has unveiled four new lenses that will ship later this year: a wide-angle zoom for Sony FE, a circular fisheye for Micro Four Thirds, a wide-angle lens for the medium format Fujifilm GFX, and a 2x Ultra Macro for multiple full-frame mounts.
The One Backpack is a 5-in-1 modular backpack that can be used as a camera bag, work & gym pack, suit carry backpack, travel pack or tech-backpack.
This highly-specialized lens is perfect for sports, action and wildlife photography. Check out these first sample images for a taste of what it's capable of.
For KFC Hong Kong’s latest ad campaign, New York City-based advertising agency Ogilvy and Mather used Photoshop to magically morph pieces of flaky fried chicken into fire and smoke in various scenes.
The Android and iOS app from Surpuba AR lets you place animated 3D models in real-world environment using augmented reality technology. You can alter poses and location, insert lighting equipment, and more... right from your phone or tablet.
Under the agreement, the two companies will work together to develop Oppo's smartphone camera roadmap, covering optical zoom, depth mapping and other innovative imaging features that dual cameras allow.
Canon is jumping into the portable printing game with the new IVY Mini Photo Printer: a rechargeable battery-powered printer for creating 2x3 prints and stickers of your smartphone snaps on-the-go.