I love shooting portraits with my Summicrom 35 f/2 lens on my Leica MP, so when I decided to dust the cobwebs from my Nikon D600, I thought maybe it was time to try another focal length other that the already AWESOME Sigma 50 f/1.4 Art Lens I exclusively had been using . I was so happy with what Sigma had produced with the 50 prime, and I already had a few mates who swore by it's 35mm cousin . Photographer Morgan Roberts is one such user who has exclusively switched to the Sigma 35 for his booming wedding business. I asked him to some up for me what makes it so good ? His response ...
The 35mm focal length is part of my kit always. It is my desert island lens. There is almost nothing a 35mm cannot do. Next to a 50/85, and sometimes a 24, it is the backbone of my kit. The Sigma 1.4 version isn't perfect, but for the price it is the best 35 on the market, bar none. Sharp, solid, reliable.
SOLD After looking through Morgans image I was hooked, I was ready to purchase when.............. ..... Sigma announced a new 24-35mm F/2 DG Art Series lens, "what the Fudge". I was intrigued but I couldn't find anything comparing the two lenses on-line. When Rick from Degidirect offered them both to help me in my decision making, I though ... REVIEW TIME. Not a technical review however. I am just looking at the lenses with one thing in mind.
How does the New 24-35 Sigma Art lens cut the mustard when shooting an 'environmental portrait' at the '35mm' end of the zoom?
Simply put, if I was about to grab the 35mm f/1.4 Art lens, should I be considering the 24-35mm instead? If yes, am I losing anything when I shoot my 35mm Portraits with it? will their be anything noticeable I should be concerned with ?
I grabbed Hannah, James and Jeremy and took a quick couple of shots using both lenses to see how they came up. I shot the 24-35 at the 35 end of the zoom at F/2. the 35mm prime at f/1.4. Below are the results with basic adjustments in Adobe Lightroom.
Now first off when I took these images I unfortunately did not stand in the same place after switching lenses soooo, the 24-35 is taken slightly closer to the subject. Taking that into consideration it seems to hold up AWESOMELY. Holy crap this thing is beautiful & sharp, a match made in heaven. Even when blowing up to 100% in Photoshop both images are very impressive, I have provided an example of each image below.
Both are beautifully crafted lenses. The 24-35 is slightly larger than the 35 f/1.4 which itself is one chunk of glass. Both handle superbly and if I am frank, balance out my D600 & bat grip nicely indeed. I would go as far as saying they both actually improve the handling of the camera. Some may winge about size and weight, I say go purchase a Fujifilm XT-2 and stop talking to me.
Size is not an issue for me, I personally found myself gravitating to the 24-35 zoom over the 35mm prime. "Blaspheme" I hear you say, I wold usually agree. Because it performs so well at the 35mm end of the zoom and I have the added bonus of the wider 24/28mm available to me whats not to love ? I do shoot a Landscape every 10 years or so, so when it's anniversary time why not have the wider option's ?
Now before I get a million people shouting the following two issues to consider
- "You lose like a stop with the Zoom"
- "You have more vignette and lens distortion with the 24-35 over the 35mm prime"
Both very valid and true facts to consider. For me personally I justify overlooking these 2 points for the following reasons
- High ISO performance is so good in today's cameras who cares about 1 or even 2 stop's of difference either way
- Many people add a vignette to their portraits and if you hate the vignette, fix this shit in Lightroom with a mouse click.
I feel the Sigma 24-35mm f/2 DG HSM Art Lens is the clear winner, however for the following reasons the Sigma 35mm f/1.4 DG HSM Art Lens may be a choice for many if...
- You shoot Portraits and would not ever consider lowering yourself to any form of Zoom lens and feel landscape or street work is for losers.
- You have a shit-load of money and ... you will but the Sigma 24 & 28 Art lenses anyway.
Above are a couple of edited versions of both lenses images .... below a few images giving you a bit more to look at the wider range on the Zoom and also how lovely shooting wide open can be even at f/2.
Sigma 24-35mm f/2 DG HSM at the 28mm end at both f/2 on the left and f/5.6 on the right
Sigma 24-35mm f/2 DG HSM at the 35mm end at both f/2 on the left and f/5.6 on the right.
So there you have it, my final thoughts are go with the 24-35. A SWEEEEEET lens indeed asnd I promise you you wont regret it. If you have the $$$$ then grab the Sigma 24mm f/1.4 Art lens, ZEISS Otus 28mm f/1.4 offering, and finally the Sigma 50mm f/1.4 Art lens* and get outa my face.