Updated: Aug 21, 2021
The original Sigma 35mm f1.4 was a big lens for Sigma; it was a fan favourite, so Sigma, of course, needed an update for its mirrorless line-up. This 35mm f1.4 DG DN lens is fantastic, like the company’s recent art lenses. It’s sharp and has beautiful colours coming out of its great bokeh – this is a really nice lens for videographers out there. It has less focus breathing than the Sony 35mm f1.4 GM lens as well.
The lens has 15 elements, 11 groups inside it. Its E-mount variant weighs 640 grams while its L-mount variant weighs only five grams more. The lens also has two aspherical elements, which gives you a lot of great glass. Additionally, the front element is oil and water-repellent – great for shooting photos in the rain or harsh terrain. Sigma also has you covered when it comes to protecting the lens from dust as the 35mm f1.4 DG DN is dust-proof.
The lens’ other specifications include an aperture lock key, an AF/MF switch, an AFL button and the ability to de-click the aperture. This means that this lens is made for both videographers and photographers.
The E-mount variant of the Sigma 35mm f1.4 DG DN may cost US$899, but how does it stack up to the Sony 35mm f1.4 GM that costs around US$1400?
The answer is not as simple as you may think. In terms of image quality, both lenses are very similar. Shots taken with the Sigma 35mm f1.4 DG DN were noticed to be sharp and had a bit of green fringing in certain aspects of the photo, which is not that bad. Both lenses have a fantastic bokeh; you won’t be able to tell much of a difference when it comes to this.
Both lens’ sizes do not matter when it comes to performance. Sigma’s lens may be the bigger one between the two but they both perform well. It all comes down to preference: if you like a lightweight lens that isn’t bulky, you’ll probably want Sony’s lens over Sigma’s.
In a comparison of autofocus speeds, Sony’s lens came out just a hair faster than Sigma’s at the time of this review. However, the Sigma 35mm f1.4 DG DN is a pre-production lens and might end up faster due to firmware updates before its launch.
As for eye-tracking, third-party lenses sometimes don’t get that part as good as Sony’s. Sigma’s 35mm f1.4 DG DN lens is more of a hit and miss: sometimes it works great, sometimes you need to reboot the camera. Again, this lens is in pre-production and the issue could be fixed with a firmware update in the future. Rest assured that Sigma is looking into our feedback regarding this.
One thing that Sigma’s lens does better than Sony’s is that the former has less focus breathing, which is great for videographers who want to manually focus their camera on their subject. However, there is a trade-off: while you will get less focus breathing, Sigma’s lens has a longer focus-throw than Sony’s.
If you’re a photographer first and foremost and you want to use autofocus that captures high-quality photos while not spending a lot of money, then go with Sigma’s lens. You’ll be saving US$500 and get very sharp pictures of great quality.
We think Sigma has done a great job with the 35mm f1.4 DG DN. It’s really sharp, has great colours that have a warm tone to it and it’s not overly saturated; just enough to make the colours pop.
Using the Sigma 35mm f1.4 DG DN L-mount variant gave us a pretty interesting experience. On the L-mount side of things, you really have very limited lenses, even with the likes of the Leica 35mm f2 SL and the Sigma 35mm f2 I Series lens. However, we think that the Sigma 35mm f1.4 DG DN L-mount is a lens that a lot of you will gravitate to because of its price point and its smaller size when compared to the Sigma 35mm f1.2 lens. The L-mount variant also has faster autofocusing and really good image quality. Mind you, this is the updated version of the original lens which was released back in 2019.
Are we saying that the Sigma 35mm f1.2 is a bad lens? Of course not. That is a fantastic camera lens. However, we’d wager that a lot of you that are getting into cameras that can take great pictures and shoot quality video will take this lens. The Sigma 35mm f2 is a phenomenal lens in terms of image quality, design and compact size. For f2, that is fine for most people out there. But in terms of video, the Sigma 35mm f1.4 DG DN L-mount is the one you’ll want to go with. We believe that the videos shot with the Sigma 35mm f1.4 DG DN L-mount are a little bit better than the Sigma 35mm F2.
Of course, it will all come down to preference. However, in our opinion, the Sigma 35mm F1.4 DG DN L-mount is also a viable option in terms of photography. The image quality coming out of this lens does compliment some camera lenses from Leica very nicely. It also has the same internal specifications as the Sony 35mm F1.4 GM. Overall, the L-mount variant is a great option to look at if you’re looking for a solid camera lens in the L-mount alliance.
Content by Bobby Tonelli