Updated: Aug 20, 2021
A few weeks back, we did a review on the all-new Sigma 65mm f2 I Series Contemporary lens for the L mount. But there were three lenses launched that day; the 65mm f2, the 35mm f2 and the 24mm f3.5. Well, we’ve finally got the other two lenses, so here are our thoughts on the 35mm f2 L mount and the 24mm f3.5 L mount I Series Contemporary lenses by Sigma.
The cameras used for testing are the Lumix S1R with the 35mm f2 and, of course, the 24mm f3.5 is on the Sigma FP. At first glance, the 24mm f3.5 on this FP is a very compact set up, but we’ll talk more about that in just a bit.
The 35mm f2 was a very interesting lens to try, because in the L mount alliance, there’s only one other 35mm f2 and that’s the Leica APO-Summicron 35mm f2 ASPH. It is a beautiful lens, and it’s one of the best lenses, if not the best lens, they’ve ever made to date and it comes at a very hefty price point. Sigma with the I Series Contemporary lens is coming out at a much more attractive price point for a lot of people out there, but how does this lens perform?
This 35mm f2 is very impressive; it punches way above its weight class. The build quality is the same as the 65mm f2, with metal construction and metal hood. This feels robust, it feels great, the design is fantastic, but the image quality is roughly 90% of the Leica lens at a fraction of the price. The autofocusing is very fast as well.
Inside of this lens, we have 10 elements, nine groups, three aspherical elements and one SLD element, so there’s a lot of great glass inside of this lens. Some people might think that because it’s an I Series lens so it’s not as good as an Art lens, and actually, that’s not the case. This is pretty much Sigma Art optics inside of a new lineup of lenses called the I Series, so it’s got that Contemporary design, some new design elements from their cinema lens line up as well as the Art lenses, so it’s an amalgamation of three different lenses in one. Don’t discount the optics in these, they are really high performing lenses.
This 35mm f2 is a very fast focusing lens, it’s a great street lens if you’re working this on a Sony A7c, for example, an A7S III or a Lumix S5 S1 S1R, or even the Sigma FP. It’s so fast and so responsive and it’s lightweight at 325 grams for a lens with metal construction. It’s well built and it feels good on any camera. Overall, no complaints whatsoever.
Now we’ve got the baby of the three new lenses; this is the 24mm f3.5. On the Sigma FP, it looks fantastic. Coming in at about 225 grams, it’s really lightweight but still has that same fantastic build quality we saw in the 35mm and the 65mm f2. It comes in an aperture of f3.5 and this sort of perplexed a lot of people. Maybe it’s because Sigma wanted this lens to be more for video, but we’re not sure either.
Inside of this lens you’ve got 10 elements, eight groups, three aspherical elements like the 35mm f2 with one SLD element, and it goes from f3.5 to f22 on this. You do have an autofocus and manual focus switch just like on the 35mm f2, so this is a full feature lens. It’s really compact, it’s really lightweight and it’s a sharp lens. The one thing about these I Series lenses is the one thing that stood out to me is they’re very, very sharp but the autofocusing on this is really fast as well no matter what camera system it’s used on. So if you have, let’s say, a Leica CL or you have this Sigma FP or whatever camera you have, and you want a nice street lens to walk around and just capture environmental shots and be kind of discrete, this is a great little lens to have with you.
I really like the performance of this I Series lens lineup; I love the 65mm f2, the 35mm f2 is fantastic and the 24mm f3.5, while I wish it was a bit of a faster lens instead of f3.5 so you could use it in more versatile situations like night time, it is what it is and for someone that is really on a budget and there’s really not many other options out there.
Content by Bobby Tonelli