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FM Review: Sigma 35mm f/2 DG DN Contemporary

  
 
Fred Miranda
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p.1 #1 · p.1 #1 · FM Review: Sigma 35mm f/2 DG DN Contemporary


FM Review: Sigma 35mm f/2 DG DN Contemporary
The Sigma 35mm f/2 DG DN is now in stock:

B&H Photo | Adorama

Review quick links:
  1. About the lens
  2. Infinity Performance
  3. Infinity Performance compared to Voigtlander 35mm f/1.2 III Nokton
  4. Field Curvature at Infinity
  5. Field Curvature at 2-3m distance
  6. Close-up performance, SA and Focus Shift
  7. Specular Highlights and Optical Vignetting
  8. Sunstar rendering and Flare resistance
  9. AF speed and accuracy
  10. Distortion
  11. Sagittal Coma Flare performance
  12. Sagittal Coma Flare performance compared to Voigtlander 35mm f/2 APO
  13. Rendering
  14. Rendering compared to Voigtlander 35mm f/1.2 III @f/2
  15. Rendering compared to Sony FE 24mm f/1.4 GM in crop mode (~35/2)
  16. Lateral CA / Longitudinal CA / Purple fringing
  17. Final thoughts
  18. Samples



About the lens:

The Sigma 35/2 DG DN Contemporary is part of the Sigma I series of compact, high-performance and excellent build quality lenses. It features a premium all-metal weather-sealed construction including a metal hood and magnetic front cap. Together with the Sigma 24mm f/3.5 and 65mm f/2 DG DN lenses, they join the existing 45mm f/2.8 DG DN reviewed here.

It features 10 elements in 9 groups, with one special low dispersion (SLD) element to reduce CA and 3 aspherical elements to minimize distortion and spherical aberrations (SA). The Sigma 35mm f/2 DG DN's mount has a dust-and splash-proof weather rubber strip, super multi-layer coating and a minimum focusing distance of 27cm. (maximum magnification: 0.18x)

It has a rounded 9-blade diaphragm which translates to sunstars with 18-points and it has an internal focusing mechanism which means the front element neither extends nor rotates when focusing the lens.

There is a stepping motor that is quite fast and almost silent and from my initial tests, AF seems quick and precise in both AF-S contrast detect and AF-C phase detect modes. The focusing ring has perfect resistance and provides 270 degrees of focus throw for fine-tuning as well as a linear response. A traditional aperture ring runs from f/2 to f/22 in third-stop increments with an Auto setting also available for camera-based aperture selection.

The lens itself weighs a mere 323g (measured) without caps but the all-metal hood adds another 48 grams and extra bulk which negates the compact design when attached. There is also a MF/AF button. The craftsmanship and low tolerance production is impressive, especially for a lens at this price point.





Lens construction: 10 elements in 9 groups, with 1 SLD glass and 3 aspherical elements










Main Features










Feb 05, 2021 at 07:12 PM
Fred Miranda
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p.1 #2 · p.1 #2 · FM Review: Sigma 35mm f/2 DG DN Contemporary


Infinity Performance:

The Sigma 35mm f/2 DG DN performs at a very high level on the Sony A7R IV camera (61MP). I was not expecting it to break any resolution records but hoped it would perform well across the field a couple stops down. It exceeded my expectations.

Center resolution and contrast are already excellent from wide open but improve to outstanding levels at f/2.8 and f4.
At mid-zone, the 35/2 DG DN performs great at f/2 and f/2.8 and it's excellent from f/4 to f/5.6.
The extreme corners follow the same trend with very good performance from f/2 to f/2.8. There is a noticeable jump in resolution/contrast at f/4 and the lens improves further at f/5.6 where it's optimal.

So, to recap the optimal apertures for each area:
Center (f/2.8 to f/4), Mid-zone (f/4 to f/5.6), Corners (f/4 to f/5.6)


Here is the full image thumbnail showing the areas demonstrated at 1:1 magnification.








  1. Distance: Infinity
  2. Focus: Center - Best of three @ 12.4x magnification
  3. Camera: Sony A7R IV (61MP)
  4. WB: Daylight
  5. Lens perfectly centered using my decentering test
  6. Software: Lightroom with my default landscape sharpening. All other settings set to default
PS: Vignetting and distortion were NOT corrected. All in-camera corrections turned 'off'.


1:1 Crops showing Center, Mid-Zone and Extreme corner areas





Center at f/2 vs f/2.8: Small but noticeable increase in resolution and contrast/ (Optimal aperture at f/2.8)







Center f/2.8 vs f/4: Slight gain in micro-contrast







Center f/4 vs f/5.6: Similar performance







Center at f/5.6 vs f/8:Visible diffraction at f/8







Mid-field f/2 vs f/2.8: Similar performance. Slight higher contrast at f/2.8







Mid-field f/2.8 vs f/4: slight resolution increase







Mid-field f/4 vs f/5.6: Noticeable resolution increase (optimal aperture at f/5.6)







Mid-field f/5.6 vs f/8: Similar performance even with a slight diffraction at f/8







Extreme Corner f/2 vs f/2.8: Very good performance wide open and a slight improvement at f/2.8







Extreme Corner f/2.8 vs f/4: Big jump in resolution and contrast at f/4.







Extreme Corner f/4 vs f/5.6: Improves further (optimal)







Extreme Corner f/5.6 vs f/8: Similar performance




Feb 05, 2021 at 07:19 PM
Fred Miranda
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p.1 #3 · p.1 #3 · FM Review: Sigma 35mm f/2 DG DN Contemporary


Field Curvature:

I'm happy to report that the Sigma 35mm f/2 DG DN is virtually a flat-field lens with low field curvature making it an ideal landscape lens.



Crops showing the extreme corner area:
(Left crop focused at center and right crop focused at the extreme corner)













Crops showing the Mid-zone area:
(Left crop focused at center and right crop focused at Mid-zone)











Feb 05, 2021 at 08:31 PM
Fred Miranda
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p.1 #4 · p.1 #4 · FM Review: Sigma 35mm f/2 DG DN Contemporary


Field Curvature at 2-3m distance

Although the Sigma 35mm f/2 DG DN is virtually flat-field at infinity distance, a mild rearward field curvature is noticeable at closer distance (2-5m).

The 1:1 crops below shows the "center area" at f/2:

Left crop: focused at center
Right crop: focusing at corner










Center area at f/2: (LEFT) focused at center, (RIGHT) focusing at corner




Feb 06, 2021 at 12:54 PM
Chaliel
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p.1 #5 · p.1 #5 · FM Review: Sigma 35mm f/2 DG DN Contemporary


Bonjour.
Can you please tell something about AF and MF
Is it a fast focusing lens?



Feb 06, 2021 at 01:42 PM
Steve Spencer
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p.1 #6 · p.1 #6 · FM Review: Sigma 35mm f/2 DG DN Contemporary


Chaliel wrote:
Bonjour.
Can you please tell something about AF and MF
Is it a fast focusing lens?


If you look at the list at the top of the original post, Fred has that on the list of upcoming issues on which he will report.



Feb 06, 2021 at 02:30 PM
gbinoz
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p.1 #7 · p.1 #7 · FM Review: Sigma 35mm f/2 DG DN Contemporary


Fred Miranda wrote:
<a name="chapter2"></a>Infinity Performance:

The Sigma 35mm f/2 DG DN performs at a very high level on the Sony A7R IV camera (61MP). I was not expecting it to break any resolution records but hoped it would perform well across the field a couple stops down. It exceeded my expectations.

Center resolution and contrast are already excellent from wide open but improve to outstanding levels at f/2.8 and f4.
At mid-zone, the 35/2 DG DN performs great at f/2 and f/2.8 and it's excellent from f/4 to f/5.6.
The extreme corners follow the same trend with very good performance from f/2 to f/2.8.
...Show more

Fred there seems to be a labeling mismatch with the first two midfield side-by-sides and also the last corner side-by-side. On-image f-stop text does not agree with f-stop text below images. 2.8/4.0 v 2/2.8, 2/2.8 v 2.8/4 and 6.3 v 8.




Feb 06, 2021 at 05:38 PM
Fred Miranda
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p.1 #8 · p.1 #8 · FM Review: Sigma 35mm f/2 DG DN Contemporary


gbinoz wrote:
Fred there seems to be a labeling mismatch with the first two midfield side-by-sides and also the last corner side-by-side. On-image f-stop text does not agree with f-stop text below images. 2.8/4.0 v 2/2.8, 2/2.8 v 2.8/4 and 6.3 v 8.



Thank you. Fixed it.



Feb 06, 2021 at 06:49 PM
smpetty
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p.1 #9 · p.1 #9 · FM Review: Sigma 35mm f/2 DG DN Contemporary


Chaliel wrote:
Bonjour.
Can you please tell something about AF and MF
Is it a fast focusing lens?


The MF implementation on the 35/2 DG DN (and the 65/2 DG DN) is the best that I've experienced on an AF lens. I enjoyed MF so much that I really can't comment on the AF as I didn't much use it



Feb 06, 2021 at 08:04 PM
Matti6950
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p.1 #10 · p.1 #10 · FM Review: Sigma 35mm f/2 DG DN Contemporary


I don't have a 35mm prime yet. The Sigma 35mm F1.2 is still what i want most. But this Sigma 35mm F2 also is very very tempting. The sharpness seems better then what you expect of a 'compact compromise' prime.

Of course the Sony 35mm GM just launched. An epic lens, but the more i think about it, the more i think of it as perhaps a lens that is not specific enough. The 35mm F1.2 Sigma is imo still better IQ, a lot say the GM is sharper (or just as sharp) but imo there is a rendering, detail and contrast at infinity that Sigma still leads, bokeh also tiny bit better (even more so at F1.2). And the Sigma is cheaper (especially now that ppl dump them for just over 1000€ for the GM. So specifically image quality (personal assesment) the GM doesnt take over from the Sigma. And... For travelling the Sigma 35mm F2 DG DN actually seem to me by far the best lens out there for 35mm prime at moment. While the GM is very light in the class it sits in, 500+ gram is still something to consider. Imagine 24mm, 35mm, 50mm and 85mm F1.4 all weighting 500 gram (that's 2kg in primes) that would be imo to much for travelling. The 24mm GM is what i consider the most i would accept for travel prime. And just look at Sigma 35mm F2, at 325 gram! That's 200 gram reduction!

The 35mm F2 DG DN has excellent sharpness, contrast, bokeh while perhaps not so good as 45mm F2.8 DG DN, is very good and definitely among the best in this compact 35mm prime class. Then there is weight, build quality, manual focus ring, low CA. I think Sigma really balanced this lens like no other. Add to that that if someone ever sells this lens used, it should be about 500€ only (new 619€), if i add this price onto the Sigma used, it's at the moment cheaper then 35mm Sony GM, and has best of both worlds! A leading image quality lens, when you don't care about weight, and a perfectly balanced lens for travelling.

For this very reason I'm strongly considering this Sigma duo 35mm lenses once i can (over the 35mm GM choice). Though again the GM is a master piece on it's own, especially if you just wanna own 'one and the best' (and not go into more specific choices). What could turn the tide is if this GM looses it's 'launch' premium price and drops at least to 1400€ (used 1150€like 24mm gmaster was, wich actually now can be found for 1000€ sometimes). That would maybe make it more interesting again. Still this Sigma remains this lens that i see cant stop thinking of as 'the one to have with you when you travel'.



Feb 06, 2021 at 08:15 PM
 


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Tristan.W
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p.1 #11 · p.1 #11 · FM Review: Sigma 35mm f/2 DG DN Contemporary


eager to see F2 DG DN vs GM


Feb 08, 2021 at 10:59 AM
Fred Miranda
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p.1 #12 · p.1 #12 · FM Review: Sigma 35mm f/2 DG DN Contemporary


Close-up performance, SA and Focus Shift

The Sigma 35mm f/2 DG DN focuses as close as 0.27m and at around this distance, there is noticeable spherical aberration (SA).
This optical design provides a great balance between ultimate resolution and pleasant rendering. At close distance, the lens performs best at f/3.2 where residual SA goes away.

It's interesting to point out that focus shift is minimal.




Close distance performance: (f/2 vs f/2.8) There is a big improvement at f/2.8 where SA pretty much goes away






Close distance performance: (f/2.8 vs f/4) Slight increase in resolution/contrast at f/4






Focus shift: (LEFT) focused at f/2 and captured at f/4, (RIGHT) focused and captured at f/4 (Minimal focus shift)




Feb 11, 2021 at 02:16 PM
Fred Miranda
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p.1 #13 · p.1 #13 · FM Review: Sigma 35mm f/2 DG DN Contemporary


Sunstar Rendering and Flare resistance

The Sigma 35/2 DG DN is equipped with a 9-aperture blade mechanism (round) and it's capable of well defined sunstars at f/11, f/16 and f/22.

Here is a sequence showing the 18-point sun-rays from f//22 where it's best to f/8 where it's worse but still usable:




f/11 (LEFT) vs f/8 (RIGHT)






f/16 (LEFT) vs f/11 (RIGHT)






f/22 (LEFT) vs f/16 (RIGHT)






Real world sunstar example at f/22

  ILCE-7RM4    35mm F2 DG DN | Contemporary 020 lens    35mm    f/22.0    1/8s    100 ISO    -0.3 EV  




Feb 11, 2021 at 02:25 PM
Fred Miranda
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p.1 #14 · p.1 #14 · FM Review: Sigma 35mm f/2 DG DN Contemporary


Flare Resistance

I've seen ghosting flare in many of my backlit images but the Sigma 35/2 DG DN does well in regards to veiling flare, maintaining contrast even under backlit situations. Ghosting blobs are hard to avoid, especially if the sun is in the frame and small apertures are used.

Here is a sequence showing how ghosting flare may appear in your Sigma 35/2 images. (I've tried different angles but it's persistent)




  ILCE-7RM4    35mm F2 DG DN | Contemporary 020 lens    35mm    f/8.0    1/80s    100 ISO    -0.3 EV  






  ILCE-7RM4    35mm F2 DG DN | Contemporary 020 lens    35mm    f/11.0    1/40s    100 ISO    -0.3 EV  






  ILCE-7RM4    35mm F2 DG DN | Contemporary 020 lens    35mm    f/16.0    1/20s    100 ISO    -0.3 EV  






  ILCE-7RM4    35mm F2 DG DN | Contemporary 020 lens    35mm    f/20.0    1/13s    100 ISO    -0.3 EV  






  ILCE-7RM4    35mm F2 DG DN | Contemporary 020 lens    35mm    f/22.0    1/8s    100 ISO    -0.3 EV  






In backlit scenes, ghosting and veiling flare are well-controlled but can turn nasty when the sun is in the frame






I've seen better flare resistance in other 35mm lenses




Feb 11, 2021 at 03:02 PM
Fred Miranda
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p.1 #15 · p.1 #15 · FM Review: Sigma 35mm f/2 DG DN Contemporary


Specular Highlights and Optical Vignetting

The Sigma 35/2 DG DN specular highlights have a clean inner structure with minimal outlining wide open. There are traces of onion pattern but it would be hard to see it in real world images.

Here is a comparison wide open at close distance and infinity distance:




Specular highlights at f/2 (Close-up)






Specular highlights at f/2 (Infinity distance). At infinity, onion pattern is more visible but still under control




Feb 11, 2021 at 03:12 PM
Fred Miranda
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p.1 #16 · p.1 #16 · FM Review: Sigma 35mm f/2 DG DN Contemporary


Bokeh balls are less rounded starting at f/4 where the nonagon shape starts to become more noticeable:




f/2 to f/2.8: Specular highlights are rounded






f/2.8 to f/4: At f/4, the nonagon shape becomes more noticeable






f/4 to f/5.6: At f/5.6, specular highlights are slightly less rounded than f/4




Feb 11, 2021 at 03:18 PM
Fred Miranda
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p.1 #17 · p.1 #17 · FM Review: Sigma 35mm f/2 DG DN Contemporary


The Sigma 35/2 DG DN has moderate to strong optical vignetting and therefore specular highlights take the shape of cat-eyes away from center. This is more obvious at infinity distance compared to close-up.

It improves greatly starting at f/2.5 and it's more rounded at f/2.8 and f/4. Here is a sequence from f/2 until f/4 showing both MFD and Infinity distance performance:

Close distance (TOP) vs Infinity distance (BOTTOM):




Close distance (TOP) vs Infinity distance (BOTTOM): At f/2: Moderate to strong optical vignetting. Worse at infinity






Close distance (TOP) vs Infinity distance (BOTTOM): At f/2.5: Optical vignetting improves greatly and f/2.5 is a great balance between rounded specular highlights off-axis and blur






Close distance (TOP) vs Infinity distance (BOTTOM): At f/2.8: Further improvement (optimal for close distance)






Close distance (TOP) vs Infinity distance (BOTTOM): At f/4: Further improvement (optimal for infinity distance)




Feb 11, 2021 at 03:19 PM
Fred Miranda
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p.1 #18 · p.1 #18 · FM Review: Sigma 35mm f/2 DG DN Contemporary


Real world example showing specular highlights at f/2, f/2.5 and f/2.8:




f/2

  ILCE-7RM4    35mm F2 DG DN | Contemporary 020 lens    35mm    f/2.0    1/60s    250 ISO    -1.7 EV  






f/2.5

  ILCE-7RM4    35mm F2 DG DN | Contemporary 020 lens    35mm    f/2.5    1/60s    400 ISO    -1.7 EV  






f/2.8

  ILCE-7RM4    35mm F2 DG DN | Contemporary 020 lens    35mm    f/2.8    1/60s    640 ISO    -1.7 EV  




Feb 11, 2021 at 03:27 PM
Dave Sanders
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p.1 #19 · p.1 #19 · FM Review: Sigma 35mm f/2 DG DN Contemporary


So, since I sold my 24 GM under the auspices that, if I want a fast, wide AF lens, I prefer a 35...now there is the Sigma at f/2 and the Sony at f/1.4. Time to put my money where my mouth is! These are great results, Fred, thanks for posting.

Overall, the rendering of the Sigma is very nice. For some reason I had it in my mind that it didn't look as good as it does.



Feb 11, 2021 at 05:41 PM
Arty73
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p.1 #20 · p.1 #20 · FM Review: Sigma 35mm f/2 DG DN Contemporary


sold my GM24 and CV65 for the Sigma I series, no regrets

Dave Sanders wrote:
So, since I sold my 24 GM under the auspices that, if I want a fast, wide AF lens, I prefer a 35...now there is the Sigma at f/2 and the Sony at f/1.4. Time to put my money where my mouth is! These are great results, Fred, thanks for posting.

Overall, the rendering of the Sigma is very nice. For some reason I had it in my mind that it didn't look as good as it does.




Feb 12, 2021 at 02:47 AM
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