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Sigma 35mm f/1.4 DG HSM "A"

Review Date: Dec 30, 2015 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $899.00 | Rating: 9 

Pros: Sharp, Low Distortion, Controlled CA's, Price
Heavy Vignetting

I recently ran into an issue with my beloved Canon 35mm 1.4 L lens. After many years of exceptional quality and loyal service, it started to back focus when photographing an object or subject from that was more than 3 meters away. I find the 35mm focal length to be essential for wedding photography.. especially when it is a prime and can capture subjects in dark situations and help them to pop with its wide aperture. In a pinch with a wedding in a couple days, I picked up the Sigma 35mm 1.4 DG HSM Art Lens from a local vendor. I have read really great reviews so I decided to give it a try. Price when purchased was $899 plus tax compared to the Canon 35 f/1.4L USM which is presently going for around $1,499 plus tax.

I was instantly taken with the great, sleek look of the lens. I liked how it felt on my camera and to the touch. I canít say I really missed the red ring that is synonymous with Canonís professional ďLĒ series lenses. The Sigma felt and looked like a really well made lens. With only a couple days until the wedding, I needed to take some pictures to make sure the automatic focus ( AF ) working and that there werenít any other issues with sharpness, etc..

First thing I noticed is that the AF seemed a tad bit slower. Because I have used the Canon 35mm 1.4 so much, I really have gotten to know it. The AF is blazing fast.. probably one of if not the fast AF out of all the lenses I own. The Sigma wasnít slow by any means, it just wasnít quite as fast. Not a super big deal since it WAS fast, just not AS fast.

Another thing I noticed was that the Sigma seemed to be a bit warmer. I didnít mind this at all when working in post. I always felt the Canon was a bit cool (or more blue). However, to be honest, when shooting in dark situations with low light, I often liked the coolness of the Canon since it helped to balance out incandescent and ambient lights which can make the image look orange or yellowish.

Lastly, it felt like the Sigma was a bit underexposed in a lot of the shots. I came to find out what that was about, but I will explain that more in detail down below.

After the wedding and after getting my Canon back I decided to do a head to head to see how the two lenses compared to one another. When it comes to lens comparison and reviews, I love to do it, but I donít consider my methods to be super scientific or clinical. In addition, I often test the lenses only at the widest aperture. I do this because when buying/using a prime lens, my intention is to isolate the subject and/or use it in low light. Therefore the performance at the widest aperture is most important to me. Therefore for this particular comparison every shot was taken at an aperture of 1.4. No retouching or editing was done whatsoever. I simply shot in RAW and then exported as sRGB Jpegs

Luka |