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First Impressions - Sigma 35mm f/1.4 DG HSM - NIKON

FOR PHOTOGRAPHERS

First Impressions - Sigma 35mm f/1.4 DG HSM - NIKON

Jay Cassario

The new Sigma 35mm f/1.4 has arrived!

What Sigma Says:

"The Sigma 35mm 1.4 DG HSM is a state of the art lens designed for full frame cameras but can also be used with APS-C sensors as well. The first addition to the Art category in Sigma’s Global Vision, the 35mm 1.4 DG HSM includes new features based around a unique lens concept and design. The 35mm is a staple focal length in the world of photography, and paired with Sigma technology, this lens can take artistic expression to the next level. The lens is equipped with technology including a Hyper Sonic Motor (HSM), floating internal focusing system, SLD and FLD Glass elements. The HSM ensures quiet, high seed, accurate autofocusing while the floating focusing system allows for superior optical performance with subjects at a closer shooting distance. The SLD glass elements along with the FLD glass elements, which are equal to fluorite, help correct both axial and chromatic aberration. The large 1.4 aperture make it ideal in low light and the lens is compatible with the Sigma USB dock and Optimization Pro software to adjust and fine tune focusing parameters. The Sigma 35mm 1.4 DG HSM is a must have for any camera bag."

100% CROP

What Jay Says:

I received this lens with high expectations. Usually when that happens I am I let down...this time was a little different. I will have a full review of this lens within the up coming week, with sample shots comparing its sharpness to that of the Sigma 50mm f/1.4 and the Nikon 24-70, one of Nikon's sharpest lenses. I'll also be comparing the bokeh. For now I just wanted to give everyone my first impressions of this new lens that is part of a whole new line of lenses offered by Sigma.

As soon as I grabbed this lens out of the box, I gotta admit, my first impression started off on a good note...it was nice and heavy. I have never been a fan of a light plastic lens. Not only was it heavy, but it was cold. When I say cold, I mean I felt that cold metal feel as I wrapped my hand around it, immediately impressing me even more. This lens not only isnt plastic, it feels like that old film lens metal when in your hand...NICE! It also has a nice big rubber focus ring. So, before even getting the lens cap off of this lens it was off to an awesome start. 

I grabbed my D800E and screwed it on, preparing myself for the let down of this lens not meeting my high expectations. I threw the lens cap in front of me on the table, opened the aperture to f/1.4, and focused in a shot right on the word Sigma. It focused extremely quiet and lightning fast. I fired off a shot and immediately zoomed in to take a look at the sharpness and chromatic aberration, that has been an issue with Sigma lenses in the past. My jaw literally dropped. This initial shot was sharper than any image I had ever snapped off with my D800 or D800E. Not only that, no fringing or chromatic aberration at all....none. Impressed? I couldn't believe it. I fired off a few more shots and ran over to upload them into Lightroom to get a better look. Take a look at the image above and that's what I seen. Yep, its that good. That's with no sharpening. No color correction or chromatic aberration removal. I simply cropped it in and uploaded both images to CS5 to put them together. 

I have a maternity shoot tomorrow which I will use it on, and then I will start doing some real geeky testing. I have used the Nikon version of this lens several times in the past, and I noticed fringing and chromatic aberration pretty bad, and I was never really impressed with the focus speed. If you are on the fence with this lens, hopefully you take my word. If you own the Nikon version....I would sell it. Honestly.