Sigma’s first f/1.2 aperture lens, the “Sigma 35mm f/1.2 DG DN Art” is an exceptional model for its aperture, but also for its lens qualities and manufacturing. However, it will be necessary to accept its weight and size.
- Mount: Sony E, Leica L.
- Maximum Covered Format: 24×36.
- Real Focal Length: 35 mm.
- Maximum Opening: f/1.2.
- Reproduction Ratio: 0.2X.
- Macro: (1:1) No.
Main Characteristics of Sigma 35mm F/1.2 DG DN Art
Sigma continues the development of its DG DN range designed for hybrid devices with 24×36 sensor with a lens quite exceptional by its aperture since it is the first of the manufacturer, all ranges combined, to offer an F/1.2 aperture. Sigma already has a substantial range of fixed focal lengths with f/1.4 aperture initially developed for use on SLR cameras that the brand later adapted to the Sony E and L-Mount frames. It consists of 20 mm, 24 mm, 28 mm, 35 mm, 40 mm, 50 mm, 85 mm and 135 mm f/1.4 DG HSM Art. But this 35 mm is a DG DN formula, that is to say designed exclusively for use on hybrid housings. It covers the 24×36 mm format and is available in Sony FE mount or L mount for Panasonic S1, S1R or S1H, Sigma FP or Leica SL. This is the third lens in this range after the recent release of the 45 mm f/2.8 DG DN contemporary and 14-24 mm f/2.8 DG DN Art.
Other manufacturers have already developed lenses with very large aperture, such as Samyang with its 35 mm f/1.2 ED as UMC CS and 50 mm f/1.2 as UMC CS without auto-focus, electronic connectors and covering only the APS-C format. This Sigma is therefore not only Sigma’s first f/1.2 aperture lens, but also the first lens in the market to offer this high brightness in native L or Sony E mount.
It is made from 17 optical elements divided into 12 groups and incorporates 3 SLD glass elements and 3 aspherical lenses including 1 double-sided aspherical.
The Sigma 35 mm f / 1.2 DG DN Art incorporates a circular diaphragm with 11 slats, has a chrome-plated brass bayonet and benefits from a construction that ensures good protection against the insertion of dust and water runoff. The front lens is additionally covered with an anti-water repellent surface treatment.
On the auto-focus side, the 35 mm f/1.2 DG DN Art relies on a hypersonic HSM motor. Its minimum focus distance is 30 cm and offers a maximum magnification ratio of 0.20 X. The lens measures 87.8 x 136.2 mm and weighs 1090 gm, and it accepts 82 mm diameter filters.
Of course, the first impression when grasping this Sigma 35 mm f/1.2 DG DN Art concerns its large size and weight. It is obvious that it could not be otherwise given its large aperture and its field of coverage, since it can be combined with devices with 24×36 sensors.
For comparison, the Canon RF 50 mm f/1.2 L USM that we had already considered bulky measures 89.8 x 108 mm and weighs 950 gm while its reflex equivalent. The EF 50 mm f/1.2 L USM is significantly more compact is light with 85.8 × 65.5 mm and 580 gm. The size of this 35 mm f/1.2 DG DN Art is roughly equivalent to that of the 14-24 mm f/2.8 DG DN art but with a higher weight.
Concessions must therefore be made to take advantage of a recent lens with an ambitious optical design and high brightness. Combined with a Sony hybrid like the A7 III used for our field tests, the set is quite disproportionate and its weight leans forward. It is therefore necessary to adapt its grip.
“Nevertheless, This 35mm F/1.2 DG DN Art Remains Pleasant to Handle.”
On the front, Sigma has placed a very large focus ring whose rubberized coating allows a good grip. Its friction is large and firm and its precision excellent. In return, its course is very long. It does not, however, have a stop at extreme values, a distance scale, or a depth of field Abacus. Distance indications are displayed by the housings to which the lens is intended, but some users may be embarrassed by this point.
Sigma placed an opening adjustment ring near the mount. It is notched by 1/3 value but can be made totally fluid thanks to the “Click” selector (on/off) located on the barrel. If users prefer a more conventional operation with the adjustment of the aperture via the case, it is possible to place this ring on the position A.
Nothing to Complain: Everything is there and the notching of the ring is both firm for precise positioning and soft enough for a quick change.
Sigma placed a focus selector on the lens barrel to quickly switch from auto-focus to manual. Below, an AFL key allows you to maintain the focus distance at its value even when the trigger is re-pressed.
The lens design ensures good protection of the front lens, placed slightly inside. The sun visor is useful, both in good weather and in the rain to avoid marks on the lens. It has a lock button, a rubberized headband for a good grip and inscriptions allowing to distinguish it quickly in its optical park.
Ground Test of Sigma 35mm F/1.2 DG DN Art
The 35 mm is usually a lens that is intended for street photography or reporting. Obviously, the clutter of this model is a brake on everyday use and it is only because we really need brightness or a very shallow depth of field that we will accept to load so much. Its users will therefore perhaps reserve it rather to portrait in situation or to particularly dark conditions of shooting.
This lens is devoid of optical stabilization but is practically associated with housings that are equipped with mechanical stabilization. Its large opening and its combination with 24×36 enclosures capable of mounting high in sensitivity also limit situations where it is essential to resort to long installation times.
Its circular diaphragm promotes the softness of the bokeh obtained at large openings. At f/1.2 and f/1.4, a cat’s eye effect is distinguished at the edges, but the center is perfectly circular and the effect disappears at subsequent openings.
On the other hand, the distortion is quite marked in the shape of a barrel. Sigma indicates that it will be supported and corrected by the housings for which the lens is intended. We could not test in all configurations, but we were able to find that it was indeed perfectly corrected in post-treatment. A good thing for architecture in particular.
At full opening, there is a fairly pronounced vignetting that persists at f/1.4 and becomes lighter from f/2. But here again, we could see its total eradication by optical corrections of software.
Finally, we note that despite the weight of its lenses, we were able to appreciate the efficiency of its auto-focus motorization that proved fast, stable and accurate in addition to being virtually silent. The motor is totally, but the noise of moving the lenses is noticeable. The lens is perfectly compatible with the detection of the eyes of Sony hybrids, which at f/1.2 is especially useful.
Another strong point of this lens that we particularly appreciated on the ground, its minimum focus distance of only 30 cm (when the lens is already a little more than 13 cm) allows to approach its subject in a significant way. One can go as far as a 0.2 x magnification, but especially place a close-up for more marked bokeh effects and approach its subject for tight portraits. This is on average what is done in 35 mm and only the Canon RF 35 mm f/1.8 is macro STM actually does better with its 0.5 x magnification.
The notion of pique is quite delicate to deal with. This is what can be equated to the “sensation of sharpness” or the “accuracy” observed on an image. It can be very different from one lens to another, from one focal point to another and from one aperture to another. It can also vary between the center and edges of the image. We tested the lens with a Sony A7R II with a 24×36 mm sensor of 42.4 Mpx with a definition of 7952 × 5304 px. Each pixel thus measures 4.51 µm sideways. (Measurements in our laboratory are made in partnership with Imatest.)
The measurements then showed a high level of pique at all openings with particularly good and constant results from the Sigma 35mm F/1.2 DG DN Art where the homogeneity is also very good.
Based on these results, and because an A7R IV went through the editorial, we also carried out measurements on the 61 Mpx sensor of Sony’s new high-resolution hybrids. Each photo-site then measures 3.76 µm sideways. The values of Pique, expressed in cycle per pixel by our Software are obviously lower, but we note that they remain very good and that the Sigma 35 mm f/1.2 DG DN Art is perfectly able to measure itself with sensors at very high definition. Here again, we see a higher quality from Sigma 35mm F/1.2 DG DN Art but nevertheless very good at all openings.
These measurements were confirmed by our test scene photographed at all openings with both A7R II and A7R IV housings. The results are already very good at full opening, but just become excellent from f/2. Nor did we detect chromatic aberrations.
• Opening ring clicks off.
• Good grip.
• Very high brightness.
• Close focus.
• Circular diaphragm.
• Bokeh harmonious.
• No chromatic aberrations.
• Hard stung.
• Good homogeneity.
• High weight.
• Large footprint.
• No Integrated Stabilization.
• Vignetting and distortion marked but well corrected.
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How not to welcome the performance of this 35mm “Sigma 35mm F/1.2 DG DN Art” for hybrids 24×36 which is both quite exceptional brightness and very high optical quality. This is a feat Sigma has accomplished. Especially since if it has some defects such as a marked distortion and a vignetting present, these are perfectly corrected in a software manner and will not interfere with users who will have taken care to activate the correction on the fly of optical aberrations in their enclosures. Its only real flaw is its weight and size. For 1/3 diaph more, the lens is significantly heavier and bulkier than the Samyang AF 35 mm f/1.4 FE or Sigma FE 35 mm f/1.4 DG HSM Art in Sony mount. But it is also much better. Users looking for a really light model will be able to fall back on the recent Sony FE 35mm f/1.8, but here, you have to agree to lose 1 diaph compared to this model, which becomes consequent.