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Sigma 24-35mm f/2 DG HSM | A Lens Review

Gary Wolstenholme finds out if the Sigma 24-35mm f/2 DG HSM Art lens could potentially replace three wide angle primes in someone's kit bag.


|  Sigma 24-35mm f/2 DG HSM Art in Interchangeable Lenses
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Handling and Features
Performance
Verdict
Specification

Sigma 24 35mm F2 DG Art Lens (3)

Sigma has garnered a solid reputation for excellent optical performance with their Art series of fast aperture prime lenses, and created quite a stir with their 18-35mm f/1.8 zoom lens for APS-C sensor cameras. This new 24-35mm f/2 lens is currently the fastest zoom optic available for 35mm full frame cameras, sports a fast f/2 maximum aperture throughout the zoom range, costs around £950 and is available with Canon, Nikon and Sigma mounts. The zoom range may seem quite limited at only 1.46x, but it does have the potential to replace three wide angle primes in one go, with it covering the popular 24mm, 28mm and 35mm focal lengths and providing a flexible solution for shooting in low light. In this review, we'll take a good look at how this lens performs.

Sigma 24-35mm f/2 DG HSM | A Handling and Features

Sigma 24 35mm F2 DG Art Lens (5)
 

Those expecting to save on weight by combining the abilities of three wide angle primes into a zoom lens might be a little disappointed by the size and weight of this lens, with it weighing a hefty 940g and being 122.7mm long without the hood attached, even so it's to be expected that a zoom lens sporting a fast f/2 constant aperture should be a little on the large side. Even so, the lens handles well, being constructed to a very high standard and feeling quite robust as a consequence. However, no claims appear to have been made about weather sealing on this lens, which is a bit of a shame. The lens balances well with the Canon EOS 6D body used for testing.

Sigma 24 35mm F2 DG Art Lens (7)

A silent HSM focusing motor powers the focusing mechanism, which is very quick to confirm focus and accurate enough to inspire confidence at maximum aperture. As is the case with Sigma's other A-series lenses, this optic supports Sigma's USB Dock accessory, which allows focus adjustments and firmware updates to be applied to the lens, quickly and easily. Focusing is performed internally, so the 82mm filter thread does not rotate and the lens does not extend during focus or when operating the zoom, which makes this lens ideal for use with polarising and graduated filters. The supplied petal-shaped hood fits to the front of the lens via a bayonet fitting.

Full-time manual focus can be applied by simply adjusting the focus ring at any time. Manual focusing is a pleasure as the focus ring is buttery smooth to operate and quite heavily damped. Closest focusing is 28cm from the sensor plane, which is as close as many prime lenses in this range can focus.

Sigma 24 35mm F2 DG Art Lens (6)

Sigma 24-35mm f/2 DG HSM | A  Performance

At 24mm and maximum aperture, sharpness is already outstanding in the centre of the frame and good towards the edges of the frame. Stopping down improves performance towards the edges of the frame to excellent levels between f/2.8 and f/8 and outstanding sharpness is maintained in the centre down to f/8.

Zooming to 28mm results in a slight reduction in sharpness in the centre, although clarity is still excellent. Towards the edges of the frame performance is improved with very good sharpness at maximum aperture. Clarity is excellent across the frame between f/2.8 and f/8 at this focal length.

Finally, at 35mm, the performance of this lens holds up well, with sharpness remaining excellent in the centre of the frame and just short of very good levels towards the edges at maximum aperture. Performance briefly reaches outstanding levels in the centre at f/2.8 and very good clarity is achieved towards the edges.

MTF@24mm
MTF@24mm
 
MTF@28mm
MTF@28mm
 
MTF@35mm
MTF@35mm
 

How to read our charts

The blue column represents readings from the centre of the picture frame at the various apertures and the green is from the edges. Averaging them out gives the red weighted column.

The scale on the left side is an indication of actual image resolution. The taller the column, the better the lens performance. Simple.

For this review, the lens was tested on a Canon EOS 6D using Imatest.

Chromatic aberrations are very well controlled, with fringing only just exceeding half a pixel width towards the edges of the frame at maximum aperture throughout the zoom range. This low level of fringing should pose few issues, even in images with high contrast areas towards the edges of the frame.

CA@24mm
CA@24mm
 
CA@28mm
CA@28mm
 
CA@35mm
CA@35mm
 

How to read our charts

Chromatic aberration is the lens' inability to focus on the sensor or film all colours of visible light at the same point. Severe chromatic aberration gives a noticeable fringing or a halo effect around sharp edges within the picture. It can be cured in software.

Apochromatic lenses have special lens elements (aspheric, extra-low dispersion etc) to minimise the problem, hence they usually cost more.

For this review, the lens was tested on a Canon EOS 6D using Imatest.

 

Falloff of illumination towards the corners of the frame is as you may expect for a lens of this focal range and maximum aperture. At f/2 and 24mm the corners are 2.7 stops darker than the image centre, which is reduced to 2.27 stops at 35mm. Visually uniform illumination is achieved with the aperture stopped down to f/4 or beyond.

Imatest detected 3.45% barrel distortion at 24mm, which is replaced by 0.76% pincushion distortion at 35mm. This is a fairly low amount of distortion for a lens covering these focal lengths and the distortion pattern is uniform across the frame, which should make applying corrections in image editing software afterwards, relatively straightforward.

A petal-shaped hood is supplied with this lens, which does a reasonable job of shielding the lens from extraneous light that may cause loss of contrast or flare. Even when shooting into the light, contrast remains good and flare a rare occurrence. 


Sigma 24-35mm f/2 DG HSM Art Sample Photos

Value For Money

Comparing the £950 price of this lens with alternatives isn't straightforward as it stands on its own as a unique prospect, given its fast maximum aperture and limited zoom range.

Canon don't do wide angle primes that aren't f/1.4 and expensive or with a relatively slow f/2.8 maximum aperture, so this lens definitely fills a gap in their line-up and costs around £300 less than the current 24-70mm f/2.8 lens.

Nikon users do have the choice of three reasonably priced f/1.8 prime lenses covering the same range. Even though these lenses are a third of a stop faster than the Sigma zoom, the combined cost of the three lenses is £1550, so you'd stand to save around £500 by choosing the Sigma lens instead.

For more options have a look at to Top 10 Best Sigma lenses of 2015

 

Sigma 24-35mm f/2 DG HSM | A  Verdict

What is there not to like about this lens? It's capable of delivering excellent sharpness, with low CA and distortion and offers pretty good value for money too.

Rather than creating a niche oddity, Sigma has produced a lens that may actually have much wider appeal, thanks to its unique f/2 maximum aperture, excellent build quality and the value for money it delivers. Now all Sigma need to do is produce a 35-70mm f/2 to use alongside this lens to fill up ebay with everyone's unwanted f/1.8 primes.

Sigma 24-35mm f/2 DG HSM | A  Pros

Excellent sharpness
Very good build quality
Low CA and distortion 
Fast, silent focusing
Very reasonable priced when compared to similar alternatives

Sigma 24-35mm f/2 DG HSM | A  Cons

Quite large and heavy
No weather sealing 

FEATURES  
HANDLING  
PERFORMANCE  
VALUE FOR MONEY  
VERDICT  

The Sigma 24-35mm f/2 DG HSM A lens delivers excellent sharpness, with low CA and distortion at a reasonable price point. 


Sigma 24-35mm f/2 DG HSM Art Specifications

ManufacturerSigma
General
Lens Mounts
  • Nikon F
  • Canon EF
  • Sigma SA
Lens
Focal Length24mm - 35mm
Angle of View63.4 - 84.1
Max Aperturef/2
Min Aperturef/16
Filter Size82mm
StabilisedNo
35mm equivalentNo Data
Internal focusingYes
Maximum magnificationNo Data
Focusing
Min Focus28cm
Construction
Blades9
Elements18
Groups13
Box Contents
Box ContentsLens, Front and Rear Caps, Hood, Case
Dimensions
Weight940g
Height122.7mm

View Full Product Details

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Comments


"Now all Sigma need to do is produce a 35-70mm f/2 to use alongside this lens to fill up ebay with everyone's unwanted f/1.8 primes."
I think a 50-100mm f2 would be even better, as it would make an excellent portrait and event lens.

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