Sigma 35 1.4 - Great or All Hype?

Discussion in 'Nikon' started by richard_thomas|9, Jun 20, 2013.

  1. I have a D800 and plan to get a 35mm lens. I keep on hearing the Sigma 35 is remarkably great and according to the DXOMark, it's the best WA prime lens for the D800/E. I now have the 24G, 50 1.8G and 1.4G, 60 2.8G macro and the 85 1.4G. I'm planning to sell both my 50 1.8G and 60 2.8G macro to fund for the Sigma. Should I do it? Even though I don't do enough macro, I'm sort of hesitant to sell the 60 2.8G. There's just something about that lens that makes it special that I couldn't explain. It could be the sharpness, or the bokeh or the color rendering that makes me hard to part with it. Anyway, anyone who has shot with the Sigma 35 especially with the D800/E or any F/X body, please kindly share your experience.
     
  2. ShunCheung

    ShunCheung Administrator

    The Sigma 35mm/f1.4 lens is phenomenal: http://www.photo.net/equipment/sigma/35mm-f14/
    I also own a D800E, along with the D7100, D700, etc.
    Whether you need a 35mm/f1.4 is a separate issue.
     
  3. Great or All Hype?​
    Great.

    Using it on FX with very, very satisfying results.

    That said, I also use a 60/2.8 Micro (the older, D flavor, not the G you're thinking of selling). I'd hate not to have a macro of some flavor available - they're handy.

    But the Sigma 35 is ruthlessly sharp, has excellent bokeh (see some images I tacked onto the bottom of the review Shun links to, above), and the images just have ... something. A very pleasing quality, subjectively. Looks great on DX too, but it holds up to obsessive FX pixel-peeping if that matters to you. FX:

    [​IMG]
     
  4. very convincing shot, Matt.
    I'm planning to sell both my 50 1.8G and 60 2.8G macro to fund for the Sigma. Should I do it?​
    yes.
     
  5. I have one and have been very impressed with it. Makes my Nikon 35mm f/1.4 AI-S just look sad. I use mine on my D4 and F5
     
  6. ShunCheung

    ShunCheung Administrator

    Makes my Nikon 35mm f/1.4 AI-S just look sad.​
    Of course, but that is not a fair comparison.
    I have the Nikkor 35mm/f1.4 AI-S as well, but it has looked sad for a number of years. For example, its chromatic aberration is about as bad as that on the $200 Nikon 35mm/f1.8 DX AF-S. I bought my 35mm/f1.4 AI-S way back in 1987. Lens design has improved drastically in the last 30 years (that lens was introduced a few years before I bought mine). It should surprise no one that new lenses are much better.
     
  7. GREAT. You may have this already, but here: http://www.dpreview.com/lensreviews/sigma-35mm-f1-4-dg-hsm/5 ... the 'conclusion page' of the overall review. One of many, from many sites, written by many reviewers, of examples not 'cherry-picked' for a 'friendly review'. If you need/want a 35-1.4, you cannot possibly go wrong.
     
  8. I'm interested in this lens too, also for a D800, and am debating between it and the Nikon 35mm f/1.4. I don't care about the cost difference—just want to choose the one that will deliver the nicest images.
    Matt, your pup and other sample pictures look great. It would be nice to see side by side comparisons between Sigma and Nikon images, but I suppose few are in a position to do that.
    According to another thread, one negative for the Sigma seems to be that it won't work reliably with any of the D800's focusing spots other than the center one.
     
  9. ShunCheung

    ShunCheung Administrator

    I have only used one sample of the Sigma 35mm/f1.4, and that was a test sample shipped to me directly from Sigma in New York. Therefore, it was not a random sample from a store. I have read some complaints here about some issues, but the number of complaints does not seem unusual. Any lens, especially recently introduced, will have a few bad samples.
    The one sample I used worked very well with my D800E, on all AF points (or I should say on all the AF points I tried). I used it on my D7100 to capture some building interior, and I found moire around a vent on the wall inside the image. Usually an image has to be extremely sharp for you to get moire.
    The Sigma 35mm f1.4 is a big and heavy lens for a wide angle. In the review I have an image showing it side by side with my 35mm/f1.4 AI-S and 28mm/f1.8 AF-S. I never used Nikon's 35mm/f1.4 AF-S outside of a camera store, though.
     
  10. I'm planning to sell both my 50 1.8G and 60 2.8G macro to fund for the Sigma. Should I do it?​
    That depends. They're all excellent lenses. Which would you rather have, the 35 or the longer focal lengths?
     
  11. I have the Nikon 35 1.4g...my favorite lens...
     
  12. Kent: their new USB focus-tuning/firmware-update dock should help make such issues less of an issue.
     
  13. Kent: Late in the day here ... doing the 'Martini' as it was called in Hollywood ...last shot of the day, bang!, and 'talking' photo ... Recalling that you do a lot of cold temp work ... consider also the Sigma build materials ... not 'plastic' at all ... metal where it needs to be, but a 'composite material' ... read space-shuttle stuff. Far more thermally stable, can be machined or formed to same tolerances of metal, not subject to near the shock-transferring properties, and, if it makes a diff (not to me) ... does not look all beat to hell after a period of hard use.
     
  14. Shun, I'd like to read your review. Where can I find it?
     
  15. it has looked sad for a number of years. For example, its chromatic aberration is about as bad as that on the $200 Nikon 35mm/f1.8 DX AF-S..... It should surprise no one that new lenses are much better.​
    My AiS 35 f/1.4 does not look sad at all, and I do not look sad when it see its results either... (in other words, I am going to gracefully partially disagree here). There is no comparison between what this new Sigma can do, and what the old Nikkor does. At least, no serious comparison apart from being 35mm and f/1.4.
    The point about the AiS lens is that it was among the first fast wide angles, and in its day probably ruled them (I wasn't quite alive those days yet...). Nowadays.... it's a lens full of character, quirks and particularities. You do not use this MF lens to achieve optical perfection, but to achieve a look this lens happens to have. It's how modern cars are safer, faster, more economical, better equipped.... and yet how classic cars still can be epic fun to drive. Different horses, different courses.
    But for the record: no, the chromatic aberration of the AiS 35 f/1.4 is 'about as bad' as the 35 f/1.8DX. It is way way and way worse :) I've used both on DX, and the new lens is a lot cleaner.
    Yes, the Sigma looks spectacular, and great value for money. Would be number 1 on my shortlist, if I wasn't so hooked to my AiS 35 f/1.4 :)
     
  16. The Sigma is a big and heavy lens. This may ultimately be irritating and you might end up wishing you had a smaller f1.8 or f2 equivalent. The Sigma by all accounts is a great lens, but I would think seriously as to how useful f1.4 is going to be to you with a 35mm lens and whether the increased size is worth it. I have the Canon 35/1.4L and that's smaller than the Sigma, it's a great lens, but if I had my time again I would buy the current 35 f2 IS just because it is so much smaller.
     
  17. ShunCheung

    ShunCheung Administrator

    In the review, I have made it very clear that the Sigma 35mm/f1.4 is a big and heavy lens for a wide angle. See the size comparison.
    If one wants something lighter for Nikon, the Nikkor 28mm/f1.8 AF-S weight a bit less than half as much as the Sigma, but of course that 28mm has a lot of plastic parts inside. There are different preferences.
    [​IMG]
     
  18. And you have not shown the hoods either...The 28/1.8 is about the same size as the Canon f1.4 35mm.
     
  19. I actually have the nikkor 35mm f/1.4g for several years...the nikkor and the sigma seems to be on par for me, but in low light I find the Sigma a bit sharper. In good light they are both very pleasing. You can fine tune Sigma's AF accuracy with 4 different focusing distances, and the AF speed with USB dock, and that's just a big plus. All that plus the Sigma is several hundred dollars cheaper...
    if you dont already own the nikkor go for the Sigma i think
    I use them both on D800E and D4
     
  20. The terms "big and heavy" are relative. I assume that Sigma's 35 f/1.4 is smaller and lighter than my 24-70, which in turn is smaller and
    lighter than my 79-200/2.8 VRII. If that is so, the Sigma would not seem "big and heavy" to me.

    On the other hand, when compared to Canon's tiny 40mm STM prime, the Sigma probably looks HUGE. :)
     
  21. Compared to the Nikon 35/2 it's big and heavy. Compared to the Zeiss offerings and Nikon's AF-S, maybe not. I'd really love to see some more modern, lightweight, mid-speed primes. Yes, modern cameras have great high ISO capabilities. But in the end with the big modern lenses you're still lugging around quite a bit of weight. It's one thing to have the weight in your bag (full of primes), it's another to have something like the 14-24 in your hands all day. Size aside, I liked the Sigma. A modern AF-S 20/4 and 35/2 would be great IMO.
    Matt: From reading the LensRentals dot com blog, it seems like the USB dock lets you fine tune AF calibration at set distances and zoom ranges (and presumably overall AF speed). I didn't see any indication that you could tweak the calibration per AF point.
    Shun: The impression I got from following some threads on other forums was that Sigma had indeed acknowledged problems with the D800 and the 35/1.4 and attempted to remedy the situation with a firmware update. This doesn't seem so out of the realm of possibility given how things like liveview support required firmware updates.
     
  22. ShunCheung

    ShunCheung Administrator

    The terms "big and heavy" are relative.​
    Of course it is. That was why I made it very clear that "the Sigma 35mm/f1.4 is a big and heavy lens for a wide angle" (prime/fixed focal length) lens. It is certainly much smaller than a 600mm/f4 lens.
    See how small the Nikon 35mm/f1.4 AI-S is next to the Sigma, same focal length, same maximum aperture. That 35mm AI-S uses 52mm filters, but has no AF motor and was designed for film; it has a lot of chromatic aberration that the Sigma manages to avoid.
    Shun: The impression I got from following some threads on other forums was that Sigma had indeed acknowledged problems with the D800 and the 35/1.4 and attempted to remedy the situation with a firmware update. This doesn't seem so out of the realm of possibility given how things like liveview support required firmware updates.​
    I have read some of that. Again, I only tested one sample of the Sigma 35mm/f1.4 and it was supplied to me directly from Sigma, so it is not a random sample from a store. They only loaned it to me for 2.5 weeks, not the 1 to 2 months Nikon USA provides. I did not encounter any problems with that lens on my D800E, D700, and D7100. Since it is such an excellent lens, I intend to get one some time in the future, but since I already have the Nikon 28mm/f1.8 AF-S and many other lenses, I am in no hurry.
     
  23. Matt Laur, that is a fabulous photo. Wonderful dog pose, wonderful lighting, and I love the color of the background. Technically wonderful. You have made me a believer in this lens. I ordered it on Friday.
     
  24. Hey, thanks Diane. Lighting, managing the set, and having a fun subject like that pup are paramount ... but boy that lens
    sure helps! I've really grown to count on it. You're going to put it to good work, I'm sure!
     
  25. lwg

    lwg

    From reading the LensRentals dot com blog, it seems like the USB dock lets you fine tune AF calibration at set distances and zoom ranges (and presumably overall AF speed). I didn't see any indication that you could tweak the calibration per AF point.​
    This is correct. However I found that when I used the Dock it also uploaded new firmware to the lens. I think this is what fixed the issues I was having with the outer focus points. After using the Dock and tuning the lens (about an hour of tedium) the Sigma seems dead on when used with any focus point on the D800E.
     
  26. I think it MUST be very good. Out of six reviews it gets a 10 average rating at SLRgear.com. That is unheard of.
    http://slrgear.com/reviews/showproduct.php/product/1561/cat/30
     
  27. http://slrgear.com/reviews/showproduct.php/product/1609/cat/31
     

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