Sigma 35mm f/1.4 DG HSM A £670, $900
One of the first lenses in Sigma’s recently introduced ‘Art’ line – and nearly a masterpiece
Based on typical UK retail prices, this Sigma is about half the price of the Nikon AF-S 35mm f/1.4G, which costs £1300/$1700. There’s nothing cheap about the build, however. When it was launched, Sigma claimed that it set a new benchmark for performance. Posh glass includes an FLD element, which is similar to top-grade fluorite glass, along with four SLD (Special Low Dispersion) elements. Externally the standard of finish is impeccable, although there are no weather seals.
Like other recent Sigma lenses, this one is compatible with the company’s optional USB Dock, which can be used to apply firmware updates and to fine-tune performance. The HSM (HyperSonic Motor) AF system is also fast and accurate, and as it’s a ring-type system, full-time manual focus override is available in Single AF mode.
Like its newer, bigger brother, Sigma’s 50mm Art lens, the 35mm delivers superb sharpness and contrast even at its widest aperture. Especially impressive for a wide-angle optic, excellent sharpness is retained right into the corners of the frame when using wide apertures. Compared with the Samyang 35mm lens that’s on test, bokeh is rather smoother and more appealing.