Sigma 35mm 1.4 Art
Crazy sharp, low distortion, and low cost for it’s class
Chances are good – if you shoot primes you currently own or have owned a 35mm lens at some point along your photographic journey. At our studio we love the focal length and pairing it with an 85mm lens is like peanut butter and jelly! Prior to the release of this lens we shot the Canon 35mm 1.4L, which had served us well enough. However with it’s aging 1998 design, and it’s mediocre sharpness, and warm indoor color renditions we were on the search for something different. A change was on the horizon for us, we just thought it was going to be the Zeiss 35mm Distagon manual focus lens.
Prior to the release of Sigma’s Flagship 35mm lens, the company’s reputation was hardly synonymous with quality. At the time the company was plagued by what was generally a failed product line of lenses that required lots of factory returns for calibration. Needless to say Sigma was NOT on our radar. However, shortly after it’s release glowing reviews began to appear all over the internet comparing it to the big guys! We figured at it’s $899 price point it was worth shooting along side our Canon. If it couldn’t keep up we could always sell it off due to the popularity surrounding it. However, to our surprise the Sigma did keep up!
Typically it’s difficult to create heavily bokeh’d scene with a wide angle lens unless using a lens with a huge aperture like 1.4. But as wedding photographers we need to render dreamy, whimsical scenes at almost all times. Since both these lenses have the same 1.4 aperture the differences would be in the sharpness and colors. If you are into numbers you will be happy to know that DXOMark rated Sigma overall 3 points stronger than both the Canon and the Zeiss. You can shoot this lens at f2 and get incredible sharpness and creamy bokeh that is so delicious it’ll having you hungry for more!
Why Consider This Lens?
If you are in the market for a 35mm lens this is a great contender! If you shoot all Canon gear and you worry about matching another manufacturer’s lens with your other Canon babies you should consider this investment very carefully. It renders colors differently than the Canon, which depending on your goals might be problematic. We personally like the color renditions it creates under tungsten and florescent lighting and love using it indoors. We admit that owning this lens has increased our post production workflow time and trying to match it along with some of our other lenses can be tedious at times. However, for us image quality is paramount and Sigma delivers what matters most at 35mm!
What we use this lens for and why we love it
Fast performing auto-focus, sharpness, incredible image quality all at a very fair cost. From getting ready to receptions, all of your wedding day images will benefit from owning this lens. We love it’s close focusing distance of less than a foot. Which results in relatively close detail shots with a razor sharp depth of field and a very fine art feel. We love shooting this lens along side our Canon 100mm Marco and between the two of them we can cover the details! We also love that we can shoot it wide open @ 1.4 and gathers plenty of light in very dark rooms. The autofocus is remarkably snappy and it rarely misses focus. It’s a great tool on a wedding day and can get you out of tricky situations! Sigma hit this one out of the park and we are proud to carry this lens in our kit. Shortly after acquiring our Sigma Art Lens we added to the growing inventory of used Canon 35mm Ls on eBay and haven’t looked back. If you are looking for an incredible performing 35mm lens this should be on your rather short list.
*Past Love: We no longer carry this lens in our bag and have downgraded back to the much less sharp Canon 35mm 1.4L. This is a hard paragraph to write as we so loved the Sigma 35mm lens. However, our workflow process had identified an additional 2 hours per wedding in extra Lightroom tinkering to get the final images resembling our other L & ZE lenses. That adds up to close to 60 hours a year of color correcting. Sadly, we have broken up with the Sigma 35mm 1.4 due to this reason alone. But, the silver lining is almost 2 weeks of desperately needed vacation time!
Are you interested in learning more about this lens? There are lots of great useful resources all of the web to help us photographers achieve our photographic dreams! We have included some of the articles and resources that were helpful for us when researching our own gear purchase.