Double Test Nikon D800E and Sigma 35mm f1.4 Art lens

Two O'clock early morning in Hanoi

First of all special thanks to Jean Dominique for providing lens and body.

At photokina 2012 Sigma announced a new kind of “Art” lens, which provides a lens portfolio of three categories: "Contemporary", "Art" and "Sports". These product lines don't apply to existing Sigma lenses, but any newly developed lens will be assigned to one of them. The first lens carrying the "Art" tag is the 35mm f/1.4 DG.

So, as I intended to get the Nikon D800E as a body and my friend bought the Sigma art lens I decided to have a look at how the lens performs as well.

As you can see the depth of field is very narrow at f1.4 and the bokeh quite pleasing.

At first glance I think that Sigma started this time really at the design board and came up with a result that is very impressive and quite different from what you might have seen from Sigma in the past. The 35/1.4 is built and designed very well. Parts of the lens tube are made from metal, including the focus ring, some parts are made from plastic if I’m not mistaken, so there's a bit of material mixture. In my opinion the lens really feels like a premium product.

And this is all I have to say technically. I just go for my gut feeling if I like a lens, body and so on and look at the images I can get and that’s it.

Nevertheless a 35mm lens is a really comfortable focal length especially for street photographers (at least in my opinion). Every now and then you might come across a camera or lens that hits a special sweet spot of image quality, usability and price that will make it a recommendation. The Sigma 35/1.4 is just such a thing - it manages the impressive trick of being substantially cheaper than the camera manufacturers' equivalents while matching or beating them optically..

walking through the streets of the Old Quarter and its surrounding I got some shots without stopping my stride.

I’ve had this lens one week and pulled off nearly 3000 frames with it. I’ve photographed street scenes with the Hanoi Photo Club. Usually I take my 24mm Nikon lens or a nifty fifty but I have to tell you …. Wow this 35 … it’s sharp. Wicked sharp. Sigma has done it for me. They created an incredibly affordable tool even if you are on a budget.

Here my opinion:

Pros: High-quality portrait lens at a great price; solid, functional build with an unpretentious design, it creates a shallow depth of field and a pleasing background blur

Cons: In low-contrast shooting conditions, the lens can take some time to focus from infinity to close up; the lens shows sometimes a hunting time for focus in low light;  no weather sealing.

That’s it guys if you are interested in the details and the technical things you should search it in Google as I am only writing about my personal and subjective visual experience. I’ll put out some images I like as a reference.