After unpacking it, I was thoroughly impressed with the finish and feel, unprecedented for a Sigma lens, I had to look twice to make sure they didn’t send a Zeiss more
after the break
First thing I did was set the aperture to 1.4, mount it on the D800E and headed out to shoot wide open at different distances from close to far away, covering a practical range appropriate for 1.4 – all shots below where shot wide open-click on the image to check out the full size files
Why do we lust after 1.4 lenses? A relict desire from the analog days when ISO 400 was the 3200 of today, back then it gave us a brighter viewfinder image and made manual focusing a lot easier. Today, a brighter viewfinder is nice but not necessary because we mostly have state of the art af in DSLR’s and EVF’s in mirrorless cameras.
Today we are looking for bokeh. Focusing a FF lens at 1.4, even a standard wide angle like the 35mm and nailing it, isn’t as easy as one would expect. Phase detection approximates the distance, which, in most cases works out fine, except when shooting wide open at 1.4, even the smallest focusing errors will produce blurry results. The slightest camera or subject movement can shift focus to the ears instead of the eyes.
The Sigma 35mm f1.4: The copy I received for testing only needed a -5 focus calibration adjustment and this value didn’t change throughout the focusing range, I was able to nail focus at every distance wide open. Very fast and unprecedented af accuracy at 1.4. AFAIC, a first for Sigma. My experience with the 50mm 1.4 a while back was quite the opposite.
The front element does not rotate and internal focus keeps the physical size of the lens constant.
I am thoroughly impressed with this lens, absolutely incredible already wide open, really the best aside a 6k Leica lens.
If I would have to pick only one standard/universal lens for my D800e (or any high end FF), this one would be it!
You can get the Sigma 35mm 1.4 in Nikon mount, in Canon mount and in Sony Alpha mount.
Sigma 35mm mounted on the D800E:
Rokinon 35mm mounted on the D800e
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