Review Sigma 24-35 mm f/2 DG HSM Art with Nikon D7200

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Is the Sigma 24-35 mm f/2 Art an alternative for the Sigma 18-35 mm f/1.8 Art? The Sigma 18-35 mm f/1.8 (the world’s first zoom lens for cameras with an APS-C/DX sensor with a sensational brightness of f/1.8) is the most obvious if you want to have a high-quality, bright zoom lens for a camera with an APS-C sensor. At every focal length, the Sigma 18-35 mm f/2.8 was just as good as—or even better than—a lens with a fixed focal length and the same brightness. But if you are ever planning to switch to a camera with a larger sensor, then the new Sigma 24-35 mm f/2 might be a better choice. Even if you have to give up some field of view for it.

Sigma 24-35 mm f/2: an alternative on APS-C/DX for the Sigma 18-35 mm f/1.8 if you ever want to switch to a full-frame sensor?

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A lens with a high brightness is much more difficult to make than a lens with a brightness of f/2.8 or higher. If you want the lens to also be suitable for use on a camera with a full-frame sensor, then the degree of difficulty—and hence the price—increases significantly. That applies for a lens with a fixed focal length, but to an even greater degree to a zoom lens. That is the reason why the Sigma 24-35 mm f/2 Art (suitable for full-frame sensors), despite a smaller zoom range and a bit lower brightness, is more expensive than the Sigma 18-35 mm f/1.8 Art (only suitable for APS-C/DX). It is remarkable that Sigma has succeeded in designing two bright zoom lenses that are both the world-record holders in their zoom range as far as brightness is concerned and that are still attractively priced.
Why has Sigma chosen a zoom range of 24-35 mm for the full-frame zoom? The zoom range of the Sigma 24-35 mm f/2 Art betrays the fact that Sigma has set the bar high as far as image quality is concerned. It is practically always true that the greater the zoom range, the more compromises are made as far as the image quality is concerned. In particular for zoom lenses at short focal lengths, you see that in the image quality. If you are not planning to ever switch to a camera with a full-frame sensor, then the Sigma 18-35 mm f/1.8 offers a bigger field of view and higher brightness. In addition, the 18-35 mm lens is more compact and lighter. As far as build and image quality are concerned (spoiler alert) they are equally good on a camera with an APS-C sensor. Because the 24-35 mm is designed for full-frame, it scores a bit better on APS-C/DX for the absence of distortion and vignetting, because in combination with the APS-C/DX sensor, only the center of the lens will be used.

Build and auto focus

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DThe build of the Sigma 24-35 mm f/2 Art is as we have become accustomed to: uncompromisingly professional level, with a very solid metal mount. This part of a lens is sometimes underestimated, even though the precision of the connection of the lens to the camera can have enormous influence on the sharpness—especially for cameras with high resolution. If you express the resolution in line pairs/mm, then the demands that a 24-megapixel APS-C camera places on a lens are just as tough as a 50-megapixel full-frame sensor.

You can see that Sigma recognizes that and has handled this point well. Manual focusing is great with a broad, pleasantly dampened focus ring. The lens has no image stabilization, and it is not extra-well sealed against dust and splashwater. The Sigma 24-35 mm f/2 Art is delivered with a beautiful black bag and a flower-shaped lens hood. Just like all Art, Contemporary and Sports models from Sigma, this lens can be connected to the optional USB dock, with which you update the lens firmware yourself and with which you can fine-tune the AF if that’s needed.

With SLR cameras, the AF accuracy will be determined by the distance from the AF sensors in the phase detection module. In theory, you expect—assuming that there is no front of back focus—that a camera with a full-frame sensor can focus more accurately than a camera with an APS-C sensor. We see that in practice: on a Nikon D7200, the AF spread was larger than in our previous test of the Sigma 24-35 mm f/2 Art on a Nikon D810. This lens is not extra-well sealed against dust and splashwater.

Specifications
Sigma 24-35mm f/2 DG HSM Art
Image Stabilization:-
lenses/ groups:18 / 13
length x diameter:123/88 / 88
filter size:82
Weight:940
Lens hood:+

Vignetting and distortion

VignetDistort

Across the whole range, the Sigma 24-35 mm f/2 performs better here than many lenses with a fixed focal length that we have previously reviewed on a camera with an APS-C sensor.

If you use a lens that is designed for a camera with a full-frame sensor on a camera with a smaller sensor, then you only use the best part of the lens. You see that in the fantastic performance of the Sigma 24-35 mm f/2 on the points of distortion and vignetting. At 24 and 35 mm (and thus probably across the whole zoom range) the Sigma 18-35 mm f/1.8 is also beaten out by the Sigma 24-35 mm Art.

Flare and chromatic aberration

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Sigma pays a great deal of attention in the design of lenses to preventing internal reflections and thereby goes much further than the coating of lens elements. You see that in the insensitivity to flare and ghosts. It is not always absent, but during the practice test, I had to take a lot of pictures in order to cause ghosts. Even if you photograph directly against a bright light source, it goes surprisingly well.

Chromatic aberration has also remained nicely limited. Not only in the jpg files, where every Nikon camera immediately suppresses undesirable lateral chromatic aberration, but also in RAW files where no correction at all is done.

Sharpness

If you express the resolution in line pairs/mm, then the demands that a 24-megapixel APS-C camera places on a lens are just as tough as a 50-megapixel full-frame sensor. The Sigma 24-35 mm f/2 Art also performs well here, where at f/2.8—that is to say, after stopping down one stop—a very high center sharpness will be reached. As far as the corners are concerned, you could stop down to f/5.6 for an optimal result. From f/11, the sharpness decreases slowly as a result of diffraction. That is a phenomenon of physics that no lens designer can change.

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Bokeh Sigma 24-35 mm f/2 DG HSM Art

EA wide-angle zoom is not the first lens that you think about when it comes to butter-soft bokeh. Even so, the Sigma 24-35 mm f/2 is also able to surprise pleasantly in this respect. See the picture below as an illustration. Not only is the background shown beautifully blurred, but the gradient from sharp to blurred is also nicely even.

Longitudinal chromatic aberration/color bokeh is a phenomenon that can occur with practically all bright lenses. In some practice shots—as in the worst-case 100% partial enlargement shown here—there was recognizable color bokeh. That is a great performance.

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Conclusion Sigma 24-35 mm f/2 DG HSM Art review with Nikon D810

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Look in our list of reviewed lenses to compare this lens with other lenses.

NCWYSIWYG score: This table shows the performance of this lens if you save the files in the camera as jpg, where you have applied all available in-camera lens corrections. This score gives you for this lens/test camera combination: "What you see is what you get".


24
36
8.0
7.7
9.3
8.3
6.7
7
8
35
53
8.4
8.0
9.3
7.4
8.0
7
8
Overall
Overall
8.6
8.1
9.3
7.8
8.7
7
8
NCPure RAW score: This table shows the performance of this lens if the file is stored in the camera in RAW format. This score approaches the intrinsic quality of the combination of lens and test camera. If you make use of lens correction profiles in Photoshop or Lightroom for the conversion of RAW files, then the RAW scores for vignetting, chromatic aberration and distortion might be even higher.
24
36
8.7
8.2
9.4
9.4
9.4
7
8
35
53
8.3
8.0
9.4
9.2
8.3
7
8
Overall
Overall
8.5
8.2
9.4
9.3
8.8
7
8

Pros

  • Professional build quality
  • Can also be used on a camera with a full-frame sensor
  • Customization of your own camera possible thanks to the optional USB dock
  • Extremely high image quality across the whole zoom range on all points: high sharpness, beautiful bokeh, extremely little flare
  • At least as good as lenses with a fixed focal length

Cons

  • No built-in image stabilization
  • Not extra-well sealed against dust and splashwaterspatwater
  • Bigger and heavier than the 18-35 mm f/1.8 Art
Even on APS-C, the Sigma 24-35 mm f/2 Art is a wide-angle zoom lens that is just as good and bright as a set of lenses with a fixed focal length .

A photographer with a camera with an APS-C/DX sensor who would rather capture a wide view is better off choosing the slightly brighter Sigma 18-35 mm f/1.8, which is specially designed for use on a camera with an APS-C sensor. But if you ever want to switch to a camera with a full-frame sensor, then the 24-35 mm f/2 Art is at least as good a choice. You then get even less distortion and vignetting as a bonus.

This is a zoom lens that deserves a permanent spot in the photo bag of renowned and professional photographers, who until recently exclusively used lenses with a fixed focal length. Does it leave nothing to be desired? Built-in image stabilization and extra sealing against dust and splashwater would have made this lens perfect, but also more expensive. This is simply a fantastic zoom lens with sensational brightness and high build and image quality. The Sigma 24-25 mm f/2, compared with a 24 mm or 35 mm with a fixed focal length, might be relatively big, but not in comparison with multiple lenses. While the enormously high image quality of this lens ensures that the Sigma 24-35 mm f/2 Art in scores extremely high in our list of test results by focal length in comparison with all the other lenses that we have reviewed—fixed and zoom—at 24, 28 or 35 mm. 

Ivo Freriks
Author: Ivo Freriks
With Camera Review Stuff I hope to make a modest contribution to the pleasure that you get from photography. By testing cameras and lenses in the same way, evluating the results and weighing up the pros and cons, I hope to help you find the right camera or lens.

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