Sigma 35 mm 1.4 ART review @ Nikon D800E (N FF)

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A few weeks ago, we tested the Sigma 35 mm 1.4 Art on a camera with a 21 megapixel full-frame sensor (Canon 1Dx). In the current Sigma 35mm 1.4 Art review, we couple this optically high flying Sigma with a Nikon D800E, to see if more megapixels lead to an even higher resolution. It does, we can tell you. This review also provides the ability to compare this Sigma objectively with the Nikon 34 mm 1.4: the best performing 35 mm lens to date in our test summary for all lenses tested with a Field of view of 35mm @ Full Frame.

Sigma-35mm-lens

Sigma 35 mm f/1,4 DG HSM review @ Nikon D800/D800E

Specifications
Sigma 35mm f/1.4 DG HSM "A"
Image Stabilization:-
lenses/ groups:13/11
length x diameter:94 / 77
filter size:67
Weight:665
Lens hood:+

This lens exudes quality, it is very solidly built; all rings run smoothly and without any play. There is a coating on both the front and on the back end lens. The lens mount is made of metal, and because the lens is quite heavy, we assume that this also applies to the tube. It comes with a tulip shaped lens hood that you can put back over the lens when not in use. Unfortunately, the leaves of the tulip are slightly rounded, which means you can not rest the camera on the hood, because then it would tumble easily.

The lens has a MF / AF switch and a (very small) depth of field scale. For a professional lens, the range of the manual focusing ring is a bit on the short side (about 90 degrees from infinity to minimum focusing distance). In a studio many photographers will use manual focusing using Live View, and then a larger turn would be convenient. The lens has a built-in focus motor of the type USM ("HSM"), the autofocus on our Nikon worked very fast and nearly silent. This lens has no built-in stabilization.

35mmf8sampleimageSigma 35 mm f/1.4  @  f/8

Resolution

 
Sigma35mmsampleimageSigma 35 mm 1.4 Art @  f/8

The resolution of images with this lens mounted on the Nikon D800E is very high, and meets the highest optical standards. This lens shows his best performances at aperture 5.6 - 11. With the naked eye you will  experience the sharpness at full aperture even in the corners already as very high. At Aperture 5.6, the sharpness in the center and in the corners is really equal. At higher apertures the resolution is very slowly declining, which is normal and has to do with the phenomenon of diffraction. Below you can see the overal high sharpness in sharpness in 100% crops of images shot at f/1.4 and f/5.6.

 

Move your mouse over the image to switch between f/1.4 and f/5.6.

Resolutie
Sigma35mmat14

Vignetting

 
At wide open apertures there is a significant and with the naked eye visible vignetting. When you don't apply in-camera correction of vignetting, you will have to stop down to f/4 (3 stops).
Jpg files benefit from the in-camera correction of vignetting by the Nikon D800E, which was set to "Normal". Perhaps you will obtain even better results if you set the vignetting correction of the camera to "High".
Vignet

Distortion Sigma 35 mm 1.4 ART

 
The Sigma 35 mm f/1.4 is not entirely free from (pincushion) distortion. We measured a 1% distortion, which is a slightly higher value we reported in our previous Sigma 35mm 1.4 review using a Canon camera. One % does not seem much, but it is visible in images such as architecture and landscape photography with the horizon in the middle. This distortion can be corrected easily using software, if desired, but for a professional lens you would hope for a little less distortion. On the other hand, both the Nikon 35 mm f/1.4 and the Canon 35 mm f/2 IS show almost identical distortion, if you don't apply in-camera distortion correction. Distortion
SigmaflowerSigma 35 mm 1.4 Art @  f/2

Bokeh

 
This lens is the perfect choice if you wish to play with sharpness. At f/1.4 this lens delivers beautiful bokeh. If you stop down this lens, aperture diaphragm blades become visible in the bokeh. Striking is the large number of rings that you can see in the bokeh: it is not very pronounced, but clearly visible. We've also encountered this phenomenon with some other lenses with very high resolving power. bokehf14

Flare Sigma 35 mm 1.4 ART

 
The Sigma 35mm 1.4 is very little affected by flare and ghosting. In practice, you will almost never encounter flare or ghosting. In the studio, we subjected the lens to flare test. Only if there's a very bright light source very near the front lens shining directly into the lens, there is a zone with reduced contrast  and there are also several green spots visible. Impressive. flare-sample

Chromatic aberration

 

Lateral chromatic aberration is low, at all apertures, both in the raw and in the jpg files. In the field test, we encountered no lateral and no longitudinal ('color bokeh') chromatic aberration. This is, given the fast f/1.4 aperture of this lens, a very good performance.

Chromatic-aberration

Conclusion Sigma 35 mm 1.4 ART review

Sigma35mmv2

See our list of tested lenses or the lenses with a Nikon mount tested by us to compare the performance of this lens to other lenses.

ECWYSIWYG score: This table shows the performance of this lens if you store the files in the camera as jpg, where you have all available in-camera lens corrections applied. This score gives you for this lens/test camera combination: "What you see is what you get".
35
35
8.8
8.8
8.8
7.3
6.4
ECPure RAW score: This table shows the performance of this lens when the file is stored in the camera in RAW format. This score approaches the intrinsic quality of the combination of lens and test camera.
35
35
8.7
8.7
9.4
7.8
6.8

Pros

Cons

  • Excellent image quality
  • Mechanically very well built
  • Exceptionally low color bokeh
  • Very little flare and ghosting
  • High price
  • Heavy
  • Focus ring turn is a little short for manual focusing
The Sigma 35mm f/1.4 lens ART meets the highest standards, even at full frame cameras with high pixel numbers like the Nikon D800E. Both mechanically and optically there is virtually nothing to be desired. The amount of flare and color bokeh are very, very low. The Sigma 35mm f/1.4 and the Nikon 35 mm 1.4 are the two best performing 35 mm lenses to date in our overview of all lenses tested with a Field of view of 35mm @ Full Frame. In comparison with the Nikon 35mm f/1.4 AF-S lens, this Sigma delivers even higher resolution. If you don't use in-camera correction of distortion in jpg files, the Sigma and Nikon lens both show 1% distortion. It is an expensive piece of optics: the retail price is nearly a thousand Euro, but the Nikon is a lot more expensive.
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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