Review: Sigma 35mm 1.2 Art DG DN

Introduction

sigma 35mm 1.2 art dg dn sharpness resolution contrast high 42mp a7rii a7riii bokeh za sony vignetting light fall off falloff
Sigma 35mm 1.2 Art DG DN on Sony A7rII

The Sigma 35mm 1.2 Art DG DN is the first true full frame mirrorless lens designed by Sigma and also the first full frame 35mm f/1.2 AF lens. Is this finally the high quality 35mm lens we have been waiting for?

Sample Images

sigma 35mm 1.2 art dg dn sharpness resolution contrast high 42mp a7rii a7riii bokeh za sony
Sony A7III | Sigma 35mm 1.2 Art | f/1.2
sigma 35mm 1.2 art dg dn sharpness resolution contrast high 42mp a7rii a7riii bokeh za sony
Sony A7rII | Sigma 35mm 1.2 Art | f/1.2
sigma 35mm 1.2 art dg dn sharpness resolution contrast high 42mp a7rii a7riii bokeh za sony vignetting light fall off falloff
Sony A7III | Sigma 35mm 1.2 Art | f/1.2

sigma 35mm 1.2 art dg dn sharpness resolution contrast high 42mp a7rii a7riii bokeh za sony vignetting light fall off falloff
Sony A7rII | Sigma 35mm 1.2 Art | f/1.2
sigma 35mm 1.2 art dg dn sharpness resolution contrast high 42mp a7rii a7riii bokeh za sony vignetting light fall off falloff
Sony A7III | Sigma 35mm 1.2 Art | f/1.2

Most of the sample images in this review can be found in full resolution here.

Specifications / Version History

In addition to the Sigma 35mm 1.4 Art – which was the first lens of Sigma’s Global Vision lens lineup and the first lens of the Art series – we now have this Sigma 35mm 1.2 Art DG DN, a true mirrorless design, which has the following specifications:

    • Diameter: 88 mm
    • Field of view: 63.4° (diagonally)*
    • Length: 137 mm
    • Weight: 1090g (without hood and caps)
    • Filter Diameter: 82 mm
    • Number of Aperture Blades: 11 (rounded)
    • Elements/Groups: 17/12
    • Close Focusing Distance: 0.30 m
    • Maximum Magnification: 1:5.1
    • Mount: Sony-E

You may also have a look at the official page.

*Despite Sigma claiming the 35mm 1.2 Art and the Sigma 35mm 1.4 Art both having a diagonal viewing angle of 63.4° the older f/1.4 version is wider. Focal lengths are usually subject to rounding and as I did not properly measure either I cannot tell you which is closer to actual 35mm.

The Sigma 35mm 1.2 Art is not listed everywhere yet, you can already find it at amazon.com | B&H | ebay.com | ebay.de for about $1499/1529€

Operation

Handling

sigma 35mm 1.2 art dg dn sharpness resolution contrast high 42mp a7rii a7riii bokeh za sony vignetting light fall off falloff
Sigma 35mm 1.2 Art DG DN

Compared to the former Sigma lenses we are in for a few surprises here. In terms of handling this new line of Sigma lenses feels almost exactly like a Sony GM lens.
We have an aperture ring with 1/3rd of a stop click stops and de-cklick lever (just like the GM lenses) we have an AF/MF switch and a focus hold button (just like the GM lenses) and the manual focus has a linear coupling.
The only differences compared to the GM lenses like the 85mm 1.4, 135mm 1.8 or 24mm 1.4 are the position of the AF/MF switch, which is above the focus hold button, not below (I prefer Sigma’s design here) and the focus throw.

sigma 35mm 1.2 art dg dn sharpness resolution contrast high 42mp a7rii a7riii bokeh za sony vignetting light fall off falloff
Sigma 35mm 1.2 Art DG DN button layout

The GM primes I tried all have exactly 180° focus throw from infinity to the minimum focus distance. Sigma seems to have thought this is way too little and so the 35mm 1.2 has a ~ 540° focus throw.
This is good for finetuning focus but in the field it felt a bit too long to be honest. The resistance is really nice though, better (higher) than that of e.g. the Sony 85mm 1.4 GM.
There is also no physical distance scale that we know from the Sigma E-mount lenses with built-in adapter tube.

There is no denying, this is a huge lens. Already the Sigma 35mm 1.4 Art was a very big lens, but it is dwarfed by its f/1.2 brother:

sigma 35mm 1.2 art dg dn sharpness resolution contrast high 42mp a7rii a7riii bokeh za sony vignetting light fall off falloff
Sigma 35mm 1.2 Art DG DN and Sigma 35mm 1.4 Art HSM DG

A bayonet type lens hood is also part of the package which also offers improved build quality like the ones we know from the GM series with a release button and a mix of polycarbonate and rubber (which is really good at attracting dust).

sigma 35mm 1.2 art dg dn sharpness resolution contrast high 42mp a7rii a7riii bokeh za sony vignetting light fall off falloff
Sigma 35mm 1.2 Art DG DN with lens hood attached

Build Quality

The outside is made from the same high quality polycarbonate we already know from the other Sigma Global Vision lenses.
I cannot tell you much about the long term reliablity (yet) or about the internal parts, but maybe we get to see a teardown by lens rentals one day.

Sigma claims the lens is dust- and splash proof and like all of Sigma’s full frame E-mount lenses there is a rubber gasket to be found at the bayonet.

Autofocus

I have only used the lens for slow moving adults and encountered no problems with the autofocus. If you primarily want to take pictures of running animals or small children you may come to a different conclusion.

Eye-AF also works generally well, but you have to be close to your subject for the camera to actually recognize an eye in the frame (this is true for all wide angle lenses). So at the distances I was mostly using this lens the cameras usually resorted back to face-detect mode.

So far I saw little difference in terms of speed and accuracy compared to the Sigma 35mm 1.4 Art or the Sony FE 35mm 1.4 ZA.

Vignetting

light falloff

sigma 35mm 1.2 art dg dn sharpness resolution contrast high 42mp a7rii a7riii bokeh za sony vignetting light fall off falloff

Wide open there is strong light falloff of roughly 2.9 EV, stopped down to f/1.4 this improves to 2.6 EV, stopped down to f/2.0 it is 1.9 EV and further improves to 0.9 EV at f/8.0. You can either correct this in Lightroom as soon as there is a profile available or directly in camera.

These values are comparable to most of the 35mm f/1.4 lenses and especially wide open they are better than those of smaller f/1.2 lenses like the Voigtlander 40mm 1.2 E or 50mm 1.2 E.

color cast

I did not detect any color cast issues with this lens.

optical vignetting

Very fast lenses often show optical vignetting. Without going too much into technical details optical vignetting leads to the truncation of light circles towards the borders of the frame.
In the center of the frame almost every lens will render a perfect circle, but only lenses with very low optical vignetting will keep this shape in the corners.
So in the following comparison we move from the center (left) to the extreme corner (right) and see how the shape of the light circle changes.

 

This Sigma 35mm 1.2 Art does show a noticeable amount of optical vignetting in the corners. The Sigma 35mm 1.4 Art and the Sony FE 35mm 1.4 ZA have slightly less deformed light circles in the corners at shared apertures.
There is something positive though: onion ring structures, while still visible in the new lens, are noticeably less pronounced.

I did not shoot these lenses side by side. The circles would be bigger on the f/1.2 lens in the center when focused at the same distance and cropped to the same size.
Performance in this subject is highly dependant on the focus distance and the distance to the light source, so it is possible to get other results at other distances.

Sharpness

infinity

sigma 35mm 1.2 art dg dn sharpness resolution contrast high 42mp a7rii a7riii bokeh za sony vignetting light fall off falloff

The center sharpness is good af f/1.2, contrary to most other f/1.2 lenses we see almost no spherical aberration (glow), the peak performance in the center is probably around f/2.8.
Surprisingly midframe and corners are also good to very good already at f/1.2 (minimal field curvature, if any) and also show only little signs of astigmatism or coma. Just have a look at the Voigtlander 50mm 1.2 E review to see what I am talking about. Peak performance here is reached at f/4.0 to f/5.6.
The lens is very usable from f/1.2 even for infinity landscape shooting though. Already at f/8.0 you see the negative influence of diffraction on center and midzone.
The Sigma 35mm 1.2 Art easily beats all the 35mm 1.4 lenses I tried/reviewed in this category. Only the Sigma 40mm 1.4 Art performs on a similar level.

The exposure of the f/1.2 to f/2.0 corner crops has been lifted in post to reveal more details.

portrait distance

For portraiture it isn’t so important how flat the field is, it is more interesting to see what the sharpness is like when focused at different parts of the frame to take field curvature out of the equasion.
This is what I did here, I refocused for every shot to get the best possible result at different locations in the frame (center, inner midframe, outer midframe and corner).
Focus distance was roughly 1,0 m and the circle of the dollar bill is more or less the size of a human eye.
I will compare it directly to the Sigma 35mm 1.4 Art, to see what the improvements in this regard are.

Sigma 35mm 1.2 Art <—> Sigma 35mm 1.4 Art

100% crops, A7rII

So far my reference in this category was the Voigtlander VM 35mm 1.7 (which is much better than either Sigma 35mm 1.4 Art or Sony FE 35mm 1.4 ZA here) but this Sigma 35mm 1.2 Art is amazing at portrait distance. An absolutely outstanding performance.

close (0.30 m, 1:5.1)


100% crops from center, A7rII

The Sigma 35mm 1.2 Art offers a decent reproduction ratio of 1:5.1 to start with. Close focus performance is an area where the smaller fast lenses like the Voigtlander 40mm 1.2 E or 50mm 1.2 E struggle, as they don’t feature a floating elements design.
The lens reviewed here most certainly does and the performance at the minimum focus distance can be described as decent at f/1.2, good at f/2.0, very good at f/2.8 and excellent at f/4.0. Across frame performance is also pretty good here with only minimal field curvature.

Flare resistance

sigma 35mm 1.2 art dg dn sharpness resolution contrast high 42mp a7rii a7riii bokeh za sony lens flare flare resistance backlit backlight contralight gegenlicht
Sony A7rII | Sigma 35mm 1.2 Art | f/11

The Sigma 35mm 1.2 Art has a very high element count (17) and lenses with a high number of elements rarely fare well in this category.
On top you can see the worst result I could produce. Depending on the position of the light source in the frame you can also catch some veiling flare instead of rainbow artifacts. The contrast stays on a high level though.

sigma 35mm 1.2 art dg dn sharpness resolution contrast high 42mp a7rii a7riii bokeh za sony lens flare flare resistance backlit backlight contralight gegenlicht
Sony A7rII | Sigma 35mm 1.2 Art | f/11

In the situations above the hood made no difference.

Also indoors with strong light sources you can catch some artifacts, here shading with my hand helped a bit though:

Sony A7III | Sigma 35mm 1.2 Art | f/1.2

The performance is similar to the Sigma 35mm 1.4 Art. Voigtlander VM 35mm 1.7 Ultron and also the Sony FE 35mm 1.4 ZA fare better in this category.

Coma

In the early marketing material Sigma claimed coma correction was high on their priority list for this lens, so let us have a look how this turns out.

While the lens is not free of coma wide open it is certainly one of the better 35mm lenses. By stopping down to f/2.8 this aberration seems to be completely gone.


100% crops from extreme corner, focused on corner, A7rII

Stars are slightly more forgiving than city lights, so let us have a look at those and how this lens compares to its predecessor:


100% crops from extreme corner, focused on corner, A7rII

There is no denying the f/1.2 version fares better here and noticeably so, but if you thought this lens was completely free of coma at f/1.2 you might be disappointed.
I do find it hard to name a better lens in this regard though, but I haven’t tried the Samyang 35mm 1.2 XP and the Canon EF 35mm 1.4 L II yet.

Distortion

The lens shows a noticeable amount of non-wavy barrel distortion. For jpegs this can be corrected in camera, for raws it can either be corrected by dialing in +9 in Photoshop/Lightroom or using the lens specific profile that has been added to Adobe products on 14th August 2019.

Bokeh

sigma 35mm 1.2 art dg dn sharpness resolution contrast high 42mp a7rii a7riii bokeh za sony vignetting light fall off falloff
Sony A7III | Sigma 35mm 1.2 Art | f/1.2

The bokeh rendering is surely the main reason to get a 35mm f/1.2 lens. It surely is for me, so let us have a closer look how it performs at different distances.

In close focus scenarios the bokeh is really nice, smooth and with very noticeable subject separation. At f/1.2 there is a noticeable amount of optical vignetting which is pretty much completely gone when stopping down to f/2.5.

At half body distances the bokeh is still really nice in my opinion and the high contrast in the focal plane leads to a noticeable subject separation (3D pop as some like to call it):

sigma 35mm 1.2 art dg dn sharpness resolution contrast high 42mp a7rii a7riii bokeh za sony vignetting light fall off falloff
Sony A7rII | Sigma 35mm 1.2 Art | f/1.2
sigma 35mm 1.2 art dg dn sharpness resolution contrast high 42mp a7rii a7riii bokeh za sony vignetting light fall off falloff
Sony A7III | Sigma 35mm 1.2 Art | f/1.2

At longer distances (e.g. full body portraits) where the transition zone overlaps with the background many fast wide angle lenses struggle. You can not expect performance similar to a lens like an 85mm f/1.4 here, but the corner bokeh is the best I have seen from a 35mm lens at f/1.4 or faster yet:

sigma 35mm 1.2 art dg dn sharpness resolution contrast high 42mp a7rii a7riii bokeh za sony vignetting light fall off falloff
Sony A7rII | Sigma 35mm 1.2 Art | f/1.2
sigma 35mm 1.2 art dg dn sharpness resolution contrast high 42mp a7rii a7riii bokeh za sony vignetting light fall off falloff
Sony A7III | Sigma 35mm 1.2 Art | f/1.2
sigma 35mm 1.2 art dg dn sharpness resolution contrast high 42mp a7rii a7riii bokeh za sony vignetting light fall off falloff
Sony A7rII | Sigma 35mm 1.2 Art | f/1.2

To be honest I did not have highest expectations when it comes to the bokeh rendering based on the former fast yet wide Sigma lenses, but this seems to be a real winner if you are like me and prefer smooth bokeh rendering.

You can also have a look at my comparison of Sigma 35mm 1.2 Art, 35mm 1.4 Art and 40mm 1.4 Art to see how these lenses compare.

Sunstars

sigma 35mm 1.2 art dg dn sharpness resolution contrast high 42mp a7rii a7riii bokeh za sony vignetting light fall off falloff sunstar sunstars sunburst blendenstern blendensterne
Sony A7rII | Sigma 35mm 1.2 Art | f/16

Sunstar rendering has never been a high priority for Sigma and it seems this hasn’t really changed with this new line. Sunstars look best at f/11 to f/16 but still the rays have varying length and distance to each other. Not something that worries me in a lens designed mainly for taking portraits or astrophotography though.
If you want to know more about sunstar rendering of different lenses have a look at this article.

Chromatic aberration

lateral


100% crops from border, A7rII

Even with all corrections in camera and in Lightroom deactivated there is still a profile for correcting lateral CA applied. So I took another shot without electronic contact between lens and camera.
Lateral CA can losslessly corrected in post, but in this case they are very low to begin with.

longitudinal


50% crops, A7rII

Near the minimum focus distance the Sigma 35mm 1.2 Art shows a bit of longitudinal chromatic aberration wide open which is mostly gone on stopping down to f/2.0 and almost completely gone on stopping down to f/2.8.

Longitudinal chromatic aberrations come in different forms. Unfortunately there are only few (if any at all) sources that give a clear differentiation. In the following comparsion to the Sigma 35mm 1.4 Art we will have a look at purple fringing (it shows up close to the plane in focus) and the “bokeh-CA” or “bokeh fringing” which you will see in the out of focus areas.

LoCA in the out of focus areas (“bokeh fringing”) are present and can be noticeable, but are still less obvious compared to the half a stop slower Sigma 35mm 1.4 Art.
Purple fringing on the other hand is corrected really well. This also shows in other scenarios, as can be seen below.

Overexposed highlights, e.g. on office windows hit by sunlight, are a real stress test and there is just a tiny patch of purple fringing visible:

Sony A7rII | Sigma 35mm 1.2 Art | f/1.2

Chrome highlights on vehicles are another situation where purple fringing can really ruin the party, but that is also not the case here:

sigma 35mm 1.2 art dg dn sharpness resolution contrast high 42mp a7rii a7riii bokeh za sony loca longitudinal ca chromatic aberration aberrations color fringing bokeh
Sony A7rII | Sigma 35mm 1.2 Art | f/1.2

So despite being half a stop faster the performance is much better when it comes to purple fringing and slightly better in terms of bokeh fringing than that of the Sigma 35mm 1.4 Art and noticeably better compared to the Sony FE 35mm 1.4 ZA. Quite the achievement.

Alternatives

Auto focus

Sigma 35mm 1.4 Art:
If you are looking for a native 35mm lens with AF but feel the f/1.2 versions is too big, heavy and/or expensive this remains my recommendation.
buy from B&H | amazon.com | amazon.de | ebay.com | ebay.de for $770 (affiliate links)

Sigma 40mm 1.4 Art:
Even bigger and heavier. Correction of longitudinal CA is even better, but bokeh is a little less smooth. In terms of sharpness and contrast they are equally good.
buy from amzon.comamazon.de | B&H | ebay.com | ebay.de for $1399/1150€ (affiliate links)

You can also have a look at my comparison of Sigma 35mm 1.2 Art, 35mm 1.4 Art and 40mm 1.4 Art to see how these lenses compare.

Sony FE 35mm 1.4 ZA:
Unfortunately this is nothing like Sony’s newer GM primes and furthermore plagued by severe sample variation. If you have a good sample it gets the job done, but I cannot recommend going down the rabbit hole of finding one of those golden copies.
buy from B&H | amazon.com | amazon.de | ebay.com | ebay.de for 1499$ (affiliate links)
>

Samyang 35mm 1.4 AF:
This Samyang is the cheaper version of the Sony FE 35mm 1.4 ZA in many ways: similar size, similarly high CA, similar questions regarding sample variation. No button or aperture ring and according to some reports the manual focus experience is really bad with this lens.
This is your cheapest option when looking for a native 35mm f/1.4 lens with AF, personally I would pay slightly more to get the Sigma lens reviewed here.
buy from B&H | amazon.com | amazon.de for ~550$ (affiliate links)

Canon EF 35mm 1.4 L II USM:
This might have been the “best” 35mm f/1.4 lens with AF, but now I would rather recommend the Sigma 35mm 1.2 Art reviewed here, if you are looking for an AF lens.
buy from B&H | amazon.com | amazon.de for ~1649$ (affiliate links)

Sony FE 35mm 1.8:
A reasonable lens that I don’t know much about yet. From what I know so far maybe a bit pricey for what it is.

Sony RX1RII (Sonnar 35mm 2.0):
For a long time this was the only option to get an AF 35mm f/2.0 in the Sony ecosystem. Reknown to have nice bokeh which in my opinion has now been surpassed by the Sigma 35mm 1.2 Art reviewed here. The whole camera is less than half the weight of the Sigma lens, but also one and a half stops slower.
buy from B&H | amazon.comebay.comebay.de for 3299$ (new) or 1999$ (used) (affiliate links)

Manual focus

Voigtlander 40mm 1.2 Nokton E:
One of the few other E-mount primes with a maximum aperture of f/1.2. What are the differences compared to the Sigma reviewed here? No AF, lower corner sharpness, less smooth bokeh rendering, slightly more vignetting, more pronounced onion ring bokeh, better flare resistance, only 420g heavy and much smaller size.
Furthermore this Voigtländer is optimized for portrait distance and is a worse performer at minimum focus distance and infinity at wider apertures.
Many people like this lens though and it is certainly more fun to carry around.
buy from B&H | amazon.com | ebay.com | ebay.de for ~1099$ (affiliate links)

Zeiss ZM 35mm 1.4 T* Distagon:
This lens is noticeably smaller, offers very high contrast too but struggles a bit on Sony cameras due to the thicker filter stack.
buy from B&H| amazon.com | amazon.de | ebay.comebay.de for ~1999$ (affiliate links)

Voigtlander VM 35mm 1.7 Ultron:
This is still my 35mm lens of choice and there is a reason for that: it is one of the best balanced lenses money can buy. It really needs a 5m PCX filter to shine on Sony cameras, but going through that trouble is totally worth it. Still my allround choice for travel, landscape, architecture and blue hour photography.
buy from B&Hamazon.com | ebay.com | ebay.de for ~ 809$ (affiliate links)

A comparably simple design that cannot be compared to the lens reviewed here.
If you are looking for a cheaper manual fast wide angle lens may rather have a look at the 7Artisans 28mm 1.4 FE+.
buy from amazon.com | B&H | ebay.com | ebay.de (affiliate links) for $349

7artisans 28mm 1.4 FE+:
Now this lens follows a very different design philosophy. The Sigma 35mm 1.2 Art is an “as good as technically possible” lens, the 7Artisans is an “as good as possible considering the small size and reasonable price” lens.
Very different lenses for different tasks, both good performers and likable in their own way.
buy from B&Hamazon.com | amazon.de | ebay.comebay.de for ~$499 (affiliate links)

Conclusion

good

  • bokeh
  • sharpness
  • contrast
  • correction of longitudinal and lateral CA
  • coma correction
  • build quality and handling
average

  • flare resistance
  • distortion (barely)
  • vignetting
  • price
not good

  • size/weight

A few points in the table above are debatable, so let’s talk about those first: Correction of longitudinal CA is not perfect (like e.g. the Voigtländer Apo Lanthar lenses) but the Sigma 35mm 1.2 Art performs better at f/1.2 than most f/1.4 lenses at f/1.4, which warrants a favorable assessment in my opinion. Same is true for coma correction. Distortion is a bit on the high side for a 35mm lens, but easily corrected in post, so no big deal.

The bokeh is the best I have seen in a 35mm lens yet. The rendering is similar to that of the Voigtländer 50mm 1.2 E and (to a slightly lesser degree) the Sony FE 85mm 1.4 GM. Meaning out of focus areas show a soft glow (spherical aberration) at wide apertures which leads to undistracting, soft backgrounds. Considering the dimensions of the lens I was just hoping to see a little less optical vignetting (same is also true for the Canon RF 50mm 1.2L btw).

Sharpness is really good from f/1.2, especially at portrait distance and everywhere in the frame. Same is true for contrast. Many f/1.2 lenses show really soft corners or subdued contrast at maximum aperture, but not this one.
This high sharpness and contrast in the focal plane combined with the soft bokeh leads to a very nice subject separation at f/1.2 under the right shooting circumstances (some like to call this “3D pop”).

Despite all the nice things I said in the paragraphs before, due to size and weight this remains a special purpose lens. I see its main purpose in wedding and portrait photography, where these things are less of an issue (at least to me) and the nicer subject separation can indeed make a difference.

Most of the former Sigma Art lenses had amazing sharpness, but in my opinion they were also often a bit lacking when it comes to bokeh/rendering. This is not the case here and the lens finds a balance between high sharpness, contrast and smooth bokeh only rarely achieved. This lens is closer to Sony’s GM approach than the other Art lenses.

We are dealing with an outstanding lens here, in terms of performance and also in terms of size and weight.

The Sigma 35mm 1.2 Art is not listed everywhere yet, you can already find it at amazon.com | B&H | ebay.com | ebay.de for about $1499/1529€

Sample Images

sigma 35mm 1.2 art dg dn sharpness resolution contrast high 42mp a7rii a7riii bokeh za sony
Sony A7rII | Sigma 35mm 1.2 Art | f/1.2
sigma 35mm 1.2 art dg dn sharpness resolution contrast high 42mp a7rii a7riii bokeh za sony
Sony A7rII | Sigma 35mm 1.2 Art | f/1.2
sigma 35mm 1.2 art dg dn sharpness resolution contrast high 42mp a7rii a7riii bokeh za sony vignetting light fall off falloff
Sony A7rII | Sigma 35mm 1.2 Art | f/1.2
sigma 35mm 1.2 art dg dn sharpness resolution contrast high 42mp a7rii a7riii bokeh za sony vignetting light fall off falloff
Sony A7rII | Sigma 35mm 1.2 Art | f/1.2
sigma 35mm 1.2 art dg dn sharpness resolution contrast high 42mp a7rii a7riii bokeh za sony vignetting light fall off falloff
Sony A7rII | Sigma 35mm 1.2 Art | f/1.2
sigma 35mm 1.2 art dg dn sharpness resolution contrast high 42mp a7rii a7riii bokeh za sony vignetting light fall off falloff
Sony A7rII | Sigma 35mm 1.2 Art | f/1.2
sigma 35mm 1.2 art dg dn sharpness resolution contrast high 42mp a7rii a7riii bokeh za sony vignetting light fall off falloff
Sony A7rII | Sigma 35mm 1.2 Art | f/1.2
sigma 35mm 1.2 art dg dn sharpness resolution contrast high 42mp a7rii a7riii bokeh za sony vignetting light fall off falloff
Sony A7rII | Sigma 35mm 1.2 Art | f/1.2
sigma 35mm 1.2 art dg dn sharpness resolution contrast high 42mp a7rii a7riii bokeh za sony vignetting light fall off falloff
Sony A7rII | Sigma 35mm 1.2 Art | f/1.2
sigma 35mm 1.2 art dg dn sharpness resolution contrast high 42mp a7rii a7riii bokeh za sony vignetting light fall off falloff
Sony A7III | Sigma 35mm 1.2 Art | f/1.2

Most of the sample images in this review can be found in full resolution here.

Further Reading

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My name is Bastian and for many years I have been mostly shooting Nikon DSLRs. As of today I have made my transition from Nikon to Sony and I am mainly using small but capable manual lenses. My passion is landscape photography but I also like to delve into other subjects from time to time.

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88 thoughts on “Review: Sigma 35mm 1.2 Art DG DN”

    1. It is a busy period with interesting new releases at the moment and the 7Artisans 75mm f/1.25 is just around the corner.
      It was a coincidence that I reviewed the Tamron 17-28mm 2.8 though, Jannik was destined to do it but (un)fortunately on vacation when it became available, so I jumped in.

    1. Although we often review legacy DSLR lenses, as these are often cheap, and we all have an interest in legacy lenses, we are not likely to very often review new DSLR lenses like the new Tamron. This will be so even when they are very good, as it doesn’t make sense to us to pay top dollar for a current lens which will still require adapting, with all the costs and compromises that entails. The main exceptions will be when there absolutely is nothing equivalent available natively, as with tilt shift lenses and certain superteles.

  1. Great review as always. Honestly, I didn’t even wanted to buy Sigma 35 1.4 before I saw review on this site to be sure what I’m getting (even though this lens was reviewed literally by everyone) 🙂 How do you find focusing it in manual in terms of responsiveness? It doesn’t have hard stops I asume? Do you think it would work well with follow focus systems for video?

    1. We have to differentiate between the 35mm 1.4 Art and the 35mm 1.2 Art.
      The 35mm 1.4 might work with follow focus, as there is a mechanical coupling between helicoid and focus ring. Yet the throw is rather short.
      The 35mm 1.2 is a focus by wire design and despite the very long focus throw I doubt it will work all too well. When you turn off the camera
      and turn it back on it will always go back to infinity, so the focus setting will jump relative to the focus ring.
      Keep in mind I am not a video guy, so probably the wrong person to answer that question.

  2. That size, weight and price :/ I think for most of us it is a lens that overlaps the practicality line.
    The results look great indeed, the 35mm was always an interesting and special lens, now it is 1,2f and it has that extra dreamy rendering to it, works very good in weddings, like each picture is worth to be printed in a book because it looks perfect right out of the camera.

    Also this is the first ever 35mm 1,2f with autofocus available in this regard Sigma is actually chasing Canon, which still after so any years is the only company offering 50mm and 85mm 1,2f lenses with AF.

        1. I cannot imagine a situation where I would ever want such a large prime.

          I’d much rather have a 1.8 35mm than this monster. Its almost as heavy as my old Nikon 80-200 2.8!

          I agree with the column you wrote earlier about wanting more small and less perfect/less fast lenses and fewer bricks.

        2. Your question might not directed at me but I would like to give you my 2 cents.

          I agree with you, as a travel lens it doesn’t make any sense when you will be able to get the Sony 35 1.8 at only 300 grams ?

          Suppose the t-stop of the 1.2 is 1.5-1.6 and the t-stop of the Sony 35 1.8 could well be 1.8.. then you also don’t loose more than 1/3th of a stop !

          I would say : only buy this lens because you want the only 35 1.2 lens that’s in existence. Otherwise wait for the Sony 35 1.8. I will be getting that as well just because of the weight.

    1. The difference between F 1.2 and F 1.4 is negligable.

      I used to have the sigma 35 1.4 for Nikon. Then made the switch to Sony and since a few days have the 1.2. It is sharper and maybe the rendering is better but the weight!! Also very high vignetting.

      Question to the reviewer : do you know the T-stop of this lens ??

        1. Dxomark is the only resource I am aware of that lists t-stop info..

          Mostly they list 1.8 t-stop for f 1.8 lenses and I haven’t seen a 1.2 lens on their site with a 1.2 t-stop.. mostly f1.4 lenses are listed with t-stop between 1.6 and even 1.8..

          Also for the sigma 1.2 lens the vignetting is crazy high.. So in reality wide open you only get that light gathering ability center center frame.. So I agree with the reviewer that you need to get this lens for the ‘better’ rendering and Sharpness increase over the sigma 35 1.4, although I didn’t find that lens lacking in sharpness.

          For most people this lens is either too heavy and thus not practical enough or it doesn’t offer much extra over the sigma 35 1.4 which is half the price!

          But without question this is the best native FE mount 35mm lens.

          Lastly : it would be interesting to be able
          to do a blind test between the sigma 1.4 and 1.2.. is this possible ?

  3. Hi Bastian! I’m glad to hear about this new lens. What’s your opinion how it compare to voigtlander nokton 35mm f1.2? The latter is much lighter than the huge sigma.

    1. I have only very little experience with that Voigtlander lens.
      As it is an M-mount lens it will suffer badly on the Sony cameras in terms of corner sharpness, which is why I was never really interested in using it.
      I was always hoping for an E-mount 35mm 1.2 by Voigtlander, but so far we only got a 40mm 1.2 instead.

  4. In your review you mentioned the 35mm 1.2 was one of your main two lenses at this wedding. What was the other one you were using?

      1. Hi! How was the autofocus during the wedding shoot? I know Sigma lenses are notorious for focus hunting especially in low light, I would find it hard to see it as reliable when needing to get those crucial shots.

        1. I cannot tell you more than I have already written.
          I have had zero issues, but it seems I am not very demanding, especially when it comes to 35mm lenses.
          I also shot several weddings with manual focus 35mm lenses and had no issues whatsoever.

  5. Hello!

    Would you consider this lens for multi shot panorama astrophotography? Or Would you rather take the 35 mm 1.4 than one?

    Kind regards

    1. Vignetting is pretty much the same at shared apertures.
      Coma is supposed to be better on the f/1.2 version, but I still have to check that, will tell you after I did.

      1. great thank you! I really hope it performs well, im saving for 35 mm 1.4 atm, but will buy the 1.2 if it performs better.

          1. Ach ich sehe gerade, wir können glaube ich auf deutsch schreiben^^

            Wie kann ich mit dir in Kontakt treten, bzw wo werd ich es sehen können? 😉 Falls du es vorhaben solltest zu verkaufen, gut behandelte gebrauchte 35mm 1.4 findet man nicht so oft <3

  6. Based on your pictures, I’m really enjoying the rendering of this lens so far. Better than my 1.4 Art version which I find a bit flat (sharp but boring). Hopefully Sigma will lauch a Nikon Z mount version soon. Thanks for the review!

      1. Good suggestion considering it really is a heavily flawed lens with lack of sharpness away from the center wide open, bad onion rings, poor CA and LoCA.

      2. Damn you!! I sold my FE 35 1.4 (which I really loved because of its rendering) to get a Leica q (which is super small) … after your review I am so much turned on to buy this fat beast (I hate the weight already, but the rendering ….) … maaan 🙂 …. you surely not working for Sigma?! :p

  7. Thank you very much for your nice review of the lens!

    I have tried to compare the photos you got with ZM and Loxia 35

    Both Lox and ZM look to have a more appealing colors.

    Is this a false impression of mine?

    Regards and thanks in advance

  8. Order placed, thank you! Definitely the quickest proceeding early review. Hope you also get the new 14-24 soon!

    1. Ah that is very unlikely.
      This 35mm 1.2 Art I bought, but I have little personal interest in the 14-24mm 2.8 so I will not do that there.
      Just yesterday I contacted Sigma Germany. They said they are currently “busy” and it would take them til Oct/Nov to send us a review sample of any lens.
      I hope I can make contact with Sigma UK or Japan directly to bypass our german distributor.

  9. Hi,
    Great review again.

    I like this lens except one thing, the weight is too much.

    Any change to review voigtlander 35mmf1.4 M mount version ii?

  10. Just want to ask, have you got the electronic first curtain shutter switched off? At faster shutter speeds there is a definitive difference in the bokeh rendering. This lens performs much better with mechanical shutter at fast shutter speeds! I’ve just received my copy yesterday and LOVE it

  11. I might have to carry a wheely if I buy this lens.. I wish they brought this in manual focus keeping the weight and volume smaller as a result. – like the voigtlander f1.2 lenses

  12. Hey Bastian,

    hervorragender Ersteindruck und Kompliment generell an diese Seite hier. Ich verfolge die Reviews schon lange und bin ein Fan von euch, da ihr meiner Meinung nach die besten deutschsprachigen Reviews hervorbringt.

    Auf einigen Bildern erkenne ich die Esslinger Weinberge… Ich wohne noch nicht allzu lang hier in Esslingen und wollte fragen, ob du/ihr Lust habt mal zusammen Fotos zu machen, sich auszutauschen oder wie auch immer 🙂

    Ich würde mich freuen, kenn bislang hier noch wenig Leute und erst recht keine mit ähnlicher Fotoaffinität 🙂

  13. Holy smoke, 1020 gr. of weight, and 82mm filter size, and all this mounted on a tiny Sony A7xxx without battery grip! Sorry, NOT for ME!

  14. Hey there, great review! I am between this and the outstandingly sharp 40mm Art. Do you think the 35 1.2 can match the 40 in sharpness? Perhaps you have the MTFs of them. Looking for a nice prime for lowlight street. Btw I dont mind the weight, think it feels great to „have something in hand“.

    Best regards from Munich, Germany

    1. I might get a Sigma 40mm 1.4 Art for a comparison next week.
      From the mtf the 40mm 1.4 looks slightly better (and it better be, as it is bigger and half a stop slower!),
      but I am very sure this 35mm 1.2 has noticeably nicer bokeh.

  15. Thank you so much for some nice image examples. Nice work really helps to demonstrate the quality of a lens. This is a big contribution to the community. I was looking at the new Nikon 85/1.8; Nikon should ask you to shoot their sample images.

  16. Grande recensione !
    Mi serve un 35mm per la mia A7RIII e sono molto indeciso tra
    Sony ultima 35mm 1.8 e questa Sigma art
    Potresti darmi un consiglio
    Grazie

    1. You have the choice between a very big and heavy lens with great optics and bokeh and a reasonably, well balanced (maybe) slower lens.
      Cannot tell you which would work better for your needs.

  17. Hi~
    Thanks for the great work!
    Do you think it is wise to trade my SONY 35 f/1.4 ZA lens for the new Sigma 35/1.2 ?

  18. I noticed that the “bokeh ball”size between f1.2 and f1.4 is almost the same, especially on the corners. The advantage of f1.2 over f1.4 is not as big as i expected. So what do you think?

        1. That advantage is not that big.
          And that is also not the reason why I would recommend this Sigma over the other 35mm 1.4 lenses for those who don’t mind the size/weight.
          Thing is, that I found all the 35mm 1.4 lenses to severly lack in one area which made me stay away from them.
          This one has no fatal flaw (except for size and weight).

  19. Hello again, Bastian.
    i received my copy yesterday, and compared to my 35f1.4ZA side by side, but kind of disappointed by the performance though, considering the extra 460 grams.
    No doubt Sigma is sharper, but not that much. The CA of f1.2 is rather bad and very similar to the 35/1.4ZA and maybe just a little bit better, but not obvious, definitely not the same level with 40/1.4art or Canon 35Lii. Also the color is still warmer as most Sigma lens, i sold it when i finished testing.
    Always love your work, thanks again.
    Kind regards.

  20. Hello Bastian,

    Do you still use 21/35/85 kits?

    I read that you really like VM 50f1.2, so do you change your current kits? or you still stick with this set?

    1. Not much has changed compared to this article.
      Travel and architecture kits are still the same. For the travel kit I have a bit of hope for Laowa’s next UWA lenses, I really want something wide with nice sunstars, good flare resistance and filter thread.
      Portrait/Wedding kit, there are a few changes though, it is now Sigma 35mm 1.2 Art, Sony FE 85mm 1.4 GM and Canon EF 200mm 2.0 L IS.

      I do have a few more lenses that see occassional use but are not standing part of any kit: Laowa 15mm 2.0 for astrophotography, Sigma 150mm 2.8 for all the product shots you see here, 7artisans 28mm 1.4 FE+ and MS-Optics 135mm 2.4 Aporis when I feel like using small manual lenses.
      Zhong Yi 50mm 0.95 II might see a little less use now, thanks to the Sigma 35mm 1.2 Art.

  21. Hi,

    just looking at the alternatives. the lox 35 is in your oppinion a lesser lens than the vm 35 or the voigtlander 40 f1.2?

    I remember i liked a lot the colors of the photograps you have obtained with!

    Regards

    1. The Loxia 35mm 2.0 is really good stopped down fo f/8 to f/11 for landscape and architecture photography, but not for anything else in my opinion.
      If I travel with a 35mm lens I want it to be also usable for other applications and the VM 35mm 1.7 is a better allround lens that also offers nice bokeh rendering.

  22. Thanks for the great review. I just bought the Sigma 35 1.2 and used it on an assignment, today. I find it faster to work with as my ‘old’ Sigma 35 1.4 Art that I traded in for this one. On my Sony A7RIII (with grip) its balanced really wel. Approx 1 kg Camera and 1kg lens. Two kilos is a bit heavy for the holidays, but as a professional lens, its great!

  23. 35mm ist neben 50mm die dämlichste Brennweite, die man sich vorstellen kann. Deren Existenz beruhen lediglich auf herstellungstechnischen Bedingungen und die damit einhergehende fragwürdige “Tradition”. Eine Normalbrennweite im Vollformat hat nun mal 43,3mm und ist durch nichts zu ersetzen! Leider erhält der Fotograf eine solche Linse nicht. Das 40mm Art von Sigma ist zu voluminös, das 40mm Nokton 1,2 von Voigtländer verfügt über eine erstaunliche Farbpalette mag letztendlich aber nicht zu überzeugen. Das neue 45mm C von Sigma scheint, genau wie das 45mm Samyang ein Schuss in den Ofen zu sein. Das 40er Batis ist ebenso indiskutabel. Das alte Pentax 43mm bedient leider nur die Bildmitte gut. Es ist zum verrückt werden! Schnarchnasen wie LEICA scheinen die Ziffer 4 gar nicht erst zu kennen. Machen wirs kurz, sollte einer der großen Hersteller ein ernsthaftes und vorzeigbares 40-45mm Objektiv offerieren, meine gesamte Ausrüstung stände morgen schon bei eBay.

    1. Meinst du das ernst? Warum denkst du das gerade 43mm optimal sind? Weil das die Sensordiagonale ist? Das hat doch keinen Bezug zur Bildgestaltung.

      Ich bin mit meinem Voigtländer 1.2/40 happy. Die Brennweite ist sehr universell und die Abbilundgsfehler stören selten tatsächlich.

  24. Jetzt mal im Ernst, es (43mm) ist die Normalbrennweite des Vollformates. Heißt: Vorder- und Hintergrund eines aufgenommenen Objektes korrespondieren mit dem Objekt im gleichen Proportionen-Größen-Verhältnis, wie das menschliche Auge entsprechend die Umwelt erkennt. Je mehr hiervon abgewichen wird, desto mehr oder weniger, addiert sich im gewählten Ausschnitt. Dies muss ja nicht negativ sein, aber die Intuition, gerade auch beim Anfänger, kann nur von einer echten Normalbrennweite her befriedigt und auch geschult werden. Als jemand der mit großer Aufmerksamkeit ihren Blog verfolgt ist mir nicht entgangen, dass sie die brillante 65mm APO-Brennweite von Voigtländer wieder verkauft haben. Warum wohl? Herr Reeve, Sie sind mit gehörigem Abstand der beste Fotograf auf diesem Blog. Sie verfügen über ein fotografisches Können, welches man in den, größtenteils abstrusen, Weiten des WWW vergebens sucht.
    Ist das 1,2 / 40mm ein schlechtes Objektiv? Lassen Sie es mich so ausdrücken: Das Sigma Art und auch das Voigtländer sind zur Zeit wohl die besten Objektive in dieser Brennweite, die sich kaufen lassen. Dies ist allerdings nicht jedem genug!

  25. Love your reviews, and your site. This review was no exception. Is there any chance we will see a review of the new Sigma 45mm f2.8? I feel like I need to see one of your reviews before I can consider parting with my hard earned cash.

    1. Right now it does not look like you will see one anytime soon.
      The german Sigma distributor told us he is “busy” at the moment and therefore cannot send us review samples before November(!).
      And when it comes to slower lenses for landscape/architecture most of us prefer manual lenses with nicer sunstars (Voigtlander/Loxia) so I don’t think any of us is currenty planning on buying one himself.

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