Hands-on with new Sigma 35mm F1.2, 45mm F2.8 and 14-24mm lenses

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Hands-on with new Sigma 35mm F1.2, 14-24mm and 45mm F2.8 lenses

Sigma just launched three brand new lenses: the 35mm F1.2 DG DN and 14-24mm F2.8 DG DN ‘Art’ are joined by the ultra-compact 45mm F2.8 DG DN ‘Contemporary’. All three are being made available in Sony E-mount, and in L-mount, making them compatible with Panasonic and Leica full-frame mirrorless cameras, alongside Sigma’s own forthcoming ‘fp’ model.

We’re in Japan, where we took a closer look at the three new lenses.

Sigma 35mm F1.2 DG DN Art

First up: the 35mm F1.2 DG

Art. This is an ultra-fast semi-wide-angle prime lens for full-frame Sony, Panasonic and Leica mirrorless bodies, which Sigma says is capable of resolving more than 50MP (something we’d expect to become a necessity, before long). As you can see from this picture, the 35mm F1.2 is a hefty piece of glass, measuring 94mm (about 4 inches) in length.

Sigma 35mm F1.2 DG DN Art

Weighing in at nearly 1.1kg (2.4 lbs) it’s 50% heavier than the older 35mm F1.4 Art, but obviously for some photographers, that extra brightness wide open will be worth the handling penalty.

Speaking of handling, whereas previous Art-series lenses have been pretty bare-bones in terms of external controls, the 35mm F1.2 features a electro-mechanical aperture ring (which has a ‘de-click’ switch for video work) and a customizable AF-L button.

Sigma 35mm F1.2 DG DN Art

The optical construction of the 35mm F1.2 explains its large size and weight. Comprising 17 elements in 12 groups, this is an unusually complex prime lens, optically. Three SLD (super low dispersion) and three aspherical elements should keep aberrations under control and ensure high resolution across the frame.

That big front element does mean a correspondingly big 82mm filter ring, though. Sigma claims that the 35mm F1.2 is built to a high standard of construction (it seems to be, from our time handling this sample) and is sealed against dust and moisture incursion.

The 35mm F1.2 DG DN Art will be available this month at an expected MSRP of around $1499.

Sigma 14-24mm F2.8 DG DN Art

Next up is a lens that a lot of Sony E-mount shooters have been asking for: the 14-24mm F2.8 DG DN Art, designed from scratch for mirrorless. Featuring 18 elements in 13 groups, this is a serious piece of glass, and like the 35mm F1.2 it also features a customizable AF-L button and weather-sealed construction.

Despite all this, as you can see from this picture, the lens remains relatively small. Compared to the older 14-24mm F2.8 for DSLR mounts, it’s a substantially more portable bit of kit.

Sigma 14-24mm F2.8 DG DN Art

Sigma claims that its engineers have been able to keep the size of the 14-24mm F2.8 DG DN Art manageable precisely because it was designed from the ground up for mirrorless. We’ve always been lead to understand that the size and weight benefit of lenses designed for mirrorless is clearer at wider focal lengths, and this lens (among others like Sony’s excellent 12-24mm F4) would seem to support that hypothesis.

Unfortunately though, the bulbous front element of the 14-24mm (which moves in and out when the lens is zoomed) does not allow for conventional screw-in filters. However….

Sigma 14-24mm F2.8 DG DN Art

A rear filter holder is included, which allows for the use of sheet-type filters at the rear of the optical assembly. Sigma is pitching this specific feature as a benefit to astrophotographers, but we suspect that at least as many landscape shooters will find it useful. They’ll also appreciate the 11-bladed aperture, which should be good for sunstars and well-shaped bokeh. Sigma’s new ‘Nano Porous Coating’ has also been included, for flare and ghosting suppression.

The Sigma 14-24mm F2.8 DG DN Art will be available later this month at an MSRP expected to be around $1499.

Sigma 45mm F2.8 DG DN Contemporary

At the other end of the size and weight spectrum is the 45mm F2.8 DG DN Contemporary – a retro-styled, compact standard prime lens weighing in at only 215g (7.6oz). As you can see, this is a genuinely small optic (hooray for a move – however tentative – back towards small standard lenses…) but at F2.8, options for low-light imaging will obviously be somewhat limited.

Sigma 45mm F2.8 DG DN Contemporary

But the whole point of a small, light standard lens is that you can take it anywhere. For daylight shooting at medium apertures, its small size and fast AF (courtesy of a stepping motor) make the 45mm F2.8 a lovely companion for something like Sony’s a7 III….

Sigma 45mm F2.8 DG DN Contemporary

…or the even tinier Sigma fp!

Despite its small size and weight, the 45mm F2.8 is made mostly of metal, and offers a very nicely machined aperture ring, a well-damped focus ring and a degree of dust and moisture resistance.

While its maximum aperture of F2.8 means that it might not be a natural first choice as a portrait lens, Sigma claims that it has been designed to give very pleasant bokeh, transitioning from a ‘classical’ rendering wide open to a more modern, sharper look when stopped down. A remarkably close focus distance of 24mm (1″) should allow for some interesting closeups, too.

Sigma 45mm F2.8 DG DN Contemporary

Here’s an unpainted 45mm F2.8, showing its metal construction, which even extends to the generously-proportioned (included) hood. The hood attaches via a bayonet mount, and can be reversed on the lens for storage.

The Sigma 45mm F2.8 DG DN Contemporary will ship later this month at an MSRP expected to be around $559.

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