If you use a major-brand DSLR, you should be keeping a close eye on the new $899 Sigma 35mm f/1.4 (above center). It undercuts the popular (but pricey) lenses of rival camera makers by hundreds of dollars, and appears to have build- and image-qualities that are equal to (if not better than) those lenses.
LensRentals’ Roger Cicala just got his hands on a copy of the lens and did some initial tests. Here’s his verdict: “This lens kicks butt, takes names, and basically posterizes the manufacturers who make the cameras this lens will fit on.”
In case you’re not familiar with basketball terminology, “posterizing” is when one basketball player gets utterly humiliated when another one dunks the ball in his face (figuratively, not literally). Here’s an example:
Anyhow, back to photography. Here are some of the glowing things Cicala says about the lens:
[...] this lens is built solidly. It really feels more like a Zeiss 35mm than a Canon or Nikon. Sigma says there’s a lot of metal in there, and at 1.4 pounds I believe them. On the other hand, that makes it several ounces heavier than either the Canon or Nikon, but about the same amount lighter than the Zeiss 35mm f/1.4.
It feels solid, too. The manual focusing ring is smooth and accurate, although I found it a bit stiff. Not problem stiff, but certainly not move-it-with-a-fingertip. Autofocus speed was reasonably quick, about on a par with the Canon 35mm. More importantly to me, AF accuracy was good, too, even when we darkened the room down to the point where many Sigma lenses start hunting.
[...] this copy of the Sigma 35mm f/1.4 was a bit better in the center and clearly better in the corners than the best copy of the Canon 35mm f/1.4 I’ve ever tested. For the Nikonians amongst us, the Nikon 35mm f/1.4 tested on a D3x resolves almost identically to the Canon.
Sample photographs for this lens should be hitting the Interwebs shortly. Until then, you can take a peek at the official sample shots released by Sigma last week.
Sigma 35mm f/1.4 Arrives. Announces New World Order [Lensrentals]
Image credit: Photograph by LensRentals