by Jack Howard
Photographers have been excited about the possibilities of the new Sigma 35mm F1.4 DG HSM lens since it was announced at Photokina. The first of the Art line in the new Sigma Global Vision, this lens is finally here. And being one of the first photographers in North America to shoot with this lens, I can now tell you it is flat-out amazing.
The build quality is suberb–from the generous focus ring grip to the inscribed lens name on the removable petal hood, down to the capital A in the silver circle designating it as a member of the Art line–it feels instantly like an old friend. Autofocus is quick and responsive, and the manual focusing resistance is dead-on to my liking. I get the feeling this lens is going to make a lot of photographers very happy. It feels great in the hands. But more than that, the optics and images it makes are simply gorgeous. In-focus details are razor-sharp, and defocused areas are just plain lovely.
The close focusing operation at widest apertures creates beautiful defocus off the focal plane–which is razor thin even stopped down to F4 or F5.6 when filling the frame with the chosen point of focus. Keep in mind this lens can focus down to 11.5 inches, but it is not a macro lens, as the maximum magnification is 1:5.2. Whether paired with a full-frame DSLR for true wide angle, or on an APS-C DSLR where it is closer to a normal lens in terms of focal length and field of view, the super selective focus slice combined with painterly to truly abstract background rendering will push photographers to explore their subjects in ways to make the most of this lens–it has had me looking at everything with a fresh eye this week!
Here’s a sampling of my “first light” images this week with the new Sigma 35mm F1.4 DG HSM. After the Thanksgiving weekend, stay tuned for a longer blog posting on depth of field, bokeh, and the sweet spot for background blur with this and other Sigma lenses.
But for now, enjoy these photos, I’m going to head back out and make some more photos today!
Watch a video clip from this leaf-shooting sequence to appreciate the shallow DOF as the leaf sways in the breeze.
About the Author
Jack Howard is Sigma Corporation of America’s New Media Specialist, where he blogs, builds community, and shares his passion for photography with loyal and future Sigma customers every day.