Review: Sigma’s 24-35mm F2 DG HSM Art Series Lens. Possibly The Sharpest Full Frame Zoom Lens in Existence?

Precision Camera asked me to test out the newest zoom lens created by Sigma. Boy was I excited! Sigma has taken the photography and videography world by storm with their Art series lenses! The Sigma 24-35mm F2 DG HSM | A | is the newest zoom lens soon to be released by Sigma. It is the world’s first f/2 zoom lens available for full frame cameras (35mm equivalent)! This lens can replace all of your sharpest f/2 aperture prime lenses from 24mm, 28mm, 35mm, and everything in between!

Specifications:

Lens Construction 18 Elements in 13 Groups
Angle of View 84.1º-63.4º
Number of Diaphragm Blades 9 (rounded diaphragm)
Minimum Aperture f16
Minimum Focusing Distance 28 cm / 11 in
Filter Size (mm) 82mm
Maximum Magnifications 1:4.4
Dimensions
(Diameter x Length)
87.6×122.7 mm/3.4×4.8 in
Weight 940g/ 33.2oz (2 Lbs)

Focal Length: 24 – 35mm (38.4 – 56 mm equivalent for APS-C)
Available Mounts: Canon, Nikon, Sigma
Diaphragm Blades: 9, Rounded
Image Stabilization: No

The following photos were taken using a Canon 6D in RAW, with only very minor Lightroom adjustments such as exposure and saturation (no sharpening added, though!)

Sharpness

This lens is sharp! From 24mm all the way up to 35mm, all I could get was sharp images. I tested it against one of my favorite lenses: the Zeiss 35mm f/2 Distagon ZE, and found the sharpness to rival my Zeiss. How can this be?? Sigma uses premium FLD glass, as well as 7 SLD glass elements, which allow for it to have such wonderful optics.

Sigma 24-35-29

My squirmy pal Henry | f/2 at 1/400 sec ISO 250 33mm

Sigma 24-35-1-2

100% Crop (No sharpening!) Look at that sharp hair!

Build Quality

This lens is built like a tank! The construction of this lens rivals the premium lenses from other professional camera companies. All of Sigma’s ART series lenses are built to this standard.The zoom and focus rings are both very easy to turn. The lens hood stays in place very well, as does the front cap.  With a lens of this size that has premium glass, you do have to consider the fact that it will be heavy. 2 lbs heavy to be exact! I use a battery grip with my Canon, and found it to still be somewhat front heavy. For the average professional this shouldn’t be anything new, but for someone just getting into photography, this might be somewhat of a surprise. Personally, I prefer for my lenses to have a good weight to them; you get less camera shake!

Sigma 24-35-4

24mm f/2 That spec in the sky is a bird!Sigma 24-35-5

35mm f/2

Bokeh

This Sigma has really nice, buttery soft bokeh. Even wide open at 24mm, as you will see below, when you are close to your subject, you can get almost razor thin bokeh, all while maintaining a nice and sharp subject!

Sigma 24-35-10

24mm f2  Those are my legs and shoes at the bottom of the image!


Sigma 24-35-8

35mm f/2Sigma 24-35-9100% crop from image above. Handheld. Look at that shallow DOF!

Image Quality

The image quality overall from this lens is amazing. The colors are vibrant, and contrast is wonderful. Across the entire frame, even when shooting wide open at f/2, I found that there was no loss of detail in the corners. This lens does vignette when shooting wide open, but even the best wide angle optics in the world will vignette when you don’t stop down your lens. Personally, I enjoy a bit of vignetting. I’m sure that Lightroom will update their camera profiles to support this lens in a future update.

Sigma 24-35-1124mm f/2

Autofocus

This lens focuses very quickly, and very accurately. It is as fast to focus as any of the other Sigma ART series lenses. I didn’t do any scientific autofocus tests, but I will say that I didn’t once miss focus while taking my test shots.

Sigma 24-35-1435mm f/2Sigma 24-35-15100% crop from image above. You can count the threads!

Flaring

I had the hardest time trying to get any sort of flaring from this lens. I even aimed the lens directly at the sun and couldn’t get it to flare. The picture below was after about 10 shots and I finally got it to give me something! Though, in the real world, most photographers won’t be trying to make this lens flare on purpose!

Sigma 24-35-17 Sigma 24-35-18 Sigma 24-35-19

100% crop of the image above. Those specs in the picture are birds!Sigma 24-35-20

24mm f/2Sigma 24-35-21

35mm f/2

Chromatic Aberration

Much like with the flare test, I had a hard time getting this lens to produce any sort of color fringing. All of my test photographs were taken at sunset, which as most photographers know, when shooting wide open on a lens, is a time when you will see the most fringing. All I can say is Sigma did an excellent job!Sigma 24-35-22

24mm f/2Sigma 24-35-23

100% crop of the image above. Almost no purple fringing!Sigma 24-35-25

35mm f/2Sigma 24-35-27 Sigma 24-35 f/2
Sigma 24-35-28Zeiss Distagon 35 ZE f/2. Can you see a big difference??

My Overall thoughts on this lens:

Sigma did their homework when they created this beauty. Not only did they create the world’s first f/2 full frame lens, but they managed to make one of the sharpest zoom lenses I have ever used. This coming from someone who has owned the best zoom and prime lenses that Canon creates, as well as a large variety of Zeiss optics. Sigma has continued the trend of wowing their audience with their ART series lenses, and I can’t wait to see what they come up with next!

I have to thank Precision Camera in Austin, Texas and Sigma for allowing me to test drive this modern marvel. Precision Camera will be carrying this lens as soon as it is released to the public, so come by and try this lens out!