Sigma 35mm f/1.2 First Impressions

With the recent release of the Sigma 35mm f1.2 and having one in my hands, I thought I would put together my initial thoughts.

First off, let’s just be open about it… it’s big. If for some obscure reason you were expecting something small, the f/1.2 makes this a big piece of glass. It’s a big honking piece of steel and in some countries, this might be classified as a weapon. To put it into perspective, it’s close in size and weight to the 135mm ART.

Construction is impeccable. It’s really is well made, the hood is the kind of hood I’d like to see on every lens. Big solid easy to find button, firm click, solid construction. The hood isn’t just plastic, it has a rubber ring making it easy to grip. Now this is actually a pro and a con in the sense that it provides good grip but it also attracts dust and will be impossible to keep clean, but overall I like what they’ve done with it.

So we know it’s big and heavy, what does that mean in the real world? Fortunately, the price you pay in weight does translate to performance.

First off, for those worried about sharpness, don’t. It’s one of the best lenses I’ve seen and that’s at f/1.2. Sharpness across the frame is amazing. They designed it to be shot open. Excuse the self-portrait, my wife won’t let me post photos of her so I’ll have to wait for some model shots. It doesn’t look that spectacular until you realise this is a 100% crop at f/1.3 (yes, not f/1.2, accidentally set it to f/1.3 instead and didn’t double-check)

Athol Hill - DSC07878

Autofocus is much better than I expected. Historically wide primes don’t have the greatest AF speed, but this is actually really good. Good enough that I’m keen to put it in my waterhousing to see how it handles kitesurfing and that’s a tough gig. Imagine a rider coming towards you from into the sun, jumping about a meter in front of you and jumping over you. I’ve yet to put the flat port on my housing so rest assured, it’s one of the first things I’ll be doing.

Finally, the depth of field does not disappoint and neither does the bokeh. As with above, I’m in the process of getting test shots, I’ve been a bit snowed under with work so this was from my daughters birthday.

Athol Hill - DSC07964 1

So, in short, this lens is looking impressive, but I’ll have to do some real-world tests before I establish just how good it is.

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