Review: Sigma 35mm f/1.4 ART Lens

Summary

Great lens for the price. Highly recommended as a walk-around lens.

Price

Pros

  • Hi quality images with great sharpness
  • Nice color
  • Not nearly as expensive as the Canon L series lenses

Cons

  • Stops down only to f/16
  • Not weather sealed

How I Use It

Storytelling

I love using a 35mm lens because the focal length lets me tell a story. It's just tight enough for me to focus my attention on a single subject but just wide enough to capture the context in which the subject resides. In each of the pictures below, the subjects' surroundings help support their expressions. 

The huge f/1.4 aperture also gives a really beautiful and gentle depth of field as well.

Landscape

At this focal length, you can photograph some really interesting scenes. While a 24mm lens (or wider) might provide you with a more dramatic or sweeping view of a seen, a 35mm lens will still let you capture a wide view that approximates the human eye's focal length well. 

If you intend to shoot outdoors, please know that it is not a weather-sealed lens. That's why you bite the bullet and get a Canon L lens if you need to be out in not-so-perfect elements. Also, if you are a fan of very long exposures, the minimum aperture on the Sigma f/1.4 ART is f/16. So, you might have to double up on the ND filters to extend your exposure times a bit more.

Portraits

My ideal focal length for portraits is 85mm. Second to that I like to use the 70-200mm zoom. But every once in a while, you can get away with using the 35mm in a flattering way for portraits. Warning: using a lens at 35mm or wider can make someone's facial features seem larger than they really are, so be careful.

I've taken to pairing the 35mm with a popup ring flash to help give added glamour to the focal length. The results aren't bad and the Sigma holds up quite nicely.

Mark Rosal