Sigma Art four years later
Sigma 35mm Art wedding photographers review
Four years ago as a wedding photographer in Essex I decided it was time for a new lens for my wedding photography business. At the time I was using various zoom lenses. At the time very happy with the images I produced, felt they lacked a little extra punch and finesse.
prime lens research
The research began for another lens. Now being a Nikon user, I was adamant it was going to be another Nikon lens, why what else would I choose. I had worked in the photographic trade in the ’80s and ’90s with city camera exchange and associated press and had access to just about anything on the market.
Nikon and canon were the best quality camera and lens manufacturers around.
I had tried the Tamron, Tokina and Current sigma lenses at the time and to be honest they were all pretty poor when it came down to glass quality and the images belayed this point.
Forward to 2017 and the Sigma art lenses were the talk of the town.
The reviews were hyping the new Sigma 35mm 1.4 Art. I had researched the Nikon equal; the sigma was coming out on top and at least half the price of the Nikon. So, I made the fateful decision to part with my hard-earned cash and purchased the lens.
Sigma 35mm 1.4 Art lens quality
Blown away is an understatement! The image quality was astounding and blew my Nikon 24-70 out of the water. Now I know the other pro photographers are going to say that a prime lens will always be better quality than a zoom, true. But the Sigma is astounding. Better than the Nikon primes equal.
So, four years later how do about it? A few hundred weddings and thousands of images later and it’s going strong. The build quality is great to a point, and it feels like a quality professional lens.
Most of the weddings I shoot now are with the sigma 35mm, Nikon 70-200 for speeches but 90% of the time the 35mm and 85mm Art. Yes, it weighs a ton and coupled with a Nikon D4s even heavier, but the results are second to none.
Within a couple of weeks, I had written a blog post extolling the virtues of this newfound lifesaver. All being good. How do I feel about this lens and its issues and to be honest issues like no other manufactures lens?
Sigma 35mm 1.4 Art issues
All of a sudden one in every three or four shots was out of focus. Is it me what was I doing wrong? looking around the internet others were having the same problem. being a software-driven lens and not a mechanical lens like of old, It had to be in the software.
Sigma wasn’t admitting to any problems in the design. well, why would they? Fred Miranda, Dp review and a host of others were reporting focus issues with the lens.
A bit more research on how to cure the problem resulted in buying the Sigma dock to resolve the issue.
Waste of time that one. Too messy setting up and still had to calibrate the distance to aperture manually to get the lens in focus at the relevant apertures.
Then another wedding photographer told me to try the Focal calibration system. Easy to set up and can calibrate the camera and lens in approx. 20 mins. low and behold it works, camera set up on a tripod, connect firewire, connect software and done.
I find the best aperture is F2.5 and this seems to be the sweet spot after calibration. So anything between F2 and F2.8 seems to be fine. But the Focuses issues persist.
Although not as bad as before using the Focal system, the odd frame is out of focus. Now before every wedding, I calibrate the lens to be extra safe.
Then another issue reared its ugly head. The barrel to the chrome mounting ring started working its way loose. For a few weddings I ignored it till it got so bad it felt as if the whole lens was going to fall apart. YouTube to the rescue. But what a pain to fix.
Unscrewing the top mounting plate reveals three micro screws which have to be separated from three, could be four gaskets, I can’t remember. Tightened up and then the gaskets realigned with the screws and tightened back up to the mounting ring.
A time-consuming job and if you’ve got big hands like me?. luckily I’ve only had to do this a couple of times in the last couple of years.
Even after all the issues that I’ve had with this lens I still love the image quality. It has its odd recurring problems. like the focusing or the loose mounting plate but I can live with these. Buy another lens everyone tells me. Would I be buying the same problems again?
You know what there anything isn’t else that is as good as the Sigma, and to be honest it may have its quirky issues. I still love the results and will be still going strong for another few years
- Sharp images
- Fast & Quiet
- Optical performance
- Inconsistent focusing
- loose mount