Photography News issue 24

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Photography News Issue 24 absolutephoto.com

Tests

Sigma 24-35mm f/2 DGHSMArt £949

Specs

Price

£949

Format Full-frame and APS-C Mount Canon, Nikon, Sony Construction 18 elements in 13 groups Special lens elements

Joining Sigma’s line of premier Art lenses is the world’s first 24-35mm full-frame zoom with a constant f/2 aperture. Priced at £949 and replacing three high-speed primes – 24mm, 28mm and 35mm – in the camera bag, this zoom deserves to be very popular. Canon and Sigma mounts are on offer, with Nikon due later in the year. The lens is beautifully put together, it’s solid and immaculately finished. The zoom barrel is nice and firm to use, which is good as not much rotation is needed to cover the entire focal length range. The same applies to the focusing barrel – which allows full-time manual focus override – so it’s speedy manually focusing from infinity down to the 28mm minimum focusing distance. Get this close and it means the front element of the lens is just three inches from the subject. Of course the short travel helps with AF speed as the camera’s drive motor doesn’t have to work too hard to shift the lens groups around. AF is swift and very responsive, and the lens’s hypersonic motor means it’s effectively silent – you can hear some low-level noise when you’re behind the camera but you will be the only person to hear anything. To enable a constant f/2 maximum aperture, the front lens element is large resulting in a 82mm filter size, though normal filter use is straightforward. A bayonet-fit lens hood is supplied.

I tested this lens on a Canon EOS 5D Mark III shooting Raws processed inLightroomwithdefault sharpening. The camera and lens make a well- balanced combination that isn’t front heavy. Shooting at slow-ish shutter speeds for pin-sharp images is feasible though the lens doesn’t have inbuilt IS. As a guide, on a still summer’s day outside I got down as low as 1/20sec and still got acceptably sharp shots. At 24mm, the central area of the image was sharp from f/2 onwards, improving when stopping down – the optimum being f/4 and f/5.6. By f/16 the image had softened by only a tiny amount. Edge quality at wider apertures was less good but from f/4 onwards it proved very good. At 28mm, the best performance at the centre and edges was seen at f/8, and while image quality at the wider apertures was more than decent some unsharp mask was needed to make them crisper especially those shot wide open. F/8 was the peak and sharpness fell away at f/11 and f/16. Asimilar performance to the 28mm setting was seen at 35mm. Open aperture central and edge sharpness looked very good but stopping down made matters better, with f/8 and f/11 critically the best apertures. Flare protection was impressive and not even shooting towards the sun elicited nasty flare spots. No serious issues with distortion or CA either. WC

One FLD, five Special Low Disper- sion elements, two aspherical SLD lenses, one aspheric lens Coatings Multi-layer Filter size 82mm Aperture range f/2-f/16 Diaphragm 9 rounded blades Internal focus Yes Manual focus Yes, switch on the lens, full-time override Minimum focus 28cm Focus limiter No Maximummagnification 1:4.4 Distance scale Yes Depth-of-field scale No Image stabiliser No Tripod collar No Lens hood LH876-03 included Weather-sealed No Dimensions (lxd) 122.7x87.6mm Weight 940g Contact sigma-imaging-uk.com

How it rates

Verdict Having an aperture of f/2 with such a popular range of focal lengths is really useful, and the fact that the lens is critically usable at that aperture makes it even more appealing. This is undoubtedly a class lens that’s very capable and truly belongs to Sigma’s Art line. At £949 it’s a very tempting proposition.

Features Fast, constant aperture and very useful focal length range, no IS

24/25

24/25

Performance Very sharp, deals with against-the-light shooting well

Handling Excellent AF, short focus and zoom throws, takes filters without extra accessory 24/25

24MM

28MM

24/25

Value for money Price seems high but you get a lot of lens for your money

96/100

Overall A top-end lens covering a really useful focal length range Pros Image quality, price, fast constant aperture, handling Cons No IS – a small detraction

24MM, F/4

24MM, F/8

24MM, F/16

35MM

28MM, F/4

28MM, F/8

28MM, F/16

The images We fixed our test lens to a tripod-mounted Canon EOS 5DMark III and then shot at every aperture setting and at three focal lengths – the shortest, the longest and a midpoint. The Raws were processed in Lightroomwith default sharpening. The enlargements on the right were taken from the centre (left half) and the edge of the frame (right half) to examine sharpness.

35MM, F/4

35MM, F/8

35MM, F/16

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