When I wrote my review on the Sigma 30mm f/1.4 Art, I wouldn’t have thought I’d test and buy yet another normal focal length so soon. I assumed that I’d be able to sit out the G.A.S attacks…but I guess I was wrong. 😉 I mean, the 30mm Art was and still is a very good lens, but better is the natural enemy of good. Much that I said about the 30mm in that review also applies to the 35mm f/1.4 Art. I will thus make it short and post an image quality comparison of the 30mm f/1.4 Art and the full-format-apt 35mm f/1.4 Art at a future date.
Build quality and handling
Belonging to the same product line, the 30mm Art and the 35mm Art possess a similar design and both feel comparably well made. Both have a mount made of metal and a smooth and evenly-running focus ring that cannot be accidentally turned thanks to moderate resistance. The AF/MF button looks similar, if not identical, and snaps in fully. Both lenses are solid and robust, with the 35mm leaving an even better impression due to size and weight. Even though one would assume both lenses are fingerprint-magnets due to the smooth surface, this is not the case.
During the 30mm f/1.4 Art and DP2M comparison, I discovered that the 30mm Art comes close to the DP2M and its outstanding 30/2.8 lens at close range, while it considerably falls back at long range. Well, I haven’t yet directly compared the 30mm Art with the 35mm Art (same subject, with tripod), but the image performance of the latter at long range strikes me as distinctly superior. The 35mm Art reminds me of the 30/2.8 DP2M in this respect. Whether you shoot a subject 2 meters or 30 meters away, doesn’t seem to play a part with the 35mm. It just stays high-resolving throughout. Another thing I noticed is the far lower vignetting and the practically non-existent distortion with the 35mm Art, which undoubtedly is thanks to the full-format-suitability.
Just as design, AF/MF button and focus ring are highly similar for both Arts, so is the autofocus. For want of professional measuring equipment, I cannot tell how big the difference is, if there is one. I’d say that the 35mm is the tiniest bit faster at focusing, but this might as well just be a figment of imagination. At any rate, the AF is more than fast enough for all subjects you may want to shoot with a fast 50.
When I first wrote my review for the 30mm Art, I found it easy to recommend, since the difference in price in relation to gain of image quality wasn’t that big when compared to the 30mm EX. But the comparison of the 30mm Art with the 35mm Art is a totally different affair. The 30mm Art, while inferior, is a modern lens design with an image quality that the majority of users would classify as good enough. The 35mm Art is even better, but also considerably bigger, heavier and more expensive. So the question is, do I need this extra image quality and if so, am I willing to pay its price? Everyone needs to answer this question for themselves. 😉
The following sample images are available on Flickr in full resolution, just click on the photos to view them in full size.