DxOMark: the Sigma 35mm f/1.4 DG HSM lens sets a new benchmark for optical performance


DxOMark published their test results and conclusions for the Sigma 35mm f/1.4 DG HSM lens with Nikon mount:

"The lens sets a new benchmark for optical performance for a retro-focus lens in this focal length and it’s a feat that’s even more remarkable given the price is well-below that of any of the big name brands."

With a price of $899, the new Sigma 35mm f/1.4 lens has one of the best price/performance ratios in the 35mm full frame category:


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  • Craving Dog

    I WANT! But first must finish paying off my new Mac Book Pro! I’ve been debating about this or the Nikon version for months!

    • TSY87

      ive gone through 2 copies of the nikon 35 1.4G… and now I have none. I LOVE the focal length but nikkor 35g just never left me feeling amazed. I was expecting 24g (LOVE THIS LENS) performance but was very disappointed. I will be getting the sigma later on, once I get the 135 zeiss and save up for the sigma 35 lol.

      • Valerie

        Seems you’re spending some serious money. Nothing to laugh out loud about. If I were you, I’d wait for the upcoming Sigma 135mm.

    • Macfan

      Do you know you can get a good computer for half price of Mac Book ????

      • Riitta Partanen

        Google “Hackintosh”

  • Bokeh

    If it rivals my Sigma 85/1,4 and 120-300/2,8 OS I am buying asp…..

    • Jon McGuffin

      It does.. just make the purchase…

    • jake

      you should trust the DXO report this time , they are all right on this one and I think it is a bit better lens than their 85mmf1.4HSM that was already a very very good lens.

  • I just bought it and even though i got a bum copy and had to push my MA to +20 on my D4 it is incredibly sharp wide open. I have a new copy coming tomorrow so hopefully that will be a more accurate copy.

    • Zachery Jensen

      FWIW, if you contact Sigma, they will let you send your lens *and* camera and perfectly calibrate the lens to the camera.

      I wouldn’t do this before having Nikon calibrate the camera first, though.

      • Yeah, I had just sent my D4 into Nikon to make sure my focusing was correct so when I get the new copy tomorrow I will test it out and as long as it is better than the current copy I will keep it and if needed I’ll send it to Sigma. I am leery about sending my D4 to Sigma to be honest but if that ensures the lens accuracy I’ll do it. Thanks for the heads up.

    • bossa

      I bought one and tested it side by side with my 35G over a weekend. I found that it focused really well on one body but the 2nd body needed that +20 adjustment. I returned the lens due to the appalling quality of the OOF areas. Specular highlights that are only slightly OOF render as tiny bright rings and the closer they get to the edge of the frame the more elliptical they become. I also found the Bokeh to be very nervous, especially when used for landscape – it has *vibration* like quality to it. It’s not only what’s in focus that matters but what’s OOF for me. The CA was definitely better than the Nikon but the focus ring was almost useless for fine tweaks as it is/was quite stiff and ‘sticks’.

      • jake

        just curious what were your tested bodies with the Sigma ?
        I used it many times with my D800 and E but never put it on my D600 or D7000, so I am curious how it acts on my other bodies.

        • bossa

          I used on my two D800E bodies.

        • bossa

          Hmm.. I already replied to this post and my reply has gone missing!

          I used my two D800E bodies, one of which seems to still have a focus issue even though it was serviced by Nikon Australia.

          • your reply is not missing – it may take some time for the comment to sync, refresh your browser and you should see it

      • I agree with your *vibration* quality bokeh in some instances. But otherwise from my brief experience I think it’s a great lens at this price point. I’m going to sell my Nikon 24 1.4G now because I know I won’t use it as much as the Sigma 35.

  • Paul

    Good job Sigma, I was not expecting this. I’m still happy with the Nikon 35mm f/1.8 DX lens though.

    • Micah Goldstein

      …if you shoot DX, it’s hard to beat. But for FX this seems to be the new go to lens.

  • I’ll still hang on to my 35 1.4G because it’s got weather sealing

    • Micah Goldstein

      …yeah, that’s been my concern too. I wonder how difficult it would be to have it added custom?

      • 5DollarFootlong

        All they did was add a rubber seal at the end. You could probably do the same thing with the Sigma.

        • BigD

          Most people don’t realize that “weather sealing” is nothing but a sliver of rubber which eventually wears thin as the lens is mounted and unmounted.

          You could probably go to a plumbing supply house and get a rubber O-ring and mount it in between the lens and the camera and there you go. 25¢ weather sealing.

          • neversink

            I wouldn’t be mounting just any rubber seal on the lens. Better check out how quickly they disintegrate under pressure before you end up with all sorts of crud stuck to your sensor.

        • Micah Goldstein

          It has a narrow channel that it fits into on the lens mount, so you’d need to remove material from either the lens body or the outer edge of the mounting ring to make space for it. This might compromise the lens structure somewhere.

          Hell, you can just slap a wide rubber band around the mount in a pinch. But that’s less than elegant. I do it sometimes with my Sigma (people ask what the red and blue stripes on my lens do!)

          Really, not a lot can get in through the mount, it’s the focus ring joints and front end I’m worried about. In fact, water getting in through the focus ring of my 20mm/1.8 is what killed my D700 once, so yeah, I’m a bit sensitive about that.

          Maybe this lens it pretty tight, but until I see one in person I won’t know. My friend has one on order, so I’ll report back when I know. Weather sealing is a legit concern though. And it’s more than just a rubber ring–it has to do with overall design. Even some of Nikon’s lenses with rubber rings are pumper designs which can suck in water, and I wouldn’t trust getting wet. Some can be adapted. For instance the 50mm/1.4G is a unit focus design and the space between the elements and the lens body look like they’re not sealed so well. But once you slap a filter on it, it’s pretty good. I’m still mindful that filters aren’t really waterproof, but it’s better than my 20mm damnit! : D

    • saywhatuwill

      That’s what plastic zip log storage bags are for.

  • Other than weather sealing, I find everything about this lens just beautiful. It’s my favorite lens on my D800.

  • Swade

    How is the sharpness score different for the Sigma on the D800?

    • Swade

      Or the size of the bar changed. Fail to me.

    • jake

      it was tested on a D800.

  • anon

    See sigma is a great company. Yes they have had bum lenses and problems with QA and what not over the years, but with the new CEO, it seems like sigma is doing something Nikon hasn’t been for a number of years. Listening to their customers!!. They made the 120-300 OS which was i really good lens. They got feedback based on things missing, things not working and other improvements needed.. So they fixed it and released a new model. plain and simple.. i cannot wait to see how the new one does.

    Nikon on the other hand releases products out of the blue that seem to have no place in the market that no one really wants.

    • Micah Goldstein

      I agree! Their QC and consistency was their only weak point in my opinion, and their new lens testing procedure promises to fix that.

      To boot, their service and repair department has been stellar compared to my experiences with Nikon USA.

  • Canon and Nikon should watch out, Sigma and Tamron have been making some very good and much cheaper optics lately.

    This lens is an absolute gem, I know I own one 🙂

    • Jon McGuffin

      Me too, picked it up way back in December off Amazon for Nikon mount which, apparently, was a lucky purchase as they’ve been hard to get a hold of. I love it and was just out shooting with it now and it continues to impress. Fantastic glass and build quality for sure!

    • GlobalGuy

      It just shows you how innovation spreads. Some kinds of brand-fanboys, but even Nikon and Canon have some pretty crappy lenses (some of the worst in the industry) in their past and in their portfolio. Brand doesn’t mean anything. Sigma & Tamron have a real opportunity to move ahead right now. Its too bad they don’t merge their efforts & technology and make a truly great lens company with cutting edge lenses, instead of copy-cats. For example — what if Sigma had made a 28/1.4 this great instead (the guys who already have 35/1.4s would flock to it; whereas by being a copy-cat 35/1.4… even if they make a better lens, most users will not sell their current Nikon or Canon if they already own one). Or what if Tamron had made a SHARPER 24-70/VC (VR) & firmware upgradeable instead of one that was softer and cannot have its firmware upgraded? I strongly wish for these third-parties to keep step it up. Stop shooting for “third place”. The 24-70/VC and 35/1.4 show that Tamron & Sigma can do it if they stop being afraid to do it. When is one of them going to make a quantum leap across the board. I’m tired of paying for the “Nikon” brand, when what I am asking for is simply tight QC & high IQ.

      • Rui Nelson Carneiro

        35mm f/1.4 is a copy cat of who? Canon, Nikon, Leica, Carl Zeiss, Samyang???

        • Om Bob

          My guess , Zeiss. The lens feel as chunky and as solid as ZF 35/2.0.

    • neonspark

      ok, sigma has ONE lens which beats up canon/Nikon. do you know they have about 69 to go?

  • Guest

    At half the price, I believe the Samyang got a better performance/price ratio (minus AF).

    • Micah Goldstein

      …howso? In my limited experience the Sigma seems to be better optically. If you’re getting more for more money, isn’t that the same or perhaps better price/performance?

      • preston

        The Samyang is $400 cheaper than the Sigma, so yes, price/performance ratio is something that should be accounted for. To me the Samyang’s lack of autofocus is a killer. I’d use this for events so no time for manual focus. This is why I’m really looking forward to Samyang’s 24mm tilt shift though because that doesn’t need autofocus (architecture doesn’t move very fast)!

        • Micah Goldstein

          This lens is only $15, so it’s even better price to performance than the Sigma, Samyang, or Nikon, right?! http://goo.gl/J3HH7

          …but seriously, it depends on the needs of the end user. Say you need the best performance AND weatherproofing with 35mm at f1.4. That’s the Nikon.

          Say you need the best performance in a 35mm/1.4 in a Nikon mount, period. That appears to be the Sigma.

          Say you need the smallest 35mm at a reasonably fast aperture. That’s the Nikon 35mm/2, which I have.

          Price is obvious–you get the one that fits the above cases AND fits your budget.

          Other than that, I’m having trouble seeing the case for the Samyang 35mm/1.4 anymore. Maybe it has a place for people who reaaaaally hate autofocus? Or really want a metal aperture ring? (does the Samyang even have a metal one?) Maybe you have other Samyang lenses and just want to stick with one brand? That’s odd loyalty. Maybe you really like the red accent line?

          I’m not knocking Samyang, I just think that the market appears to have provided better options in this particular segment. Now their 14mm and their forthcoming T&S lens? Those really appear to have a niche with price and the 14mm definitely has an unbeatable price/performance ratio.

          Looks like they lost out here though.

    • humenbean

      I really don’t like comparing non AF and AF lenses at all. They only work for landscape photographers and studio. This isn’t a studio lens either. Maybe for videographers? Not them either, as phillip bloom and many others have stated crazy sharpness is not needed on a lens because video can’t resolve that much detail anyways.

  • People don’t seem to understand. This lens doesn’t herald an era of Sigma dominance. It means Nikon and Canon will have to do more. Sigma don’t know anything that Nikon don’t. Nikon simply didn’t use their best tech on the 35. Famously it’s not even nano-coated (which the much better 24 is). Nikon will nano-coat their new 35 and benchmark it against the Sigma. They’ll then price it accordingly and the best AF 35 will again be a Nikon.

    This isn’t about ‘if’ Nikon can make a better lens. It’s at what cost? Similarly Sigma could probably make a 50mm to rival Leica – but it’d cost too much to do.Sadly Nikon and Canon tend to do as little as they need to win their market. Canon get away with mediocre L lenses – like the 35 – because ‘L’ is a cult and Canonistas have no other choice. Now they do in the Sigma they’ll step up too.

    In a couple of years we’ll be back where we were. Sigma will be the cheapest, worst, option. Of course – it’ll still be a great lens. Kudos to Sigma for shaking things up.

    • Twaddler Belafonte

      Alibi, alibi. 😛 Sigma’s top dog, and Nikon can’t touch that lens. 😛 😛 😛 na-na-na-ho-bo!

    • MiraShootsNikon

      “Famously it’s not even nano-coated . . . .” You, sir, are FAMOUSLY wrong. And probably not just about that.

      • humenbean

        haha, just fact checked because I thought it was N as well, and came accross this KR gem… “Nano: Magic (to the marketing department) anti-reflection coating.”

    • Mike

      Sure Nikon can come up with a better 35mm lens. Sigma will still be under $1000 though. Which is the point.

      • NRA Advocate

        The “point” is that, yes, sigma can produce a great optic, but mechanical build quality, forwards compatibility, and weather sealing are typically where cost-cutting takes place.

        A relatively low percentage of pro Nikon shooters use Sigma or Tamron glass — and it’s been this way since the ’70s. And there’s a reason for that.

        • Mechanical build quality is stellar on the Sigma 35.

      • humenbean

        That $1,000 doesn’t mean much in the rain. Just sayin!

    • nikonian

      Think when you said “Famously, it’s not even nano coated,” you were trying to refer to the lack of ED?

    • El Aura

      Interestingly, photozone shows the Sigma have similar MTF values in the center as the Nikon, only at the borders and corners is the Sigma somewhat better (it also has a good deal less CA).

      • Zachery Jensen

        If you would look at the areas that photozone tests you’ll see that most of their tests are totally meaningless information unless your subject matter only consumes 1/16th of your frame at any given time. A better comparison is the DxOMark “field map” tool buried in their measurements. DxO’s scores are stupid as they heavily bias towards bright lenses regardless of how poor the sharpness is. But their actual measurements are a gold mine. If you compare the Nikon and Sigma 35/1.4 in the sharpness field map you’ll see that the Sigma is a huge improvement over the Nikon, *especially* if you actually want to shoot at 35 f/1.4. There is just no other 35/1.4 lens that compares to what Sigma’s is doing there. As you stop down, the differences are less dramatic.

        I mean, I like the guys at photozone but they have chosen to place their “border” way, way too far out of the center. There is a huge no man’s land that is not measured in *any* of their tests and that’s an important area for most photography.

      • Micah Goldstein

        …most lenses are decent in the center–that ain’t hard!

        In fact, that’s been my gripe with the Sigma 50/1.4. It may be slightly sharper in the center, but outside the middle it’s mush. The Nikon 50/1.4g is sharper in the corners, so I prefer it.

        In the case of these fast 35s it looks like things are reversed. Good on Sigma! I’ll be getting one…

    • Daryl

      Sam is very correct when he says that Nikon and Canon pick a price point and produce a lens for it. Leica does this also but the price is higher. Except for a few lenses from Canon, Nikon and Zeiss everyone does this, but we are seeing exceptions more frequently such as Leica 50mm Apo and Zeiss 55mm f1.4. For Sigma to produce this quality at this price is an anomaly and I would be surprised if they could do this consistently. Let’s hope they can.

      • Kiss4Ever

        I don’t care, I just grab the opportunity to buy an outstanding 35mm f/1.4. The Sigma rocks!

  • D700s

    I’ve had it for a week and I’m very happy. I was looking at the Nikon 35G but went with the Sigma based on feedback. No regrets here. Keep it up Sigma!

    • jake

      no worry about your right decision , I had both + the Zeiss 35f1.4ZE on my already sold Canon 5D2 , the Sigma is the king of the 35mm land.
      I am sure only one 35mm prime besides Leicas that can rival this Sigma is the Sony 35mm f2 lens on the RX1.

  • Duncan Dimanche

    It would be nice now to see a D800 vs MArk III sharpness test with the extra pixels of the D800… So far it has been a very small margin gain for the D800 but with such à Sharp lens I wonder….

    God I need to stop buying primes before I do get a 24-70 but I cant resist…
    My D800 is calling for it 🙂

    • n11

      My D800 called to me and I bought a nice 24-70 for it : P Upgrade from the awesome 17-55. I also have an 85 1.4D which I treat my D800 as well. And just ordered a 28mm for its desert! XD

    • jake

      don’t waste your time on the 7y/o 24-70f2.8GED lens , and go straight to a set of primes like the Zeiss 25f2 , Sigma 35f1.4 and the Nikon 85f1.8G or 105f2DC (and of course the 70-200f2.8GEDVR2 ).
      if you need some wider prime , then go for the Zeiss 18f3.5 or Samyong 14mmf2.8.
      I think only one zoom that is good on the D800 is the 70-200VR2 and the new f4.
      To be honest , I also have the 16-35f4VR and love it but that’s because it is so convenient for mountain hiking where I cannot swap my primes over and over.

  • 5DollarFootlong

    I might go all Sigma. 120-300mm, 35mm, 85mm. With the exception of the new 18-35 by Nikon

    • jake

      get the 16-35f4VR instead of the 18-35mm , I tried both and compared them for a couple of weeks ,I have to admit initially I was excited about the new cheap lens but my father tests revealed that the 16-35VR is sharper indeed , especially from f5.6 and onwards.
      also , the 16-35VR is much more resistant to flare and ghosting.

  • El Aura

    How can an f/1.4 lens achieve its best performance at f/1.4 as DxO reports? (Ok, it could but all other lens tests show clear improvements when stopping down for the Sigma.)

    • Zachery Jensen

      You’ve just misunderstood the way DxO scores tests. It’s not the point where sharpness is maximized or any other specific measurement. It’s the point where the combination of all measurements averaged into oblivion and heavily biased towards low light shooting reaches the highest DxO overall score.

      Don’t waste time with overall scores on DxOMark for lenses unless you’re looking for the best lens to use in the dark. Instead, dig into their actual measurement data which is really awesome and shows you just why the Sigma 35/1.4 is so much better than the competition.

      • El Aura

        I somehow thought they had switched to M-pix numbers as their headline number and then misassociated the f/1.4 label to the M-pix rating.
        Thanks, for clearing up my misunderstanding.

    • Micah Goldstein

      Their numbers are wonky. Although with a perfect lens it might be possible that 2.8 is the start of diffraction limits on a D800. Not bloody likely that what’s happening though! Probably just DX0 attempting to blow more fairy dust up confused consumer’s asses. More noise. More FUD.

    • jake

      it is extremely sharp wide open , just accept the fact.
      it is better than the overpriced Nikon35f1.4G and the super overpriced Zeiss 35f1.4ZF2.
      and maybe as good as my Sony RX1.

      • El Aura

        I did not question that it is extremely sharp wide open, I questioned that it is sharper at f/1.4 than a f/2 or f/2.8.

  • n11

    I wonder how it compares to the Nikon 28mm F1.8, I just bought one the other day, waiting on it to ship. I did consider the Sigma, but wanted to try the $300+ cheaper wider-angle 28mm first.
    Even with the 28mm en route, I’d be excited to try the sigma 35mm.

    • Micah Goldstein

      I’d take the Nikon 28/1.8 over the Sigma 28/1.8.

      But if you’re thinking this or the 28/1.8, I don’t think it’s an either/or proposition–get both! They are quite different focal lengths and better at different things. 28mm gives much more rectilinear distortion on FX.

      • jake

        you should know that the new version of Sigma 24 and 28 should be out by end of this summer.
        anyway, if we have to compare the Sigma 35f1.4 vs the Nikon 28f1.8G , then we’d have to accept the Sigma is a much sharper and over all much better optics.

        you must be an extremely die-hard Nikon or Zeiss fanboy to justify the huge price difference between the Nikon 35f1.4G or the Zeiss T*1.4/35mm ZF2 and the Sigma 35f1.4HSM .

        I had all of these except the Nikon 28f1.8G and I ‘d have to accept the DXO result this time and I think they did great work this time.
        The Sigma 35mmf1.4 is a great lens and it should force Nikon, Canon ,Zeiss to up their game.

        • tod

          yea, I can hear all the zeiss owners rushing back to the stores to trade their zf for the sigma coz dxo says its a 34 not a 39 lol. Yes sir can I help you. Yes I’m looking for a lens. Something between a 30 and a 40 but closer to 40 maybe even 41. And what does sir want to shoot with it. I dunno yet I just know I need a lens that scores well for taking pictures of walls.

        • Micah Goldstein

          In this case I do suspect DX0 is right about the performance. But only because everybody else seems to agree and the images I’ve seen back this up. But DX0 doesn’t always know their arm joint from a gastrointestinal sphincter.

          Why is it that anybody that doesn’t agree is just as crazy fan?! Puh-leez!

          As far as Zeiss goes, I find them a little over rated. Some of their glass is really good, but just like N or C, or any of the third parties, they have some lenses that are gems, and some that are dogs. The quality goes in before the name goes on! I personally think they’re overpriced, and the lack of AF isn’t a matter of uncompromising design, but of maximizing profit. They’re capitalizing on a name. As long as the optics are good, they can claim to be doing a good thing. But from the perspective of an end user, AF is an option, and one that most users need. More options add value, not less options. Only in the crazy land of Leica is less options more value. Like hey, until the latest M, you’d have been crazy to use lenses over 90mm with a Leica–how’s that a feature?! But…I digress

          I don’t know that they’re coming, but I do hope that Sigma comes out with a new line of fast primes to go with this lens, yeah. This lens is good AND gives me hope. The 24 and 28 were lackluster, but I LOVE my 20mm/1.8. I happen to have a very good sample, and it’s better than most people realize, since most copies are really quite bad. With their new QC system I suspect we’ll see better QC and some new amazing designs that require better QC to be viable.

  • Ewanian

    What does it matter what company makes the best glass? So long as you have it in your kit, and use it. Bottom line for most people is always price point.

    • Zachery Jensen

      There are legitimate concerns. First of all, Nikon does not support the use of third party glass and could consider your warranty void if the glass broke the camera, for example (I realize this is unlikely and probably easily hidden, but still.)

      Another valid concern is long term compatibility. Sigma has been good about offering free updates to lenses as new cameras come out that are not compatible with their lenses while Nikon just doesn’t make cameras that aren’t compatible (outside of class compatibility issues like low end DSLRs vs. lenses requiring motors, if the lens is in the same class as other lenses supported, new cameras will support them all, and at the higher end where anyone is going to care, support is extreme reaching back to the 70’s).

      Performance can be a problem too as there seems to be a batch of these Sigma 35/1.4 that misbehave on D800 and D700 cameras. The question arises about whether the maker will support a solution to the issue or not (whereas with same-brand lenses, there is no question).

      Perhaps less of a concern is that the lenses have to fake their identity to the camera which can sometimes cause problems with triggering unwanted autocorrections or overlapping AF fine tune settings and so on.

      So yeah, there are some real concerns. But, Sigma and Tamron at least have done a good job directly addressing those concerns over time one way or another.

  • RamesesThe2nd

    35mm is so close to 50mm and Nikon 50mm f/1.8 is hard to beat at $200. If i am ever in the market for 35mm focal length, I would seriously consider this Sigma.

    • giodi

      35mm is a totally different focal length compared to 50mm… the field of view of 50mm lens is 46°, 35mm is 63°… about 40% more fov. It’s not exactly what you can call “close”

      • RamesesThe2nd

        Take two steps back and you got your fov. This is no UWA. They both are normal lenses.

        • giodi

          yep, but it’s not exactly the same thing and sometimes you just cannot take steps back.. 35mm is a much more versatile lens compared to 50mm, that’s what I wanted to say. And you still have a quite normal field of view, without wild perspectives 🙂

    • When I bring my (FX) camera to my eye, the 35mm field of view is what I had in my head. 50mm is nice, but significantly longer.

    • 50mm is a total compromise. It’s too long to be truly useful indoors, and not wide enough for groups.

      35mm is far more useful and, IMHO, interesting. It is really a story-telling focal length, because it captures more of a scene without having edge distortion. 50mm is too short for truly flattering portraits, but you can’t get a whole lot of background in.

      The only 50mm I own is the Nikkor f/1.2 and I use it primarily for free lensing.

      • Robert Valco

        I don’t like a 50mm as a standard lens either. It’s not wide enough. Therefore it’s not versatile enough. I think 35mm is the sweet spot. It doesn’t have the distortion of a 28mm and it’s significantly wider then an 50mm.

  • andrew jones

    My Sigma 35 1.4 for Nikon arrived this week. DOA. Focusing was jammed. That never happened to me on a Nikon lens. I’m happy to give them a second chance but quality control is an important part of the equation. Not just sharpness.

    • Royl

      Actually I once had the same thing happen with a Nikon 16-85mm lens. It happens. Storage and shipping create challenges for many products. I would not let the possibility of that stop me. This looks like that “too good to be true” scenario that really is that good.

  • Rick

    wow ok…I have been holding onto my nikkor 1.4g despite the higher cost…thinking even though it’s not as sharp, it’s at least a bit more consistent in AF consistency, which is super important in low light. But after I see this post, that’s it. I bought one

  • Chris

    I’ve had this lens since Christmas and the only time it comes off my D700 is when I need the zoom of the 70-200 2.8 VR1. Its freaking amazing and at $900 it was truly an amazing buy. I did this entire newborn shoot with it mounted: http://pittsburghfreelancephotography.com/2013/02/23/first-days-of-life-photography

  • Nick Name

    I’m very critical about image quality and even though I know image
    quality isn’t everything, I don’t want my tools to be a limiting factor. I’ve
    tried the Nikon AF 35mm f/2D and even the expensive AF-S 35mm f/1.4G. Both
    lenses where not good enough for me and I returned both. The older AF 35mm f/2D
    is lightweight and compact, but the image quality is not good enough for a
    modern sensor with a high pixel count. The
    centre is reasonably sharp, but the corners never get acceptably sharp. The
    AF-S 35mm f/1.4G looks and feels like a professional tool. It’s a nice big
    chunk of glass. However, I found the autofocus to be erratic and optical performance
    wide open wasn’t very impressive either. It’s a nice lens, but not good enough
    for the ridiculous amount of money Nikon wants for it. For a while there was no
    (AF) alternative. Then came the Sigma 35mm f/1.4. It actually flew below my
    radar, but I discovered it a few weeks ago. Boy, am I glad I did, because it’s
    a stellar performer. Centre sharpness wide open is more than usable and it only gets better
    when you stop down. At f/2.8 most of the image is tack sharp and at f/4
    everything is tack sharp. And I mean really, really sharp. Contrast and colours
    are excellent too. The build quality of this lens is very good. It looks and
    feels sturdy and reliable. It’s slightly heavier than the Nikon AF-S. The
    weight actually helps holding the camera steady. I think it balances very good
    on a D600, D700 or D800. Combinations with smaller cameras will probably feel front
    heavy. The Sigma 35mm f/1.4 is a real surprise and for the money you can’t go
    wrong. At the moment, there simply is no better lens.

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