Bokeh Beast – Sigma 35mm F/1.2 Art Review

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The Best Fast Wide Angle Prime For Video?

Opening up to F/1.2, this Sigma 35mm Art is the fastest wide angle prime I’ve ever used, but is that speed all its cut out to be? 

Being a true premium lens from the Sigma Art range, there’s no corners or shortcomings in this super fast primes build or design. Being built with an 11 blade aperture and a 17 Element 12 group construction this lens is a monster. Weighing in at over 1kg, it feels incredibly weighty and reassuringly metal and with a 82mm front element it has the looks to match.

But enough of the talk, lets get to using this lens some more and looking at the good bits of this super fast prime.

GOOD BITS

The Image quality is second to none. This might well be my favourite ever lens I’ve filmed with, the image it renders has honestly left me speechless, it’s almost certainly the best piece of lens engineering I’ve come across and when you consider the price point, coming in under that of it’s competitors, that’s unbelievable.

That Speed, F/1.2 in a 35mm lens is just awesome and best of all, it’s not just a gimmick but a fully engineered and very useable feature. The lens maintains a lot of it’s sharpness even wide open, which for any lens at f/1.2 is rare. There is some vignette and corner softness as you’d expect, but if I’m honest I never actually minded that, if the subject pops and that wafer thin depth of field certainly allows for that!

Having a wide angle at this speed opens a huge amount of options as a video shooter. If nothing else it allows for talking head shots, like this, to be shot comfortably wide enough whilst getting some beautiful background separation. 

Then there’s the little build quality touches. If looks and feels like every penny of the $1500 price point. But beyond the GAS it will give everyone that sees you using it, it feels really nice to use. The fly by wire focus ring is smooth, responsive and with enough of a throw to tightly nail focus. The rear aperture ring, for us filmmakers at least, is always a nice feature. And to take that one tiny step further, you can even declick the aperture on the lens, and that make us video shooters very happy!!

I really could go on and on about how much I love this lens, but now it’s time to take a look at the bad bits.

BAD BITS

 … can we just skip this bit? 

It’s heavy?

I can’t afford it, unless I use Pete’s credit card again…

Oh there is the fact that it’s not yet available in EF mount. I would love to use this lens natively on our Panasonic EVA, but really in truth that is it. I think this lens may be just about perfect.

SUMMARY

So yes for sure 1500$ on a single prime lens is a hell of a lot of money. But this isn’t a whimsical purchase, this isn’t a ‘nice to have’, this lens represents a serious investment for the pro-level video shooter and at that price point the quality of this lens will pay you back ten fold. I’ve totally fallen in love with it and will be so saddened to send it back, unless I can persuade Pete to dust off that credit card.


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