Move from 24-70 f/2.8L Mk I to 35mm F/1.4?

mrsfotografie

M.R.S. Fotografie www.mrsfotografie.nl
Jul 13, 2012
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I'm considering selling my 24-70 f/2.8L MkI because it has gone practically unused since I got the 24-105 F/4L IS.

Now I'm considering getting a 35mm f/1.4 instead - either the Sigma or the Canon. At the moment I think I would prefer the Canon eventhough I've good experience with my Sigma 50 mm f/1.4.

I know these 35mm lenses have been discussed to death but now that for most people the initial love affair with the Sigma is probably over, I'd like to hear your *real world* thoughts on the matter of choosing between these two. Maybe you've had to make this choice yourself or even owned both lenses.

I know about the lab test data but prefer to hear from you some real world comparisons. These include portability, reliability, subjective quality etc etc. So please, your (subjective) opinions.
 

BozillaNZ

EOS 90D
Jul 16, 2013
198
0
Auckland NZ
Used 35L for a short while, got rid of it along with my FF body, just to fund the 24L II. But when I get the next FF body I will not hesitate to buy it again. It's a piece of well engineered and well built lens.

Sigma's focusing motor wears out in several years of use. I replaced my S50 1.4's motor by myself. However I've never encountered a (ring type) motor wear out from Canon, even their 199x manufactured first gen USM lenses.

I only kept Sigma's 50 because Canon's 50 1.4 is an outlier that is very bad in both mechanical and optical aspect and the 50L is too expensive to justify. If Canon can come up with an improved 50 1.4 at least on par with their 85 1.8 I will dump the Sigma in a heart beat.
 

RLPhoto

Gear doesn't matter, Just a Matter of Convenience.
Mar 27, 2012
3,778
0
San Antonio, TX
www.Ramonlperez.com
IDK about a 35mm. It's too wide for most portraits and too narrow to be used as a wide... Maybe thats just my 50mm brain stuck in that view.

But if I were to buy one, It'd be the sigma 35mm. It's fantastic from what I've seen and heard.
 

distant.star

EOS 5D Mark IV
Jan 19, 2011
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Good thing you only want subjective because that's all I've got.

I've been using the Sigma 35mm f/1.4 since April. It's become the mainstay lens on my 5D3. I don't have and have never used the Canon 35mm, but I have used the Canon 24mm f/1.4 II (rental) and from a comparative standpoint, that's the best I can offer.

PORTABILITY -- The Sigma feels heavy. It's in the same range as the Canon 24. Since I was curious how it compares with that and lenses I normally use, I looked up the specs (sorry for the deviation into objectivity):

Canon 24: 650g
Canon 35: 580g
Sigma 35: 665g
Canon 135: 750g
Canon 24-105: 670

As for size, none seem unduly large.

I guess overall ruggedness also falls into the "portability" arena. Canon has a great rep in this area; my sense is the Sigma is comparable.

RELIABILITY -- I've had no problems with the Sigma. It reliably does exactly what I direct it to do. Since the lens is new, we're going to have to wait a few years to get an idea about long-term reliability from the hardware standpoint. From a comparative standpoint, no deviation among the various lenses I've used.

QUALITY -- The Sigma is on a par with my Canon 135mm in sharpness of focused area. I don't think the bokeh on the 135 can be bested, and the Sigma does not. From a purely subjective assessment, I think the 135 AF is faster and better. The Sigma is great and very fast (certainly fast enough for my needs), but it will sometimes seem to hunt a bit where I don't think the 135 would in the same scene. This only happens in difficult situations, and I don't mean to suggest the Sigma can't reliably get focus. Sharpness on the 24 is great, but I'd say the Sigma is a tad better overall -- but then the focal length IS different, I know.

For overall image quality I read that the Canon and Sigma are probably too close to make much real difference. If the Canon were priced with the Sigma, I would have gotten the Canon. I'm economy-minded (yes, cheap!), and if I can get comparable quality at a lower price, the extra money is staying in MY pocket. When I win the big lottery I'll get into the giving money away business, until then... I'm "cheap." I know the price is in the "objective" realm, but it's a real issue.

Some folks have mentioned color rendition in the Sigma. I haven't noticed it being better or worse than any other lenses I've used except for the Canon 24mm. That lens seemed to render far more vibrant color than any other lens I've ever used.

In post process, I've almost never had to correct CA in the Sigma, and I haven't even bothered downloading the new LR version that has the Sigma 35 lens profile -- distortion doesn't show up in any noticeable way as far as I can tell.

That's all I've got. Canon, of course, is rumored to have a new 35mm in the works. It will probably best the Sigma, but the price won't get any lower. If you have any questions, let me know.
 
Feb 12, 2013
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I got the 24-105L in my 6D kit in May and use it 70% of the time. I had the 17-40 and 70-200 for my 5D MkI. I was going through the same decision process as you. I also have the 40mm 2.8 for superlight hiking and ski touring so portability was not an issue in the Canon vs Sigma. I have tried several copies of both to take into account copy variations and found that I liked the images from the Sigma better. I love shooting it at 1.4 or 1.8. It is so sharp and crisp, my go to lens if I want to take creative pics. IQ is considerably better than the 40mm and rivals my 85mm.
 

mrsfotografie

M.R.S. Fotografie www.mrsfotografie.nl
Jul 13, 2012
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Thanks for your replies so far. Here's my summary up to this point. But still haven't made up my mind... ::)

Durability:
BozillaNZ, I didn't know about possible durability issues with the AF motor for the Sigma (50mm). I have the Sigma 50mm as well because the IQ is fantastic and the step-up to the 50L is just too great to justify the extra expense. No problems with my 50mm though. Still this says nothing about the 35's durability. Draw (?) I'm more concerned though about robustness regarding knocks etc causing possible element misalignment. I won't give the lens so much use it will actually wear out.

Portability:
distant.star, thanks for your extensive post. Thanks too for the weight comparison. What's missing in any specification however is the weight balance, one reason why the 24-70 is such a beast to carry is because it is front-heavy. I prefer a short&fat lens for this reason - Canon wins.

Quality:
Fully open, the Sigma has the highest resolving power. In post, the Sigma looks heavily vignetted at f/1.4 though. In Canon DPP (I use this for my Canon raws) and in-camera vignetting correction (preset for raw) means the Canon is corrected for vignetting, but the resolution remains lower. Hmmm.

Economy:
The Sigma wins out of the box. The Canon is more expensive and re-sale value possibly threatened by a new model coming out soon (although second hand prices may actually go up due to Canon's new price levels as with the 24-70 Mk I).

Popularity:
The Sigma is the winner so far.

Copy variation - QA/QC:
Hozik, what's your experience with the copy variations you found between the lenses you tried?
 

RomainF

EOS M6 Mark II
May 2, 2013
91
0
Europe
It's the same old story about compromises.
Either you choose to keep your zoom and you know that whatever happen, you're most likely to have to right focal to get the shot you have in mind without moving from your place, either you sell it to get that ultra bright 35mm. With that fixed one you have to know that you'll miss some shots cause you'll be too long or too short and you won't have enough time to move to get some headroom or to get closer.

I've done the same thing. I've sold my 24-105 to get the good'ol' 35mm.
It's for a great reason that the "35mm" became the "report lens"/"photojournalist lens". I know i miss plenty of pictures that competitors will get with their 28-300/24-105/24-70, but when i shoot, i know that my picture is really better than the one they'll get with their f/4 lens. Why ? Because i'll ever be better positioned, closer to the subject, i'll get that gaze from the subject and i'll get an insanely delightful DOF than only an aperture of 1.4 / 1.6 / 1.8 can get. Moreover, but it's obvious, you can shoot whenever you want with that f/1.4. If you have a decent body , you can really "see in the dark" while you'd have too use your flash with the 24-70.
You'll have to work a lot more on your way to move and to deal with the action. But when you just "get it", when you understand how to work with a fixed focal, you'll be in "the second chapter" of your life as a photographer.

Finally, a fixed focal is way more enduring than a zoom, way lighter, way more discrete. Anybody will be more easygoing facing a smaller camera.
 

TommyLee

EOS RP
Sep 29, 2012
301
2
mrsfotografie said:
I'm considering selling my 24-70 f/2.8L MkI because it has gone practically unused since I got the 24-105 F/4L IS.

Now I'm considering getting a 35mm f/1.4 instead - either the Sigma or the Canon. At the moment I think I would prefer the Canon eventhough I've good experience with my Sigma 50 mm f/1.4.

I know these 35mm lenses have been discussed to death but now that for most people the initial love affair with the Sigma is probably over, I'd like to hear your *real world* thoughts on the matter of choosing between these two. Maybe you've had to make this choice yourself or even owned both lenses.

I know about the lab test data but prefer to hear from you some real world comparisons. These include portability, reliability, subjective quality etc etc. So please, your (subjective) opinions.


for me I choose the sigma
I HAD a 35L ...it was a good copy..
with the fringing and moderate sharpness wide open

I liked using it along with the 135L
because I ONLY carried the 135L hood...[EDIT: doh!... I got that backwards -I used 35 hood on 135]
which fit onto the 35L and gave SOME coverage and protection..kept the kit small
my point is they were a nice couple

so then I HEARD Canon was coming with the 35L II..
so I sold the 35L I and got good, solid, market price for it...

THEN I relented and tried the sigma
(*while waiting for Canon to get their 35L II act together)
of course Canon was apparently 'spooked' by the sigma quality.... and did NOT issue their (I bet underdesigned) 35L II


I would say the sigma is one of my best , reliably performing lenses so far...compared to...
MY ...70-200 f4 I.S., f2.8 II, 85L II, 135L, 24L I, original 100mm macro AND 100L macro, 16-35L II
reliable, accurate focus sort by best first...
100L, 85L II (yes very good), 70-200 II, 70-200 f4, 16-35 II and last ...24L I .. just a bit temperamental

the siggy is sharp wide open, has good.... to pretty good.... bokeh quality, accurate and sharp shots every time......even distant subjects @ 1.4 gave sharp subject and a little blur in background....accurate!!
a better lens (for me) than a 50mm

I say.... if you could trade the old 24-70 for this siggy 35 performance...
it would be a great trade..
I have a 24-105 and cant get myself to get the 24-70 II...when I still have a 35sigma 1.4 to use

just my thoughts....
having / still having .....some very good lenses

I take the 14L II, 35 sig, 135L.....OR 100L..... as a 3-lens kit... which does all that I need

that's my thought on the matter
I hold the sig 35 as tightly as the 135L when I bring them both...

Canon needs to get over the embarrassment and give us a 35L II that is world tops quality
35/50mmm range....
I will buy it on the spot


just my tried and tested opinion
TOM

I had a 30mm sigma on a crop body...yrs ago...and it was nice when I got accurate focus
which was...... usually... at best
BUT THIS 35 1.4 sigma is a different animal....
on a 5D3 (which improved accuracy on ALL my canon lenses)
it nails - wide open or stopped down - the focus ......always

just note this fact in your decision
 

leftnose

EOS M50
Apr 20, 2012
47
0
RLPhoto said:
IDK about a 35mm. It's too wide for most portraits and too narrow to be used as a wide... Maybe thats just my 50mm brain stuck in that view.

But if I were to buy one, It'd be the sigma 35mm. It's fantastic from what I've seen and heard.
It's all a matter of personal preference. I don't like 50mm, I find it too long for general/travel use and too short for portrait. Sure, 35mm is also too short for portrait but it's perfect for general/travel use. If I wanted a prime for landscape, it would be 24mm but for everything between landscape and portrait, I find 35mm (on FF) to be perfect whereas the 50mm is just kinda blah.

And the fact that, across all my systems, i have five 35mm primes but no 50mm primes shows I practice what I preach!

As for the OP, if I had to chose one prime to replace a standard zoom, I would pick 35mm without hesitation. Whether it's the Sigma or Canon 35L, I can't say because i have no experience with the Sigma but I love my 35L.
 

distant.star

EOS 5D Mark IV
Jan 19, 2011
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USA
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One small thing I forgot about the Sigma 35mm. On the AF/MF switch, it shows white when in the AF position. Makes it much easier to see which position the switch is in. For me, this is a big help as I always seem to be switching back and forth, doing live view, etc. So next time I pick up the camera it's always easier to see what position the switch is in. I've screwed up shots where I needed to pick up the camera and shoot quickly and a quick glance at the AF/MF switch on other lenses didn't tell me what I thought it was telling me.

IMG_8356-M.jpg
 

mrsfotografie

M.R.S. Fotografie www.mrsfotografie.nl
Jul 13, 2012
1,624
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Thank you all for your 'subjective' and 'not so subjective' answers to my question. :) Your comments and the test data that seem to agree across the 'net are pushing me towards the Sigma. It really looks like the Sigma betters the 35L in almost every measurable way (and many subjective ways too).

So I guess my 'L' fever will have to give way to what looks to become my Sigma Prime Trinity:

Sigma 20mm F1.8 DG Aspherical RF
Sigma 35mm F1.4 DG HSM | A
Sigma 50mm F1.4 EX DG HSM

And so the trend continues that my kit is based around 'L' zooms, and third-party primes ( I also have a Samyang 14mm and a Tamron 90 mm macro, oh, and a Canon 35mm f/2 and Canon 50mm f/1.8 MkI but these two I keep for traveling purposes because of their tinyness).
 

Atonegro

It's not the gear, it's the eye.
Dec 16, 2012
79
0
61
Netherlands
If you like your Sigma 50mm, you will LOVE the Sigma 35mm !
Best 35 I have ever had, and at a very reasonable price too.
 

BozillaNZ

EOS 90D
Jul 16, 2013
198
0
Auckland NZ
I like the Sigma 50, the problem is, it's motor died on me. There are also several reports of incidence that Sigma 35 focus got stuck in MFD in both AF and MF mode, which all leads to one thing: sloppy manufacturer/design
 

mrsfotografie

M.R.S. Fotografie www.mrsfotografie.nl
Jul 13, 2012
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RomainF said:
It's the same old story about compromises.
Either you choose to keep your zoom and you know that whatever happen, you're most likely to have to right focal to get the shot you have in mind without moving from your place, either you sell it to get that ultra bright 35mm. With that fixed one you have to know that you'll miss some shots cause you'll be too long or too short and you won't have enough time to move to get some headroom or to get closer.

I've done the same thing. I've sold my 24-105 to get the good'ol' 35mm.
It's for a great reason that the "35mm" became the "report lens"/"photojournalist lens". I know i miss plenty of pictures that competitors will get with their 28-300/24-105/24-70, but when i shoot, i know that my picture is really better than the one they'll get with their f/4 lens. Why ? Because i'll ever be better positioned, closer to the subject, i'll get that gaze from the subject and i'll get an insanely delightful DOF than only an aperture of 1.4 / 1.6 / 1.8 can get. Moreover, but it's obvious, you can shoot whenever you want with that f/1.4. If you have a decent body , you can really "see in the dark" while you'd have too use your flash with the 24-70.
You'll have to work a lot more on your way to move and to deal with the action. But when you just "get it", when you understand how to work with a fixed focal, you'll be in "the second chapter" of your life as a photographer.

Finally, a fixed focal is way more enduring than a zoom, way lighter, way more discrete. Anybody will be more easygoing facing a smaller camera.

Well it really looks like I'm ready for the 'second chapter' then. ;) But then I've still got the 24-105 to revert to when I need flexibility, given enough light of course. 8)
 

mrsfotografie

M.R.S. Fotografie www.mrsfotografie.nl
Jul 13, 2012
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A small update; I sold my 24-70 f/2.8 Mk I and bought a Sigma 35mm F1.4 DG HSM to replace it.

The first real world results came in this weekend, and I must say the 35mm is fabulous! What surprised me is the real joy this well handling lens is to use in the field. It balances well on my gripped 5D2. The lens offers loads of creative leverage both in low and good light, great colors and good sharpness.

AF can be a little bit slow sometimes (on the 5D2), but it appears to be spot on most of the time, and if not, the body is to blame more than the lens. FWIW it nails focus better than the 24-70 it replaces. The use of MF is also a joy on this lens; good with my precision matte AF screen.

So do I miss the zoom then? Absolutely not. :)
 
Aug 2, 2013
5
0
Have the sigma 35mm too on my 5DIII and absolutely love it. Also have the tamron 24-70 VC but it sits in my camerabag most of the time. Only when I really really need the flexibility of a zoom I get it out and then also the 70-200 2.8 MKII comes in.
 
Jul 12, 2011
380
10
Of course, as a regular reader of the various rumors on this forum, you've seen the speculation about
the 35 f1.4L being replaced in the "near" future - possibly part of this "blizzard of new lenses" expected
next year. Unless you've got a burning requirement you may want to wait to see just how astronomical
the also expected price increase is - but then the current model has been very highly rates for 12-13 years
and may also see a price drop as dealers clear their shelves. Another alternative is the relatively new
and especially "cheap" Rokinon/Bowers/etc. etc. which if you can forego autofocus mode will give you a
good feel for whether or not a 35mm prime is really what you want - and you can sell it later without too
great a loss.
 
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