This afternoon we laid our hands on the Sigma 35mm f/1.4 DG HSM.

Speaking with Sigma this afternoon was our first opportunity to lay hands on the all-new 35mm f/1.4 DG HSM lens. Slotting into the companies ‘Art’ category, the lens has an extremely solid feel in the hand and features a minimalist design that Sigma will now be applying to all future lens releases. With a cleaner and more elegant design that looks much different to previous EX Sigma lenses, the 35mm f/1.4 DG HSM appears somewhat similar to some Zeiss and Sony optics on first glance.

With an extremely tactile feel, the large manual focus ring operated incredibly smoothly and precisely throughout the focusing range. For comparison we offered it up against one of the lenses main rivals – Nikon’s AF-S NIKKOR 35mm f/1.4G lens. Side-by-side there wasn’t a huge amount of difference in terms of their size. We’d say the Sigma was a fraction taller, yet fractionally slimmer.

With stealth appearance, the focus distance indicator on the Sigma 35mm f/1.4 is noticeably larger than that on the Nikon and the same can be said for the manual focus ring. Unfortunately the sample lens we were given to look at was Sigma mount so we didn’t have the opportunity to find out how well the lens focuses, however it does adopt Sigma’s Hyper Sonic Motor technology so we’re expecting it to perform just as well as it looks with a whisper quiet and fast AF operation.

With one low dispersion glass element and four SLD (Super Low Dispersion) glass lenses making up the construction, the lens features a total of 13 elements in 11 groups. It also adopts Sigma’s Super Multi-Layer coating to reduce flare and ghosting. With a price that’s still yet to be confirmed, we’re confident in saying that it’ll be a cheaper alternative to Nikon’s AF-S NIKKOR 35mm f/1.4G lens (£1385) and Canon’s EF 35mm f/1.4 L USM (£1158).

Asking about the idea behind the re-structuring of the lens lineup into three seperate categories, Sigma told us that the three new categories: Contemporary, Arts and Sports are intended to make life easier to understand for the consumer. To read up about the re-structuring and the other two Sigma lenses released today, click here.