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Review by Markus Stamm, published December 2016
With the introduction of their 'Global Vision' categories of lenses, Sigma has not only successfully changed the perception of the brand and regained lots of reputation. Fortunately, they also use their newly aquired self-confidence to develop and release lenses, that don't follow the classic stereotypes of what zoom and aperture range lenses should cover. The 18-35/1.8 DC was such a surprising lens, featuring a very fast aperture (for a zoom lens) combined with a somewhat narrowed down zoom range. And now there is something similarly exotic for full frame users, too: the 24-35mm f/2 DG HSM.
Sigma argues that despite the limited zoom range, this lens can actually replace up to 3 primes in a photographer's bag (the classic 24, 28 and 35mm primes), while still providing a similarly fast f/2 aperture at all these focal lengths... and any setting inbetween. That sounds like a good point: just one lens instead of three to carry, plus increased flexibility.
Of course we all know that zooms often are compromises in terms of optical quality, so in order to convince prime shooters to use this fairly large and heavy zoom instead, it better delivers convincing quality. Let's find out...
The 24-35mm f/2 follows the build pattern of all Sigma Art lenses so far, which means the lens tube consists of a mixture of metal and TSC (Thermally Stable Composite) elements, giving an impression of very high quality. The only thing not matching up with that perception is the plasticky lens hood. And as all Sigma Art lenses it is not weather sealed, Sigma reserves this feature to their line of Sports lenses.
Both the zoom ring and the focus ring are broad and nicely damped.
Talking about the zoom ring: since this is a Sigma lens, you probably expected to read our usual hint here that both rings rotate in the opposite direction compared as on Nikon lenses and thus might challenge your muscle memory now and then if you're used to the Nikon style of operation. Well, surprise: for whatever reason, the zoom ring on this Sigma rotates in the same direction you're used to from Nikkor lenses. Our hint still applies to the focus ring though, including the warning that the focus assist in the viewfinder assumes a Nikon lens and consequently suggest the wrong direction of focus ring movement (if you rely on that indicator when focusing manually).
The physical length of the lens remains constant at all focus and zoom settings. The front lens does not rotate during focusing, so using a polarizer is no problem.
The lens features HSM, which is Sigma's version of ultra-sonic drive. Thanks to that, the lens is fully compatible with all current Nikon DSLRs, including the entry-level DX models. Typical for many HSM lenses, the AF is virtually silent and quite fast.
The lens is also compatible with Sigma USB dock, so you can fine-tune the AF calibration if you see the need and are willing to invest a little in the extra accessory.
The Sigma is a G-type lens, so there is no aperture ring.
|Optical construction||18 elements in 13 groups incl. 1 FLD, 5 SLD, 1 aspherical and 2 aspherical SLD elements|
|Number of aperture blades||9 (rounded)|
|min. focus distance||0.28 m (max. magnification ratio 1:4.4)|
|Dimensions||122.7 x 87.6 mm|
|Filter size||82 mm (non-rotating)|
|Hood||petal-shaped, bayonet mount (supplied)|
|Other features||Lens provides distance (D) information to the camera, Silent Wave AF motor|