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From the moment the Sigma 24-70mm f/2.8 DG DN Art lens for Sony was announced in December 2019, it’s been in hot demand. Fast forward to May 2020, and the lens is still back-ordered and difficult to get ahold of. It’s not hard to see why, as this lens is half the price of the Sony 24-70mm f2/.8 G Master. This Sigma 24-70mm f/2.8 for Sony review highlights some key specs of the new Sigma Art lens and contemplates why it’s such a sought after lens.
|Focal Length||24 to 70mm|
|Lens Mount||Sony E|
|Angle of View||84.1° to 34.3°|
|Minimum Focus Distance||7.09″ / 18 cm|
|Optical Design||19 Elements in 15 Groups|
|Diaphragm Blades||11, Rounded|
|Filter Size||82 mm (Front)|
|Dimensions (ø x L)||3.46 x 4.84″ / 87.8 x 122.9 mm|
|Weight||1.84 lb / 835 g|
Ask any photographer what single lens they would rather have if marooned on a desert island. I’ll bet a good chunk of the answers would be the “24-70mm.” This is a classic mid-range lens that covers a useful and versatile focal length. 24mm is just wide enough to capture vast landscapes without much distortion, while 70mm offers just the right amount of zoom to capture shots from a distance.
Most camera brands, including Sony, offer two versions of the 24-70mm: one at f/4, and another at f/2.8. The Sony 24-70mm f/4 is of fantastic quality at a semi-reasonable price point of $898.00. There are often used ones to be had for several hundreds of dollars cheaper. But the Sony 24-70mm f/2.8 stands at a whopping $2,198.00. See why there’s been a clamor for a half-price Sigma version?
Let’s not forget the Tamron 28-75mm f2.8, another lower-priced challenger at $879.00. This lens is a bit smaller and lighter than the Sigma version. It also has a smaller filter size of 67mm compared to the Sigma lens’ 82mm filter thread size. However, you sacrifice 4mm on the wide end, which may matter if you need maximum wilderness.
Back to the Sigma.
Sigma Art lenses are known for their superior bodies, and the 24-70mm f/2.8 is no exception. This lens was made in Japan, and it shows in the craftsmanship. It feels solid in the hands and is even a hair lighter than the Sony version. The lens has two rubber rings: one for focusing and another for zooming. There is also an Af/MF switch, a button for AF-Lock, and a locking mechanism.
The locking switch is a bit unusual. Enabling the lock prevents the lens from accidentally extending. On most lenses, the lock is rock solid. But on the Sigma, the lock can easily be overridden by simply twisting the zoom barrel. That makes it easier to run and gun shoot, but on the other hand, it’s a little too easy to accidentally unlock your lens in the field. I didn’t mind this feature, but some photographers may not like it.
The zoom is equipped with internal sealing against dust and moisture. There is also fluorine coating on the front of the lens to repel water and oil. Overall, this lens held up like a champ while shooting in a light rainstorm.
Testing of the Sigma 24-70mm f/2.8 was done on a Sony a7riii. In terms of sharpness and overall image quality, the lens was fantastic in almost every way. The only problem is the hint of distortion and vignetting that you see at 24mm. But both of these can be easily corrected in post-production software such as Adobe Lightroom and Photoshop.
Bokeh quality at f/2.8 on the lens was smooth and creamy for a zoom lens.
The main feature that this lens lacks is image stabilization (IS). That means this isn’t the optimal lens for shooting video. However, this lens works well with Sony’s in-body image stabilization (IBIS), so that gives you some form of stabilization. For non-video shooters, image stabilization in the lens would certainly help for capturing stills handheld at low shutter speeds, but then again, that’s something IBIS can help with.
So at the end of the day, we can’t fault Sigma for not including IS in this lens. The Sony version doesn’t have it either, and the inclusion of IS generally increases the overall price of a lens.
I took the Sigma 24-70mm f/2.8 on a road trip with me. It took the place of my much more compact lens choice, the Sony 24-70mm f/4. My main photo subject was landscape and lifestyle photography, much of it done on cloudy days with even, filtered light. The lens performed beautifully and was a joy to shoot with. The autofocus was snappy and accurate, although the native Sony 24-70mm that I normally use still has the overall autofocus advantage.
The main thing that bugged me about the Sigma lens was its weight and size. Admittedly, I’ve learned to be okay with sacrificing a faster f-stop by using a smaller lens while traveling. This lens felt like it weighed the camera down when I wasn’t holding it in my hands and actively shooting with it. But then again, a larger and heavier lens is the yet another price to pay for using an f/2.8 lens.
Besides a lower price, third-party lens companies such as Sigma are one-upping Sony by offering extended warranties. In the case of Sigma, each lens comes with a 1-year warranty, with an extended 3-year warranty in the USA. On the other hand, Sony offers just a 1-year warranty. However, you may be eligible to join the Sony Pro program, which offers discounted repairs.
The Sigma 24-70mm f/2.8 is a solidly built, high performance lens that is a steal at $1,099.00. You won’t find a better 24-70mm at this price point. If you’re a stills photographer, you want this in your bag if you don’t already have the Sony version. However, video folks may want to look at another midrange option that includes image stabilization in the lens.