Sigma 35mm f1.4 DG HSM Lens Art Series Lens compared to Sony FE 35mm f2.8 ZA Carl Zeiss Sonnar T* Lens

OK. So one's a lot bigger than the other. (It's all good
insightful stuff here!)

Since I currently have two rather good 35mm lenses for my Sony FE cameras on my shelf I thought I'd compare them.

First off I thought I'd look at what difference the LA-EA4 adapter makes. Does in it fact affect the exposure? Well yes it does but not in a way I would have expected.

The Sigma does in fact need a slower shutter speed at the same aperture, but it produces a lighter image. This happened consistently with all the testing I did. However working out the difference there does seem to be a slight 'light loss' using the adapter, somewhere in the region of 1/3 stop, which is what others have found. Some people have asserted that there is no difference but that's not what I see. So it's not much but it is there.

For the comparison test I used three apertures f/2.8, f/5.6 and f/8. Lenses tripod mounted on my A7r, raw files converted identically in Photoshop ACR. It is worth pointing out however that the Sigma is much longer than the Sony / Zeiss so as in the test set up above the Sigma is nearer to the objects unless it's moved back. It is worth remembering this if you use either lens for relatively close subjects, you can actually get closer with the Sigma. There you go, an advantage already! However this does affect the results so bear that in mind.

Here are the comparison 100% blowups.

The results were pretty consistent. The Sigma is very (very) slightly sharper than the Sony / Zeiss in the centre but the Sony / Zeiss definitely has the advantage in the edges / corners.

Both are superb lenses. The Sigma obviously has that wider aperture, but if like me you use it via an adapter on a Sony camera, then there is that 1/3 stop light loss to take into account. This would also happen on Sony DSLT's, though not on Nikon and Canon DSLR's. I was hoping that I might decide to get rid of one, but for the time being I'm keeping both. 

So interesting, but not unexpected. I would have no problem using either lens, though of course for walking in good light the Sony / Zeiss FE lens has a lot going for it in terms of size and weight. Sigma though are turning out some cracking lenses these days and the 35mm f/1.4 is a great example of that. It's not light and it's not small however and the adapter just makes that worse, so if you're looking to keep your outfit light then the FE lens makes more sense. You won't be disappointed with either however. I'm certainly not. Quite the reverse.

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