Sigma art 35mm f1.4 vs Sony 35mm FE f1.8

by Product reviews

In this review I am going to be comparing the Sigma art 35mm f1.4 vs the Sony 35mm f1.8, both these lenses are highly sought after for the Sony system, I have owned the Sigma lens for around two years and the Sony lens around a month at the time of writing this. In this direct comparison, I’m going to go through build quality, handling, bokeh and sample images.

Build quality 

The build quality on the Sigma 35mm f1.4 and the Sony 35mm f1.8 is fantastic. I’d say the build quality on the Sigma is slightly higher in my opinion, when you hold them the Sigma feels more robust and better built, the Sigma has an all-metal construction whereas the Sony has metal and plastic, both come with lens hoods which will help with lens flare too.

Lens features

When it comes to features these lenses are pretty straight forward, with the Sigma 35mm f1.4 has a switch for autofocus and manual focus while the sony also has a focus hold button, this button can be programmed to do numerous functions via the Sony menu system.

Weight

A huge difference between these two lenses is weight. The Sigma art 35mm f1.4 weighs a whopping 755 grams and the Sony 35mm f1.8 weighs a tiny 280 grams. This may not seem a massive difference but trust me it is. With the Sigma being a longer lens it is very front heavy and sometimes hard to hold especially if you ever need to shoot anything one-handed. I much prefer the weight and size of the Sony, plus you don’t stand out as a photographer too so you can get in places with your camera without being questioned by security haha.

Sharpness

Side by side I’d say the Sony is slightly sharper. This is with the Sigma being shot at f1.4 and the Sony at f1.8. I was pretty surprised as this Sigma lens is extremely sharp and I never thought the Sony would come close to it. Even when you stop them down the Sony seems to have a slight edge too. 

Bokeh

Now before buying the Sony 35mm I spent so long reading reviews and also watching every video known to man on YouTube. My aim was to find out how much image quality and bokeh are you missing from shooting the Sigma 35mm f1.4 vs the Sony 35mm f1.8 wide open. I wanted a lighter and smaller lens to use when I’m out with the family or on smaller jobs as the Sigma is so front heavy. I was trying to find out how much difference in sharpness and bokeh there will be, as we know it’s pretty much the same, also I wanted to see if it was worth saving the weight and shooting at f1.8 and how much difference there will be. I blind tested the lenses back to back on Lightroom and I’ll be honest it’s very close, even at 100% it’s sometimes hard to tell and I have a 27-inch ben-q monitor for editing. I also asked my partner and she found it very difficult to see the difference. I’m going to show some sample images below and I think you will be very surprised how close they are.

Sample images

As you can see in the sample images the Sony 35mm f1.8 is a little tighter than the Sigma 35mm f1.4, it’s either the Sony is 37mm or the Sony is in fact 35mm and the Sigma is 33mm. Just thought I’d add that. All photos are edited using my own custom preset to show what you can get out of the lenses.

Sigma 35mm f1.4

sigma 35mm f1.4-3

Sony 35mm f1.8

sony 35mm f1.8-3

Sigma 35mm f1.4

sigma 35mm f1.4-1

Sony 35mm f1.8

sony 35mm f1.8-1

Sigma 35mm f1.4

sigma 35mm f1.4-1

Sony 35mm f1.8

sony 35mm f1.8-4

Sigma 35mm f1.4

sigma 35mm f1.4-5

Sony 35mm f1.8

sony 35mm f1.8-5

So the question you are all asking is, If you could keep one which one would it be?

If I could only keep one I would keep the Sony, the weight and portability is important to me. I’ve found a way of getting the background to look similar too. (Top tip) turn the texture slider down to -25, I also add a gradient filter over the whole image and select the colour range to black and turn the texture to +25 to sharpen the eyes back up. With the sony being a sharper lens you don’t really loose any clarity doing this little trick. A nice little hack that gets you very close. 

Here is some examples side by side with my little trick applied.

Sigma 35mm f1.4

sigma 35mm f1.4-3

Sony 35mm f1.8 (Texture -25)

sony 35mm f1.8-5

Sigma 35mm f1.4

sigma 35mm f1.4-5

Sony 35mm f1.8 (Texture -25)

sony 35mm f1.8-5

Conclusion

All in all, I love both lenses, both for very different reasons. I love the portability of the sony and the weight, but there is something about an f1.4 you can’t replicate. You can get very close though. To a customer, I honestly don’t think they would notice unless they are side by side. Ask your family members and see if they can tell the differance. 

Thanks for reading and if you have any questions I’d love to hear from you

Many thanks, Ben

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