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Sigma 24mm f/3.5 and 24mm f/2 DG DN Contemporary comparison

Jonathan-Mac

Well-Known Member
I bought a used (but as new) copy of the f/3.5 in May as I wanted a native prime wider than the 35mm I had and funds didn't stretch to the f/2 version (of which there were none on the used market). Thanks to the sale of another item and the July discounts from Sigma I was able to stretch to a new f/2 much sooner than I had expected so I currently have both until the f/3.5 sells. Both have stellar image quality but the extra speed of the f/2 makes it an obvious choice between the two for me as f/2 allows for shallow DoF shots that are impossible with the f/3.5. If you prioritise small size over speed then it might not be such an easy decision as image quality is just fantastic in every way, even wide open, on both lenses.

If I have time to do some basic comparison shots with both then I'll post them here too but for now just a size comparison.

No hoods

53100378136_59e37663f1_b.jpg
Comparison of the two I-series 24mm lenses - f/3.5 on the left, f/2 on the right
by Jonathan MacDonald, on Flickr

With hoods

53100379686_dfe1a9882a_b.jpg
Comparison of the two I-series 24mm lenses - f/3.5 on the left, f/2 on the right
by Jonathan MacDonald, on Flickr

With hoods reversed

53100882148_af4d58e501_b.jpg
Comparison of the two I-series 24mm lenses - f/3.5 on the left, f/2 on the right
by Jonathan MacDonald, on Flickr
 
I'm interested in a 24mm contemporary, so will appreciate any comments you have about these two lenses. Thanks for the side by side shots for comparison. I think I read somewhere the f/2 has a focus breathing issue; otherwise I would have purchased it already.
 
Well I won't have much time for comparisons - I sold the lens yesterday afternoon, only 24 hours after putting it up for sale. So before I package it up for shipping I did some comparisons on a tripod yesterday evening to show rendering wide open compared to the f/2 wide open and at f/3.5, minimum focus distance of each and short videos to show any focus breathing.

Note that flowers with small petals and plants with small leaves are pretty tough for nice bokeh so this is quite a stress test for bokeh.

The f/3.5 wide open:

53103216918_2be4489b35_b.jpg
2023-08-08_08-26-19 by Jonathan MacDonald, on Flickr

The f/2 wide open to compare the extent of defocusing possible:

53103124045_c69fc4bdd4_b.jpg
2023-08-08_08-27-50 by Jonathan MacDonald, on Flickr

The f/2 stopped down to f/3.5 for an OOF rendering comparsion with the slower lens:

53103222358_391c362863_b.jpg
2023-08-08_08-28-54 by Jonathan MacDonald, on Flickr

The extra speed of the f/2 makes for a more defocused background when it's used wide open but at f/3.5 for a direct comparison with the slower lens I see no difference in the quality of the bokeh.

Minimum focus distances were checked using manual focus at the minimum and moving the camera in until it reached focus.

Sigma give the minimum distance for the f/3.5 as 10.8cm, giving 0.5x magnification while it's 24.5cm for the f/2, giving 0.15x magnification. You can see that there's a significant difference.

The minimum focus distance of the f/3.5:

53104457065_759bf473db_b.jpg
2023-08-09_11-08-04 by Jonathan MacDonald, on Flickr

And the minimum focus distance of the f/2:

53103129075_a6fefd08c5_b.jpg
2023-08-08_08-30-38 by Jonathan MacDonald, on Flickr

A video to show the f/3.5 wide open focusing from minimum distance to infinity and back (click to open in a new tab and play):

53102925229_9b9d61ded5_b.jpg
01150486 by Jonathan MacDonald, on Flickr

And the same for the f/2:

53102733191_3767e660b1_b.jpg
01150490 by Jonathan MacDonald, on Flickr

So the f/2 certainly shows a little focus breathing but it doesn't seem much to me (though I'm not a video shooter). I can see no breathing at all on the f/3.5 so for video shooters that might be the better option.

Something I've realised lately is that on some of the I-series lenses the aperture ring is partially covered by the reversed hood, making it difficult to use. I usually have the hood in place but in cases where I need to take the shot quickly or when I'm sure there's zero risk of flare I might use it without removing the hood and putting it on properly. The 90mm f/2.8 is the same while on the 24mm f/2, 35mm f/2 and 50mm f/2 the aperture ring is fully accessible with the hood reversed.
 
Last edited:
Well I won't have much time for comparisons - I sold the lens yesterday afternoon, only 24 hours after putting it up for sale. So before I package it up for shipping I did some comparisons on a tripod yesterday evening to show rendering wide open compared to the f/2 wide open and at f/3.5, minimum focus distance of each and short videos to show any focus breathing.

Note that flowers with small petals and plants with small leaves are pretty tough for nice bokeh so this is quite a stress test for bokeh.

The f/3.5 wide open:

View attachment 876
2023-08-08_08-26-19 by Jonathan MacDonald, on Flickr

The f/2 wide open to compare the extent of defocusing possible:

View attachment 877
2023-08-08_08-27-50 by Jonathan MacDonald, on Flickr

The f/2 stopped down to f/3.5 for an OOF rendering comparsion with the slower lens:

View attachment 878
2023-08-08_08-28-54 by Jonathan MacDonald, on Flickr

The extra speed of the f/2 makes for a more defocused background when it's used wide open but at f/3.5 for a direct comparison with the slower lens I see no difference in the quality of the bokeh.

Minimum focus distances were checked using manual focus at the minimum and moving the camera in until it reached focus.

Sigma give the minimum distance for the f/3.5 as 10.8cm, giving 0.5x magnification while it's 24.5cm for the f/2, giving 0.15x magnification. You can see that there's a significant difference.

The minimum focus distance of the f/3.5:

View attachment 879
2023-08-09_11-08-04 by Jonathan MacDonald, on Flickr

And the minimum focus distance of the f/2:

View attachment 880
2023-08-08_08-30-38 by Jonathan MacDonald, on Flickr

A video to show the f/3.5 wide open focusing from minimum distance to infinity and back (click to open in a new tab and play):

View attachment 881
01150486 by Jonathan MacDonald, on Flickr

And the same for the f/2:

View attachment 882
01150490 by Jonathan MacDonald, on Flickr

So the f/2 certainly shows a little focus breathing but it doesn't seem much to me (though I'm not a video shooter). I can see no breathing at all on the f/3.5 so for video shooters that might be the better option.

Something I've realised lately is that on some of the I-series lenses the aperture ring is partially covered by the reversed hood, making it difficult to use. I usually have the hood in place but in cases where I need to take the shot quickly or when I'm sure there's zero risk of flare I might use it without removing the hood and putting it on properly. The 90mm f/2.8 is the same while on the 24mm f/2, 35mm f/2 and 50mm f/2 the aperture ring is fully accessible with the hood reversed.
Thank you for the detailed comparisons! This is great :)
 
Well I won't have much time for comparisons - I sold the lens yesterday afternoon, only 24 hours after putting it up for sale. So before I package it up for shipping I did some comparisons on a tripod yesterday evening to show rendering wide open compared to the f/2 wide open and at f/3.5, minimum focus distance of each and short videos to show any focus breathing.
Yes, thanks for taking the time for the comparisons, this is very useful.
 
Thanks for this. The f/3.5 seems the obvious win. Closer focus will get even smoother bokeh with the correct composition... if that is your thing.
 
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