Sigma’s Art lenses are highly regarded, and many folks started using them in the DSLR days of Canon EF mounts. Sigma’s 24-70 DG OS Art f2.8 was a pretty solid offering back then, though some users complained about dust issues and that it didn’t have strong enough corner sharpness compared to other offerings.
These days Canon users probably use an EF->RF adapter to continue using lenses like this, unless like me you’ve changed systems.
How does the newer Sony E mount (and Leica L mount) version, now called the Sigma 24-70 DG DN Art f2.8, stack up?
Lower Size And Weight, No Optical Stabilization
Aside refinements as tech improves that allow this 24-70 to be a bit smaller than its predecessor, the other reason it’s lighter is because it does not feature optical/lens stabilization.
Many third party lens makers have gone this route — particularly for Sony’s E mount size all modern Sony full frame cameras have IBIS (in-body image stabilization). While having both IBIS and lens stabilization working in tandem is great on paper, the advantages of not having that in the lens are that lenses are sometimes cheaper, and the weight is reduced.
In my opinion, the focal lengths of a 24-70 don’t require a ton of stabilization to look good. Especially at the wider end. For me, this was a good move since the newer version of Sigma’s 24-70 Art is 835g / 29.5oz., which is a noticeable weight savings from the older EF version’s 1,020g / 36.0oz. Not to mention that if you’re using the EF version with a newer R series camera, you have the extra 100g of the adapter on top of that.
Going from what was then 1120g down to 835g made a big difference in how easy it is to use this Art lens as a walk around lens.
(Similar length, less girth.)
I’ve not had any issues consistently shooting clear shots without the older version’s lens stabilization. My Sony A7IV’s IBIS is sufficient for clear photos down to 1/30. You can certainly get clear shots lower than that, but I generally don’t go lower than 1/30 minimum shutter speed in aperture priority mode when I’m walking around.
For me, that’s a simple go-to that I know will yield pretty consistently clear results when there’s not as much light — as opposed to going way lower and really relying on the IBIS with fingers crossed.
Otherwise it’s even less important when it’s sunny since shutter speeds over 1/500 are easy to achieve, and would produce clear photos even at 70mm without IBIS.
One of the comments I frequently saw about the older EF version of the Sigma 24-70 Art lens is that while it was decent, its sharpness was not in par with other Art prime lenses at the time as users had expected.
Having used both, I can say that I was never disappointed in the EF Art lens’ contrast or detail. When I’d first tried it, it was the finest quality 24-70 I’d ever used.
However, there is a subtle yet meaningful improvement to the sharpness on the new E mount 24-70 DG DN.
Wide shots I often take at 24mm have excellent corner-to-corner sharpness even wide open at f2.8. When there’s plenty of light, f5.6 to f8 refines it a step further to produce beautiful images that are pleasingly sharp with nice contrast.
(I find I shoot at f5.6 quite a lot when walking around in good light, in fact.)
On a cloudy afternoon I took some portraits of a client outdoors at 70mm and f2.8, and they came out very nice. Her facial features and hair were razor sharp, and the bokeh around her was pleasing.
Portrait photography isn’t an area I’ve spent as much time as others, but this lens is definitely up to the task in the hands of a professional.
Price Is Comparable
The price for the 24-70 DG DN is pretty similar to what the EF version was when it was new ($1099). You can obviously score EF versions used at a discount fairly easily now, far more easily than finding a used DG DN.
Some may wonder why the newer version is the same price as the older one (when new) if it doesn’t have OSS (optical stabilization). I would say that it retains excellent metal and rubber build quality, AF/MF switch, autofocus lock button, and lens lock button, and offers superior optical quality.
That, for me, is where having the same price makes sense. If you’ve used Sigma’s older Art lenses and are wondering if this one is worthwhile, I can heartily recommend it.
Does The 24-70 DG DN Have Dust Issues?
Some users reported that even the newer 24-70 Art lens had the dust issues the older one was plagued with.
To explain that a bit if you hadn’t heard that, people were finding that dust that landed on the outside of the lens when it was extended to 70mm would get sucked into the inside of the lens when it was retracted again.
Over time that led to dust on the front element that was visible in pictures.
Supposedly Sigma fixed that issue shortly after the E mount version released. The earliest lenses in that series still had the issue, but they say that any version with a serial number over 5000 is resolved. Mine was over that number, and I have not yet encountered any dust issues.
It’s worth noting that I take project photos for a home remodeler, meaning that my camera is often exposed to sawdust and other stuff from the work sites. I am therefore more likely to encounter dust issues than some; so far so good.
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