Field Test: Sigma 24-70mm f/2.8 DG DN Art Lens

by | Jun 26, 2020

Today’s Post by Joe Farace

As I’m testing the Panasonic Lumix S1R, I’ll also be reviewing some L-Mount lenses for it that are available from Sigma. Today it’s the 24-70mm f/2.8 DG DN Art Lens that has a angle-of-view from 84.1 to 34.3 degrees. First impressions are that, like it’s twin the Sigma’s 14-24mm f/2.8 DG DN Art Lens, it’s big but while slightly smaller than the 14-24mm, it’s a bit heaver at 1.84 lbs.

Unlike the 14-24mm, it the 24-70mm lens has a large front element (82mm) that accepts filters and if this was my lens rather than a loaner, I would get something like a B+W XS-Pro Clear MRC-Nano 007 filter ($61.95) to protect this expensive ($1099) lens.

How I made this shot: I thought that I had run out of ways to photograph the gazebo in Parker, Colorado’s O’Brien Park but Sigma’s 24-70mm f/2.8 DG DN Art Lens showed me this view. Camera was Lumix S1R and I used a Program mode exposure of 1/1000 sec at f/5 and ISO 320.

Since I was in the neighborhood, I took the 24-70mm f/2.8 lens to my well-laid wall o’bricks for an informal evaluation: At 24mm and wide open the lens is extremely sharp corner-to-corner. There is some slight vignetting in the bottom one-thirds of the frame that lightens at f/4 and totally disappears by f/5.6. There was no visible barrel or pincushion distortion. At 70mm and f/2.8 the lens is sharp edge-to-edge with just a hint of vignetting at the bottom one-eighth of the frame that vanishes before you get to f/4. As with the 24mm focal length, there was no visible barrel or pincushion distortion at 70mm.

I also test lenses for Longitudinal Chromatic Aberration aka LOCA that occurs when a lens cannot focus different colors in the same focal plane and when it occurs you’ll see a magenta or green halo on the edges of objects. The 24-70mm f/2.8 DG DN Art Lens passed the LOCA test with no color fringing of any kind.

Sunstar testing was challenging because of The East Canyon Fire west of Durango, Colorado was spreading haze in Colorado Springs, which is 50 miles from Daisy Hill. On my fourth try, the lens produced acceptable sunstars. (See photo at left.) As I write this the fire is not fully contained, so to be fair I won’t give it any rating on the Farace Sunstar Scale. The clever locking lens hood worked well when I was shooting directly into the sun but there was some slight ghosting when shooting under these conditions,

How I made this shot: Sigma does not call the 24-70mm f/2.8 DG DN Art Lens a macro lens but it will focus as close as 7.09-inches, which at 70mm does a pretty good imitation of if not a macro lens, at least, a close focusing lens.  Exposure of 1/1250 sec at f/4.5 and ISO 320with the Panasonic Lumix S1R in Program mode.

The Sigma’s 24-70mm f/2.8 DG DN is an interesting alternative to Panasonic’s own 24-105mm f/4 Macro O.I.S kit lens. What it lacks on the long side of the focal length range, it makes up for by being faster, which should appeal to available light shooters. And while Panasonic calls their lens a macro lens, the Sigma actually focuses several inches closer. Oh yeah, the Sigma is also a few hundred dollars less expensive too

I enjoyed my time shooting Sigma’s 24-70mm f/2.8 DG DN Art Lens; it’s an impressive package of optics. In conjunction with a friend, Cliff Lawson, we plan on shooting a vlog about the lens using more sophisticated video techniques than seen in my previous vlogs. Stay tuned for what we come up with.


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