We’re still scratching our head a bit, but our Sigma 24-70mm f2.8 Art Review has been updated.
Our initial Sigma 24-70mm f2.8 Art Review gave the lens very high marks. It has 11 aperture blades, great image quality, and it’s weather sealed. Considering the price, it seems like an obvious purchase for most users. But there’s a very different story to be told when actually using the lens. When we first reviewed it, we tested it on the Sony E mount system. I purposely chose the Sony a7r III because the autofocus and resolution combo made the most sense. But, I now own the Leica SL2s and bought the Sigma 24-70mm f2.8. Earlier this year, the combo frustrated me in low light. After the recent Leica SL2s firmware update, though, things have changed.
I’ll preface this by saying we’ve forever had the oddest relationship with Sigma. We’ve reviewed over 700 lenses in real-world tests: arguably the most of any surviving photo publication. In the past decade, we’ve also reviewed every single Sigma prime lens. Sigma is promoted often in our roundups. But for the past few years, they’ve had issues with us voicing our opinions based on our experiences. Our reps haven’t answered our last email, and we’re unsure of our own relationship. But there are several key truths. Some of these will come out in our Sigma 24-70mm f2.8 Art Review update.
Sigma is an odd company. They’ll launch products with no clear decision or marketing tactic on what to do with them. I’ve often voiced this on behalf of our team. It makes reviewing their products very difficult. When they launched the Sigma 24-70mm f2.8 DG DN Art, it was priced at a consumer level. Every other 24-70mm f2.8 lens is more pricey. So that makes it tough for us to compare it to a Sony G Master, Tamron’s 28-75mm f2.8, Panasonic’s own lens, and even Leica’s variant. But we’re doing the best we can in our Sigma 24-70mm f2.8 Art Review update.
This all means we have to just slap the lens onto a camera and figure it out as we go. It’s cryptic, sometimes a bit shady, and always confusing. On Sony E Mount, Sigma glass has always had disappointing autofocus. This fact, coupled with the mammoth size, made me sell the 35mm f1.2 DG DN Art. Then, consider the odd soft-lock and the lack of image stabilization, and this would probably put many folks off. Trust me, we’ve had former staff that couldn’t handhold a shot below 1/15th of a second. It’s actually an important part of our testing that everyone can do that. To that end, we know some folks would want that feature. And they’d also demand that it work with a camera system’s autofocus and stabilization.
Sigma, naturally, is part of the L mount alliance. With that said, I always thought it would perform better on L mount cameras. For the longest time, that wasn’t the case. Sigma blamed autofocus problems on cameras and not their own lenses or motors. This happened even when DSLRs were more common. And for years, I didn’t believe them. Indeed, it was still the truth as Sigma’s autofocus on their own cameras was abysmal. But, with the recent Leica SL2s update, things are changing. And we’re starting to understand the system more.
Let me be very clear here: the Sigma 24-70mm f2.8 DG DN Art is faster on the Leica SL2s than on Sony’s cameras. When you realize they’re part of the L mount alliance, that makes more sense. What also makes sense is why the Sigma is so affordable. The Sigma is less than half the price of the Panasonic 24-70mm f2.8 Lumix S Pro. It’s also noticeably slower to autofocus than the Panasonic lens. Both, mind you, are very quick. But there’s a difference between the speed of Superman and the Flash, and only one ever entered the speed force.
If you’re using a Sony camera, reach for either Sony’s or Tamron’s lens. I personally really like what Tamron does.