Sigma 24-70mm f/2.8 DG DN ART Review
In 2019, Sigma released their first DG DN lens – the Sigma 35mm f/1.2 DG DN ART.
This was one of the first Sigma lenses to be made for a full-frame mirrorless mount, as opposed to the DSLR lenses Sigma produced previously which had a built-in Sony adapter.
The 35mm was followed by a Sigma 14-24mm f/2.8 DG DN ART, 45mm f/2.8 DG DN Contemporary, and now the Sigma 24-70mm f/2.8 DG DN ART.
This is likely to be an outcome of Sigma’s involvement in the L mount alliance.
This new approach is identifiable by the combination of DG DN delineation. Prior to this, lenses have had either DG or DN – the DG indicating full-frame and DN indicating mirrorless.
These are the first lenses to appear with both.
The second big change with the DG DN range is the introduction of more compact lenses designed to compete with Sony on size, rather than just being the big ugly cousin.
(We didn’t see that with the Sigma ART 35mm f/1.2 because of the size required for the f/1.2 aperture.)
With the Sigma 24-70mm f/2.8 DG DN ART and Sigma 14-24mm f/2.8 DG DN ART, Sigma is now competing with Sony’s native lenses, offering smaller and lighter options.
Let’s take a closer look at the Sony 24-70mm f/2.8 for Sony E Mount.
Sigma 24-70mm f/2.8 DG DN ART Specs
- Image quality
- Weight (for a Sigma ART)
- Zoom ring turns the wrong way
- Lens caps
- Still heavy
- Focal Length: 24 to 70mm
- Angle of view: 84.1° – 34.3°
- Diaphragm blades: 11 (Rounded diaphragm)
- Optical Design: 19 Elements in 15 Groups
- Maximum aperture: F/2.8
- Minimum aperture: F/22
- Lens Mount: Sony E/L Mount
- Format compatibility: Full-frame
- Minimum focusing distance: 7.09″/18cm
- Maximum magnification ratio: Wide 1:2.9
- Filter size: 82mm
- Image Stabilisation: No
- Focus type: Autofocus
- Dimensions: 3.46 x 4.84″/87.8mm × 122.9mm
- Weight: 1.84 lb/835 g
Build & Ergonomics
The Sigma 24-70mm f/2.8 DG DN ART comes packaged in Sigma’s usual white ART series packaging. Inside the box, you’ll find:
- The lens with front and rear lens caps
- The hood
- A padded lens case
- Manuals, warranties and the usual pieces of paper that we never read until we have a problem
Before we start the construction section, let’s get something off our chests: There are no small, light 24-70mm f/2.8 pro-grade lenses. It’s a myth.
Developing a lens with a constant f/2.8 aperture for a zoom range of 24mm to 70mm – one that has weather sealing, excellent quality optics and a pro-grade construction that can take knocks – is logistically complex. These features simply don’t equate to light lenses.
Pro zooms = big. There is no way around that.
As for weight, Tamron gets around it by using a lot of plastic in the construction of their 28-75mm and adjusting the focal lengths to allow them to keep the front element small.
The 28-75mm is almost the same length as the Sigma, but the Sigma has a slightly larger front element and is heavier due to the metal construction.
The lens construction of the Sigma is very high quality, and there aren’t many things that they let slip through the cracks in the case of their new 24-70mm.
As with the new 35mm f/1.2, Sigma provided the lens with a focal lock button similar to those found on the Sony G Master lenses.
In conjunction with the focal lock, you’ll find a Manual Focus/AutoFocus switch and a zoom lock that keeps the lens at 24mm when stored. As a nice touch, the Sigma 24-70mm DG DN ART allows you to switch off the lock by turning the zoom ring.
The lens hood on the Sigma 24-70mm f/2.8 DG DN ART is better than many of the G Master lenses I own that cost a lot more than the Sigma. I find it incredibly frustrating when companies manufacture $1000+ lenses and put the cheapest plastic hood in front of it.
My only criticisms at this point are the zoom mechanism, which seems to rotate in the opposite direction to my other lenses, and the lens cap. Sigma still provides terrible lens caps that fall off easily.
The focus performance on the Sigma 24-70mm f/2.8 DG DN ART is very respectable.
I tested it in a variety of conditions over the past month. The lens performed impeccably when shooting models in heavily backlit and dim locations, and on the slopes in Saalbach, Austria with snowboarders and skiers. At no point did I feel like the Sigma wasn’t keeping up.
Low light is also surprisingly good for a third party Sigma lens.
To date, I’ve found that eye and face autofocus is flawless, even in backlit conditions.
Based on my experiences with the Sigma 35mm f/1.2 and now the 24-70mm f/2.8, it seems like Sigma is improving their AF performance substantially with every release. I don’t think it will be long before the performance advantages offered by the Sony GM lenses become a thing of the past.
I won’t comment on video performance: it’s not my area, and I don’t want to give people the wrong perspective.
In one word: exceptional.
If you’re expecting prime-like sharpness, you probably need a healthy dose of reality. Primes are so good these days that it would take an anomaly to produce that in a zoom.
That said, the image quality on the Sigma 24-70mm f/2.8 DG DN ART is exactly what you’d expect from a premium 24-70mm f/2.8 lens.
Wide-open at f/2.8 it’s exceptionally sharp in the centre of the frame and sharp at the edges of the frame.
Stopped down, it improves incrementally, peaking at around f/8. I don’t do much landscape work personally, but I tried my hand while travelling through Austria and the lens performed amazingly.
It’s a little soft at close focus distances, but it’s important to remember the minimum focus distance, in this case, is shorter than the Sony, so it’s soft in an area that the GM can’t compete.
Distortion is mild throughout the range although it’s most visible at 24mm, which is common for a 24-70 zoom. Vignetting is noticeable wide open, but minor and easily fixed in post-processing.
Chromatic aberration is well controlled throughout the zoom range, and I haven’t had to do any corrections to date.
Value for Money
There are two major competitors for the Sigma ART 24-70 f/2.8 DG DN: the Sony 24-70mm f/2.8 G Master and the Tamron 28-75mm f/2.8.
At around half the price of the Sony G Master with only minor drawbacks and some advantages, I’d say the Sigma seems like a much better option for prospective buyers at this point. You could buy the Sigma 24-70mm and a good prime for the price of the GM.
The Tamron may be cheaper, but it comes with some drawbacks – namely the loss of 4mm on the short end and the plastic construction and weather sealing which doesn’t match the Sigma or the Sony.
Some may say the cheaper Tamron points to better value for money; I would say not. I think they both offer different benefits for their respective price points.
If you want a lightweight lens then the Tamron is more suitable; if you want something more robust for professional-grade work, the Sigma is the better choice and worth the extra $200 (check here for latest pricing).
Sigma 24-70mm f/2.8 DG DN ART Review | Conclusion
The Sigma 24-70mm f/2.8 DG DN ART is a lens that offers G Master-like quality at half the price, and unlike the previous generation Sigma Art lenses, this one is actually smaller and lighter than the G Master equivalent.
Historically, the biggest complaint about Sigma related to the weight and size of the lenses. Sigma has addressed this in the new range of DG DN lenses, making them an extremely tempting proposition for anyone looking to acquire a pro zoom.
At this point, I’d say Sony should be worried, but I think the new line of Sony lenses will help with Sony’s dominance of the mirrorless full-frame market.
Not everyone has the gold-plated budget required for the GM lenses, and the Sigma 24-70mm f/2.8 DG DN ART provides an alternative that beats the GM in many categories.
Disclaimer: All recommendations are impartial and based on user experience, with no bias to the products or the brand. The products in this post may contain affiliate links.