SIGMA 24-35mm T2.2 CINE ZOOM
Size does matter, when it comes to sensors at least. A larger sensor can lead to higher resolution or reduced noise at high ISO, or both. And there’s the lovely wafer-thin depth-of-field you can easily get with the right lens. With DSLR and mirrorless cameras popularising full-frame, 35mm-size sensors in recent years, now cinema camera manufacturers are jumping onto the bandwagon. If you want to future-proof your lens investments, or use full-frame cameras now without having to crop the image, then a full-frame cinema zoom makes sense.
Using optical technology from its ART range of stills lenses, Sigma has seven full-frame primes and three zooms. Two of the zooms, the 18-35mm and 50-135mm, both have a maximum aperture of T2 but are only suitable for Super35 sensors. This leaves the 24-35mm T2.2 as the only full-frame zoom, based on the optics of the 24-35mm f/2 ART photo lens. Perhaps more lenses will be forthcoming to the full-frame zoom range, such as something like a 24-70mm which could be more useful.
Offering a relatively narrow range means the optical design isn’t as compromised as on a wider-range zoom. Sigma’s strategy is all about image quality, it seems. This small focal length range means the Sigma’s functionality as a multi-use zoom that could replace a few primes is compromised, though. Effectively, it replaces a 24mm and a 35mm prime. You’d be hard pushed to tell the difference in quality between this zoom compared to either of those lenses, apart from the faster maximum aperture. If you can live without T1.5, the zoom makes sense as it’s cheaper than buying two primes and takes up less room. At 1450g/3.2lb for the Canon-mount version we tried, it’s no lightweight, though.
Like the rest of the Sigma range, the zoom has a solid build, is splash-resistant and has beautifully smooth focus, zoom and lens iris controls with just the right amount of drag. The lens we tried had distance marked in feet but a metric version is also available. All three control rings have standard-sized gears for rigs, and the throw is sufficiently large to offer very precise control. The focus throw is 180 degrees, which is ideal. In use, the Sigma feels like a top-quality bit of kit that rivals its big-name opposition.
Optically, it’s designed for resolutions up to at least 8K and has Sigma’s own FLD-branded lens elements which are said to be the equivalent of Fluoride low dispersion elements. There is multilayer lens coating, two aspherical elements and nine lens blades that are rounded for as natural-looking bokeh as possible. Our results showed very pleasing out-of-focus areas. Aberration is almost non-existent, flare is controlled very well and there is not much sign of vignetting, even at 24mm and shooting wide open. Close down a stop and all is well. There is no discernible distortion at either ends of the range, there is no noticeable focus breathing and the design is parfocal enough to make focus shifts no issue as you zoom. This isn’t usually much of an issue on wide-angle lenses anyway due to the larger depth-of-field.
The Sigma has electronic contacts to stream lens data to the camera, an increasingly important feature as correction software becomes more commonplace. So combine this with great build quality and feel, a neutral look with razor-sharp optics and the future-proofing of its full-frame coverage, and the Sigma 24-35mm T2.2 zoom makes lots of sense.
Focal Length: 24-35mm
Aperture range: T2.2-16
Number of Diaphragm Blades: 9 rounded
Close focus: 0.28m/11in
Image coverage: Full frame
Front diameter: 95mm/3.7in
Filter size: 82mm/3.2in
Horizontal angle of view: 73.7- 54.4°
PRO MOVIEMAKER RATING: 9/10
It’s an investment that will pay back for years
+ Pros: It’s full-frame and can replaces two primes
– Cons: Expensive, limited zoom range