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Thinking of selling my 35mm ART Sigma for Nikon 24-70.

I don't use it much though I did use and took great shots on Halloween in a cramped parade and bar. 
some really good shots. On the street though it feels average. In a bar or somewhere to far away for intimate shot. Though like I said I have done good stuff with it. I think the 24-70 would be used much more and also gives me a 35mm look also. Curious on thoughts


  • Neil vNNeil vN Administrator
    I shoot 95+ % of my wedding photos with the 24-70mm f/2.8 and 70-200mm f/2.8 
    I have the fast primes in my bag, but they rarely see use. 
    For me, the 24-70mm zoom is far more valuable, and is my workhorse lens.
  • MichaelVMichaelV Member
    edited February 2015
    The Sigma 35mm Art (like most Sigma prime lenses) is one of the sharpest and most optically correct lenses on the market.  If you desire top level sharpness many of the Sigma primes offer that.

    Here is a Flickr link which demonstrates how many people use this lens:

    Some uses for this lens include:

    Landscapes-  Landscape photography demands a high level of detail and sharpness.  If you are doing landscapes with the 35mm, this is your lens.

    Archival photography-  If you were taking archival shots of the Vatican you would want to use the sharpest lens available.  So the Sigma 35mm Art would be one of the lenses.

    Portraits-  The 35mm is not a portrait lens.  In fact, if you ask any professional they would probably name their ideal portrait lens as something with a bit more mm like the 85mm or the 135mm and even some naming the 300mm.  However, some people desire more of the background in the shot and are pressed for room.  So in that Flickr link the 35mm is used for portraits.  

    Group shots-  If you are pressed for room, the 35mm length is probably more ideal for a group shot.

    Special effects-  Using the wide open aperture to blur out the background focusing on one small part of the picture.  Here is a link on Flickr where the couple is in focus but the background is blurred out.  I think most photographers would choose more mm, but the photographer would need to backup much further.  Backing away from the subject you would need to have room behind you and be able to effectively communicate with the subject.

    The White House photographer, Peter Souza, used primes during the earlier part of his career.  Now he seems to use the Canon 24-70 2.8 II for his outdoor work and the 24mm/35mm for indoor work.  In fact, it appears there are two photographers around the President carrying two bodies each.  One carries the 24mm and 35mm and the other the 50mm and 85mm.  Peter Souza does not use flash or artificial lighting at all.  I have never once saw him or heard of him breaking out a speedlight.  Before the Canon 24-70 II 2.8 came out it was rare to see him with a zoom. Peter is also shooting archival level shots and capturing history thus he desires a high level of sharpness and optical correctness thus his use of primes.  His shots will be around for ages for historians to study and contemplate.  

    Peter is getting older.  Its not like the old days with Ronald Reagan where he would carry 3 or more bodies with different prime lenses zooming around with all this equipment.  These days it seems as he limits himself to two bodies.  

    Take a look at the White House picture gallery on Flickr and you can see how this lens can be used:

    For weddings and events, the 24-70 and 70-200 are the main lenses for obvious reasons.  You cant carry around every lens during an event for practical and security reasons.  You want to be as mobile as possible during any event.  However, there are photographers who use primes for events like Peter Souza, but they are a rare breed. 

    Security is a big issue nowadays.  Many photographers have lost or had items stolen.  If you carry around several primes on top of the zooms, etc, there is more to keep track of and more to lose.  Just having two lenses during an event limits what can be lost or stolen.
  • I want (not need) a few Sigma Art lenses. But to your question, you will get much more out of the 24-70mm lense than the 35mm fixed. The vast majority of the shots I take at an event is with the 24-70mm. 

    The question you should be asking yourself is do you get the Nikon or the Tamron SP 24-70MM F/2.8 Di VC. The Tamron has vibration control. I have the Nikon 24-70 and have never missed stabilization. But if I were purchasing new today. I would take a serious look at the Tamron SP 24-70MM F/2.8 Di VC. I think it would help in low light, at the 70mm setting without flash.

  • MichaelVMichaelV Member
    edited February 2015
    Force yourself to use the 35mm.  One weekend go around with only the 35mm alone.  See what you can do.    

    Come to think of it.  If I was going to buy the 35mm again, it would be the Canon 35mm 2.0 IS.  That would perfectly complement the Canon 24mm 2.8 IS I have.  The Canon 24mm 2.8 IS is the lens I use most for landscapes.  I can fit the lens into my jacket pocket, its very sharp and optically correct.  It has stabilization which is ideal because there are some historical places you cant bring a tripod.  These two primes are travel lenses perfect for the landscape.  They are perfect for security reasons because the the body and two lenses can fit into a smallish low profile bag versus what would be needed for longer zooms.  If you have to do any amount of walking you will want lighter versus heavier.  So lightweight primes are better than the larger zooms for hiking.    

    The Sigma 35mm is much larger than those small Canon primes.  Its still half the size of a 24-70 but hardly pocketable.  Its still lighter and lower profile, but I cant fit it into my jacket pocket.  It has no image stabilization so getting that sharp shot handheld will be that more challenging.  

    The biggest advantage of the Sigma 35mm is the 1.4.  Focusing on something with 1.4 and that particular object or person seems to pop out while everything else goes out of focus.  Also you can turn up the shutter speed to stop motion in lower light which is something that cant be done with the 24-70 2.8.  The 35mm shouldnt be used for anything but full body shots and group shots IMHO.  The classic portrait lengths 85mm-135mm should be the ones to choose for portraits, but sometimes you dont always have the working space so the 35mm or 50mm has to do for a portrait when working space is not in abundance.  Sometimes you have to communicate with the subject and so using a 85mm to 135mm may not be practical.  Like you are in a quiet museum and cant exactly yell to the subject so you use the 35-50mm range.  

    Neil did a review on the Sigma 35mm and take a look at how he used the 35mm in that review.  

  • keano12keano12 Member
    edited February 2015
    Hi guys thanks. I have my first wedding coming in June. I plan on renting a 24-70 and 70-200 if I can't sell the 35mm by then. The shots Neil took were great. I might do a rental of the Nikon and Tamron also. I read a few reviews and sounds it (Tamron) favorable.
  • Neil vNNeil vN Administrator
    Test the Canon 35mm f/2 first before committing. I wasn't impressed. 
    A much more expensive lens, but the Canon 24-70mm f/2.8 was sharper and more contrasty at f/2.8 than the 35mm lens.
  • MichaelVMichaelV Member
    edited February 2015
    I was doing a convention last night and I noticed the schedule at the end said something about a club party after. Unfortunately, I did not have any flash with me. This is the CPAC in DC and flash isnt used while taking photos of the politicos. So I had my little used Sigma 35mm 1.4 which worked suberbly in the low light club situation. Ill post a few pictures later but I forgot to say night club and concert photography is ideal for fast 35mm. Its the perfect focal length for night clubs.

    I must admit I dont really whip the primes out too much except for the 85mm. I find the Canon 85mm 1.2 II to have an excellent picture unlike other lenses. The 24mm is small and light good for hiking and keeping things lightweight/low profile. The 35mm and 50mm see little use.
  • MichaelVMichaelV Member
    edited March 2015
    Here are a few samples with the Sigma 35mm 1.4.  I purposely chose 1.4 to illustrate what can be done.  This is at the Pose Lounge in National Harbor MD within the Gaylord Convention Center and Hote.  No flash was used in any of these shots.  Just available light.  l am clearly not the best photographer in the world and so I bet others can come up with more creative shots with the 35mm 1.4.  In general, the fast primes are ideal for low light event photography when no flash is used.  

    In the future, maybe about 10 years, high iso camera bodies and noise reduction programs like DXO may become so advanced that you might not see photographers using flash anymore or maybe just a fraction of the power they once used.  I am guessing both Canon and Nikon are maybe 2 generations away from really high iso, noiseless cameras.  The current crop of cameras seem impressive, but look out in 10 years...



  • It seems to me the pictures of the people have a lot more depth of field than I would have imagined at f1.4. The shallow DOF is obvious in the picture of the candle, so why does it seem deeper in the other photos?
  • I took the lens out again and when used in tight quarters it is great. Decided to keep it. Took it to a friends show at a club and got some nice shots. Keeper. Btw I like that shot Michael from above Xmas lights? Candle also.
  • Speaking of 24mm I plan on renting one.
  • MichaelVMichaelV Member
    edited March 2015
    Use a depth of field calculator. When the subject is at 1 meter you have much less depth of field than you have at 30m at the 1.4 aperture and 35mm. I dont have a very technical explanation as to why. I just know about the depth of field chart and the calculator.

    A wedding photographer may not have use for the fast primes and may find the 24-70 2.8 more useful. The wedding photographer usually has some control of the lighting and can utilize flash. However, there are other events where flash cant be used and the lighting not controlled like the restaurant or nightclub. It all depends on what you use them for. Some or most of the photos on the white house flickr page are taken with fast primes. Usually low light indoor shots.

    Also you dont have to use 1.4, but there is also 1.6, 1.8 and 2.0 etc. 2.0 is double the light
    of 2.8.

    In any event all of the new Sigma Art primes should deliver a sharp and superior image. They are a bit bigger than I would like. I really do like Canons small pocket primes for making the camera more lightweight and compact as well as image stabilization. If we are going to pixel peep the Sigmas are the best out there.
  • Just plugged some numbers into an on-line DOF calculator. Here is yet another thing I would like to understand. It's just as you describe.
  • Here is something to keep in mind. As the lens zooms out or the focal length goes higher you get less depth of field. So the 24-70 will have more depth of field at 24 than at 70. As the aperture gets narrower you have more depth of field. As the subject gets closer less depth of field.

    When you are in a studio or doing landscapes, for example, there is time to think. However, during an event there is no time. This is one of the challenges of event photography.
  • I enjoy event photography for the challenge. I've been volunteering as a photographer for charity events over the past 4-5 months. An early issue I had at one of the events got me searching for an answer, and I ended up here. I don't know if I would ever be able to have a small business, or even charge a nominal fee in the future. Right now I'm trying to gain as much experience as possible. Going through the math derivation for calculating DOF has helped me to understand all the factors that go into the result. I would rather not put numbers into a calculator and get a result.

    Evidence of one more thing I got from this forum that I didn't understand, which motivated me to figure out, or at least try to figure out, what's going on.
  • MichaelVMichaelV Member
    edited March 2015
    Here is a self-portrait I did a while back.  The focus points are not perfect.  I handed the camera to someone I know who didnt quite get it right, but you get the idea.  Its good for portraits when you want to get in more of the background than the person.  Of course, you can use the 85mm, the 135mm, etc, but longer focal lengths require more working room which you may not have.  You have to direct the person involved in the photo and lets say you have the room to stand back than you would have to yell at the person using the 135mm.  

    Ive quizzed many photographers which focal length they prefer for a portrait and many say the 135mm and some desire even longer.  The 85mm is the ideal portrait lens because it leaves just enough room so you can properly direct the person in the photograph without having to yell or when indoors its just enough room without going through the wall.  I would say 135mm for portraits ideally, but 85mm is the most workable focal length.  When you just cant back up and desire more of the background in the shot than go lower to 50mm or 35mm. A lot of photographers use 35mm or 50mm for group shots.   I would absolutely never use the 24mm although the distortion is correctable in DXO.

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