A Look at the NEW Sigma 35 and 65mm Contemporary DG DN f/2 Lenses on a Panasonic S5.

A Look at the NEW Sigma 35 and 65mm Contemporary DG DN f/2 Lenses on a Panasonic S5.


A Look at the NEW Sigma 35 and 65mm  I series f/2 Lenses on a Panasonic S5.

By Steve Huff

My video look at the new 35 and 65mm f/2 full frame lenses from Sigma

Yes, I am surprised yet again this year and this time by a set of small simple lenses. Sigma sent along two of their brand new made in Japan L mount lenses for me to take a look at. One is a 35mm Contemporary DG DN f/2 and the other a 65mm Contemporary DG DN f/2. These are similar to the stunning 45 f/2.8 lens that became so well loved for the L system. Sigma sent me these lenses in L mount to try out (both are full frame lenses that are very small in size but very high in performance AND made in Japan). I gave them a go on a Panasonic S5, which also surprised me in a very positive way!

Camera gear is just so good today and our choices on what we want to buy truly can indeed come down to our feelings for brand A or B or c or D. There simply are no bad choices today when it comes to name brand lenses and cameras. Well, maybe one or two. Even so, I’d say that 98% of all camera gear released today from Canon, Sony, Panasonic, Leica, Hasselblad, Sigma, Fuji or whoever is truly fantastic. We live in a world where we have amazing photo tools at our fingertips. For photo and for video. We have dedicated stills cameras, hybrid stills and video and just video-centric machines that do it all.

The S5 with the Sigma 65mm f/2 Contemporary Lens.  Click for larger!

These two lenses though, beautiful! You know I love small lenses, but if they are small they must also always be QUALITY. I like at least f/2 primes and these two lenses deliver in many ways. 

  1. They have a manual aperture dial.
  2. They seem to be built to a nice standard.
  3. They are small, and not so heavy.
  4. They are both f/2 designs, which means the perfect combo if bokeh and sharpness.
  5. They are affordable! $639 for the 35mm and $699 for the 65mm.

Some more facts on these lenses:

  • All I series lenses feature an all-metal body, with high-precision metal internal parts, and a metal lens hood. The 24mm F3.5 is a petal-type hood. They COME WITH the hoods!
  • There is also a 24mm f/3.5 on the way.
  • The 35mm F2 and 65mm F2 lenses feature a newly-designed arc-type auto/manual focus mode switch.
  • The 24mm F3.5, 35mm F2 and 65mm F2 lenses all feature a dust and splash-proof mount
  • The three new lenses each ship with both a plastic lens cap and a magnetic metallic cap.
  • An optional magnetic cap holder (model CH-11, MSRP $29) features a mini-carabiner for clipping to a camera bag, jacket or belt loop, and has a donut-style center hole to easily remove the cap when it is time to place it back on the lens.

The 35mm f/2 on the S5. Click it for larger. 

When I write about lenses there really is not too much to say because a lens is basically a barrel with some glass inside. They either perform well or they do not. They can be small or large, have a slow or fast aperture and either be affordable or expensive. The last lens I wrote about was the $13,000 Leica 90 Summilux. A gorgeous lens indeed but when I see a lens like these from Sigma that come in $639 and $699 while delivering such wonderful color and sharpness I realize that the bang for the buck is so high here, it’s really incredible. Not that these compete with a $13,000 lens of course for being something unique and special, not at all. But the question I ask is WHAT IS good enough? Are these Sigma lenses good enough for one to be happy day to day shooting them? Yes, of course! These are lenses we can buy with our head and our heart because the cost of entry is not so high, and what we get back for that investment is quite a lot.

OOC JPG from the 35 f/2

These lenses both come with a metal lens hood. Both lenses have a metal body and metal internal parts. There are two lens caps! A traditional and a magnetic and there is even cool key chain that allows you to attach the magnetic cap to the key chain so you do not lose it (keychain sold separately). Pretty cool, as I always lose my lens caps!

Three images below were taken with the Leica SL2-S. The first and third with the 65, the second with the 35. All at f/2

These are L mount but also available in E mount. For the L mount, they can be used on Panasonic, Sigma or Leica bodies like the SL series.

Click the image to see it in much better and larger quality! This was wide open at f/2 and these lenses are sharp wide open. I have to say I am loving this 65mm! 

Ever since we moved to this new property we have enjoyed being surrounded by wildlife. We set up a slew of bird feeders outside of our back sunroom (and kitchen window) so we can watch the countless birds that live in the trees on the property. They swoop down to feed and as they do, it makes for some great photo opportunities as well. Shooting these lenses on the S5, the focus was almost instant and always locked on. With video, the same thing. Panasonic has come a long way since the GH5 days when it comes to focus speed and accuracy. This S5 is what I had hoped the G5S would be in regards to speed, and this is full frame yet gives us that amazing quality we come to expect from Panasonic. The video blew me away at how easy it was to color grade V-Log or  to even use something straight from camera without any color correction. You can see what I mean in the video above.

The video of the birds I have shared here? Shot in Vivid mode with almost no color correction! I added widescreen bars for effect, but this S5 with these Sigma lenses really delivered the cinematic quality, and with ease. Much easier than my Cinema camera ; )

Converted these to B&W. These were shot with the 65mm at f/2. Very cinematic, even in photos. I first saw this with the Sigma fp when I reviewed that camera. 

I have to say that most lenses released today do not interest me in a way to where I want to buy them, or feel they are a must own but these truly deliver with image quality in stills, video and even offer up a fast aperture speed of f/2. The size and weight with an all metal build is exceptional in every way, and there are no weaknesses here. None. The Magnetic lens caps are so so cool as well. I loved the entire package here, as not all lens manufacturers give you a lens hood in the box. Some do charge extra for that. 

Sigma knows how to make great glass, and they seem to do so while keeping the cost manageable and well under the other big names. These lenses would be at home on the little fp as well, a Leica a SL or SL2 would bring the best from them. The Panasonic S series also brings out the best. Take your pick, or if you shoot Sony you can go for the E mount.

Look at these official specs of the 35mm f/2. I made my fave features in bold:

  • Lens construction: 10 elements in 9 groups, with 1 SLD glass and 3 aspherical lenses
  • 58mm filter size
  • Compatible with high-speed autofocus
  • Stepping motor
  • Compatible with lens-based optical correction
  • Mount with dust- and splash-proof structure
  • Super Multi-Layer Coating
  • Aperture ring
  • Focus Mode Switch
  • Lens Hood
  • Compatible with SIGMA USB DOCK UD-11 (sold separately / for L-Mount only)
  • Designed to minimize flare and ghosting
  • Supports DMF, AF+MF (for Sony E-mount only)
  • Inner focus
  • Every single lens undergoes SIGMA’s proprietary MTF measuring system “A1”
  • 9-blade rounded diaphragm
  •  High-precision, durable brass bayonet mount
  •  “Made in Japan” craftsmanship

Look at the official specs of the 65mm f/2. I made my fave features in bold:

  • Lens construction: 12 elements in 9 groups, with 1 SLD glass and 2 aspherical lenses
  • 62mm filter size
  • Compatible with high-speed autofocus
  • Stepping motor
  • Compatible with lens-based optical correction
  • Mount with dust- and splash-proof structure
  • Super Multi-Layer Coating
  • Aperture ring
  • Focus Mode Switch
  • Lens Hood
  • Compatible with SIGMA USB DOCK UD-11 (sold separately / for L-Mount only)
  • Designed to minimize flare and ghosting
  • Supports DMF, AF+MF (for Sony E-mount only)
  • Inner focus
  • Every single lens undergoes SIGMA’s proprietary MTF measuring system “A1”
  • 9-blade rounded diaphragm
  •  High-precision, durable brass bayonet mount
  •  “Made in Japan” craftsmanship

In conclusion, these are some of the best bang for the buck performance lenses I have come across in a long time. They offer it all for those who shoot E mount or L mount. Size, weight, build, metal hoods, magnetic caps, fast aperture speed, beautiful design and most importantly superb performance across the board. One camera and a set of 24, 35 and 65mm lenses would make for a small and light full frame QUALITY system for much less than you would expect.

I’d lean to either a Panasonic S5 or if you want the top tier full frame experience either a Leica SL or SL2. These lenses with these bodies will bring you crazy good results.

Buy the 35 f/2 (L MOUNT) HERE

Buy the 65 f/2 (L MOUNT)  HERE

Pre Order the new 24 f/3.5 HERE

Sony E Mount 35 f/2 HERE

Sony E Mount 65 f/2 HERE

Sony E Mount 24 f/3.5 HERE





Steve Huff

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