Sigma 35mm f/1.4 DG HSM

Sigma test will hopefully be wrapping up in the next week or so. 

I'm still trying to get around to writing a full review but my first impression is "holy shit, this lens is one of the best lenses I've ever used!"

 In fact, the IQ (IMHO) bests the Zeiss primes I've used and it's nearly as well built--it's heavy, but solid. I found autofocus to be fast on the D800E and D600 bodies I've been field testing it with.

Along with the optical engineering, I have to give a nod to the new industrial design coming from Sigma. The lens is gorgeous. It combines the purposeful look of a Zeiss or Leica with a classic modern look (I really wish Nikon would take a hint and move away from that hideous gold and crappy typeface on their lenses).

At the $900 street price, this lens is a serious bargain.  It's in a small group of lenses that are almost universally renowned for their performance. As far as primes go, the Sigma 35mm f/1.4 (along with the incredible new 85mm f/1.4 and 85mm f/1.8 Nikkors) is at the top of the heap.

DxO confirms this as well.


Nikon D600

Is the D600 Nikon's best all-purpose camera? 

When reviewing the specs, it would seem that the title of "best" goes to the 36MP D800/D800E. Or perhaps to the hyper-fast, tank-like, professional 16MP D4.

I contend however, that the new D600 is the best all-purpose camera in Nikon's current lineup.  How can that be you ask? The D800 has THIRTY-SIX frickin megapixels which make the D600's TWENTY-FOUR megapixels seem rather meager in comparison. But the fly in the proverbial ointment is an old friend of ours from your high school or college physics course--DIFFRACTION.  Without getting overly technical, diffraction occurs when light rays don't fall squarely on a individual sensor pixel. The problem is that the more pixels you have, this occurs sooner at the smaller apertures because larger (i.e. fewer) pixels mean that light can straddle the width of a sensor pixel (actually a "sensel"). The more pixels you have, the larger chance that clarity will be lost and the full resolution of the sensor unrealized at smaller apertures. On the D600, this generally happens between f/11 and above.  With the D800/800E, it happens earlier. As much as a stop earlier (f/8). So if you stop down to f/8 and above on the D800, diffraction is robbing you of the maximum capability of the sensor, hence equalizing the difference between the two.

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