The days of third party lens manufacturers producing subpar lenses is in the rearview mirror at this point. Sigma has effectively changed the landscape of the lens market with their widely-loved ART series lenses.
The Sigma 85mm 1.4 DG HSM Art
Sigma really kicked ass with the release of their 35mm and 50mm ART lenses. Those two lenses have great image quality and are SUPER sharp. Sharper even than their Nikon and Canon counterparts.
Not only did these lenses outperform their competitor’s lenses in some ways, they did it at price points several hundred dollars cheaper.
So for camera nerds around the world, this 85mm lens announcement by Sigma is causing some serious Gear Acquisition Syndrome.
I haven’t seen any sample images yet, but if it follows in the footsteps of Sigma’s other ART series lenses, I’m sure it’ll be very sharp and I’m counting on incredible bokeh. Let’s see if it’s a legit challenge to Nikon’s ‘cream machine’ 85mm f/1.4.
Here are some quick specs of the Sigma 85mm 1.4 DG HSM Art:
-14 elements in 12 groups
-9 rounded diaphragm aperture blades for (hopefully) silky smooth bokeh
-The minimum aperture is f/16 (it couldn’t be at least f/22?! I really don’t remember the last lens I’ve seen that only stopped down to f/16 but whatevs)
-Minimum focusing distance of 33.5 inches, i.e. just under 3 feet. This lens will not be able to get real close up macro shots but that’s pretty standard for 85mm lenses.
-86mm filter size
-Size: 3.7in. x 5.0in. This is not huge but will certainly not be a small lens.
-The weight has not been released yet but if the other ART lenses are any indication, it’ll probably be pretty heavy unfortunately.
What else does Sigma have in store for us?
The Sigma 12-24mm F4 DG HSM Art lens
Just the fact that Sigma went to the daunting effort of designing a 12-24mm lens was a pretty ballsy move.
The 12-24mm zoom range is not an easy one to engineer.
Case in point:
Even Canon hasn’t tried their hand at producing one.
While Nikon’s version is awesome, it covers 2mm less in focal length. The closest thing Canon has is its 16-35mm.
That being said, it DOES have a wider maximum aperture. But I don’t know many photographers who buy wide angle lenses to shoot wide open.
This lens will be available in Canon mounts so that’s reason for Canon shooters to rejoice who haven’t had a zoom this wide available to them for a long time. They could just sit and envy the 14-24mm zoom by Nikon.
It’ll also be available in Nikon and of course, Sigma mounts.
Here are some of the limited information about the lens released to this date:
-Maximum f/4 constant aperture
-Designed to have minimum level of distortion at the wider angles
-Has Sigma’s FLD glass elements, designed to give you better image quality and reduce ghosting/flare
-They put in their new Hyper Sonic Motor that they say has “1.3X the torque” of their older motors so it should be fast to focus
This lens is gonna make a lot of landscape and architecture photographers very happy.
On to the Sigma 500mm F4 DG HSM OS Sports Lens
Sigma already had several prime telephoto lenses, but this is the first prime telephoto lens in their highly-respected Sports line.
The lens will be available in Sigma, Nikon and Canon mounts.
Sigma says that the lens will have a very rugged build, and be dust and splash proof.
It has Sigma’s version of vibration reduction technology, called OS, for advanced Optical Stabilizer. There will be a switch for this on the side of the camera where you can choose between handheld shooting or a mode that’s better suited to panning.
They say that the autofocus will not be affected when using their 1.4X or 2X teleconverters, very useful to sports photographers.
Here’s some quick specs:
-16 elements in 11 groups
-9 rounded aperture blades
-Minimum aperture of f/32
-Close focusing distance of 137.8 inches
-It takes 46mm rear filters
Lenses of this size and construction do not come cheap. These are highly specialized lenses for sports and wildlife photographers who have the budget to invest in a lens of this caliber.
That being said, even though the Sigma 500mm F4 DG HSM OS Sports lens will cost several thousand dollars, it’ll still be several thousand dollars cheaper than the equivalent Nikon and Canon lenses.
What do you think about these three lenses by Sigma? Are you a Nikon/Canon loyalist or are you ready to get your wallet out to invest in some third party glass?