Sigma: New Lenses, New Classifications
In September, Sigma announced a reorganization of their lens classification guidelines. They outlined three categories within which all future interchangeable lenses would be placed, the logic being that this will simplify the selection process for the buyer by assembling, within each category, lenses with similar features and applications.
At that time, they announced the first new lenses that will fall under the rubric of each new class. The lens categories are Contemporary, Art and Sports, with the basic emphasis being compact and multifunctional for the Contemporary line; large-aperture, quality prime lenses for the Art line; and high-performance, durable telephoto and zoom lenses for the Sports line. The first lenses in the Sports and Contemporary category will be discussed below.
The 17-70mm f/2.8-4 DC Macro (OS) HSM Lens is the first lens in the Contemporary line, and is available in Sigma, Canon, Nikon, Sony and Pentax mount types. As a lens designed for APS-C-sized DSLRs, its 35mm focal length equivalency is 25.5-105mm. Its fast maximum aperture, versatile focal range and compact form (3.23” long) make a great day-to-day lens and a perfect example of what the Contemporary lens line is all about: state-of-the-art technology, quality imaging and versatility.
With a 25.5-105mm focal range, you have wide-angle to short telephoto capability. Being able to focus as close as 8.7” (22 cm) with a maximum magnification ratio of 1:2.8, the lens also produces sharp and detail-rich macro photos. The maximum aperture of f/2.8 at the wide end is ideal for shallow-depth-of-field imaging, and the f/4.0 maximum aperture at the telephoto end is wide enough to use shutter speeds that will keep your images sharp. Designated OS for the Sigma, Nikon and Canon mounts, this lens provides image stabilization to the tune of four stops of correction, compensating for camera shake at slower shutter speeds and providing blur-free images in dim shooting situations. Because Pentax and Sony DSLRs feature image stabilization within their camera bodies, OS is not incorporated into the Sony and Pentax versions of this lens.
The 16-element optical design of this lens incorporates two “F” Low Dispersion (FLD) glass elements, one Special Low Dispersion (SLD) element and three aspherical lenses to correct chromatic aberrations and provide sharp, high-resolution imaging throughout the zoom range and from edge to edge within the frame. In addition, each lens element has a Super Multi-Layer Coating to minimize reflections and reduce flare and ghosting. A seven-blade rounded diaphragm shapes the out-of-focus areas nicely to help create attractive bokeh. The Hyper Sonic AF Motor, which drives the autofocus, is developed to be fast, smooth and virtually silent, which is important all the time but crucial when using this lens while shooting video. For exacting precision, manual focus via the lens ring is available at all times, even when in autofocus mode.
The build of this lens is also in line with its classification. It is compact and lightweight for everyday use, yet it's quite durable. Thermally Stable Composite (TSC) material is used for the lens barrel, which is lighter than metal but stronger than plastic and reacts minimally to temperature and humidity changes. The bayonet mount is made of brass and is given a special surface treatment for strength and resiliency.
The 120-300mm f/2.8 DG OS HSM Lens, for Sigma, Canon and Nikon mounts, is a high performance telephoto zoom lens for full-frame DSLRs. It is also compatible with APS-C format DSLRs and its equivalent focal length on Canon APS-C and Nikon DX lenses is 192-480mm and 180-450mm, respectively. Its f/2.8 maximum aperture throughout the zoom range enables it to capture fast action at long distances and to be effective in low-light situations. As the first lens in the newly designated Sports line of lenses, it is aimed at sports, wildlife, nature and aviation photographers—those who need to capture the action yet keep their distance. It is also designed to handle outdoor elements and some of the rough handling that can come when shooting in the above-mentioned situations. The lens’s joint parts, including the mount attachment, manual focus ring, zoom ring, switches and external panels, have been made dustproof and splashproof to help prevent damage to the lens. Like the 17-70mm f/2.8-4.0, it is constructed of TSC material, and its bayonet mount is brass and coated for strength and durability. An adjustable, removable tripod collar is included for stable tripod mounting when needed.
Its 120-300mm is an ideal focal range for all-encompassing telephoto shooting. At the 120mm end, it won’t push you away from certain mid-range shots, is good for portraiture and with 300mm capability, you get an advantage over the more typical zooms that top out at 200mm. Add a 2x teleconverter to this lens and you have a complete telephoto system.
The Optical Stabilizer provides four-stop compensation for camera shake, which is important for handheld telephoto work and shooting in low-light situations. The OS system on the 120-300mm offers two modes, one for general shooting needs and one optimized for panning shots of moving objects. Internal focusing and zoom mechanisms means your lens operates with efficiency, not extending the barrel when focusing, nor rotating the front lens element, which is important when shooting with polarizing filters. Sigma’s Hyper Sonic AF Motor is fast, smooth and silent, something not only wildlife photographers can appreciate—and certainly important when using this lens to shoot video. A simple button on the lens controls focusing speed and adjusts your customizable focus range limiter. It also features manual focus override to give you precise control at any moment.
The optical design utilizes two FLD glass elements and one SLD element to reduce color aberrations, and the glass is coated with a Super Multi-Layer Coating to minimize flare and ghosting. The 120-300mm f/2.8 provides sharp, color-accurate images throughout its zoom range.
Both of the above lenses are compatible with the new Sigma USB Dock system. With the USB Dock and Sigma’s Optimization Pro software you are able to customize autofocus speed, focus limits and stabilization settings and even make micro-focus (front or back focus) adjustments. With the 120-300mm f/2.8 you can implement three AF speed adjustments, customize the autofocus range and set three distinct OS modes. It will also enable any future firmware updates via the Sigma website.
|17-70mm f/2.8-4 DC Macro (OS) HSM Lens||120-300mm f/2.8 DG OS HSM Lens|
|Mounts||Nikon F, Canon EF, Sony Alpha, Pentax K||Nikon F, Canon EF|
|Format||APS-C||Full-frame (35mm) and APS-C|
|Angle of View||79.7° - 22.9°||20.4° - 8.2°|
|Minimum Focus Distance||8.7" (22 cm)||4.9-8.2' (1.5-2 m)|
|Maximum Reproduction Ratio||1:2.8||1:8.1|
|Image Stabilization||Canon EF and Nikon F mounts only||Yes|
|Dimensions||3.1 x 3.2" (79 x 82 mm)||4.8 x 11.5" (121.4 x 291 cm)|
|Weight||16.4 oz (465 g)||Not specified by manufacturer|