Sigma Lenses Year in Review, 2018

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Prolific and precise, Sigma had a fruitful 2018, with several lens releases that continued to round out its Global Vision series, as well as expand the company’s scope in terms of supported lens mounts. For the past five years, since the debut of the three-pronged approach to lens development, Sigma has been making enticing and unique optics for a variety of camera systems and shooting situations. This year saw Sigma continuing with this productive spirit with the introduction of eight new lenses, the adaption of many of its lenses to a new mount, and a development announcement of even bigger things to come in 2019.

Art Series

Sigma’s most popular and well-rounded division of lenses is the Art series, which is characterized by fast maximum apertures and sophisticated optical designs. This year’s releases in this series continue to build up the Art line as a full-fledged roster of optics from which most photographers can build an entire working system.

The first release of the year was the 14-24mm f/2.8 DG HSM, a wide-angle zoom featuring a bright f/2.8 constant maximum aperture. Compared to the existing similar 12-24mm f/4, this 14-24mm f/2.8 gains an additional stop, making it even better suited to astrophotography applications, as well as low-light shooting.

Sigma 14-24mm f/2.8 DG HSM Art Lens for Sigma SA

From ultra-wide to portrait-length, a couple of weeks after the launch of the 14-24mm, Sigma announced a pair of Art-series primes featuring short telephoto focal lengths. Distinguished by its truly impressive maximum aperture, the 105mm f/1.4 DG HSM is set to be the choice portraiture lens, due to its flattering focal length and ability to isolate subjects with selective focus and shallow depth of field. A series of SLD, FLD, and aspherical elements yield impressive sharpness and aberration control, and this lens is fitted with a removable Arca-type tripod foot for more balanced use when working from a tripod. Alongside the 105mm f/1.4, Sigma also released the first macro lens in the Art series, the 70mm f/2.8 DG Macro. This comfortable short tele is ideal for close-up shooting, and offers a life-size 1:1 maximum magnification along with a 10.2" minimum focusing distance.

Sigma 105mm f/1.4 DG HSM Art Lens for Canon EF

Finally, the autumn of 2018 saw the release of two more Art lenses: the 28mm f/1.4 DG HSM and the 40mm f/1.4 DG HSM. The 28mm f/1.4 fills a gap in the wide-angle lineup and serves as the perfect in-between option for shooters who like a wide field of view well-suited to everyday shooting. A bit narrower, the 40mm f/1.4 is a unique option that provides a very natural field of view, like that of human vision. This lens is also the first in the series to use a design that originated from Sigma’s cine lens lineup and, as such, is billed as having been created within more rigorous tolerances regarding sharpness and color rendering.

Sigma 28mm f/1.4 DG HSM Art Lens for Canon EF

Sports Series

In addition to building up its extensive portfolio of Art lenses, Sigma also made two contributions to its Sports series of optics, which are characterized as the longer telephoto lenses in the lineup, perfect for sports, wildlife, and action shooting. One of the long-awaited lenses in this series was finally revealed this year: the 70-200mm f/2.8 DG OS HSM. An incredibly popular zoom for everything from events to portraiture to sports, this telephoto zoom features a bright f/2.8 constant maximum aperture, uses 10 low dispersion elements in its optical layout, and has an Optical Stabilizer system to minimize the appearance of camera shake.

Sigma 70-200mm f/2.8 DG OS HSM Sports Lens for Sigma SA

If a 70-200mm just doesn’t have enough zoom for you, Sigma also unveiled the impressive 60-600mm f/4.5-6.3 DG OS HSM, a huge 10x zoom covering normal to super-telephoto fields of view. Poised to be the most apt example of a one-lens-solution, this lens is suitable for subjects ranging from portraits to distant wildlife and sports, and its four stop-effective Optical Stabilizer even makes it usable for handheld shooting. Its optical design uses SLD and FLD glass for well-corrected image quality and, like the 70-200mm, it has a Hyper Sonic Motor for fast and precise autofocus performance and full-time manual focus override.

Sigma 60-600mm f/4.5-6.3 DG OS HSM Sports Lens for Nikon F

Art Series for Sony E-Mount

Sony mirrorless shooters have been adapting the Global Vision-era lenses to their E-mount bodies for a few years now, via the MC-11 Mount Converter but, in 2018, Sigma finally decided to offer a native Sony E-mount option for most of its Art-series prime lenses. Compared to using the MC-11, these native E-mount variants have a sturdier, more rigid feel; faster, more reliable autofocus performance due to a newly developed AF algorithm; and they will also support Sony’s AF-C focusing mode. Besides these performance updates, the Sony E versions are optically identical to the Canon EF, Nikon F, and Sigma SA versions of the lenses.

Sony E versions of the 14mm f/1.8, 24mm f/1.4, 28mm f/1.4, 35mm f/1.4, 40mm f/1.4, 50mm f/1.4, 70mm f/2.8 Macro, 85mm f/1.4, 105mm f/1.4, and 135mm f/1.8 lenses are available.

Sigma MC-11 Mount Converter/Lens Adapter

Contemporary Series

Finally, Sigma also contributed to its Contemporary line of lenses, which prize lightweight and versatile designs above all else. The 56mm f/1.4 DC DN is a fast portrait-length prime designed specifically for APS-C-format Sony E-mount cameras, as well as Micro Four Thirds cameras. This lens completes the trio of DC DN lenses, including the 16mm f/1.4 and 30mm f/1.4, which are built as compact, lightweight, and fast primes for everyday shooting applications. The 56mm f/1.4 uses SLD and aspherical elements to minimize aberrations and distortions, and incorporates a stepping AF motor for quick, near-silent focusing performance that suits still and video shooting.

Sigma 56mm f/1.4 DC DN Contemporary Lens for Sony E

L-Mount Alliance

And last, but certainly not least, Sigma also made an important announcement at Photokina concerning the future of its lens and camera designs. Together with Leica and Panasonic, Sigma has entered in a strategic partnership called the L-Mount Alliance. Based on the L lens mount, developed by Leica, the three manufacturers will share this standard in the development of future full-frame and APS-C-format mirrorless cameras and lenses. For Sigma, specifically, this has triggered its decision to use the L mount for development of a forthcoming full-frame mirrorless camera, as well as to begin producing lenses specifically for full-frame mirrorless systems. Sigma will continue to produce lenses for SLRs, including making SA-mount lenses available for its previous cameras, but will complement these with new native mirrorless lenses for full-frame bodies. Sigma will also develop a lens-mount adapter for using its SA-mount lenses on upcoming L-mount cameras. More information on the L-Mount Alliance and Sigma’s own development of L-mount lenses and cameras should be released sometime in 2019.

What do you think of Sigma’s 2018? Are you happy with this manufacturer’s development of new lenses, as well as the forthcoming involvement in the new L-Mount Alliance? Let us know your thoughts, below.

1 Comments

Sorry you have given up on SONY A mount lens and discontinued so many lens.  Very disappointing, as I have a number of Sigma Lens but no more.  However I don't believe you care one way or the other.

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