Best of 2016: Sigma Lenses


Over the past few years, Sigma has been carving a spot in the camera lens pantheon while building a loyal (and outspoken) following of users looking for fast, sharp glass without breaking the bank. The evidence of Sigma’s ascent is noticeable in the way that its 2016 releases were anticipated and received. No longer an over-performing underdog, the shock has worn off and this manufacturer’s lenses are greeted with elevated expectations from reviewers and a list of demands from users.  

85mm f/1.4 DG HSM Art Lens

Since Sigma began its Global Vision product line in 2012, it has been building an impressive collection of lenses in its “Art” series. Countless prayers were answered this year when Sigma announced its 85mm f/1.4 DG HSM Art lens. This portrait-ready addition to the lauded series combines two “F” Low Dispersion (FLD) glass elements with an anomalous partial dispersion/high refractive index element to produce the kind of sharp images with minimal aberration and fringing that Sigma converts have come to expect. Focusing is fast and quiet with its updated Hyper Sonic Motor (HSM). Its wide aperture and 9-blade, rounded diaphragm makes for pleasing bokeh and makes handling low-light environments a breeze.

Sigma 85mm f/1.4 DG HSM Art Lens for Nikon F

12-24mm f/4 DG HSM and 50-100mm f/1.8 DC HSM Art Lenses

Sigma covered a wide range of focal lengths with two zoom additions to the Art series: the 12-24mm f/4 DG HSM and 50-100mm f/1.8 DC HSM Art lenses. Both feature constant maximum apertures and HSM focusing. The ultra-wide 12-24mm’s massive aspherical lens elements and FLD glass combine to deliver solid edge-to-edge sharpness while tempering distortion. The versatile 50-100mm was welcomed by photographers using cameras with APS-C sized sensors. A combination of one SLD and three FLD glass elements extends the quality of its full-frame brethren at a smaller format.

Sigma 50-100mm f/1.8 DC HSM Art Lens for Nikon F

500mm f/4 DG OS HSM Sports Lens

While Sigma extended the range of focal lengths available in its Art series, the reach of these additions falls short for all but the boldest sports or wildlife photographers. Luckily, Sigma’s “Sports” series in the Global Vision line added a flagship prime lens in the form of the 500mm f/4 DG OS HSM. An advanced Optical Stabilizer (OS) keeps images in focus while shooting with the hefty lens. One SLD and two FLD elements keep images sharp while its HSM maintains quick focus. Designed to weather outdoor conditions, it is dust- and splash-proof.

Sigma 500mm f/4 DG OS HSM Sports Lens for Nikon F

Sigma 30mm f/1.4 DC DN Contemporary Lens

Not forgetting about mirrorless shooters, Sigma released the 30mm f/1.4 DC DN to their “Contemporary” series of the Global Vision line for photographers shooting with Micro Four Thirds or APS-C Sony E-mount cameras. In contrast to the company’s massive additions to the Art and Sports series, this lens offers high performance in a small (and lightweight) package. Its wide aperture works well in low-light situations, while a stepping motor keeps autofocus fast and accurate for still and video work. 

Sigma 30mm f/1.4 DC DN Contemporary Lens for Micro Four Thirds

Sigma MC-11 Mount Converter/Lens Adapter

In an effort to accommodate photographers shooting with full-frame Sony E-mount mirrorless cameras, Sigma released its MC-11 Mount Converter/Lens Adapter for Sigma EF or Sigma SA-mount lenses. The adapter not only acts as a physical attachment method but also serves as an electronic relay between lens and camera, which enables autofocus and autofocus functionality.

Sigma MC-11 Mount Converter/Lens Adapter

Do you have a favorite Sigma Art lens? Tell us about it in the Comments section, below.


I love using the Sigma 18-35 with my Nikon D500. It's very  sharp with beautiful colors and no vignetting. I recently shot  a fashion show with the D500 and the 18-35 (f2.8, 1/250). Very surprising results even if I prefer the iso performance of my D750. 



Shooting on a Sony Fs7 with 18-35 1.8 (Nikon) on a dumb novoflex e adaptor. I want the 50-100 but am thinking to buy EF and an E (smart) either metabones or sigma adaptor so I can have full control of the lenses. 

There currently is no electronic support for the Nikon mount. What would ya'll do. 


If you are planning on adapting Sigma lenses, your best option would be to use a Canon EF mount lens and then go with Sigma MC-11 EF to E mount adapter.  This would be the best bet for retaining full functionality of the lens, and would be the closest option to having the Sigma lens in an E-mount.

In a photo forum, I probably appear to be employed by SIGMA because I often praise their ART primes!

I spotted and snatched a used 50 ART @ B&H which gradually led to my disuse & sale of my 24-70 2.8.

Physically compared the 24 & 20mm, buying the 24 for a more usable focal length 7 better clarity wide open.  Ditto goodby to my 16-28mm 2.8 zoom.

Now considering selling 70-200 2.8 for the 85 ART, but may wait until I can justify both because the nikon zoom is amazing wide open!

Darn you Sig; I was happy with my 3 zooms until these came out!  Kidding aside, I will never sell these lenses.  I AM REALLY PLEASED!

Anonymous wrote:

fixed typo:

Physically compared the 24 & 20mm, buying the 24 for a more usable focal length & better clarity wide open.  Ditto goodby to my 16-28mm 2.8 zoom.

Canon, L series user, tried the art model Sigma, they are super.and half the price. Congrats Sigma. Canon convert.

Canon, L series user, tried the art model Sigma, they are super.and half the price. Congrats Sigma. Canon convert.

I bought the 35 1.4 ART this year and I'm already set to grab a 85 now for 2017.   Simply amazing.  Sigma did a huge turn around on thier products kudos to them!

Hi Travis,

They are building quite a collection. Enjoy the 85mm, it is a solid lens. 

Thanks for reading!

A friend recently loaned me a Sigma 24/1.4 Art,

i think it is the most stuuning piece of glass i have seen in a longtime.

Just the other day at night at F 2,0 focused at hyperfocal distance,

just pushing the button, astonishing results.

Will definately be my next purchase


Hi AL,

If you enjoyed the 24mm, you should check out the 12-24mm if you ever get a chance -- I rarely shoot wide but couldn't help being impressed by that small monster.

Thanks for reading!

Or maybe 24-35 f/2.0 (or 18-35 f1.8 for crop sensor) :)

What's the difference between micro to macro lens ???

Hi Jojo,

A macro lens is generally used for taking close-up photographs (flowers, insects, etc). There are a number of great articles from our  Macro Photography Week where you can learn about the finer points of this type of photography.

"Micro," as used in the article above, refers to "Micro Four Thirds" which is a type of digital camera system used by certain manufacturers of mirrorless cameras. Check out my colleague, Eric's article  if you are interested in learning more about this type of camera system vs other options.

Thanks for reading!

Hi Sherry,

The Sigma 50-500mm is quite an impressive piece of glass. This list only covers lenses released in 2016-- that one has been making waves for a few years now. Thanks for reading!

Are the Sigma lenses compatible with the Canon EOS Re bel T5 EOS 1200D.?

It is a great pity that the Sigma Art 50-100mm is not available with the Sony A-mount!  I have the Sigma Art 18-35mm and it works beautifully on my Sony Alpha 77 Mk II !