Whether you want artistic, sports or just everyday shots, Sigma has a new lens for you


posted Monday, September 17, 2012 at 1:02 PM EDT


Three nuggets of news came from Sigma at Photokina today, as the company announced it has redefined its lineup of interchangeable lenses into three categories, introduced three new lenses -- one for each new category -- and shared how the company is stepping up its lens testing and quality control processes.

The new lens categories are fairly broad and make perfect sense. They are: 1) Contemporary, comprised of high-performance, versatile and lightweight lenses for most shooting situations; 2) Art, comprised of special-use lenses for serious enthusiasts and professionals who want specific effects; and 3) Sports, comprised of high-power telephoto and zoom lenses to catch subjects, often fast-moving, at a distance.

Sigma's new lenses include:

  • The 17-70mm F/2.8-4 DC OS Macro, a general-purpose Contemporary zoom lens, which has an equivalent range of 25.5-105mm and is designed for cameras with an APS-C sensor. Its macro capabilities provide a minimum focusing distance of 22mm throughout the entire zoom range, and size and framing can be adjusted by rotating the zoom ring. It uses Sigma's OS (Optical Stabilizer) function which offers shake correction of approximately four stops. The lens is crafted using "F" Low Dispersion and Special Low Dispersion glass to correct chromatic aberration, and the barrel uses TSC (Thermally Stable Composite) instead of Polycarbonate, which Sigma says gives it better elasticity and allows other parts such as the zoom ring to be smaller. Finally, Sigma's Super Multi-Layer Coating works to reduce flare and ghosting while providing high contrast images, according to the company, and the lens incorporates a brass-made bayonet mount.
  • The 35mm F1.4 DG HSM, an Art prime lens with a wide-aperture, that Sigma believes provides a creative alternative to a more traditional 50mm lens and produces nice background bokeh with its nine-blade rounded diaphragm. The large maximum aperture of f/1.4 allows makes the lens perfect for low light situations, and at smaller apertures, the lens can act as a wide-angle, the company says. Meanwhile, the "F" Low Dispersion and Super Low Dispersion glasses lenses help correct axial and lateral chromatic aberration. The lens also features Sigma's Hyper Sonic Motor (HSM) for fast and quiet AF operation, as well as its Super Multi-Layer Coating designed to fight flare and ghosting. The bayonet mount is brass made.
  • The 120-300mm F2.8 DG OS HSM, a Sports telephoto zoom lens with a wide-open aperture of f/2.8, which Sigmas says gives photographers more flexibility when taking action shots of athletes and wildlife. The lens is dust- and moisture-resistant, and features Sigma's HSM for high-speed AF while providing full-time manual focus override by rotating the focus ring. The overall length of the lens does not change during focusing and zooming, which the company believes makes handling the lens easier. Additionally, a button on the lens allows you to change focus speed and the focus limiter.

Unfortunately, price and availability of the three new Sigma lenses were not announced. And the camera mounts have not been determined.


However, the company shared that all of Sigma's new lenses will be tested with a new, proprietary modulation transfer function (MTF) measuring system called "A1" in honor of the company's factory in Aizu, Japan. The A1 system, which uses 45-megapixel Foveon direct imaging sensors, will allow Sigma to inspect previously undetectable high-frequency details in its lenses before they are shipped -- and maintain quality control across its three lens lines.

Sigma also introduced a new accessory package geared to help Sigma users update lens firmware and fine-tune focus parameters. The Sigma Optimization Pro software and USB dock allows you to connect your lens to your computer, and provides you with simple on-screen commands and controls, the company says. Cost and availability details of the software and dock were not provided.