In the market for a 75-150mm eq. f/1.8 portrait zoom? Or how about a 30mm f/1.4? Sigma has you covered
posted Tuesday, February 23, 2016 at 1:00 AM EDT
The engineers and designers over at Sigma have once again pulled out all the stops to create some truly unique lens products, including a brand new Art-series lens, the 50-100mm f/1.8 DC HSM Art. Yes, an f/1.8 telephoto zoom! Also on the docket is a brand new 30mm f/1.4 Contemporary lens, not for DSLR cameras though, but for mirrorless -- Sony E-mount and Micro Four Thirds, to be exact. Lastly, while it's not a lens, Sigma's new Mount Converter MC-11 will give Sony photographers (both FE-mount and E-mount) access to all 19 Global Vision Sigma lenses for Canon or Sigma mounts.
First up, we have the new Sigma 50-100mm f/1.8 Art lens for APS-C DSLR cameras. Back in 2013, Sigma wowed the photo community with the introduction of the 18-35mm f/1.8 Art lens -- their first f/1.8 constant-aperture zoom lens. Now, Sigma's here with the telephoto-centric follow-up model.
Covering a range from approximately 75-150mm in 35mm terms, the new Sigma 50-100mm f/1.8, while not a true 70-200mm-equivalent zoom, hits widely popular focal lengths, including portrait-friendly 85mm and 135mm – and all with a single lens. Plus, with the bright f/1.8 aperture, Sigma says to expect "prime-like results." Given shockingly impressive wide-open sharpness of the 18-35mm f/1.8, we have high hopes that this telephoto offering will show similar results as well as pleasing, smooth out-of-focus backgrounds.
One stand-out feature that videographers will certainly love is that the Sigma 50-100mm f/1.8 is parfocal, meaning the lens stays in focus as you zoom. This is quite the rarity for photo-specific lenses, and one of the reasons why cinema lenses are often orders of magnitude more expensive -- that type of design is more complex and costly to achieve.
Certainly not shy about keeping things svelte and lightweight, the 50-100mm f/1.8 is comprised of 21 elements situated in 15 groups with 82mm filter threads on the front. Measuring almost 7 inches long and four inches wide, this telephoto zoom tips the scales at around 3.3 pounds (1.5kg). The lens features three FLD (F Low Dispersion) glass elements, one SLD (Special Low Dispersion) glass element and one high-refractive index/high-dispersion glass element, which all work to combat chromatic aberrations.
Despite the large size, the convenient internal zooming and focusing design keeps the lens from getting any larger as you zoom. The lens also comes with a tripod socket for easier balance and stability when mounted on a set of sticks.
Construction specs are limited, with no mention of the barrel construction materials, but given the fact that earlier Global Vision lenses were built from Sigma's Thermally Stable Composite material, we expect a similar metal-like construction and build quality from this 50-100mm lens. The aperture diaphragm construction appears rather unique, however, with a polycarbonate construction including fluorine. The aperture blades themselves utilize a "carbon feather film," which Sigma states should offer extremely smooth operation.
There's no word on availability, but the Sigma 50-100mm F1.8 DC HSM Art will come in Canon, Nikon and Sigma flavors and is listed on Sigma's website with an estimate retail price of $1,099.
Sigma's not leaving the mirrorless users empty-handed, though, as they're introducing the new 30mm f/1.4 DC DN Contemporary lens for both Sony E-mount (APS-C) and Micro Four Thirds. According to Sigma, this lens serves as the first affordable f/1.4 lens for the mirrorless camera market, and with an estimated retail price of just $339, that's certainly a wallet-friendly price point. With dimensions of 2.6 x 2.9 inches, and a weight of just 9.3oz (0.3kg), this new mirrorless prime is indeed light and compact and should match-up nicely with the inherently smaller Sony E-mount and Micro Four Thirds cameras.
With a 60mm-eq. focal length on Micro Four Thirds cameras and approximately 45mm-eq. on Sony cameras, the 30mm sits squarely in the range of a nice, general-use "normal" lens. With the super-bright f/1.4 aperture, this should be great for portraits with nice bokeh as well as a great low-light lens.
Sporting a total of 9 lens elements (in 7 groupings) with one aspherical and one double-sided aspherical, Sigma claims this lens should produce image quality similar to their Art-series of lenses. The Sigma 30mm f/1.4 DN also features a fast and smooth stepping motor design for autofocus, which should be great for video shooters. The lens also sports a 52mm filter thread.
As with the 50-100mm, availability for the new Sigma 30mm f/1.4 DC DN Contemporary lens has not yet been announced, but estimated retail pricing of $339 is indicated on Sigma's website.
Sigma Mount Converter MC-11
Last up, there's more mirrorless fun from Sigma, this time in the form of a new mount adapter. For Sony mirrorless owners, particularly with the newer A7 II and A7R II models, one of the big selling points is their improved, faster on-sensor phase-detect AF system and the subsequent ability to use lens adapters while maintaining fast AF performance with DSLR lenses.
Now, Sigma is jumping into the adapter game with their new Mount Converter MC-11 for Sony FE-mount and APS-C E-mount cameras. Specific to Sigma's current quiver of 19 Global Vision lenses, the new MC-11 adapter gives Sony users AF capabilities, including phase-detect AF support on the Sony cameras that support that feature.
The MC-11 removes the guess work of trying to figure out if this lens or that lens will work with an owner's Sony camera, as the adapter itself has a built-in "internal control data system," that maintains detailed info and specs of each compatible Sigma lens. The adapter has an LED display that will indicate to the user whether or not a particular lens is compatible with their Sony camera or if the adapter needs a firmware update to become compatible.
Furthermore, the internal control data system optimizes AF performance, aperture control and other lens functions particular to each lens and works with the camera body for things like brightness control, CA corrections, distortion correction, as well as offering full compatibility with the Sony 5-axis image stabilization system (with lens-based optical stabilization and sensor-shift I.S.). The adapter also maintains EXIF data for easy image organization and features internal flocking to help block internal reflections and glare.
Availability of the MC-11 mount converter is not yet available, but according to Sigma, the MC-11 will sell for an estimated $249.
Both the 50-100mm f/1.8 Art and 30mm f/1.4 Contemporary lenses as well as the MC-11 adapter are compatible with the Sigma USB Dock (sold separately) and the Sigma Optimization Pro desktop software for lens configurations, firmware updates, and in the case of the adapter, updating the internal database of lens information.