Close & bright: Sigma announces new 70mm f/2.8 Macro and 105mm f/1.4 Art lenses
posted Tuesday, February 27, 2018 at 10:00 AM EDT
Sigma's Art series has proven very popular with photographers, enthusiast and professional alike, due to its excellent blend of performance and price. It also delivers lenses unique to a specific lens mount. With today's announcement of a pair of new Art lenses, Sigma has created its first Art macro lens and also its longest f/1.4 lens. Both lenses will be available for Sigma, Canon and Sony (E) mounts and the 105mm f/1.4 will be available for Nikon cameras. Edit at 12:30 PM EST: The 70mm f/2.8 Macro will not be available for Nikon. Our news has been updated.
Let's look first at the new macro lens. The Sigma 70mm f/2.8 DG Macro may look similar to other Art lenses in some ways, but it's a different beast and the priority is completely on optical performance. The lens employs a focus-by-wire system rather than an inner focusing system to deliver comfortable and precise manual focus performance. This means that the lens does change length when focusing, and for macro users in particular, the emphasis should be on the comfort and precision of focusing rather than on the sleekness of an inner focusing lens.
The mid-telephoto macro has Sigma's latest lens tech, including a coreless DC motor and optimized autofocus algorithms. Users may recall Sigma's 70mm f/2.8 EX DG macro lens and this new Art version shares much of that lens' still-great optics while modernizing it as part of the Art series.
Part of that modernization comes with respect to the optical formula. The new 70mm f/2.8 Macro Art uses an extending floating two-group focus mechanism, which minimizes aberrations at any focus distance. It includes two FLD glass elements to minimize axial chromatic aberration, two SLD elements and a high refraction index element. There are also a pair of aspherical elements to increase resolution at close focus distances. In total, the lens has 13 elements in 10 groups.
How close is "close focus" with the 1:1 macro lens? The lens can focus as close as 10.2 inches (25.8 centimeters). When looking at the lens design itself, its minimum length is 4.2 inches (105.8 millimeters) and its maximum diameter is 2.8 inches (70.8 millimeters). Its unique design results in it having only a 49mm filter thread though, despite the fairly large maximum diameter. The lens is compatible with Sigma's USB Dock, Sigma's macro flash EM-140 DG and Sigma tele converters, which turn the lens into a 98mm f/4 with AF or 140mm f/5.6 with manual focus. Further, the lens has a dust- and splash-proof design and is made in Japan. Pricing and release information for the Sigma 70mm f/2.8 DG Macro Art lens has not yet been announced.
Now to look at the new "bokeh master," the Sigma 105mm f/1.4 DG HSM Art fast prime. The full-frame lens is the longest f/1.4 lens in Sigma's growing Art series. Back in 2012, Sigma launched the 35mm f/1.4 DG HSM Art lens and since then, they've been dedicated to releasing additional f/1.4 lenses to the lineup. For portrait photographers, this new 105mm f/1.4 - which is the ninth f/1.4 lens in the series - may well be the most exciting yet.
The 105mm f/1.4 has been designed primarily to deliver beautiful bokeh while maintaining minimal chromatic aberrations and offering excellent reported resolution. This is a very difficult combination to achieve and to help deliver its vision, the 105mm f/1.4 includes 17 elements in a dozen groups. Within these 17 elements - which is a large number for a prime lens like this, Nikon's recent 105mm f/1.4E lens has 14 elements in 9 groups, for example - there are a trio of FLD elements, a pair of SLD elements and one aspherical element. Interestingly, the lens' optics have also been designed for minimized sagittal coma flare, which means the lens should work well for capturing starry skies despite its long focal length.
When shooting with a long, fast prime, vignette can be a concern. To alleviate the issue, Sigma has employed a large filter diameter and large front element, allowing a "significantly greater volume of peripheral light than other lenses in its class."
Clearly aimed at high-end shooters and working pros, the Sigma Art lens features a dust- and splash-proof design like what you find in Sigma's Sport line, including special sealing at the mount connection. Further, the lens' manual focus ring, cover connection and other areas all include seals. The front of the lens has a water and oil-repellent coating too. For capturing sharp shots in all conditions, you need a good autofocus system as well, which Sigma promises in the new 105mm f/1.4 Art.
The new lens is not lightweight, as you might expect from all that glass housed within. It weighs 58 ounces (1,645 grams). Further, it has a maximum diameter of 4.6 inches (115.9 millimeters) and a 105mm filter thread. The lens is 5.2 inches long (131.5 millimeters), so as you can tell - if the pictures didn't give it away - it is a distinctly and unusually-shaped lens.
Release and pricing information is not yet available, but check back in with us soon!