23 September 2014
It's hard not to be impressed by Sigma's Global Vision range. So far, every single lens released has met with high praise. It really is hard to compare on a before/after basis and quality (build and optically) has gone through the roof.
On the run up to Photokina, we were aware that new lenses would be announced and the rumour mill was running riot with an 85mm prime top of people's wish lists. Well that didn't happen (yet) but telephoto lovers (wildlife and sports) were in for a treat with two 150-600mm F5-6.3 DG OS HSM lenses. Two lenses with same focal length - how come? At first I was a bit confused so I spent some time on the stand with amongst others Ray Fitchett.
Ray will be well known to most UK Sigma followers and he was quick to outline the differences. The Sports version's mission is to provide the best optical and action-capture performance, aimed at the professional photographer. The Contemporary version is designed to offer a light-weight and compact construction for increased usability.
Visibly, there's a difference between the two lenses with the Sports lens a fair bit bigger and heavier. The simple reason for this is the Sports lens incorporates 24 elements in 16 groups as opposed to 20 elements in 14 groups for the Contemporary version.
Both lenses come with a manual override option for focusing simply by turning the focus ring when in MO mode. They also can connect up to the USB dock to set AF speed, a focus limiter and OS modes. Another nice feature is the ability to lock the lens at any focal length with the lock switch.
The Contemporary lens offers a dust-proof and splash-proof mount whereas the Sports lens offers a full dust-proof and splash-proof construction allowing its use in rain without protection.
So put very simply, the Sports is designed to offer the very best performance it can for the professional user. The Contemporary is there for the amateur/prosumer user that is willing to compromise on performance for a lighter, less expensive option.
We'll be getting both lenses in Nikon and Canon mounts towards the end of October.
To go with the new lenses are two new Teleconverters, the TC-1401 and TC-2001. Both versions incorporate Special Low Dispersion glass elements to offer excellent aberration correction.
Sigma's latest camera offerings - the DP1 and DP2 Quattro's - are interesting. There has never been any question over the quality of the Foveon sensor in the right conditions. The problem with their predecessors was there were plenty of compromises that came with them - dreadful LCD, slow processing, awful battery life, to name a few. The Quattro's are definitely an improvement whilst maintaining a certain amount of Sigma camera quirkiness! Low ISO performance is where these cameras really shine (although it's worth noting that you can push the Quattro's up to 800ISO now - previously anything beyond 400ISO was a no go). They are no doubt still niche cameras and devoted Sigma followers will love them!
I have to say Sigma's stand was properly packed during the days I was at Photokina. There is absolutely no doubt that they are creating a huge buzz with their Global Vision range and are victims of their own success with demand way out-stripping supply.
On a personal note, a huge thank you to everyone at Sigma UK for their hospitality. They are a cracking bunch of people, something that's really important in providing our customers with the service they need. That's why we have been loyal supporters for nearly 10 years now and are committed to supporting every new Sigma product release going forwards. Oh and they had the MOST amazing Sushi as well!!!