20 September 2016
Sigma are clearly very keen to let everyone know about their new lenses as they released the news unexpectedly last night (rather than this morning as planned)! So three new lenses are being shown at Photokina today - the 500mm F4 DG OS HSM Sports, the 85mm F1.4 DG HSM Art and finally the 12-24mm F4 DG HSM Art. No announcement as yet on price and availability but I should find out more today. We'll be looking to stock all three, as usual, in both Canon and Nikon mounts.
So kicking off with the 500mm, we've already seen just how impressive Sigma's Global Vision Sports Zooms are with lenses like the gorgeous 150-600mm F5-6.3 DG OS HSM. It naturally features protection against dust and water. Most interestingly the front of the lens features a water- and oil-repellent coating that allows water to be wiped away easily and helps prevent oil from sticking to the surface. The barrel itself is made with a magnesium alloy, designed to make the lens both tough and light. The lens hood is made of carbon fibre!
The lens incorporates two FLD and one SLD glass elements, while the optimized power distribution helps minimize spherical aberration and axial chromatic aberration. The optical system also effectively minimizes transverse chromatic aberration, which can affect the edges of the shots taken in the telephoto range.
The OS system features an acceleration sensor to deliver even more precise performance and up to approximately four stops of stabilization. Two OS modes are available: Mode 1 for general photography and Mode 2 for motor sports and other applications requiring panning. In Mode 2, the acceleration sensor teams up with the Intelligent OS and its updated stabilization algorithm to deliver effective stabilization while you move the camera horizontally, vertically, or diagonally—regardless of the position of the lens. This feature helps ensure effective panning and outstanding capture of moving subjects.
There is also an AF function switch allows you to set your own autofocus specification. The lens can remember the focus position of your choice or turn off AF until it is needed. Obviously a key factor is going to be the speed of the lens - how will it measure up to Canon and Nikon's own lenses (something that is crucial for users at this price point). Sigma say that the HSM (Hyper Sonic Motor) ensures high speed and quiet AF. With the further enhanced AF algorithm compared to previous models, continuous AF (AF-C) improves the focusing efficiency.
Next up is the 85mm F1.4 DG HSM Art lens - the fifth in their f/1.4 Art range that now covers a focal range from 20mm to 85mm. I've been looking forward to Sigma releasing this one - it should be a cracking portraiture lens. This is what Sigma has to say - 'The bokeh effect is so precise, you can focus on the pupil of the subject’s eye while blurring the eyelashes. Adding to the effect, the area in focus is extremely high-resolution while the bokeh area is very attractive in appearance. The SIGMA 85mm F1.4 DG HSM | Art incorporates 14 lens elements in 12 groups, a remarkable structure that helps the lens deliver ultra-high-resolution. This lens is therefore an excellent match for full-frame DSLRs offering 50-megapixel or higher resolution.'
Lastly, the 12-24mm F4 DG HSM Art. This is now in its 3rd generation and arguably this is the biggest leap forward, adopting the familiar Global Vision qualities we now know and love. The lens incorporates multiple aspherical lenses produced with precision glass molding. It also features lens elements made with FLD (“F” Low Dispersion) glass, which is equivalent to fluorite in performance, and an optimized power distribution. Together, these features help minimize distortion, transverse chromatic aberration, and coma flare. As a result, image quality is apparently outstanding across the image, all the way to the edges.
The keen-eyed will have also noticed that it's now f/4 across the focal range (the previous lens was f/4.5-5.6).
So there you go. I'll try and find out more about when they will be available - as soon as they arrive in the UK, you'll be able to hire them!