07 September 2016
Often I am party to information before it's announced publicly. Usually, whilst it can be exciting finding out about what's coming, most people could probably guess it was coming and it's not often a game changer. I have had to keep stumm about these lenses which has been incredibly hard as I can't be anything other than SO excited about their existence. We have an exceptionally good relationship with Sigma Imaging - we've hired more of their lenses than anyone else in the UK and with every new release our stock increases.
There's no denying that a large chunk of their use on hire is for video - it's been no secret that their incredible optical quality lens itself to video work, delivering results well beyond their price tag. I remember being asked, while sitting having lunch on Sigma's stand at Photokina, originally four years ago and then again in 2004, what I would like to see going forwards. The answer was very simple - Cine lenses. So I am delighted to finally be able to introduce them to you.
The range consists of three different lines - High Speed Zoom, FF Zoom and FF High Speed Prime. Initially mounts will be Canon EF and Sony E - PL will follow later (although not for the 24-35mm). First to appear will be the High Speed Zooms, although initially these are destined for just Japanese and US markets - I will be working hard during meetings with Sigma at IBC and Photokina to see if we can persuade them to let us have a few. The rest will be released in sequence during 2017.
Sigma wanted to keep the weight down so opted for a smaller than normal Cine lens design (front diameter is only 95mm with mostly an 82mm filter size). i think it's a smart move. Now there is a downside and that's the focus rotational angle had to be limited to 180 degrees. That's less than other cine's but let's put this into perspective, it is still over double the still lens. It's also worth pointing out that the zoom lenses feature a 160 degree zoom rotational angle that is again more than double that of the still lens. Gear positions have been standardised across the range with normal 0.8m gear pitch.
Build quality is, as you would expect, excellent. The bodies are completely metal with information on each ring laser engraved. All of the lineup feature dust proof and splash proof construction with each ring and mount sealed. We already know how good Sigma are at this - we have a lot of 150-600mm lenses with this protection that we hire!! It's the little touches I love and show that Sigma have really thought about things. The stopper of each ring incorporates a damper made of a special resin which results in silent operation whilst still maintaining a satisfying lock feel. The specification, gradation baseline and lens change indicators are all coated in luminous paint to aid changing and operating in the dark. Those using EF mount will find a strengthened stopper pin to avoid movement over long term use.
Lastly before we look at the lineup, image quality. All of the lenses are tested on the same rig as the Global Vision lenses. Very simply that means they can stand up to scrutiny at 50 megapixels (I know as I use them). So 4K and 6K is a breeze for them. Sigma have ensured that the colour balance has been standardised across the range for consistency.
So to the two Zoom lenses - the 18-35mm T2 lens and 50-100mm T2 lens. Both of these, as you will know if you have used the still versions are Super 35mm and not full frame. The one thing I don't know yet (and will find out in a day or two having tried production versions) is whether they are parfocal - I am suspecting not.
Those after a full frame zoom lens will be interested in the 24-35mm T2.2 FF lens. Now it's fair to say that the still lens is fairly bulky so Sigma have done well to limit the size and weight of the Cine version. I quickly fell in love with stills version due to its flexibility without really loosing too much speed. Judging by the fact they are constantly being hired out, it would seem I'm not the only one. I can see this lens going out with our a7s II range as a regular partner.
Onto the primes which are all unsurprisingly T1.5 (I think we're all pretty familiar with the Global Vision stills prime range and if you're not, you're missing something). I can see these really shifting for our clients (we have huge demand for their stills primes for video already). We just need them to arrive asap!!
So there you. Now we have to wait. As mentioned, I am going to be meeting with Sigma at both shows and trying my absolute damnest to convince them to let us have a few earlier than expected to sample. I'll let you know how I get on.
Here's a quick video on it all and then the press release from Sigma