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10.18.2016
The Sigma 500mm F4 DG OS HSM | Sport lens

The Sigma 500mm F4 DG OS HSM | Sport lens

Now that the three lens lines of the Sigma Global Vision have grown in numbers, it is becoming both easier and harder to write these first look blog postings.

Realize this: In the past four years, Sigma has introduced twenty-two lenses in the Art, Sport, and Contemporary lines for full-frame, crop sensor and mirrorless systems. And this isn’t even mentioning the quattro generation cameras, the USB Dock, the MC-11 Mount Converter, the world’s first Ceramic glass protector filters, redesigned polarizer filters and new teleconverters! 

The Sigma 12-24mm F4 DG HSM | Art lens

The Sigma 12-24mm F4 DG HSM | Art lens

It is easy because photographers now understand completely what it means when a lens wears the Art, Sports, and Contemporary badges, so much so that photographers ‘round the world were waiting (im)patiently for the 85mm F1.4 DG HSM | Art to be announced. The Sigma Global Vision delivers exceptional optics with industry-leading features at very competitive prices—this fact is established.

The Sigma 85mm F1.4 DG HSM | Art lens.

The Sigma 85mm F1.4 DG HSM | Art lens.

(It is a challenge because every one of the new lenses are exceptional examples for their class; so how do you keep the writing fresh? That’s my struggle!)

With the help of some shots and commentary from Sigma Pros and Tech Reps, we’re going to take a quick look at the 500mm F4 DG OS HSM | Sport, 12-24mm F4 DG HSM | Art and 85mm F1.4 DG HSM | Art lenses before these lenses go on display for the first time in the US  at PhotoPlus Expo!

The Sigma 500mm F4 DG OS HSM | Sport

Photo © Roman Kurywczak. Bear in Yellowstone. 1/1000 F8 ISO 800 on Canon 1DX.

Photo © Roman Kurywczak. Bear in Yellowstone. 1/1000 F8 ISO 800 on Canon 1DX.

This is the first prime lens in the Sports line, and it is a fast-aperture monster. With full weather-sealing, a dedicated front button on the barrel near the front element, and Sigma’s Exclusive Lens Customization features via the USB Dock and Sigma Optimization Pro, this long-reach pro super tele offers a tripod collar with two mounting thread diameters (and can be swapped for the optional speed rail) and a click or no click option as the lens and camera is rotated in 90º increments.

 

© Roman Kurywczak. Bison at Yellowstone. 1/500 F4 ISO 400.

© Roman Kurywczak. Bison at Yellowstone. 1/500 F4 ISO 400.

At over seven pounds, and fifteen inches long (the lightweight carbon fiber hood adds another seven inches), this is a lens that most photographers will use paired with a monopod or tripod in most situations. To that end, there is two mode Optical Stabilizer, with OS 1 designed for hand held use and OS 2 for panning shots.

© Jack Howard. Gull at Sandy Hook. 1/2000 F4 ISO 100 on Sigma sd Quattro for effective 750mm reach with the 1.5x crop factor.

© Jack Howard. Gull at Sandy Hook. 1/2000 F4 ISO 100 on Sigma sd Quattro for effective 750mm reach with the 1.5x crop factor.

100% pixel-level crop of above shot.

100% pixel-level crop of above shot.

The full-time manual focus ring is big and grippy, and responds with a good amount of dampening when Manual focus is employed. Like the 120-300mm F2.8 Sport lens and the 150-600mm F5-6.3 Sport lenses, all the buttons and switches feel solid and click easily from one setting to the next.  Three zone Focus limiter speeds AF response time, which is handy when a subject is a known distance from the lens. And the AF recall setting for the front of the lens button is very useful for photographers who can set a “known home” spot during a photo session, whether it is a bird’s nest or home plate. Activating this setting  instructs the lens to refocus exactly where you anticipate the action,  a very handy feature.

© Jack Howard Immature gull, (probably a laughing gull) at Sandy Hook.  1/2000 F4 ISO 100.

© Jack Howard Immature gull, (probably a laughing gull) at Sandy Hook. 1/2000 F4 ISO 100. I was kneeling with a monopod to get low to get the sandline. Notice that the depth of field wide open with a close subject can almost be measured in grains of sand!

The view through the lens is bright and crisp and sharp. Offering a 5º field of view on a full-frame camera, on crop sensor cameras such as the sd Quattro, it offers a 750mm equivalence for even longer reach.

© Jack Howard. 1/1600 F4.0 ISO 100 on the sd Quattro. Wide open, this lens is razor sharp on the focal plane!

© Jack Howard. 1/1600 F4.0 ISO 100 on the sd Quattro. Wide open, this lens is razor sharp on the focal plane! For reference, the blurred breaking wave is about fifteen feet behind the gull.

And at just under $6K US street price, this new lens offers all-star performance for a very nice price.

The Sigma 12-24mm F4 DG HSM | Art

This is the first Ultrawide full-frame zoom lens to wear the Art badge, and like the 500mm F4, was a surprise to most Sigma fans. Following up on the success of the wildly popular second generation variable aperture 12-24mm zoom, this lens offers great edge to edge sharpness paired with exceptional distortion control throughout the 2x zoom range. As an Art lens, the emphasis in first and foremost on optical performance, and as such, it is a big lens, with a large front element. And interestingly, the front element group glides back and forth inside the integrated tulip hood as the focal distance is adjusted. It is a natural go-to lens for landscape artists, architecture and photojournalisms.

Vignetting is very well controlled. For a short lens, is is quite hefty, due in part to the 80mm diameter aspherical front lens element.  Zoom is swift for recomposing, as is AF; thanks to a new hypersonic motor that delivers 1.3x torque compared to previous generation. It is very nimble in nailing focus. And it close-focuses to mere inches in front of the lens, allowing both for heroing in on a subject as well as offering background separation and off-focal plane blur.

© Roman Kurywczak. 12-24mm at 24mm F16 1/3 sec ISO 100 paired with a 1DX

© Roman Kurywczak. 12-24mm at 24mm F16 1/3 sec ISO 100 paired with a 1DX

This lens is designed for full-frame DSLRs, and does not accept front-threaded filters. The tradeoff, though, is fantastic edge to edge performance while taking in sweeping fields of view. 

The 85mm F1.4 DG HSM | Art

Shortly after photokina 2012, when the first Art lens, the 35mm F1.4 DG HSM | Art was announced, photographers have been asking for the 85mm F1.4 EX DG HSM to be redesigned to the Art lens standards.

Mind you, the original 85mm F1.4 is a fantastic optic; so the new Art lens 85mm F1.4 has a strong pedigree to uphold. Now, the 85mm F1.4 DG HSM | Art is here. It is real, and it is spectacular.

©JudyHost 2016 | Sigma 85mm F1.4 DG HSM Art – The Ultimate Portrait Lens f 1.4 s 1/640 ISO 400 Hand Held, Manual Mode.

©JudyHost 2016 | Sigma 85mm F1.4 DG HSM Art – The Ultimate Portrait Lens f 1.4 s 1/640 ISO 400 Hand Held, Manual Mode.

It is a big chunky lens, with an 86mm front element riding ahead of a wide MF grip ring. It is razor-sharp on the focal plane, even wide open, and of course it has nine rounded aperture blades for lovely bokeh.

©JudyHost 2016 | Sigma 85mm F1.4 DG HSM Art – The Ultimate Portrait Lens f 2.8 s 1/250 ISO 400 Hand Held, Manual Mode.

©JudyHost 2016 | Sigma 85mm F1.4 DG HSM Art – The Ultimate Portrait Lens f 2.8 s 1/250 ISO 400 Hand Held, Manual Mode. For a portrait photographer who prefers to photograph in natural light it really doesn’t get any better than this!

It, too, has a newly designed Hypersonic Motor with 1.3x torque of the previous generation, and it is very obvious. AF is zippy, locking on the the subject quickly, anywhere in the focal zone even indoors in fair to fading light.

© Jen Rozenbaum.  1/160 F2.2 ISO 1250

© Jen Rozenbaum. 1/160 F2.2 ISO 1250 on a Canon 5D MIII

© Jen Rozenbaum. 1/200 F2.8 ISO 200 Canon 5D MIII

© Jen Rozenbaum. 1/200 F2.8 ISO 200 Canon 5D MIII

Wedding specialists, journalists and studio photographers looking for a sharp, short tele with a fast aperture, plus speedy, accurate autofocus and outstanding optical characteristics are going to love this lens. If you haven’t already preordered, you’re going to want to do so now—demand is really high.

Which of these three new lenses are you most excited about? Let us know below! 

4 comments so far

Add Your Comment
  1. Still awaiting the 800mm F5.6 Sport lens. These releases are very nice, but also somewhat redundant except for the Global Vison upgrades. The 800mm Sport would show the world that Sigma is SERIOUS about wildlife photography once and for all.

  2. I am curious if Sigma will be bringing their 70-200 into the Global Vision fold any time soon? I have all Sigma lenses for my Canon body, my favourites being The 17-50 and my all time best a 50-150 OS HSM.

  3. I want them all! I have the 150-600 and love it! My question is this, what kind of gimbal tripod should I purchase for the new 120-300 Sigma lens?
    Thanks

  4. I have 4 Sigma lenses : 50mm f/1.4 Art, 13-35 f/1.8 DC Art, 180mm f/2.8 macro hsm os , 8-16 f/4.5-5.6 D.C. Love them all. I had some autofocus problems with certain lens body combos . I have the 50art on my Nikon d810 it performs phenomenally (now) . I had to do 5 different lens calibrations with the dock. The last time I did an inbody calibration and USB dock calibration. Now it’s a beast . I shoot low light moving subjects at f/1.4 and it’s doing great. This is hard for any lens/body/photographer combo at f/1.4. Also now shooting the Nikon d500 with the 18-35 art. It’s shooting phenomenal at f/1.8 in very low light and moving subjects. I’m blown away by their performance. My New Nikkor 70-200 f/2.8 e is getting less in focus hits on moving subjects. This is extraordinary performance from a third party lens. The 8-16 even with the smaller aperture hit focus consistently in the low light with either camera.