We get it. Photography gear can be confusing. With all the abbreviations, names, categories, subcategories, formats and technological features, lens names in particular can contain enough jargon to baffle even the most experienced gear heads. But often, the “to buy or not to buy” decision comes down to one thing… is it an Art lens?
We’re happy to admit that SIGMA Art lenses have a great reputation, but if you haven’t considered a SIGMA Contemporary lens, you may be missing out on some seriously excellent gear!
So what is a Contemporary lens? Put simply:
In other words, a Contemporary lens is the ideal balance.
SIGMA’s 3 Lens Lines
SIGMA lenses are grouped into three lines: Art, Sports, and Contemporary. Most people know what they’re getting with an Art line lens: incredible optical performance, advanced technology, not to mention dust-and-splash resistant construction. Sports line lenses provide amazing long telephoto capability, along with super tough build quality that holds up to the most extreme conditions.
Contemporary line lenses give you performance, portability and value, all rolled into one! And as of May 2022, SIGMA offers 16 different Contemporary lenses for both DSLRs and mirrorless cameras. With so much to offer, there’s bound to be an essential place for Contemporary lenses in your collection, whether you’re a professional photographer, enthusiast, or just a casual shooter.
So What Makes a Contemporary Lens?
There aren’t a lot of rules so to speak, but generally, SIGMA Contemporary lenses feature:
- Outstanding overall image quality that rivals more expensive competitors, and in many cases is comparable to our own Art lenses.
- The latest technology, providing excellent AF and MF performance on any compatible camera, as well as digital in-camera corrections.
- Compact size for more convenient real-world use, when space is an important consideration (and it usually is!)
- Moisture and dust-resistant mount to keep contaminants from entering the camera body at the connection point.
- Competitive price, making high-quality lenses more accessible to all levels of photographers and video creators.
And like all SIGMA Global Vision lenses, Contemporary lenses also feature:
- Updateable firmware to allow ongoing compatibility and performance updates.
- High-precision brass lens mount for exceptional durability.
- 4-Year USA Warranty when purchased from a SIGMA Authorized Dealer for peace of mind.
FAQ: Common Questions About Contemporary Lenses
Q: Are Contemporary lenses just for crop-sensor cameras?
A: No, there are Contemporary lenses for both full-frame (DG) and crop-sensor (DC) cameras, both DSLR and mirrorless (DN). As time goes on, the product selection will evolve, but the Contemporary line is meant to serve camera users of multiple formats so everyone can enjoy photography.
Q: Are Contemporary lenses worse than Art or Sports lenses?
A: Worse, no. Different, yes! We have designed Contemporary line lenses to have outstanding image quality, but our main goal is to strike an optimal balance. So while an Art line lens of a similar focal length may perform better in a studio test or have a larger maximum aperture for more dramatic bokeh effects, a Contemporary lens has the advantage of being smaller, lighter, more affordable, and chances are it’ll be all the lens you need for almost any situation.
Q: Why are Contemporary lenses cheaper than Art or Sports lenses?
A: There are a few reasons. Typically, Art and Sports lenses have a few more features, such as customizable buttons, function switches, dust and splash resistance, and most notably, large-diameter optical designs that simply take longer to manufacture and incorporate larger, more expensive glass elements. Our Contemporary lenses, meanwhile, typically keep the buttons and controls to a minimum, and the more compact optical designs don’t cost as much to make and assemble.
Q: Are Contemporary lenses weather sealed?
A: Partially. Contemporary lenses feature a gasket at the mount that protects against dust and moisture, but none feature sealing throughout the lens body (this is an additional reason that Contemporary lenses are more affordable). That said, the vast majority of contaminants work their way into lenses through the rear mount, so as long as they aren’t abused, these lenses will provide many years of trouble-free use, even in moderate weather. For regular use in more extreme conditions, Art or Sports lenses are the way to go.
Q: Are Contemporary lenses made of plastic?
A: Most Contemporary lenses have lens barrels and exterior shells made of TSC (Thermally Stable Composite) that is technically a type of plastic. However, TSC is a state-of-the-art polycarbonate that is designed to be both lightweight and extremely durable, and its chemical makeup means it doesn’t shrink or expand with changing temperatures. This material is so high-quality that we’re also incorporating it into our Art and Sports lenses to provide lightness and thermal consistency.
The notable exception is the SIGMA I series, which are part of the Contemporary line due to their compact size and excellent value, but are all metal, from the mount to the barrel to the aperture ring.
Why Should I Get a SIGMA Contemporary Lens?
There are definitely reasons you might want to spend a bit more on an Art or Sports lens, but for most people, the SIGMA Contemporary line is really the sweet spot. Compact size, excellent image reproduction, outstanding build quality, modern technology, and a wallet-friendly price.
If you haven’t yet, head to a SIGMA Authorized Dealer and try one. From our incredibly popular telephoto zoom lenses for affordable reach, to our versatile F1.4 DC DN primes for crop-sensor mirrorless, to our beautiful, all-metal I series, there’s probably a Contemporary lens for you, and there’s definitely more to come.
I first saw your contemporary lenses and was purchasing your Art line . A friend had purchased a Sony crop sensor and I got him to purchase the trio kit you were selling.
I shoot live music photography and videography and have been doing so with Nikon dslrs. I shoot them with the 28 , 40 ,50 mm art , 180mm f/2.8 macro , 18-35 mm art and 8-16 mm all for the F mount .
Then I purchased a Sony a7siii and got several of the G master prime lenses . I was using them and I was noticing the Sigma I series lens line and liking the images from them .
The Sigma 65mm f/2 i Series Contemporary came out and I thought I’d give that unique fov a try . I was wanting an 85 for interviews but also try to storytell with my lenses. One of the reasons I love the Sigma Art 28 and 40s so well .
Well the 65mm I series was a big surprise the first time out . I struggled with it for about an hour not seeing what it saw if that makes sense. Then all of a sudden I DID . And that was it I was hooked to this fov. It didn’t stop there I took it to a show and after the concert i shot an interview. When we looked over the footage the background lighting was gorgeous. It renders light sources beautifully. Then the way light lays upon the skin in video with this lens is sublime. Oh and almost forgot the story . Or what I call the backstory . While interviewing you could see the stage and it’s lighting. Telling the story of what just happened.
Since then the Sigma 90mm f/2.8 I series came out and it’s like the big brother of the 65 . It renders almost identical to the 65 , I love them both.
SIGMA, if you come out with a 135mm I series keep it the same rendering and character as these two please. Also f/2.8 if you can no more than an f/3.2 . You don’t see f/3.2’s often anymore. The forgotten f/stop.
Thanks for all you do !
Troy Phillips of LMV Productions and Small Batch Sessions
Sigma is hitting it out of the park! I love my trio of DC DN primes and would preorder the 18-50mm 2.8 Contemporary immediately if it were released for EF-M. (Please!!!!!!!!!)
Thanks so much for the kind words! We don’t know if the 18-50mm will come for EF-M, but it will be released for X Mount in late 2022.
That’s a great perspective of the 65mm F2… you can’t just imagine its potential, you have to try it! Glad to hear you’re happy with your I series lenses. Don’t know if more are coming, but time will tell!