The introduction of the new SIGMA 70-200mm F2.8 DG DN OS | Sports lens is fantastic news to all of us using L-Mount system cameras. (Cue Jared Polin of FroKnowsPhoto mentioning L-Mount and from the background comes a deep voice announcing the “L-Mount Alliance”)
As of now, the fast-growing L-Mount system includes a variety of camera and lens makers, most notably Leica, Panasonic, BlackMagic Design, DJI, and of course, SIGMA. And finally, a compact, lightweight 70-200mm workhorse lens is finally available for every L-Mount mirrorless camera.
No L-Mount kit is complete without a 70-200mm!
The 70-200mm F2.8 lens has always been one of my most frequently-used lenses. Perfect for portraits, sports, events and landscapes. And now completely redesigned for mirrorless! That means smaller, lighter and sharper. And at a price that fits my budget ($1499 USD at launch).
Plus, I now have that perfect F2.8 trio of my 14-24mm F2.8 DG DN | Art lens, my 24-70mm F2.8 DG DN | Art lens… AND now the 70-200mm F2.8 DG DN OS | Sports lens. Seriously, with these three lenses, there is so much you can photograph… so many assignments you can take on and bring back amazing results.
From a personal perspective, there are certain assignments I find the SIGMA fp is perfect for, just as I find the Leica SL2-S is a great street camera for me. (On a technical point, I should point out that not all Leica cameras use L-Mount lenses. The SL model does. I picked up a used SL2-S version because it is incredible at capturing images in low light). And, the full-frame Panasonic Lumix S series is a great, versatile camera system that so many of my friends use for video.
Of course, the best way to fall in love with this lens is to get out there and photograph something with it. I like street photography, but every time I’m in a big city using, say, a 24mm or 35mm lens, I have this little voice in my head saying “wide angle captures a lot of things… but what if you had a telephoto lens with you? What if you had a lens that would allow you to zoom in to capture the graphic element of city buildings as well as being less noticeable with street portraits?” Sure, a purist street photographer might shudder at the thought of a telephoto zoom… but for me it’s all about the moment. Capturing that moment in time. Unfortunately, the size and weight of telephoto lenses in the past has always been a limiting factor when it comes to street photography. Until now.
First impressions of the 70-200mm F2.8 DG DN OS | Sports
Lightweight and compact, perfect for the city
Which brings me back to the new SIGMA 70-200mm F2.8 DG DN OS | Sports lens. I took to the streets of New York with it to finally capture the telephoto perspective of a big city. My first impression? I could not believe how small and light this lens is, all in a super rugged package. SIGMA designed the lens with inner focus and zoom so the lens remains the same length no matter what your zoom or focus is at. Whether on the street in New York or back home capturing portraits in Wisconsin, this lens is a workhorse.
This lens is almost a pound less than the SIGMA 70-200mm F2.8 DG OS HSM | Sports for DSLRs (not to mention the additional weight of the MC-21 mount converter). But you really have to pick the lens up to realize how light it is. And that makes it very easy to carry around all day.
Rugged construction for use in any conditions
It also rained for two days when I was in New York recently, but no worries, because this is a Sports line lens, which means not only a dust and splash resistant lens, but one that has a water and oil repellent coating on the front element.
Razor sharp with gorgeous bokeh
I expect every SIGMA lens I have to be sharp. But even as sharp as the previous version was, this lens is sharper. Sure, the MFT charts show you how much sharper, but it’s something you have to see for yourself when you zoom in on a portrait and look at how sharp those eyelashes are. And the fast F2.8 aperture is outstanding for natural light and low light portraits. Plus, the 11-bladed diaphragm creates a beautiful, smooth bokeh.
Game-changing image stabilization
Much like the sharpness of this lens, you have to experience SIGMA OS2 lens stabilization to see you good it is. The SIGMA 60-600mm DG DN OS | Sports lens blew me away with my first working experience with this advanced stabilization, and the new 70-200mm F2.8 DG DN OS | Sports lens does the same. SIGMA lists it as 7.5 stops at 70mm, and 5.5 stops at 200mm!
How did it perform in the real world? How about hand holding rapids in a river at 1/2 second. Or capturing the never-ending movement of people and traffic in New York at 1/5 second, handheld. These shots show how incredibly effective SIGMA’s OS2 system is, but in person it is even more impressive.
Excellent autofocus performance
Not only were sharpness and stabilization outstanding, but I was amazed by how quickly this new lens focused. This lens features two HLA (High-response Linear Actuator) units to drive the focus elements, which results in lighting quick and accurate focusing. It was so easy to lock focus on my friend Laura during an autumn bike ride in Wisconsin. Combining a slow shutter speed and the new OS2 in Mode 2 (for panning shots), I was able to get Laura in sharp focus while the background was a colorful blur of autumn colors.
Video features and practical controls
As a photographer, most of my experience with this lens involves shooting stills. But hybrid shooters and dedicated videographers will also find that the SIGMA 70-200mm F2.8 DG DN OS | Sports is a really good video lens, with features specifically intended for video work.
The most impressive one is that there is virtually no focus breathing. You can change your focus drastically, and the composition of the image does not change in your viewfinder. It’s amazing to watch in action.
In addition, the lens groupings have been designed so there is better balance to the lens when it is attached to a gimbal (those little attention to details!). The manual aperture ring can be set to click, which I like for still photos… or de-clicked which you might like better for video.
Of course, there plenty of other controls and conveniences that SIGMA lenses are known for. These include:
- Built in tripod socket with a removable foot (the foot also includes the Arca Swiss dovetail).
- Three programmable Auto Focus Lock (AFL) buttons on the barrel.
- OS switch where you can select “1” for normal stabilization and “2” for panning.
- Focus Mode switch
- Focus Limiter switch
- Custom Mode Switch, optimized for use with the UD-11 USB Dock (L-Mount only) — this allows the user to customize the OS effect in the viewfinder, as well as the focus limiter distance.
- A cool new hood, which is similar to the hood on the SIGMA 60-600mm Sports lens (made of carbon fiber-reinforced plastic)
- Manual aperture ring (click on or off)
Is this the 70-200mm lens for your L-Mount camera?
If you’re anything like me, then you have been anxiously awaiting this lens for a while. And I can tell you, the wait was worth it.
For Leica, Panasonic, SIGMA, BlackMagic, and other camera brands that have joined the L-Mount alliance, there’s no better telephoto option if you want versatility, speed, sharpness, and durability, all in a lightweight package. The SIGMA 70-200mm F2.8 DG DN OS | Sports lens is finally here, and it’s exactly what L-Mount needed!
Learn more and pre-order yours!
available for L-Mount and Sony E-mount