Thoughts on the Sigma 50mm f/1.4 Art

Sigma announced the new Sigma 50mm f/1.4 Art lens back in January of this year, but we were left with a couple of big unknowns such as the price. I guess it has become the latest trend to announce early development efforts by a number of manufacturers now – Nikon did the same with their Nikkor 800mm f/5.6 lens and the D4s DSLR camera. A couple of days ago, Sigma finally announced the pricing and availability of the Sigma 50mm f/1.4 DG HSM “Art” and I must say, after hearing rumors about Sigma challenging the Zeiss Otus 55mm f/1.4 in optical quality, I was very surprised to find out that the lens is going to be retailed for $950. As you may already know, I am a big fan of the new revamped line of Sigma lenses. After reviewing the 35mm f/1.4 Art, I was blown away by its sharpness, focus speed / accuracy and color rendition. So when Sigma announced the 50mm f/1.4 Art series, I looked at the MTF charts and knew immediately that the lens will not disappoint.

Sigma 50mm f/1.4 Art

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Sigma Lens Abbreviations

Sigma lenses have been getting more and more popular in recent years thanks to some truly professional-grade optics (like the 35mm f/1.4 HSM Art, for example). As every other manufacturer, however, they use different designations for various bits of technology incorporated into the lenses. In this article, I will go through the most important Sigma lens abbreviations you might come across. Thankfully, there are not that many of them despite the fact Sigma has a broad lens line-up, so there’s not all that much to remember.

Sigma Lens Abbreviations

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Sigma 18-35mm f/1.8 Review

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This is an in-depth review of the Sigma 18-35mm f/1.8 DC HSM Art lens, world’s first constant f/1.8 zoom lens for DSLR cameras that was announced in April of 2013. Despite the recent trend of manufacturers to move their customer base to full-frame format, Sigma took a bold move and announced the professional-grade Sigma 18-35mm f/1.8 Art for DX/APS-C format only. With a focal range equivalent to 27mm-52.5mm in 35mm format, the lens provides a good range to work with for a variety of different needs and applications. And with its fast constant aperture of f/1.8, the Sigma 18-35mm opens up opportunities to shoot in low-light situations, something that was previously only possible with fast aperture prime lenses. Lastly, Sigma’s pricing of $799 MSRP for the lens made it the top choice in terms of value when compared to pro-grade lenses such as the Nikon 17-55mm f/2.8G DX, which sells for almost twice as much and does not offer the same low-light advantages.

Sigma 18-35mm f/1.8 DC HSM

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Other Black Friday Deals

Updated with Sigma lens rebates

More rebates are available from other manufacturers in addition to those already covered. First of all, some Nikon DSLR bodies and mirrorless cameras are offered with instant savings. Nikon 1 J1 with a 10-30mm zoom lens costs just $200! Canon also dropped the price of some of its cameras for the holidays. Then there is Sony E mount lens rebates with instant savings that range from $25 to $200, while Adobe Photoshop Lightroom 5 receives a discount with the price knocked down to $109 (from $141).

Black Friday Deals

Most of these are also offered with free shipping within USA. The majority of Nikon rebates are valid through November 30th. We will keep this list updated with any new rebates that might become available.
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Sigma 24-105mm F/4 DG OS HSM Lens Available for Pre-Order

A few days ago, Sigma introduced a new lens to its Art line-up, the 24-105mm f/4 OS. The lens is set to compete directly with Nikon’s Nikkor 24-120mm f/4 VR and Canon’s 24-105mm f/4L IS lenses spec-wise, but the price was yet unannounced. Previously, Sigma lenses always offered a very good price/performance ratio, but after the success of its recent offerings some might have started to suspect that price increase is soon to follow. Luckily, the new 24-105mm f/4 OS lens is no different from previous Sigma products in terms of price when compared to direct “first-party” competition from camera manufacturers and will retail for around $899. Shipping starts in November.

Sigma 24-105mm f4 DG OS HSM Lens

1) Pre-Order Links

Click one of the following links to pre-order the new Sigma lens for Canon, Nikon, Sigma or Sony mount:

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Sigma 24-105mm F/4 Lens Announcement

Updated with pre-order links, prices yet unavailable

Sigma has no intention on stopping with its highly regarded 35mm f/1.4 and 18-35mm f/1.8 lenses. Today, the Japanese manufacturer has announced a new addition to its “Art” lens line-up – the full-frame compatible 24-105mm f/4 DG OS HSM lens set to compete directly with Canon 24-105mm f/4L IS and Nikkor 24-120mm f/4 VR lenses.

Sigma 24-105mm f4 DG OS HSM Lens

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Sigma 120-300mm f/2.8 DG OS HSM Review

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This is an in-depth review of the Sigma 120-300mm f/2.8 DG OS HSM Sport, a high-end super telephoto lens with a versatile zoom range and a wide constant aperture of f/2.8, designed for wildlife, sports and portrait photographers. This is the third iteration of the lens. Its predecessor, the Sigma 120-300mm f/2.8 EX DG OS APO HSM was released back in 2005 with identical optical design. What has changed, is the exterior make and appearance of the lens (along with the tripod collar and tripod foot), the new rigorous quality control that Sigma has implemented on its new lines of high quality lenses, and the ability to attach a USB dock for fine tuning the autofocus operation of the lens. In this review, I will go over the technical specifications of the lens, talk about its optical features and performance with and without teleconverters, and compare it to other super telephoto lenses like Nikon 200-400mm f/4G VR and Nikon 300mm f/2.8G VR II.

Sigma 120-300mm f/2.8 DG OS HSM

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Sigma 35mm f/1.4 Review

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This is an in-depth review of the Sigma 35mm f/1.4 DG HSM prime lens that was announced at one of the largest photo shows in the industry, at Photokina in Germany on September 17, 2012 for Sigma, Canon, Nikon, Pentax and Sony mounts. The announcement came on the same day with Sigma’s new restructuring of its lens lineup, with three new categories that would differentiate different types of lenses: “Contemporary” for small and lightweight consumer lenses, “Art” for professional zoom and prime lenses and “Sports” for long lenses targeted at sport and wildlife photography. Being a professional-level lens targeted at a variety of photography needs, including portraiture, landscapes and travel, the 35mm f/1.4 is the first Sigma lens that falls into the “Art” category.

Sigma 35mm f/1.4

Thanks to its large aperture of f/1.4, the lens is not only great for low-light photography, but it also can effectively isolate subjects from the background due to shallow depth of field, beautifully rendering background highlights, also known as “bokeh“. Unlike cheaper cropped-sensor lenses, the Sigma 35mm f/1.4 is designed to work on both APS-C / DX and full-frame / FX sensors. The lens rivals other fast 35mm primes from Nikon, Canon and Sony, and unlike the branded versions that are in the $1500 range price-wise, the Sigma is actually the cheapest of the group at $899 MSRP.

Sigma 35mm f/1.4 Sample (1)

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Nikon, Fuji and Sony rebates end tomorrow

A quick reminder to those of you who were planning on purchasing new photographic equipment from B&H. Instant rebates from Nikon, Fujifilm and Sony will end tomorrow (06/29/2013). A quick recap on the rebates programs. If you buy a Nikon DSLR body, you have the option of purchasing as many lenses or speedlight units (SB-700 and SB-910) with up to $300 off per each product. While this means that you have to purchase at least one camera to qualify for additional lens rebates, some lens rebates are significant and were not part of any rebates in the past (like the new Nikon 70-200mm f/4G VR lens that I reviewed earlier this year). So this will be a great program for those that want to buy a new DSLR or want a backup camera.

Nikon More Buy More Save Rebate

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Third Party Lens Manufacturers are On The Rise

I remember not that long ago there were two types of lenses. Brand lenses, those designed by known manufacturers for their own cameras, such as Canon, Nikon, Pentax and Olympus, and the cheapskate third party lenses you’d buy if you couldn’t afford the first type. Brand lenses were more expensive, but well worth the extra price. Better build quality, better optical capability, better dependability, better compatibility, better autofocus and fewer quality control and manufacturing issues were what you got for your hard-earned cash. Not to mention respectful nods from anyone spotting letters Nikkor or a red ring around the front of that lens barrel. A few years have gone by now and situation seems to be changing, however. Third party manufacturers have moved the game up and started producing some serious alternatives. Sigma is very keen to prove the point with the launch of its latest lens, the new 18-35mm f/1.8 DC HSM for APS-C DSLR cameras. In this article, I will introduce you to this new lens and give insight as to why it is such an important step forward in current smaller-format lens market.

Sigma 18-35mm f/1.8 DC HSM

What is it About This Lens?

In a nutshell, this new lens sports a useful wide-to-normal focal length range of 18-35mm on an APS-C sensor camera (27-52.5mm full-frame equivalent), for which it is designed. It also has Sigma’s fast HSM AF motor, which is similar to Nikon’s SWM and Canon’s USM technology. Zooming and focusing are internal, so length remains constant. The new Sigma also has 17 elements in 12 groups and sports 9 rounded diaphragm blades for smooth out of focus highlights. Some of the optical elements are aspherical while minimum focus distance is 0.28m. The lens accepts 72mm filters and is, unfortunately, not protected against dust and moisture. It’s also quite hefty at around 810g. The lens sits in Sigma’s Art lineup alongside Sigma 35mm f/1.4 HSM and is designed with aesthetic flexibility in mind. But the spotlight is the f/1.8 aperture throughout the zoom range. Oh yes. This is the first ever f/1.8 zoom lens for DSLRs.

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