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.
1) Overview and Key Specifications
The new Sigma 24-105mm f/4 lens is very similar to the Nikkor and Canon alternatives, but is bigger and noticeably heavier than either one. It starts with a metal mount and is designed according to Sigma’s new design language with a premium-feeling barrel similar to that of the two other Art lenses mentioned previously. Sigma also made the decision of placing the focus ring closer to lens mount and the zoom ring further away, while traditionally professional-grade lenses had their focus rings further away from camera body. Nikkor placed its focus and zoom rings the same way, while Canon stuck with the old lens design formula. Which is better for you is a personal matter. Thankfully, there’s still a focus distance scale, but the focus ring itself is very narrow – likely because most photographers use manual focus less and less. Personally, I would prefer the focus ring to be a bit chunkier. Focal length markings have been moved further away still and are placed right before the hood mount. Normally, I would not even bother mentioning small details like this, but the fact Sigma has moved some bits around from their usual, de-facto locations and that made it worth mentioning.
On to more important parameters. Historically, Sigma used to offer a very good price/performance compromise, but while the price aspect remains true to this day – most of Sigma lenses are cheaper than their brand alternatives – the performance part has greatly improved. As we’ve said before, third-party manufacturers are on the rise, so there is reason to believe this 24-105mm f/4 lens will perform on a high level. Optical formula of the new lens is quite complex and consists of 19 elements in 14 groups versus 17 elements of the Nikkor and 18 elements of the Canon equivalent. The glass used in the Sigma is also of high quality with some elements being similar to exotic fluorite. The aperture consists of 9 rounded blades.
The lens features internal focusing, so the length remains constant regardless of focus distance and the front element does not rotate. Speaking of distance, the lens can focus down to a respectable 45cm and achieve magnification of 1:4.6. The barrel extends when zooming towards the long end of the zoom range which covers wide to medium telephoto angle of view. The constant f/4 aperture throughout is on par with its rivals, and the new Sigma is also optically stabilized and features Sigma’s own HSM AF motor for snappy focusing performance. It is worth mentioning that the lens uses a rather large 82mm filter size, which, for many, means purchase of new filters. On the other hand, the front elements is also rather big, which, according to Sigma, should reduce vignetting wide-open.
Here is the list of key specifications:
- Lens Construction: 19 elements in 14 groups
- Minimum aperture: F22
- Filter size: ø82mm
- Angle of view (35mm format): 84.1°-23.3°
- Minimum focusing distance: 45cm/17.7in.
- Dimensions (Diameter x Length): ø88.6mm x 109.4mm/3.5in. x 4.3in.
- Number of diaphragm blades: 9 (Rounded diaphragm)
- Maximum magnification ratio: 1:4.6
- Weight: 885g/31.2oz
If the recent Sigma lenses are of any indication, the new 24-105mm f/4 OS should perform admirably and at least on par with competition. We will find out as soon as a copy reaches our hands.
2) Official Press Release
Here is the official Sigma 24-105mm f/4 DG OS HSM lens press release:
Sigma Corporation announces new, optically stabilized 24-105mm F4 DG OS HSM lens
Standard zoom with versatile focal range, features stabilization, outstanding image quality
RONKONKOMA, NY — October 16, 2013 — Sigma Corporation of America (www.sigmaphoto.com), a leading researcher, developer, manufacturer and service provider of some of the world’s most impressive lines of lenses, cameras and flashes, today announced its newest addition to the Sigma Art line of lenses for full-frame cameras, the 24-105mm F4 DG OS HSM.
True to its categorization as a Sigma Art lens, the new 24-105mm F4 DG OS HSM is designed for artistic expression and top-notch image quality. This versatile lens covers the basic shooting range from wide to medium tele with an inner focusing system that eliminates front lens rotation, enhancing the lens stability and allowing the use of circular polarizing filters. It also boasts a constant aperture of F4, and contains Sigma’s proprietary Optical Stabilizer (OS) technology to compensate for camera shake. Moreover, it was designed to surpass the required quality inspection of every Global Vision lens with Sigma’s own modulation transfer function (MTF) “A1” measuring system to create new optical standard to align with the high-spec cameras on today’s market.
“For many years, Sigma users have been seeking a standard zoom lens in this range,” said Mark Amir-Hamzeh, president of Sigma Corporation of America. “The 24-105mm F4 DG OS HSM is yet another example of Sigma listening to its users and delivering new and innovative products with the highest image quality.”
Amir-Hamzeh added that this new lens combines the largest possible fixed aperture to zoom ratio that will maintain optimal integrity for many kinds of photography, including landscapes, architecture, portraiture and still-life. With a minimum focusing distance of 45cm and a maximum magnification ratio of 1:4.6, this lens is also excellent for close-up photography.
High-performance glass elements, including SLD, FLD, which is equal to fluorite, and glass-molded single- and double-sided aspheric lenses have been included into the optical system to prevent aberration, field curvature, distortions and color aberration. The 24-105mm F4 DG OS HSM lens is also able to suppress chromatic aberration very effectively at the telephoto-end, and can achieve superior image quality throughout the zoom range. Unlike lenses with similar specifications, this lens overcomes low peripheral brightness. Although it is designed for full frame cameras, it also works with APS-C sensors, giving an increase to focal length.
The lens’ Hyper Sonic Motor (HSM) ensures a silent, high-speed auto focus function and enables full-time manual focusing capability. The 24-105mm is also compatible with Sigma’s USB dock allowing photographers to update its firmware and change focus parameters using Sigma’s Optimization Pro software. It is also compatible with Sigma’s recently announced Mount Conversion Service.