Earlier this year, SIGMA announced the development of a new line of cine primes: The new “Classic” line of SIGMA cine primes sports a vintage look while still aiming for modern full-frame digital camera sensors. Their already existing (and quite popular) high speed line of cine primes gets an upgrade as well, namely an overhauled PL mount with Cooke’s /i Technology build in.
We’re talking 2o new lenses here. The Classic line, just as the readily available high-speed line, consists of 10 lenses, ranging from 14mm up to 135mm. The only real difference is twofold: Sigma cine primes in high-speed flavoring aim for best-in-class sharpness and overall performance while their classic siblings add a more dreamy, vintage look in order to combat that digital edge modern camera sensors tend to deliver.
SIGMA Cine Primes – Classic Line
First things first. The Classic labeled lenses use 1:1 the same optics than their high-speed counterparts. Except for the coatings. You might think that this ultra-thin layer of coating can’t tweak the resulting image that much, but actually it can! The imagery produced by these lenses alters dramatically from the “original” look of the high-speed cine primes. Furthermore, the alternative coating formula on numerous lens elements results in a slightly slower T-value. The majority of the 10 new primes is T2.5 (20mm – 105mm), the two extreme focal lengths come in T3.2 ratings.
All lenses offer a special coating on the front and rear element to prevent your valuable glass from light scratches and other nasty stuff. Unfortunately, these SIGMA cine primes labeled with Classic are only available in a set of 10. No single lenses to be purchased here, so this offering seems to be targeted more towards rental houses and owners/operators with deep pockets.
Since it is a bit hard to describe a look of a lens, please make sure to watch the below sample video (courtesy of SIGMA) and judge for yourself:
0:22 is a good example for extensive, yet finessed flaring, 0:49 shows some ghosting and at around 0:59 the whole frame gets soaked by light. All these features, if you will, are being well controlled by the high-speed variants of these SIGMA cine primes, and I think that’s the beauty: You can actually choose which look you prefer without studying a whole new set of lenses. Since the Classic line is based on the same glass and the same construction of lens elements and groups you pretty much know what you get.
These Classic primes just add a certain dreamy/silky look but they still are very resolving, very high performing lenses capable to play nicely with modern sensors. Another neat feature for higher end productions: The PL mount incorporates Cooke’s /i data technology so you can record all the lens metadata which is necessary for extensive VFX straight to your camera (which should be able to handle that /i data stream, of course).
The SIGMA cine primes Classic come in PL mount only (for now?) and will go on sale by the end of 2019.
SIGMA Cine Primes with Cooke /i Technology
The second update for today brings the aforementioned Cooke /i data technology to the existing line of SIGMA’s high-speed cine primes – to the PL mount variants to be accurate. Existing owners of PL mount versions might want to take a close look at the following statement and cross their fingers:
For SIGMA customers who have already purchased a SIGMA PL mount lens, a new service to turn their lenses into /i technology compatible ones is under consideration.
Just like with the new Classic line the existing high-speed line of cine primes will benefit from this technology since all aspects of the lens, like aperture, focal distance and focal length can be recorded along with the actual footage. Your VFX team will be delighted!
Nothing brand new from SIGMA but thoughtful and well-executed additions to their already impressive lineup of cine prime lenses. The ability to choose a look without leaving a well-known ecosystem seems to be well played by SIGMA. Cooke’s /i Technology readies these lenses for prime time productions. And still, these lenses won’t break your bank just like other offerings will most definitely. They aren’t cheap but they aren’t uber-expensive, either.
What do you think? Are you using SIGMA cine prime lenses? Would you use one of the Classic ones if you could? Share your thoughts in the comments below!