Japanese lens manufacturer SIGMA has introduced three lenses as addition to their »C | Contemporary« line of photographic lenses. The new SIGMA C »I Series« of Premium Compact Primes launches with three focal lengths: 24mm, 35mm and 65mm. They are specifically designed for L-Mount (Leica, SIGMA & Panasonic) and Sony E mount mirrorless cameras.
All three lenses are compact and all-aluminum constructions, the bayonet mount is made from durable brass and metal is also used in the internal workings. All that sound like the I Series lenses will be a pleasure to handle.
The design has a bit of a retro feel to it which I personally find very appealing. Especially the ribbed or knurled lens-hoods caught my eye. I have never seen that before.
Even the lens cap is made from metal and sticks magnetically to the front of the lens. You can buy the optional Lens Cap Holder CH-11, which is a key-ring type device that holds the lens-cap, while you are using the lens. I am constantly looking for lens caps, when I’m shooting. That’s why I like that SIGMA has put some thought into the »Missing Lenscap Problem«. Whether it’s actually practical remains to be seen.
The three I Series lenses are internally focussed, so the front element is fixed and does not rotate or telescope out of the barrel. That makes using screw-in filters like Polas or Grads easier to use. Let’s have a closer look at the new SIGMA glass.
SIGMA 24mm F3.5 DG DN
At 64mm×48.8mm (2.5in.×1.9in.) and weighting just 225g (7.9oz) it’s a rather small package. The lens features 10 elements in 8 groups, 3 aspherical lenses and 1 SDL glass. A 9-blade rounded diaphragm with an aperture ring that closes the lens down from f3.5 to a maximum of f22. 55mm screw-in filters can be used in front of the lens.
Note: SDL is SIGMAs brand name for Special Low Dispersion glass — optical glass that minimizes optical aberrations while the light is travelling trough the material itself.
SIGMA claims high resolving power and pleasing bokeh with near-circular out- of-focus highlights.
The lens has focus-mode switch and supports DMF and AF+MF (Sony E only). The stepper-motor is compatible with high-speed autofocus. A near focus of just 10,8cm (1:2 magnification) at it’s 24mm (84.1° field of view) opens up interesting creative possibilities.
The SIGMA 24mm F3.5 DG DN comes with a petal-shaped lens-hood, a magnetic front-cap and a rear-cap.
SIGMA C 35mm F2 DG DN
The lens is constructed with 10 elements in 9 groups featuring 1 SLD glass and 3 aspherical lenses. The 9-(round) bladed aperture is controlled from f2 to f22 with an aperture ring. 58mm filters can be used via the filter-thread at the front. It’s also internally-focussing and has a near-focus distance of 27cm (10.6in.).
With 70mm×65.4mm (2.8in. ×2.6in.) and 325g (11.5oz.) the SIGMA 35mm F2 DG DN is a little heavier and larger that the 24mm, but it’s really compact considering it’s a full-frame lens.
35mm on a full-frame body is a classic focal length for street-, portrait- and reportage photography. If it does live up to SIGMAs claims of optical quality — which I don’t really doubt — it’s going to be an ideal street photographer’s lens. Not least because of the retro-look and the haptics of it’s all-metal build.
The SIGMA 35mm F2 DG DN comes with a lens-hood, a magnetic front-cap and a rear-cap.
SIGMA C 65mm F2 DG DN
The last of the trio is a 64mm lens with a field of view of 36.8°. 12 elements in 9 groups, 1 SDL glass and 2 aspherical lenses project the light through a 9-bladed aperture, that goes from f2 to f22.
The near-focus of 55mm is nothing to write home about, but very likely no problem for the type of shots one does with a 65mm f2.
Unsurprisingly the SIGMA C 65’s dimensions and weight: 72mm×74.7mm (2.8in.×2.9in.) 405g (14.3oz.) makes it the largest and heaviest of the bunch. However compared to other offerings with similar specs, it’s lightweight.
65mm is a bit of a strange focal length for my taste, especially because the SIGMA 65mm F2 DG DN is no macro. But then again, I shoot APS-C only, so maybe for full-frame shooters 65mm makes sense. I reckon it is suitable for portrait- and certain types of landscape photography.
The SIGMA 65mm F2 DG DN also comes with a lens-hood, a magnetic front-cap and a rear-cap.
The three focal lengths SIGMA has brought out cover a lot of those photographic scenarios one would use prime lenses for. Especially when used on a full-frame body. I’m sure a wide-angle and a longer focal length will be released in the future to make the set complete.
It’s not clear to me wether the focus-rings of the lenses are drive-by-wire or have hard-stops, when in MF mode. But as there are no focus-markings on the barrel, I assume they are electronic. Depending on how good the ring’s movements are translated to the focus-motors it could potentially be a pleasure to manual-focus all-metal built lenses.
Are you using any SIGMA in general or C-Line lenses in particular? What’s your take on the new SIGMA glass, interested? Let’s talk about it in the comments!