Sigma is having a big news day at the Photokina trade show. Earlier, the lens manufacturer announced plans to join Leica and Panasonic to further develop the L-mount full-frame camera system. At its press conference this afternoon, Sigma confirmed that, in addition to L-mount lenses, it plans on bringing its own full-frame mirrorless camera to market.
This isn’t a case of simply piling on. Sigma cameras, like the current Sigma sd Quattro H, use drastically different sensor technology than most cameras. The Foveon sensor has three layers, each of which is sensitive to a different part of the color spectrum. As such, it offers significantly higher detail per pixel than Bayer designs. But the design isn’t widely adopted. While it excels in image quality at the lower end of the ISO spectrum, we’ve yet to see a Foveon chip that delivers good results when you move above ISO 800.
Sigma expects to ship its full-frame camera next year. It will be the first Foveon to offer the 24-by-36mm sensor size.
Sigma will also discontinue production of the sd Quattro series, which uses the legacy SA SLR lens mount and abandon SA camera development, but will continue to release SA lenses and offer an adapter to use them with L-mount cameras. It also has plans to bring a Canon EF-to-L adapter to market, similar to the Sigma Mount Converter MC-11 adapter it currently sells for Sony E-mount systems.
Finally, to satisfy the needs of existing customers, Sigma will also offer mount conversion service. This will allow you to use your current Sigma Global Vision lenses with an L-mount mirrorless camera without an adapter. No word on which lenses are eligible for the service, or how much it will cost as of yet.
In addition to L-mount news, Sigma has unveiled five new lenses. One is for Sony E-mount APS-C and Micro Four Thirds mirrorless cameras. The 56mm F1.4 DC DN Contemporary has a narrow angle of view and bright f-stop, making it an ideal choice for portraiture. Its angle of view matches an 85mm full-frame lens when paired with an APS-C camera, and a boasts a 112mm angle of view on a Micro Four Thirds camera. The 56mm lens doesn’t feature optical stabilization, so you may want to pair it with a camera with an in-body stabilization system.
It’s joined by a bevy of full-frame lenses. The 28mm F1.4 DG HSM Art gives photographers who feel a 35mm is too tight and a 24mm too wide a prime f/1.4 option. It is protected from dust and splashes, sports a fluorine lens coat to repel oil and water, and promises to curb sagittal coma, which is a big plus for night sky photography. It will be sold for Canon EF, Nikon F, Sigma SA, and Sony FE cameras.
Next up is the 40mm F1.4 DG HSM Art. The 40mm is an underrepresented focal length, but one that many photographers count as a favorite—just a little bit tighter than a 35mm, but not quite as confining as a 50mm. It also promises to nix sagittal coma, shows less than 1 percent distortion, and of course gives you a blurred out background by shooting at f/1.4. This lens will also be available in Canon EF, Nikon F, Sigma SA, and Sony FE versions.
Moving into zoom territory, event photographers are sure to crave the 70-200mm F2.8 DG OS HSM Sports. The optically stabilized zoom promises much better resolution than the company’s existing, aged 70-200mm, and is built to withstand the rigors of professional use. It sports a magnesium barrel, extensive dust and splash protection, and fluorine coating on the front element.
The optical stabilization system is able to recognize and compensate for panning in any direction, so you don’t have to fiddle with switches to adjust its behavior. Of course, Sigma also promises the bokeh will be pleasantly smooth, so the lens will appeal to portrait photographers as well. It will be marketed in Canon EF, Nikon F, and Sigma SA mounts.
Finally, there’s a new telezoom coming to the Sigma lineup. The 60-600mm F4.5-6.3 DG HSM Sports boasts a 10x zoom ratio, full-frame coverage, and an optical stabilization system rated to four stops of effectiveness, although you will have to switch stabilization modes when panning with this lens. It offers 1:3.3 macro magnification at the 200mm focal length, which adds a bit of versatility beyond zoom power alone.
The barrel is a mix of magnesium, carbon fiber-reinforced plastic (CFRP), and thermally stable composite (TSC), which help to make it lighter than a full metal design would allow. However, it’s still a heavyweight at just under six pounds. There is also extensive weather sealing and a fluorine front coat, as you would expect from the a lens with the premium Sports designation.
The 60-600mm goes on sale in October and is priced at $1,999. Pricing and availability for the other lenses is not available at this time.