Sigma’s entry into the cine lens space at the end of 2016 came as a bit of a surprise to many cinematographers. Familiar in the still imaging world, the Sigma brand hasn’t been a huge part of the cinema landscape, until recently. Many shooters of Canon’s DSLR and cine systems have used Sigma’s Canon-mount lenses, while Sony’s a7-series camera shooters have been using Sigma’s Canon-mount photography lenses along with the MC-11 lens adapter as well. Many of Sigma’s lenses, including the excellently reviewed “ART’ lenses have received tremendous press (including this, our review of the 50mm version) but their still photography design requires some workarounds and the optical demands of high-end cinema are not the same as high-end photography.
Announced at the end of 2016, the Sigma Cine lens series is on display at NAB, and we took some time to talk to Sigma about these new lenses. Sigma’s Patrick Santucci walked us through the offerings, which include the High Speed Super 35 Zoom Line, the FF Zoom Lens and the High Speed Prime Line.
All of the lenses (except for the 24-35mm) work with E, EF and PL mounts, with Canon and Sony mounts shipping first and PL shipping in June.
Here are the technical specs on the new lenses.
• The Cine High Speed Super 35 Zoom Line: 18-35mm T2 and 50-100mm T2—The High Speed Zoom line offers the constant aperture of T2 throughout the zoom range with superior optical performance that is capable of high-resolution 6K-8K shooting. Delivering the highest image quality in its class, the High Speed Zoom Line is ergonomically compact and designed for E, EF and PL camera system mounts.
• The Cine FF Zoom Lens: 24-35mm T2.2 FF—Compatible with a full-frame image sensor, the FF Zoom’s outstanding optical performance also supports 6K-8K shooting. Because so few lenses cater to the requirements of the latest digital cinema cameras’ image sensors, this line provides a rare option for cinematographers. The FF Zoom is designed for E and EF camera system mounts.
• The Cine FF High Speed Prime Line: 20mm T1.5 FF, 24mm T1.5 FF, 35mm T1.5 FF, 50mm T1.5 FF and 85mm T1.5 FF—The Cine High Speed Prime lineup features lenses ranging from 20mm to 85mm, with all five touting an aperture of T1.5. Highly compact and compatible with full-frame sensors, these lenses offer superior resolution. They bring a consistent level of light to the production, offering greater consistency to any film’s color, contrast and overall look before it enters post-production. The FF High Speed Prime line is designed for E, EF and PL camera system mounts.
The Sigma Cine High Speed Zoom 18-35mm T2 and 50-100mm T2 lenses began shipping in December 2016 for a retail price of $4,000 USD.
The T1.4 primes (20, 24, 35, 50,85) are $3,500 and they’re shipping in EF and E mount in May and in PL in June. The 14 and 135 T2 are shipping in July with pricing to come before launch.
Sigma’s Santucci talked about the company’s efforts to enter the cine market, and the strides they’ve taken recently to elevate the Sigma brand. Many longtime photographers remember when Sigma and other third-party lens manufacturers made mostly inexpensive and lower-end alternatives to the lenses offered by the manufacturers, but that market has completely changed. Around five years ago Sigma went though a process of redevelopment of their products and their brands.
Lenses like the Sigma ART lenses, and now the cine lenses, are the result of that improvement, while a good price-performance ratio is still key to the company’s efforts.
“Customers are demanding higher quality,” explains Santucci of the company’s efforts to refresh the brand. “We set out to build a great product with higher quality. We don’t design to outprice [anyone].”
In the hand, the Sigma glass feels exceptionally durable; there’s a heft to the lenses that befits their quality construction. The prime lenses, with the consistent T1.5 across the range, have a similar look to each other, and the company even analyzes and qualifies each lens performance at manufacturing and can use the individual lens data to evaluate lenses after they’ve been used in the field.
Sigma “Blur’ short film using Sigma Cine lenses.
The lenses are available from most of the cine houses, including AbelCine, B&H and more. You can find a local dealer using the dealer locator on the Sigma site.
Each lens has a product page, which are available here.
Sigma Cine 14mm T2 FF – https://www.sigmaphoto.com/cinema-lenses/14mm-t2
Sigma Cine 20mm T1.5 FF – https://www.sigmaphoto.com/cinema-lenses/20mm-t1-5
Sigma Cine 24mm T1.5 FF – https://www.sigmaphoto.com/cinema-lenses/24mm-t1-5
Sigma Cine 35mm T1.5 FF – https://www.sigmaphoto.com/cinema-lenses/35mm-t1-5
Sigma Cine 50mm T1.5 FF – https://www.sigmaphoto.com/cinema-lenses/50mm-t1-5
Sigma Cine 85mm T1.5 FF – https://www.sigmaphoto.com/cinema-lenses/85mm-t1-5
Sigma Cine 135mm T2 FF – https://www.sigmaphoto.com/cinema-lenses/135mm-t2