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Sigma 20mm F/1.4 Leaked, Jpeg Getting DRM, & Sandisk Shopping Itself? {Daily Roundup}

By Anthony Thurston on October 15th 2015

Welcome to our roundup series where we will hit on several gear news and rumor topics each day. This gives you a chance to get caught up on all of the day’s news and rumors in one place. Make sure to check back daily for the latest gear news, rumors, and announcements.

Sigma 20mm F/1.4 Art Lens Leaked

The big buzz on the rumor mill over the last day or so has been this leak regarding a supposed Sigma 20mm F/1.4 art lens. Leaks like these are rarely incorrect, and with the rumored announcement coming tomorrow, we will know soon enough.


Rumored Sigma 20mm F/1.4 Specs

  • Designed for full frame DSLR cameras
  • Lens construction: 15 elements in 11 groups
  • One large-diameter double sided aspherical element
  • Two FLD elements and five SLD elements to best correct chromatic aberrations
  • In-lens HSM autofocus motor. New mechanism for full-time manual override in autofocus mode
  • Total length: 129.8mm
  • Maximum diameter: 90.7mm
  • Weight: 950g
  • 9 diaphragm blades, rounded
  • Maximum magnification: 1:7.1 (0.14x)
  • Designed to minimize flare and ghosting
  • Very low distortion
  • Designed to minimize coma aberration
  • Available in Canon, Nikon and Sigma mounts

According to the reports, the lens will retail for around 162,000 yen,  which roughly translates to $1300 US, but generally the US price is still lower than a straight yen to dollar conversion. I am going to guess that this lens runs in the 1,000 to 1,100 range.

In theory, this lens will be great for those stunning astro landscapes that we see all the time. The specs also mention ‘very low distortion’, which if that is the case, maybe this could even been a half-decent lens for environmental portraiture and similar uses.

At any rate, we should know more soon. So stay tuned and once this is official, we will have all the details for you direct from Sigma!

DRM Could Be Coming to JPEG?!?!?!?


Yes, you read the header correctly, Digital Rights Management (DRM) could be integrated into a future JPEG standard. This is the same controversial technology that music and movie industry has been trying to ram down our throats to combat illegal copying and sharing.

Well, the JPEG governing body (yes, there is such a thing) had a meeting recently to discuss the possibility of integrating DRM into the jpeg standard. From a photographer’s perspective, this could be viewed as a good thing, allowing us the control we need to prevent people from stealing and misusing our imagery. But it also likely introduces a lot more headaches into the process of digital delivery, social sharing, and just general use of images.

It is a polarizing topic, with most falling into the ‘DRM sucks’ side of the spectrum. I have no doubt that there are ways to make DRM less annoying, but people see the term DRM and think of CD/DVD copy protections and needing an internet connection to register/view details, things that would no doubt annoy anyone.

Personally, I can see both sides, but am not a fan of most implementations of DRM. If they can come up with a way to make it harder to steal/copy images without permission, that would be great, so long as it doesn’t make my experience viewing/using jpegs more of a hassle. It would also probably help if they came up with a different term than DRM, because like I said above, people see DRM and freak out.

Anyways, guessing from the public outcry over this, I doubt it will make it into the next JPEG standard. Probably for the better.

Sandisk Shopping Itself Around?

sandisk cards

Chance are pretty high that at least one of your SD or CF cards is a Sandisk, so this news will be interesting to you. According to the rumor mill, Sandisk is looking to get bought out.

Apparently the digital storage company has been shopping itself out to the likes of Western Digital and Micron. A purchase by Western Digital would likely be a huge deal in the tech world. Though if Sandisk does want to be purchased, it would need approval from Toshiba, due to their partnership.

Sandisk stocks jumped over 15% upon news of the potential sale, with a rough value in the neighborhood of $12.8 billion. Western Digital by comparison is valued at around $22 billion, making any deal likely very costly – but definitely a blockbuster.

So you may be asking yourself, why would Sandisk be interested in joining a larger storage media company? Well, Sandisk is a relatively small company, and that makes competing with larger players like Samsung more difficult. If Sandisk were able to join a larger company, like Western Digital for example, it could make competing with the like of Samsung a much easier proposition.

We will keep an eye on this and update you further if any more news comes about.


What are your thoughts on today’s roundup? What news/rumors did we miss? What would you like to see covered in future roundups? Leave a comment below and let us know what you think!

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Anthony Thurston is a photographer based in the Salem, Oregon area specializing in Boudoir. He recently started a new project, Fiercely Boudoir to help support the growing boudoir community. Find him over on Instagram. You may also connect with him via Email.

Q&A Discussions

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  1. Dalibor Tomic

    I use to have 50mm ART and I was in love with that lens. I have no doubt that 20mm is going to be another great lens from Sigma

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  2. Steve VanSickle

    I’m okay with the idea that JPEG *could* support some kind of DRM – if someone wants to protect their images. The sad thing is looking at the comments about it on (for example) Engadget’s article. I know music/movie/game DRM has been pretty awful, but it’s just not the same market, and it’s not consumed the same way at all. Practically nobody buys images the way they buy music, tv, games, etc. Also, it doesn’t mean that ALL jpegs will be DRMed, just art portfolios, most likely.

    By now, most of us have heard about stealing photos for facebook/instagram followers (Ludacris comes to mind), and trends like freebooting (look it up, if you don’t know). Even recently, I had a local non-profit try to download one of my photos to print in their brochures. They emailed their intern and told them to find a high-res version and download it because the copy on facebook wasn’t fit for print. THIS is the kind of garbage that (at publisher’s discretion) protected JPEGs are intended to protect against. Yes, yes, we’ve all heard that anyone with enough knowledge and determination will thwart any DRM, but honestly, most casual pirates will see one or two roadblocks and move on to content that’s less protected.

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  3. Sean Goebel

    A Sigma 20mm f/1.4 would be great. I’ve been using the Rokinon 24 1.4 since it first came out for astro-landscape photography because of its sharp, coma-free corners. I was excited for the Sigma 24 until reviews revealed it was optimized for the center of the frame and had mediocre (at best) corners. I would welcome a wider lens, assuming the corners are decent.

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  4. adam sanford

    Totally forgot to mention before — that leaked photo has no hood line-up dots and no hood grippy ring like the other Art Prime hoods. It’s only one photo, but it would strongly suggest that the hood is permanently attached and we’re into bulbous front element territory.

    Bummer news for daylight landscapers, I know, though one might argue why a landscaper would be packing a two pound f/1.4 lens for such a job.

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    • Mac MacDonald

      That would, for sure, be a deal killer for me. The 20mm I buy must be multi-purpose. One of those purposes would be landscape, during the day, and using filters.

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    • adam sanford

      You’re likely done with this one then.

      Full frame + F/2.8 or faster + wider than 24mm + front filterable options are quite limited (from B&H):

      Canon EF 20mm f/2.8 USM
      Nikkor 20mm f/2.8 (two versions apparently)
      Zeiss 21mm f/2.8 (ZE / ZF.2)
      Sony 20mm f/2.8 (A mount)

      …or you wait for Wonderpana or Lee to design some spiffy outrigger for you like they’ve done for other ultrawides.

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  5. Dragan Yordanov

    I am a bit disappointed if this really turns out to be the so-long expected wider angle Art lens that Sigma releases as 20mm is not that wide. Personally I’ve been forcing myself not to buy the Tamron 15-30mm f/2.8 because is too heavy and does not take filters, just hoping that Sigma will come with something like 14mm f/2.0 or similar.

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    • Anthony Thurston

      For MOST people, 20mm is actually quite wide. Seems to me they are working their way down, if they keep going wide, next stop would be a ~ 16mm. hang in there.

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    • adam sanford

      You could just get the 11mm prime if you are with Canon.

      They call it an 11-24mm zoom, but come on, who are they kidding?

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  6. Mark Romine

    Why would SanDisk consider Samsung a competitor in the pro card market? Doesn’t SanDisk already have the foothold here?

    This summer I bought two Pro 64GB Samsung SD card, it was a really attractive price from Adorama. Thought it was a low cost risk. One of them died within two weeks. Adorama refunded the full price. I will not buy another Samsung card for work use again.

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    • Dave Haynie

      Samsung is the largest manufacturer of NAND flash — they’re inherently a competitor. They’re much more competitive in the SD card business in Asia. As well as their own product line, other companies also use Samsung memory in their cards.

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  7. Mark Romine

    No Sony mount on the initial release of the Sigma 20mm f1.4? Is Sigma making a statement?

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    • adam sanford

      They did the same thing with the 24mm Art.

      Canon/Nikon/Sigma mount to start with and then other mounts *may* follow.

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  8. Stan Rogers

    Micron buying Sandisk would be bad for us all; they already have Lexar, so that would mean that both of the big players in the SD/CF game would be under one roof. (That’s leaving out the Micron/Sandisk SSD conflict, but there are significant competitors there already.) WD would probably be a good fit for us on the consumer end; let’s hope the shareholders think it’s as good a fit.

    And of course a file format that’s named after the Joint Photographic Experts Group has a governing body ;) (Those of us who grew up, or were already old, in the 8.3 filename era pretty much expected that the .3 stood for something, and you really did often have to know what it stood for if you wanted to use the file. Nobody would open anybody else’s *anything* in those days, and that extension might have just been part of a WordPerfect document file name, which had no default extension.)

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  9. Mac MacDonald

    I was literally 2-weeks out from buying the Nikon 20mm f/1.8 but reconsidering now. I’d use this for super-wide wedding group shots (had a group of 30+ people last wedding!) and, of course, for astro work.

    My only concern is no weather sealing on the Sigma…and the weight. I normally never care about weight for weddings but my landscape kit is already a billion pounds and I routinely hike 10+ miles on steep terrain and the Sigma looks to be a thousand pounds…and no weather-sealing?

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    • Anthony Thurston

      good points! I still can’t for the life of me understand why Sigma doesn’t weather seal their art lenses.

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  10. adam sanford

    Everyone (other than astro people) probably put their fist through the monitor when they found out that Sigma’s next Art prime *wasn’t* an 85mm.

    I’m shocked that Sigma didn’t come with a portrait lens as their next offering.

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  11. adam sanford

    Interesting play from Sigma. This is a niche focal length, as Anthony surmised well aimed at the astro crowd. The untracked astro rating of the combination of 20mm and f/1.4 is spectacular.

    Sharpness will be priority number *two* with this lens — Coma performance will make or break this one commercially.

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    • Justin Haugen

      Hey Adam, what is your field of expertise? Just curious, you’re always a welcome comment to read on these announcements.

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    • adam sanford

      Enthusiast, not a pro. I just enjoy tracking the tech developments.

      Yesterday was a pretty big day for ‘stuff’ happening.

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