Big news from Sigma today, as they have announced a foray into a brand new arena of the image-making market: cinema lenses. While they generally announce their still lenses 1 or 2 at a time, this new line comes with a total of 8 all new lenses, 3 zooms, and 5 primes. Each lens will be built to the exacting demands of cinematographers, and there will be no confusing them with Sigma’s still lenses.
Sigma’s press release emphasizes the resolution capabilities of these lenses, claiming that they will be 6k-8k ready, and offer an “unbeatable value.”
As with any serious cinema lens, these will all feature a long focus throw, and clickless aperture ring, both well marked in “luminous paint markings” (glow in the dark) for pulling focus in dark environments. Additionally, Sigma’s new line will be weatherproof, and feature a standard 95mm front diameter for ease of use with matte boxes.
High Speed Zoom Line
The first lenses to be released will be two high speed zooms, an 18-35mm T2, and a 50-100mm T2. If you’re unfamiliar with cinema lenses, they are rated by their actual measured transmission, or T stop, rather than their F stop, to ensure consistency, and these lenses being rated at T2 is impressive. They seem to be aimed squarely at Canon’s pair of cinema zooms, each of which max out at T2.8. It’s interesting that Sigma has left a gap between 35mm and 50mm in the zoom ranges of this matching set, especially since the Canons actually have overlapping ranges, at 15.5-47mm and 30-105mm. Both of these lenses will initially be available in EF and E mount, and will cover super 35 or APC-C sensors. PL mount versions will follow at a later date.
Availability of both of these lenses is listed as “toward the end of 2016” in Japan and the USA, and pricing is TBD.
FF Zoom Line
This line launches with a single lens: a 24-35mm T2.2. The party trick of this show pony is its ability to cover a full frame image sensor. Of course, it’s massive T2.2 aperture is a nice touch as well, but full frame image coverage, while not unheard of, is a rarity in cinema lenses, mostly because super 35 is the standard format for cinema work. There are, however, a few full frame cameras with serious video abilities, including the Sony A7S and A7S II, and the Canon 1D-C.
This lens will be built in EF mount and E mount versions, with availability coming at some time in 2017. Pricing of this lens is TBD, but don’t expect it be be anywhere in the realm of the still zooms you’re used to.
FF High Speed Prime Line
Sigma has also announced a full line of high speed cinema primes, all T1.5, in 20mm, 24mm, 35mm, 50mm and 85mm varieties. These also cover a full frame image circle, and seem poised to compete with Canon’s set of cinema primes and Zeiss’s CP.2 lenses. While the lenses vary in length, they are all relatively compact, similar to the offerings from Canon and Zeiss, and offer a consistent 95mm front diameter. These will be available initially in EF and E mounts, with PL mount versions coming later. These will also be in the second wave of availability, sometime in 2017, and, you guessed it, pricing is TBD.
Considering Sigma’s recent reputation in the still photography world for high quality glass at incredible value, these new lenses could present a tempting option for professional video shooters (assuming they don’t need focal lengths between 35mm and 50mm.) I would expect pricing to fall somewhere between Rokinon’s new Xeen lenses and the aforementioned Canon and Zeiss options, but as this is all new territory for Sigma, we’ll have to wait and see.
For more information and a full list of specs, check out www.sigmaphoto.com