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Sigma: Professional Lenses Without Breaking the Bank | Gear Talk Episode 9

By Joseph Cha on November 12th 2014

The Best Third Party Lenses

The new lineup of Sigma lenses have been causing quite a stir in the photographic community. A flagship lens from Canon or Nikon costs a premium and were unaffordable to most consumers, then Sigma shifted its focus towards creating top notch quality lenses at an affordable price. Check out the video below to see our thoughts on the new lineup of Sigma lenses.

Sigma: A New Chapter In Third Party Lenses | Gear Talk Episode 9

Sigma Art Series

sigma art lenses
Sigma has 3 distinguished lines of lenses: the Contemporary lenses, the Sports lenses, and the Art Lenses. Here’s what Sigma has to say about the Art lenses:

Engineered for those who see photography as a critical expression of self, our Art line offers sophisticated optical performance and abundant expressive power to deliver faithfully on your artistic vision.

Sigma currently makes 8 Art series lenses.

At SLRLounge, we’ve had a lot of experience with these Art lenses, and they’ve all impressed us beyond our expectation. When Matt Saville did his field review of the Sigma 18-35mm f/1.8, we knew immediately that this was a lens lineup to be excited about. Pye and I also did a gear talk on the Sigma 50mm f/1.4 and Anthony Thurston gave us his initial impressions on the Sigma 24-105mm f/4. The Sigma Art series has gained a solid reputation, and if you choose to invest in one, you’re guaranteed to have an outstanding lens.

Sigma Sports Series

sigma sport lenses

Sigma has also surprised the photography world by releasing their Sports lenses, a brand of lenses that have outstanding performance at an affordable price. Here’s what Sigma has to say about their Sport lenses.

Engineered for dynamic capture and split-second timing, our Sports line delivers sophisticated optical performance to get you closer to those powerful action shots you’re after.

Sigma currently has 2 lenses in their Sports series.

Let’s take a step back and appreciate what Sigma has done here. If you shot Canon and wanted a Canon lens that went up to 300mm at f/2.8, then you would have to buy their Canon EF 300mm f/2.8L IS II USM Lens which costs $6599. Sigma has created a lens that has the reach, aperture, and quality at nearly half the price. With that being said, comparing primes to zoom is like comparing apples to oranges, primes will always have better image quality, but when you consider the versatility and price, the Sigma becomes a strong contender for the best overall sports lens.


If you’re looking upgrade and invest in quality lenses at an affordable price, then you should definitely consider the new Sigma Lenses. We hope you enjoyed this episode of Gear Talk. If you want more, be sure to subscribe to our Youtube Channel!

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I’m a photographer and cinematographer based in Southern California. When I don’t have a camera in my face I enjoy going to the movies and dissecting the story telling and visual aesthetics.

Q&A Discussions

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  2. Michelle York

    So do the 35mm & 50mm ONLY work with a full frame body? I have a Canon 600D (crop sensor) and was hoping to upgrade my lenses before my body if possible?

    Thanks for any help!

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    • Cha

      They work with crop sensored bodies too! Your 600D will have no problem with these lenses.

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    • Michelle York

      Thank you so much for your reply, Cha!

      Just one more question, why does it have the different body types in brackets then? Thanks so much! Fantastic article :)

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    • Cha

      It’s just a list of bodies it’s compatible with, but it’s not limited to those bodies. I’ve used the sigmas on some old canon film camera’s from the 90’s and it worked flawlessly =)

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  3. Ian Sanderson

    I’m getting more and more sold on 3rd party lenses, equivelant build quality and image quality at a much reduced cost, hopefully it will force brands like Nikon and Canon into either dropping their prices or upping the quality, or hopefully both!

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  4. Jeffrey Kuo

    How’s the autofocus performance on these lenses in general? I’ve rarely given consideration to third party lenses but am considering a new 24-70, either Canon’s or possibly waiting for the Sigma f/2 version.

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    • Pye

      The AF has been fantastic in my experience.

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    • Matthew Saville

      Shooting wide open at f/1.4 all day long and expecting every single image to be perfectly in focus is not really fair to a camera body or a lens, but for the most part Sigma’s latest lenses have been almost as snappy and reliable as Canon 1.4 L glass, and MORE snappy and reliable than Canon 1.2 L glass. Canon’s 2.8 zooms will probably always hold a slight edge over Sigma 2.8 zooms, when it comes to AF reliability, but you’d really have to split hairs (or shoot thousands of photos, then statistically analyze entire sets) …in order to see a consistent difference.

      In other words, if AF performance is the only thing keeping you on the fence, you can safely decide in favor of any Sigma Art / Sport lens, as well as a good number of their previous EX line too.

      Unfortunately, the rumors of a 24-70 f/2 are still nothing but wishful thinking, we have yet to see any official leaks regarding even a patent being filed… Besides that, people seem to continue to ignore the fact that such a lens would be a behemoth, even larger than the already obese new set of 24-70 2.8’s from Tamron and Canon, both which require 82mm filter threads and still have a fair amount of vignetting wide open. In other words, a 24-70 f/2 would be extremely heavy, have serious vignetting thus really only making it f/2 in the dead center, …and would still cost a fortune.

      The most likely scenario is a 24-70 f/2.8 Art, of course. Sigma could do this in approximately the same size / weight as the Canon 24-70 mk2, at 1/2 the MSRP. They might even be able to include OS.

      As far as f/2 full-frame zooms are concerned, the most likely scenario is a much wider angle lens. Sigma does have a handful of f/1.8 zoom patents, not just the 18-35, so we’ll have to wait and see what the future holds…


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  5. david thorman

    cheers, the 150-600 is the one I have been looking at

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  6. Mads Helmer Petersen

    Hope they soon will release the 24 mm f1.4 – that has been rumored for some time now.

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  7. Greg Geis

    I wonder if they will be keen on stepping up their game on their 70-200 and coming out with an ART version. Their current version is a decent lens but seems to trail behind the flagships in quality and it even seems like Tamron has an edge on then.

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    • Cha

      I agree. Like we said in the video, we can only hope for more!

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    • Aleksander Michaud

      If they do a 70-200 that follows the standards set by their primes, I’m in for sure.

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  8. Aleksander Michaud

    Sigma has always intrigued me, but I wish there was an 85mm art. I know all about the 85 1.4 and how nobody thinks they’ll do an art due to cannibalizing their sales.

    Do you guys have any thoughts on the existing 85 1.4 versus the canon offerings? I have the Canon 85 1.8 (still love this thing) but have seriously been thinking upgrade, but wow is the 1.2L expensive.

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    • Cha

      the Canon 1.2L is a fantastic lens, and if your main income is from portrait photography then you should definitely consider the upgrade whether or not sigma comes out with an Art 85mm. When I shot canon it was my favorite portrait lens, and it’s actually Pye’s favorite portrait lens too! You can watch us talk about it in this previous gear talk.

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    • Aleksander Michaud

      Thanks Cha! I love that you guys weigh in on comments here at SLR Lounge. I’ll be keeping this in mind as I ponder upgrading.

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    • Gene Gregory

      Don’t know yet if the rumors are true but expect SIGMA to release a replacement for the 85mm and it is going to be an ART series. Another lens that will caught everyone’s attention will be the new Art Series 24-70 F2 from Sigma, but rumors are rumors until the final release of the product next year.


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    • Aleksander Michaud

      Yeah Gene I keep hearing those rumors too, but who knows. Either way, seeing what Sigma rolls out next year is going to be very VERY interesting.

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    • Matthew Saville

      Numerous Canon 85 1.2 L users have already jumped ship to the Sigma 85 1.4 EX.

      Before “Art” was around, Sigma’s EX line was no slouch. In fact the robust construction is practically the same between some of their best EX lenses, and the latest Art stuff.

      If you google “Canon 85 L versus Sigma 85 EX” you’ll come up with numerous reviews from full-time wedding pros who rave about how the Sigma is a hands-down winner because it is not only sharper but also much more fast and reliable in the AF department.

      Simply put, in my opinion don’t bother with the Canon 85 L, just buy yourself the Sigma 85 EX, and if they make an 85 Art in a few months then you can sell off the Sigma 85 EX at a minimal loss (especially if you buy it used in mint condition) to trade up.

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    • Aleksander Michaud

      Matthew, thank you boss. I’ve seen some of these same videos, but it’s nice to hear it from someone in this community. Really, thank you!

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