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Sigma Art Lenses: Best options and what you need to know

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by David Em
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Sigma is a third-party camera lens manufacturer. The Sigma Art lenses compete head-to-head with other top-tier camera lenses for less.

Sigma Art lens on a Canon DSLR camera.
Photo courtesy of Unsplash.

While a high-resolution camera impacts the quality of an image, without the lens, a camera is useless.

The lens determines the sharpness, field of view, and depth of field.

Related article: How megapixels affect photos

A high-quality lens can produce beautiful images on an entry-level camera, while a low-quality lens on the best camera will produce sub-par results.

Related article: What is chromatic aberration?

If you have a limited budget, the best lenses from camera manufacturers, such as Sony G Master and Canon L, are expensive. An excellent and cheaper alternative is Sigma.

The following covers everything you need to know about the Sigma brand, its best lenses, and why Sigma lenses are worth it.

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What’s a Sigma Art lens?

Sigma is a Japanese manufacturer of cameras, lenses, flashes, and photography accessories. However, Sigma is best-known for its lenses.

They’re compatible with many camera brands, such as Canon, Sony, Nikon, Pentax, Leica, Panasonic, and Olympus.

Sigma has several lenses, and its professional-level line is Sigma Art.

The Sigma Art lenses are cheaper alternatives and comparable to the top-tier lenses, such as Canon L and Sony G Master.

Some may even say Sigma Art lenses are better. The images you capture will be a work of art.

The Art lenses have maximum apertures ranging from f/1.4 to f/2.8. They produce exceptional sharpness and beautiful colors.

With a wide-open aperture, the rounded aperture blades result in incredible bokeh.

Sigma also applies low-dispersion elements and lens coatings to minimize the aberration.

While there are many benefits of using a Sigma Art lens, it’s not perfect. The main drawback is that it misses the focus at times.

If you use manual focus, it’s not a problem. With autofocus, you may need to refocus.

Overall, Sigma Art lenses are impeccable and offer superb optical performance at a lower price.

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Best Sigma Art lenses

If you’re looking for a high-performing lens that’ll produce beautiful results, consider the Sigma Art line over your camera’s brand.

Related article: The top Fujifilm X System lenses

The build quality, optics, and performance are spectacular. Plus, you can save a lot of money without sacrificing quality.

The following are the best Sigma Art lenses.

Sigma 35mm f/1.4 DG HSM Art Lens

Sigma Art 35mm lens for Nikon.
Sigma 35mm f/1.4 DG HSM Art Lens for Nikon F. Photo courtesy of B&H.

Key features:

  • Aperture range: f/1.4 to f/16.
  • Nine rounded diaphragm blades.
  • Minimum focusing distance: 11.8 inches (30 cm).
  • One FLD element and four SLD elements.
  • Two aspherical elements.

The following are the Sigma 35mm f/1.4 DG HSM Art Lens prices for different lens mounts and stores:

Lens mountPriceLink to purchase
Canon EF$849Buy from B&H
Buy from Adorama
Buy from Amazon
Nikon F$849Buy from B&H
Buy from Adorama
Buy from Amazon
Leica L$849Buy from B&H
Buy from Adorama
Pentax K$849Buy from B&H
Buy from Amazon
Sigma SA$849Buy from B&H
Buy from KEH Camera
Sony A$849Buy from B&H
Buy from Amazon
Sony E$849Buy from B&H
Buy from Amazon

The Sigma 35mm f/1.4 DG HSM Art Lens is outstanding and works with crop-sensor and full-frame cameras.

35mm lenses are versatile and excellent as general-purpose lenses.

It’s wide enough to capture landscapes, full-body portraits, groups, weddings, and you can get closer to your subject for intimate and close-up photos.

Its large maximum aperture of f/1.4 offers a shallow depth of field that beautifully blurs backgrounds. Plus, it’s excellent for low-light photography.

Sigma also offers an f/1.2 version of the 35mm Art lens. While it’s spectacular, the lens is larger and heavier.

Overall, the Sigma 35mm f/1.4 DG HSM Art Lens features superb optical performance for almost half the price of a 35mm f/1.4 lens from a camera manufacturer.

Related article: What do STM and USM mean on Canon lenses?

Sigma 50mm f/1.4 DG HSM Art Lens

Sigma 50mm lens for Sony cameras.
Sigma 50mm f/1.4 DG HSM Art Lens for Sony E. Photo courtesy of B&H.

Key features:

  • Aperture range: f/1.4 to f/16.
  • Nine rounded diaphragm blades.
  • Minimum focusing distance: 1.31 feet (40 cm).
  • Three SLD elements and one molded glass aspherical element.

The following are the Sigma 50mm f/1.4 DG HSM Art Lens prices for different lens mounts and stores:

Lens mountPriceLink to purchase
Canon EF$949Buy from B&H
Buy from Adorama
Buy from Amazon
Nikon F$949Buy from B&H
Buy from Adorama
Buy from Amazon
Leica L$949Buy from B&H
Buy from Adorama
Buy from Amazon
Sigma SA$949Buy from B&H
Buy from Amazon
Sony A$949Buy from B&H
Buy from Amazon
Sony E$949Buy from B&H
Buy from Adorama
Buy from Amazon

Sigma’s 50mm f/1.4 DG HSM Art Lens is a high-quality standard lens with autofocus.

At 50mm, it offers a natural perspective. It’s versatile and works well for portrait, wedding, event, family, and travel photography.

The Sigma 50mm f/1.4 Art lens features top-notch performance, build quality, handling, and low-light performance.

However, it’s larger and heavier than other 50mm lenses. Despite the size and weight, it’s an optically superb lens.

At a fraction of the price, it outperforms the Canon 50mm f/1.2L and Nikon 50mm f/1.4G.

Compared to the Zeiss Otus, Sigma’s 50mm isn’t as good, but it costs less. Also, the Otus doesn’t offer autofocus.

So, the Sigma 50mm f/1.4 DG HSM Art Lens is the most valuable 50mm lens on the market.

Sigma 85mm f/1.4 DG DN or HSM Art Lens

Sigma 85mm Art lens for Sony E-mount cameras.
Sigma 85mm f/1.4 DG DN Art Lens for Sony E. Photo courtesy of B&H.

Key features:

  • Aperture range: f/1.4 to f/16.
  • Number of rounded diaphragm blades: 9 (HSM) and 11 (DN).
  • Minimum focusing distance: 2.79 feet (85 cm).
  • One aspherical element.
  • Five SLD elements and four HR elements (DN).

The following are the Sigma 85mm f/1.4 DG DN and HSM Art Lens prices for different lens mounts and stores:

Lens mountPriceLink to purchase
Canon EF (HSM)$1,099Buy from B&H
Buy from Adorama
Buy from Amazon
Nikon F (HSM)$1,099Buy from B&H
Buy from Adorama
Buy from Amazon
Leica L (DN)$1,199Buy from B&H
Buy from Adorama
Buy from Amazon
Sigma SA (HSM)$1,099Buy from B&H
Buy from Adorama
Buy from Amazon
Sony E (DN)$1,199Buy from B&H
Buy from Adorama
Buy from Amazon

85mm is an excellent focal length for portraits and landscapes. Sigma offers an incredible 85mm Art lens that opens to f/1.4 for DSLR and mirrorless cameras.

There are two versions, HSM and DN. While the HSM lens is the original, Sigma introduced a refreshed DN version for Sony E and Leica L mounts. It’s smaller and lighter than the HSM lens.

Regardless of the version, the Sigma 85mm Art lens offers exceptional performance for being less than $1,200.

The Sigma 85mm Art lens is impressive. However, it has a few drawbacks, including size, lack of image stabilization, and spherical aberration.

Aside from that, it’s a high-performing lens with stunning image quality.

Sigma 135mm f/1.8 DG HSM Art Lens

Sigma 135mm Art lens for Canon EF-mount cameras.
Sigma 135mm f/1.8 DG HSM Art Lens for Canon EF. Photo courtesy of B&H.

Key features:

  • Aperture range: f/1.8 to f/16.
  • Nine rounded diaphragm blades.
  • Minimum focusing distance: 2.87 feet. (87.5 cm).
  • Two FLD and two SLD elements.

The following are the Sigma 135mm f/1.8 DG HSM Art Lens prices for different lens mounts and stores:

Lens mountPriceLink to purchase
Canon EF$1,399Buy from B&H
Buy from Adorama
Buy from Amazon
Nikon F$1,399Buy from B&H
Buy from Adorama
Buy from Amazon
Leica L$1,399Buy from B&H
Buy from Adorama
Buy from Amazon
Sigma SA$1,399Buy from B&H
Buy from Adorama
Sony E$1,399Buy from B&H
Buy from Adorama
Buy from Amazon

Many high-quality 135mm lenses have a maximum aperture of f/2 or f/2.8. Sigma’s 135mm Art lens opens wider, as its maximum aperture is f/1.8.

The 135mm mid-telephoto prime lens is ideal for portraits, weddings, sports, and landscapes.

It brings the background closer and produces a beautiful blur when shooting with a wide aperture.

The Sigma 135mm Art lens is near-perfect. It captures sharp images, is fast, weather-sealed, and good-looking.

The only downside is that it’s missing image stabilization. Otherwise, it’s a superb lens.

Sigma 18-35mm f/1.8 DC HSM Art Lens

Sigma 18 to 35mm zoom lens for Canon cameras.
Sigma 18-35mm f/1.8 DC HSM Art Lens for Canon EF. Photo courtesy of B&H.

Key features:

  • Aperture range: f/1.8 to f/16.
  • Nine rounded diaphragm blades.
  • Minimum focusing distance: 11.02 inches (28 cm).
  • Five SLD elements.
  • Four aspherical elements.

The following are the Sigma 18-35mm f/1.8 DC HSM Art Lens prices for different lens mounts and stores:

Lens mountPriceLink to purchase
Canon EF$749Buy from B&H
Buy from Adorama
Buy from Amazon
Nikon F$749Buy from B&H
Buy from Adorama
Buy from Amazon
Sigma SA$749Buy from B&H
Buy from Adorama
Buy from Amazon

The Sigma 18-35mm f/1.8 DC HSM Art Lens is an excellent wide-angle zoom lens. It was also the first f/1.8 zoom lens ever made.

Sigma made the lens for crop-sensor Nikon, Canon, and Sigma cameras, as it’s APS-C format only.

While it’s larger and heavier than similar lenses, the 18-35mm Art lens is optically amazing.

If you have a crop-sensor camera and want an everyday zoom lens, the 18-35mm is ideal.

Sigma 24-70mm f/2.8 DG OS HSM Art Lens

Sigma 24 to 70mm Art lens for Canon EF-mount cameras.
Sigma 24-70mm f/2.8 DG OS HSM Art Lens for Canon EF. Photo courtesy of B&H.

Key features:

  • Aperture range: f/2.8 to f/22.
  • Nine rounded diaphragm blades.
  • Minimum focusing distance: 1.21 feet (37 cm).
  • Three SLD elements.
  • Four aspherical elements.

The following are the Sigma 24-70mm f/2.8 DG OS HSM Art Lens prices for different lens mounts and stores:

Lens mountPriceLink to purchase
Canon EF$1,299Buy from B&H
Buy from Adorama
Buy from Amazon
Nikon F$1,299Buy from B&H
Buy from Adorama
Buy from Amazon
Leica L (DN and no OS)$1,099Buy from B&H
Buy from Adorama
Buy from Amazon
Sigma SA$1,299Buy from B&H
Sony E (DN and no OS)$1,099Buy from B&H
Buy from Adorama
Buy from Amazon

A 24 to 70mm lens is the most versatile lens because it zooms from a wide-angle to a short telephoto focal length. It’s excellent for landscapes, portraits, events, and architecture.

The Sigma 24-70mm f/2.8 DG OS HSM Art Lens is impressive because of its superb image quality and build.

Plus, the HSM version has image stabilization. Unfortunately, the DN version for mirrorless cameras doesn’t.

When the aperture is wide open, there’s a bit of vignetting and barrel distortion.

Despite the few drawbacks, the Sigma 24-70mm Art lens is a must-have because of its performance, versatility, and quality.

Conclusion

Sigma Art lenses are an affordable alternative to a camera brand’s top-tier line of lenses.

The Art line offers sharp details, a durable build, and stunning photos.

Sigma isn’t out to be better than the camera brands. Instead, Sigma provides a cheaper lens that offers the same high-quality results.

The Art lenses are certainly worth considering, as you can save hundreds or thousands of dollars without sacrificing quality and performance.

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Featured image courtesy of Unsplash.

About David Em

David Em.

David Em is the founder of Portraits Refined. He’s a published portrait photographer dedicated to helping photographers develop skills, capture incredible photos, and build successful businesses.

About Portraits Refined

Portraits Refined (PR) is a media company that publishes the latest expert-backed portrait photography tips, in-depth camera gear reviews, and helpful advice to grow your photography business.

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