New Sigma observation

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Currantos Senior Member • Posts: 1,236
New Sigma observation

So, the new Sigma native mirrorless is out and we can learn a LOT from this.

From a back of the envelope calculation and putting a couple of both Sigma and other 1.4 lenses side by side we arrive at the following conclusions, while mentioning certain premises.

Sigma went "all out" to create the original Art, it was amazing but the price for performance was enormous size and weight. That was "old Sigma" knowhow.

If we look at the latest Sigma it is very much in line with other 1.4 lenses and is as small as the original DSLR mounts and the only difference now is length.  That length is the needed length to accommodate the light path that mirrorless cameras require and the DSLR has 'stored' inside the camera box. (Reminder, the path from the front element to the sensor is more or less the same, so that's why we have lenses not really getting much smaller since some of it has now been added to the lens and take off the camera).

So... therefore..

Sigma as a company has fully caught up with the original manufacturers Nikon/Canon that have had years of head start with optics and is producing same size lenses for equal performance. (only difference being the length, as mentioned previously, that's a fixed given). They don't need to overcompensate and use larger glass/housing just to have equal/better performance.

Simplest demonstration? Old Art front glass filter was 86mm. That's HUGE. ALL the other manufacturers had 85mm 1.4 with front filter 77mm. New Art DG? yep, 77mm and the same size as the DSLR lenses, (again, only longer but proportionately so, by the length of the mirrorless R/Z adaptors).

We have reached a triple point of convergence between size/performance DSLR/Mirrorless and original/Third Party manufacturers and we can now make informed guesses about lenses going into the near future.

For the next 10 years we are going to see mirrorless lenses "catch up" to the traditional lineups as far as reasonable size/slightly improved performance until the next breakthrough in technology that might allow something new possible.

hikerdoc Senior Member • Posts: 2,736
Compromise optics for weight reduction?
1

Carefully read their press release for new 85. They mention several times that the lens integrates well with camera distortion correction software allowing for a smaller lighter lens. They seem to be saying the news lens will not be as strong from a purely optical standpoint, but will depend on the camera to correct aberrations. The previous Art series seemed to focus on achieving stellar optical performance rather than depending on software corrections, but at the expense of size and weight. Nikon is apparently using the same software correction philosophy with some new S line lenses. Pentax seems to be going the other way with their new 85. Some Pentaxians get agitated if the potential of reliance on any distortion correction software is even mentioned for that lens.

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OP Currantos Senior Member • Posts: 1,236
True and

Absolutely true and this is the way for all manufacturers and is the reality of modern lenses. In fact, it is highly ingenious and very adaptive for all practical applications.

So yes, perhaps on a purely bench test light flying through the lens the in-camera corrected lenses will be worse than the older more purely optical lens but in practical ways that will not have negative effects. Only positive. Give me a tiny light weight lens with all things corrected in camera that in the final picture is cleaner, sharper and more contrasty with fewer aberrations any day compared to a big ole' monster.

I think that Pentaxian attitude will fall apart pretty quickly once they handle a MILC with a small lens that performs BETTER in the final picture compared to their larger DSLR and larger lens. None of the PENTAX lenses seem to be winning awards and performing better in any metric, they are just now slowly catching up by sharing design lens design with other companies. Their lenses are looking strangely similar to others, lol. Not beating down on them but even Pentaxians have to face the truth sometimes.

anotherMike Forum Pro • Posts: 10,036
Re: New Sigma observation
3

I'd disagree on quite a bit of what you typed.

First off, the "length" from front element to sensor is not a "given"; it depends on the design.

Second, within the realm of 85mm lenses, the best, still today, in terms of wide open sharpness and control of color aberrations, is the Zeiss Otus 85mm F/1.4, which has, you guessed it, 86 mm filters. The Sigma 85 art was an attempt to approach/beat the Art (which it got pretty close to except for axial CA, where it fell down a bit), and as such, no surprise; to get that level of optical performance, they had to go with a wider/heavier/longer lens. Sigma was swinging for the fences, and while possibly they could have cut down on the size/weight and maintained image quality, they might not have been able to do so for the price. Yet if you've ever held/shot an Otus 85 (I have), well, it's a beast of a big lens too. In the traditional DSLR mounts, in order to get the really great image quality, there is no getting around it - you're going to have to use expensive glass (as the Otus does), have a lot of elements, and it's going to have some size to it. No shortcuts. I own the 85 art, and have shot the Otus, and while the art is damned good for the money, and ridiculously sharp, the Otus is even a notch better.

Software correction is frankly a crutch in many cases. In some, it's a viable tradeoff. I'd say that vignetting correction is reasonably harmless. A bit of distortion correction isn't horrible, but at some point, as Lloyd Chambers has noted, it tends to supress some of the image qualities. I don't personally like correction for the color domain aberrations and prefer lenses that optically as best as possible. Remember, we can't create what the lens didn't capture in the first place, we can only modify what it gave us. So for those of us looking at the edges of high image quality, and I understand not everyone is, the lens that doesn't rely on software correction is the better lens.

The advantages of the mirrorless mounts, more so Nikon than anyone else, is that the mount parameters give the designers more freedom to meet their design goals than the longer throw old F mount. That "advantage" can, or can not be used, or somewhere in between. Ultimately it should be possible to design better wide angles in the mirrorless ecosystem than in the DSLR realm, but only time will tell if it will or has occurred. Once we get to the mid telephotos - and an 85mm is such, the advantages go away a bit.

I haven't shot the new 85 art personally, not being a Sony owner. I've seen the samples, I've seen Dustin Abbotts review, and with large grains of salt on the table given I don't have personal experience with the lens, I'd say Sigma simply chose *different* trade offs than last time - it's not some sudden increasing of their capability - they just went with a slightly smaller/lighter 85mm that "beat" the original in some areas (axial CA for sure), but not in others - in all samples and the review, I found the originals image quality to have a bit more bite, more consistent across the frame resolution, and as such, given what I'd want out of an 85, this one doesn't frankly impress me enough to warrant further investigation. (This is unlike when I heard about the 35/1.2 Art mirrorless specific design, where I did chase down a Sony body to evaluate, and came away *very* impressed). I think it will of course appeal to those who want "good enough" at a smaller size/footprint, and that's absolutely valid too. I just don't see this lens as being any indicator of a "new Sigma" from a capability wise. Not at all.

-m

OP Currantos Senior Member • Posts: 1,236
Great

Your posts about lenses are always very informed and full of good solid information, so there is a lot of great stuff to chew on in your response. Thanks for looking into this. Great discussion of points I don't even know anything about being a beginner and all that.

Totally understand about compromises, and also that the needs of advanced amateurs/beginners/middle of the road type photographers are going to be served differently than higher level. Great that we have a variety of choices and options, the more the better, hopefully with a different balance of trade-offs.

I am not saying this is the world's greatest lens. But it does seems to represent progress in some way and I am sure Sigma's engineers have learned a thing or two since the introduction of the original Art and have incorporated some of that into the new lens? That's kind of logical. The rest is a construct from knowing a little and looking from the outside. Someone surely will test them side by side, then someone will take away the software correction and test, all that.

You see a new color on a house, you think a new family moved in. LOL.

Or as I say "always just the lens by it's outer plastic casing".

anotherMike Forum Pro • Posts: 10,036
Re: Great
3

Oh, you're absolutely right in that Sigma has been maturing; lenses like the 40 art are better than the 35 and 50 arts that came before, and represent a bit more thought about bokeh and other non-resolution qualities (it's also a monster, having been ported over from its original incarnation as a cine lens). An interesting comparison if you ever get bored and have access to both (and have a Sony body for the 35) is shoot the 40 art (on something like a D850, it mates better there than on the a7 series) and the 35/1.2 art on an A7iii or iv. Both exceptional, truly world class lenses. Yet there are differences; subtle ones, but ones that indicate that the designers have learned more along the years as well. But there really hasn't been some gigantic "aha" moment at Sigma either.

What I'd really like to see is a lineup of lenses that are extremely well corrected, and perhaps just F/2.8, which would mean they don't have to go all monster on the size/weight so much, and still could deliver something truly exceptional. I don't shoot astro, so such a wide aperture is a bit of a waste on me, but since the best lenses these days are the fast one, that's what I end up with. I have a feeling I'm not alone on that one...

-m

Tord S Eriksson
Tord S Eriksson Forum Pro • Posts: 14,181
Re: Great
1

anotherMike wrote:

Oh, you're absolutely right in that Sigma has been maturing; lenses like the 40 art are better than the 35 and 50 arts that came before, and represent a bit more thought about bokeh and other non-resolution qualities (it's also a monster, having been ported over from its original incarnation as a cine lens). An interesting comparison if you ever get bored and have access to both (and have a Sony body for the 35) is shoot the 40 art (on something like a D850, it mates better there than on the a7 series) and the 35/1.2 art on an A7iii or iv. Both exceptional, truly world class lenses. Yet there are differences; subtle ones, but ones that indicate that the designers have learned more along the years as well. But there really hasn't been some gigantic "aha" moment at Sigma either.

What I'd really like to see is a lineup of lenses that are extremely well corrected, and perhaps just F/2.8, which would mean they don't have to go all monster on the size/weight so much, and still could deliver something truly exceptional. I don't shoot astro, so such a wide aperture is a bit of a waste on me, but since the best lenses these days are the fast one, that's what I end up with. I have a feeling I'm not alone on that one...

Mike,

I am a great fan of the Sigma 135/1.8 Art, which I find delightful on 1", DX, and FX bodies.

A similar lens, slightly slower (thus, hopefully, lighter) would be high up on my wish list.

Here is a shot I just took with it, using an antique nikon1 V1 (heavy crop):

Slightly more modern, with 20MP, is the J5:

Really crisp lenses are for me much more important than very fast ones, alas I don't mind them being fairly fast!

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Vunite Contributing Member • Posts: 635
Re: Great

Currantos wrote:

I am not saying this is the world's greatest lens.

It's just a tribute. (SCNR)

Vunite Contributing Member • Posts: 635
Re: New Sigma observation
1

The observation from Sigma I need is to see them releasing the Canon counterparts. As far as I know, they did say they want to go native on RF as well?

Strangefinder
Strangefinder Regular Member • Posts: 419
Re: New Sigma observation
1

Sigma have said a few times now that they were purists when it came to optical corrections, but in their work for other companies and with Contemporary lines etc, they were surprised to see how effective computational correction had become for certain aberrations.  After this they changed approach for some projects, and were then able to focus upon correcting the difficult aberrations to a higher standard.

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Strangefinder
Strangefinder Regular Member • Posts: 419
Licencing from Canon/Nikon/Fuji Re: New Sigma observation

Vunite wrote:

The observation from Sigma I need is to see them releasing the Canon counterparts. As far as I know, they did say they want to go native on RF as well?

I read or saw an interview with Yamaki-san in which he clarified that Sigma reverse engineers Canon protocols AFTER negotiating a licence from them.  Whether this is a legal or commercial necessity I'm not sure, but the ball is in Canon's court.  Same goes with Fuji and Nikon.

At the very least, I would expect them to establish a head start before approving competitors of Sigma's calibre.  More likely they may be dismissive or obstructive.  On the other hand, though, Sigma does design and manufacture for others bts, so they have negotiating power.

Another consideration is that Sigma has huge output for a single campus, so they may prioritise other products ahead of RF (like Foveon, L-mount, or particularly profitable or satisfying contracts/products) even if they have an interest.

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(unknown member) Forum Pro • Posts: 11,356
Re: Licencing from Canon/Nikon/Fuji Re: New Sigma observation

Strangefinder wrote:

Vunite wrote:

The observation from Sigma I need is to see them releasing the Canon counterparts. As far as I know, they did say they want to go native on RF as well?

I read or saw an interview with Yamaki-san in which he clarified that Sigma reverse engineers Canon protocols AFTER negotiating a licence from them. Whether this is a legal or commercial necessity I'm not sure, but the ball is in Canon's court. Same goes with Fuji and Nikon.

If Sigma negotiated licensing agreement with Canon why do they need to reverse engineer the protocol?

What you are talking about is L-mount Alliance. It is not between Sigma and Nikon or Canon. It is between Leica Camera, Sigma and Panasonic.

https://www.imaging-resource.com/news/2018/10/02/sigma-interview-photokina-2018-ceo-kazuto-yamaki-give-peek-l-mount-alliance

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Igor Sotelo Regular Member • Posts: 291
Re: New Sigma observation

Currantos wrote:

So, the new Sigma native mirrorless is out and we can learn a LOT from this.

From a back of the envelope calculation and putting a couple of both Sigma and other 1.4 lenses side by side we arrive at the following conclusions, while mentioning certain premises.

Sigma went "all out" to create the original Art, it was amazing but the price for performance was enormous size and weight. That was "old Sigma" knowhow.

If we look at the latest Sigma it is very much in line with other 1.4 lenses and is as small as the original DSLR mounts and the only difference now is length. That length is the needed length to accommodate the light path that mirrorless cameras require and the DSLR has 'stored' inside the camera box. (Reminder, the path from the front element to the sensor is more or less the same, so that's why we have lenses not really getting much smaller since some of it has now been added to the lens and take off the camera).

So... therefore..

Sigma as a company has fully caught up with the original manufacturers Nikon/Canon that have had years of head start with optics and is producing same size lenses for equal performance. (only difference being the length, as mentioned previously, that's a fixed given). They don't need to overcompensate and use larger glass/housing just to have equal/better performance.

Simplest demonstration? Old Art front glass filter was 86mm. That's HUGE. ALL the other manufacturers had 85mm 1.4 with front filter 77mm. New Art DG? yep, 77mm and the same size as the DSLR lenses, (again, only longer but proportionately so, by the length of the mirrorless R/Z adaptors).

We have reached a triple point of convergence between size/performance DSLR/Mirrorless and original/Third Party manufacturers and we can now make informed guesses about lenses going into the near future.

For the next 10 years we are going to see mirrorless lenses "catch up" to the traditional lineups as far as reasonable size/slightly improved performance until the next breakthrough in technology that might allow something new possible.

I think that Sigma has set the trend for complex lenses well corrected and very sharp lenses, even wide open all over the frame.

The obvious trade off is a tremendous increase in weight and size as well lower transmission numbers. But some less objective qualities, much more important, may be lost too.

However everyone is following the trend, because that’s what the market is asking for. Nikon didn’t focus on making the 58mm 1.4G exceptionally sharp and it certainly didn’t sell as well as the Sigma 50mm 1.4 Art.

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Tord S Eriksson
Tord S Eriksson Forum Pro • Posts: 14,181
Re: New Sigma observation

Igor Sotelo wrote:

Currantos wrote:

So, the new Sigma native mirrorless is out and we can learn a LOT from this.

From a back of the envelope calculation and putting a couple of both Sigma and other 1.4 lenses side by side we arrive at the following conclusions, while mentioning certain premises.

Sigma went "all out" to create the original Art, it was amazing but the price for performance was enormous size and weight. That was "old Sigma" knowhow.

If we look at the latest Sigma it is very much in line with other 1.4 lenses and is as small as the original DSLR mounts and the only difference now is length. That length is the needed length to accommodate the light path that mirrorless cameras require and the DSLR has 'stored' inside the camera box. (Reminder, the path from the front element to the sensor is more or less the same, so that's why we have lenses not really getting much smaller since some of it has now been added to the lens and take off the camera).

So... therefore..

Sigma as a company has fully caught up with the original manufacturers Nikon/Canon that have had years of head start with optics and is producing same size lenses for equal performance. (only difference being the length, as mentioned previously, that's a fixed given). They don't need to overcompensate and use larger glass/housing just to have equal/better performance.

Simplest demonstration? Old Art front glass filter was 86mm. That's HUGE. ALL the other manufacturers had 85mm 1.4 with front filter 77mm. New Art DG? yep, 77mm and the same size as the DSLR lenses, (again, only longer but proportionately so, by the length of the mirrorless R/Z adaptors).

We have reached a triple point of convergence between size/performance DSLR/Mirrorless and original/Third Party manufacturers and we can now make informed guesses about lenses going into the near future.

For the next 10 years we are going to see mirrorless lenses "catch up" to the traditional lineups as far as reasonable size/slightly improved performance until the next breakthrough in technology that might allow something new possible.

I think that Sigma has set the trend for complex lenses well corrected and very sharp lenses, even wide open all over the frame.

The obvious trade off is a tremendous increase in weight and size as well lower transmission numbers. But some less objective qualities, much more important, may be lost too.

However everyone is following the trend, because that’s what the market is asking for. Nikon didn’t focus on making the 58mm 1.4G exceptionally sharp and it certainly didn’t sell as well as the Sigma 50mm 1.4 Art.

The Sigma 105/2.8 OS HSM macro is a very nice lens, even with a TC on:

Naturally it is an excellent macro lens but that is not what I mainly use it as!

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Vunite Contributing Member • Posts: 635
Re: New Sigma observation

Tord S Eriksson wrote:

Naturally it is an excellent macro lens but that is not what I mainly use it as!

Neat birblets For me, what I need Sigma to hand me, is an RF designed 150-600 (or maybe 100-400) in their usual way: lightweight construction, not too large and priced in the 1250ish range.

Tord S Eriksson
Tord S Eriksson Forum Pro • Posts: 14,181
Re: New Sigma observation

Vunite wrote:

Tord S Eriksson wrote:

Naturally it is an excellent macro lens but that is not what I mainly use it as!

Neat birblets For me, what I need Sigma to hand me, is an RF designed 150-600 (or maybe 100-400) in their usual way: lightweight construction, not too large and priced in the 1250ish range.

Shouldn't be impossible, should it?! They have the know-how, just need the inclination!

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