Sigma I-series 90mm f/2.8 and 24mm f/2

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With the introduction of a super-compact 90mm f/2.8, Sigma has made the I-series of high performance full frame mirrorless system lenses match the very best classic kits of the rangefinder era.

The I-series lenses are all fixed focal length (primes) and feature aperture control rings as well as fast autofocus with MF/DMF via the lens focusing barrel. The construction is solid metal, not a thin skin of metal over plastics as found in some earlier primes from makers like Zeiss, Samyang, Tamron and the Sony and Panasonic camera brands themselves. Every component in the lens is metal down to the stepper motor focusing carriage and the mounting of the glass elements.

It’s a return to the standard of Leica rangefinder – or Contax G autofocus – lenses updated for users of the Sony E (FE) and Sigma, Leica and Panasonic L mounts.

We’ve only tried the 60mm f/2 in this series so far, but the performance supported the company’s claim to be delivering very high resolution suitable for 60 megapixel or higher sensors. The 90mm f/2.8 has special attention to chromatic aberration in its design which uses no fewer than five SLD (super low dispersion) elements. We expect to see foreground and background blur unaffected by colour-bokeh shifts, made very smooth by a nine-bladed aperture and aided by third-stop f-stop setting on the lens or via the camera. The closest focus of 50cm compares with a typical figure around 85cm for most 90mm lenses, and yields a 0.2X (1:5) close-up.

This lens accepts 55mm filters and weighs only 295g – you can see the size ‘in hand’. It can be teamed up with the 24mm f/3.5 and 45mm f/2.8 in the same range weighing in at less than 750g overall. Combined with a lightweight smaller body like the Sony A7C it’s the closest a digital shooter can get to have a Leica with autofocus.

Alongside the 90mm, also available from September 24th will be a faster version of the 24mm at f/2. It’s sure to attract buyers at the same £549.99 RRP UK ($669 USA) as the 90mm and although it takes 62mm filters and is a little bigger, weighing in at 365g, but it’s really part of the f/2 I-series which now includes the 35mm and 65mm so well matched there. Focus is down to 24.5cm, 1:6.7 scale, which is not exceptional when some 24mms achieve 1:2 but entirely practical. 

As for cost, it’s less than Sony’s 24mm f/2.8 G as well as a stop faster and much less than the Zeiss Batis 25mm f/2 or the APS-C only Sony Zeiss 24mm f/1.8.

Both these lenses, and the whole I-series, are compatible with Sony’s high-speed autofocus and they’re all made in Japan. The standard now set by Sigma are well-known and they seem to be the only maker left producing new lenses with dust and splash resistant all-metal barrel and mechanical design, brass mounts, and resolution to match the most demanding sensors.

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