Sigma Corporation, a leading researcher, developer, and manufacturer of lenses, cameras and flashes, announced the company’s new Sigma Global Vision at Photokina 2012 in Cologne, Germany.
The exciting new direction includes the restructuring of the Sigma lens lineup into three new categories, the launch of a new lens in each of those categories, the development of a new quality control inspection and measurement system for the lenses, and the design of new software and a USB docking station that will enable photographers to update and adjust their lenses to suit their personal preferences.
“We’re moving in a new direction that simplifies the lens selection process for photographers and helps them realize the full potential of the DSLR system,” said Sigma CEO Kazuto Yamaki. “In addition to making it easier for photographers to find the right lens, we’re empowering them with more control over their equipment, while furthering our commitment to them by establishing a higher expectation for the quality of the lenses we produce.”
New lens categories and new lenses
Starting immediately, all newly produced interchangeable lenses from Sigma will be designed for and organized into one of three product categories: Contemporary, Art, and Sports. Each line has a clearly defined concept to guide shooters in the selection of the right lens for their photographic interests.
The concept of these categories are as follows:
• Contemporary – These lenses incorporate the very latest technology and keep size and weight to a minimum, without compromising their advanced optical performance or utility. High-performance, versatile, compact and superbly portable, these lenses will be largely comprised of standard zooms, telephoto zooms, and high-magnification zooms for an array of photography, including landscape and travel photography, and casual portraiture.
• Art – These lenses are developed with an artistic emphasis and are designed to meet the expectations of users who value a creative, dramatic outcome. Along with landscapes, portraits, still-life, close-up, and casual snaps, these lenses are perfect for the kind of photography that unleashes the inner artist. Ideal for studio photography, they offer just as much of an expressive scope when capturing architecture, starry skies, underwater shots, and many other scenes. This category will be comprised of many focal lengths and designs, such as large-aperture prime lenses, wide-angle lenses, ultra wide-angle lenses, plus macro and fisheye lenses.
• Sports – With their high-level optical performance and expressive power, these lenses can capture fast-moving subjects, even at distance. This line also offers a variety of functions to aid the photographer in challenging conditions and scenarios. Besides sports photography, the lenses are also ideal for nature shots featuring birds, wild animals and other creatures, and for the capture of aircraft, trains, race cars, and more. The Sports line is also unique in that users can adjust the lenses’ focus speeds and the focus limiters via a button on the lens. The Sports category will be comprised of telephoto lenses, telephoto zoom lenses, super telephoto lenses, super telephoto zoom lenses, and more.
The creation of these new categories comes with the introduction of three new lenses:
• 17-70mm F2.8-4 DC OS MACRO – This new Contemporary lens is designed for cameras with an APS-C sensor and covers a range equivalent to 25.5 to 105mm on a 35mm camera. An upgrade to its predecessor, which was released in December 2009, this general purpose lens offers a new design and a more compact build.
• 35mm F1.4 DG HSM – This Art lens provides photographers with a state-of-the-art alternative to the more conventional 50mm. One FLD glass lens and four SLD glass lenses ensure exceptional correction of axial chromatic and lateral aberration. At low apertures, it can perform like a wide-angle lens; when opened up to F1.4, it will provide background bokeh and make the subject pop like a mid-range telephoto lens.
• 120-300mm F2.8 DG OS HSM – With redesigned mechanics and performance, this Sports lens is an update from its predecessor released in February 2011. This high-performance lens eases difficult shooting conditions by offering a maximum focal length of 300mm and a wide-open aperture of F2.8. This lens, like the other Sports category lenses to come, is dust and moisture resistant, and allows users to adjust the focus speed and the focus limiter via a button on the lens.
New user-control tools and software, and new quality control measures
The new Sigma Optimization Pro software and USB Dock are designed exclusively for these new product lines and will enable Sigma users to connect their lenses to their computers to update lens firmware and fine-tune focus parameters via easy-to-use, on-screen controls.
All of these new lenses will also be subject to Sigma’s new, proprietary modulation transfer function (MTF) measuring system called “A1.” Named in honour of the company’s sole production base, the Aizu factory in Aizu, Japan, the A1 system will allow inspectors to verify previously undetectable high-frequency details in each lens before it is shipped.
“We used to measure lens performance with an MTF measuring system using conventional sensors, but this new A1 system uses our own 46-megapixel Foveon direct imaging sensors,” said Yamaki. “We view this new method of performance evaluation as being incredibly important, not only because we owe it to our customers, but because we owe it to ourselves. We’ve spent more than 50 years perfecting our design and manufacturing processes, and now we deliver a complete package by closing the loop on that commitment to quality by adopting a more stringent verification process.”
For information about the Sigma Global Vision, the new product categories and products, or the evaluation method, visit www.sigma-global.com. For information about Sigma products in Canada, visit www.sigmacanada.ca.