Looking for a nice piece of glass? An easy way to take your images to the next level is to invest in a few high end lenses. Top tier lenses are manufactured with high quality products and constructed to last many years. They also feature wide open apertures, smooth focusing and beautiful bokeh effects to produce superior image quality in low light or challenging photographic conditions.
But you don’t have to stick with your camera manufacturer’s brand to get a great lens. Third party brands, in this case Sigma, also offer great options and can save you some serious money.
Check out Sigma’s top 5 sellers below. To my surprise, some of my favorites didn’t make the list. What do you think? Did your favorites make the list? Weigh in with your favorite Sigma lenses in our forum.
35mm F1.4 DG HSM
Sigma recently announced a new direction for their lenses. Categorized into three lines: contemporary, art and sports, these new lenses feature the ability to easily update their firmware through an optional docking station that connects the lens to the computer. This allows the user to quickly update the lens without having to send it to Sigma and lose precious time with you lens. The Sigma 35mm f/1.4 is the first lens announced in Sigma’s new “Art” lens lineup. Designed for full frame cameras, this lens can also be used with cropped sensors as well. The 35mm is an iconic and classic focal length in the world of photography. This lens features a Hyper Sonic Motor (HSM), floating internal focusing system, and glass elements that offer reduced axial and chromatic aberration.
Check out our review of the Sigma 35mm f/1.4. We found it to be a superb lens with fantastic image quality. Paired with a full frame camera this lens is a great focal length for shooting group portraits, landscapes and casual street photography. Currently B&H has this lens available for $899.
50-150mm F2.8 APO EX DC OS HSM
Optical Stabilization is an important feature for a lens that’s paired with a camera that does not offer it built-in (Canon and Nikon for example). High end lenses, like the 50-150 mm f/2.8 from Sigma, offer a proprietary OS system that allows users to hand hold the camera at lower shutter speeds than lenses without OS (The OS feature can basically equivalent to IS for Canon or VR for Nikon). The lens features six SLD glass elements balance for chromatic aberrations. Flare and ghosting are reduced by way of Sigma’s Super Multi-Layer Coating. The lens design offers a Hyper Sonic Motor, a minimum focusing distance of 80cm and a rounded 9 blade diaphragm (for a better bokeh effect). The lens retails for $999 at B&H.
17-70 f2.8-4 OS Macro
Want an all around great zoom with a good aperture range? With a faster aperture than the typical camera kit lens, Sigma’s 17-70mm f/2.8-4 Macro might be an ideal option for you. Variable aperture lenses are generally not my favorite as I shoot almost exclusively in full manual or aperture priority, but an f/2.8-4 aperture range is not bad and will save you quite a bit of money. Newer photographers looking for an all-around lens for landscapes, portraits, group shots and street photography can enjoy the benefits of an open aperture lens while keeping your wallet happy. The OS offers the use of shutter speeds approximately 4 stops slower than lenses without this feature. In addition, the 17-70 is a macro lens. Macro functionality allows the user to get in super close to the subject. Also, this lens is part of Sigma’s new lineup and has the ability to have its firmware updates through an optional docking station. This lens sells for $379 at B&H.
105 2.8 F2.8 EX DG OS HSM Macro
Here’s another great macro lens option. Its a prime lens with a fixed aperture of f/2.8 with OS. This medium telephoto macro lens offers SLD glass which corrects for aberration and distortion. This lens also compensates for astigmatic aberration and spherical aberration. It features a rounded 9 blade diaphragm for creating a smooth bokeh effect and has Super Multi-Layer Coating to reduce ghosting and flare. Although this lens has a somewhat non-traditional zoom length, it is well designed for long distance shooting and portrait work. The macro functionality is also a great option. The lens retails for $769 at B&H.
10-20 F3.5 EX DC HSM
Great for street photography, architecture, real estate, group shots and documentary photography, the 10-20mm is a optimal lens when trying to photograph in tight spaces or capture the entirety of a scene. The fixed 3.5 aperture makes it easy to shoot in low light situations. The wide angle of this lens can also be a useful tool to emphasize the close proximity of the subject to the photographer. The Super Multi-layer coating on the glass reduces flare and ghosting, four aspherical lenses provide correction for distortion and an inner focusing system eliminates front lens rotation. On a cropped sensor camera, this lens could be an important addition to your bag yielding a minimum focal length of about 13-15mm. The lens sells for $479 at B&H.
What…these didn’t make the list? Here are my tried and true favorites.
24-70mm F2.8 IF EX DG HSM
Offering tons of flexibility when shooting portraits and weddings, the 24-70mm f/2.8 lens has been an vital part of my camera bag for many years. Designed for the professional (or those wanting a professional look), the lens is well built and has been able to withstand repeated use. It includes a full-time manual over-ride allowing instant control in low-light situations, a Hyper Sonic Motor and rounded 9-blade diaphragm for a smooth bokeh effect. The lens is responsive and does well in low light situations. In addition to portrait work, the 24-70 lens is also great for landscapes and sports. The lens retails for $824 at B&H. That’s a steal if you compare it to the Canon or Nikon proprietary lenses. But make sure to keep a steady hand because third lens does not have an OS system.
70-200mm F2.8 EX DG OS HSM
I have had the previous version of this lens for over 10 years and I adore it. It has taken a beating and endured years of repetitive use. Sigma has done some upgrades to my old lens that make it even better. Those changes include the addition of Sigma’s OS function. Also, two FLD glass elements, which have the performance equal to fluorite glass, have been added along with three SLD glass elements, all which provide correction of color aberration. Sigma has, in addition, managed to make the lens more compact than the earlier version. The lens has a fast aperture and does very well in low light. The HSM ensures quiet AF and, like the 24-70, the lens offers full-time manual focus capability. The Super Multi-Layer lens coating reduces flare and ghosting. The rounded 9 blade diaphragm creates an attractive bokeh. Designed for photographing portraits and weddings, this lens is meant for the serious professional. This latest version of the Sigma 70-200mm is well regarded among top level photographers. The lens sells for $1249 at B&H making it very pleasing to your wallet when compared to the Canon and Nikon version.