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Comparing the Best Sigma Lenses

One of the largest third-party lens manufacturers, Sigma makes some of the best pieces of glass you can get your hands on. At times, these (and I mean the general third party lenses) outmatch their traditional OEM versions. So much so that professionals and amateurs alike swear by their quality. Today, we are going to look at some of the best sigma lenses that you can buy.

Sigma’s Art series lenses are some of the best in the business. They are known for their amazing sharpness, distortion free frames straight out of the camera and lack of chromatic aberrations. Lenses like the sigma 20mm f/1.4 DG HSM Art regularly tops the charts for sharpness.

1. Sigma 20mm f/1.4 DG HSM Art

This is a lens that gives the same mouthwatering feeling as a large bar of Swiss chocolate lying on your table. The Sigma 20mm f/1.4 is designed to excel all hands down. While most would say that the f/1.4 aperture is not practical and one wouldn’t shoot so wide for the same reasons one wouldn’t buy this focal length. But if you know how to incorporate shallow depth of field in your images there is no reason why you wouldn’t want to pick this lens in place of anything else.

To start off, the sigma looks, feels, and weighs a lot different to probably anything that you may have used before. It is large. Weighs 950 grams and has a 9-blade aperture diaphragm. The 20mm focal length gives you a large angle of view. A perspective you would also get with much cheaper lenses but wouldn’t necessarily with the same wide aperture that the sigma is capable of.

The word Art doesn’t have a technical significance. Just in case you are new here and don’t want to sound ignorant by asking as much. It is just a marketing thing, something which every other manufacturer does. But one thing is for sure. You get superior quality.

The lens constitutes 2 FLD elements and 5 SLD elements. On top of it, the lens has two aspherical elements and one super multi-layer coating. These reduce chromatic aberrations, surface reflections while enhancing the color saturation and contrast of the images.

Unlike cheaper made kit lenses and even mid-range lenses, the Sigma 20mm f/1.4 is designed to last and to perform. The lens barrel is crafted out of therm0-neutral substance. This prevents it from expanding or contracting in severe temperatures and maintain a uniform working standard. The lens mount is designed out of brass, giving a lot of strength and durability.

Sigma 20mm F1.4 Art DG HSM Lens for Canon
  • Optical designs is highly resistant to strong incidental light sources such as backlight
  • Minimized Chromatic aberration, distortion, and ghosting. Weight is 2.1 pounds
  • This lens delivers excellent brightness and bokeh and is ideal high speed lens for snapshots.
  • The Sigma 20mm F1.4 DG HSM can be considered as the culmination of the Art line in relation with F1.4 series
  • German (Publication Language)

2. Sigma 85mm f/1.4 DG HSM Art lens

The Sigma 85mm is arguably the best focal length for shooting portraits. This is a focal length that you must have if portraitures are what you do for a living. What’s so special about this lens? The widest aperture of the lens is f/1.4. If you are able to manage perfect focusing on the closest eye of your subject then you can produce some of the best images possible. The bokeh with a rounded 9-blade aperture diaphragm would be fantastic. This is the sort of lens you would use to isolate your subject from the background.

Related Post: Sigma 50mm f1.4 Art vs Nikon 50mm f1.4 G

The lens features 2 low dispersion elements, one aspherical element, and one super multi-layer coating. These reduce chromatic aberrations, internal reflections while boosting overall lens sharpness and color contrast. Just like the

Just like the 20mm, we learned about earlier, the Sigma 85mm f/1.4 Art has a brass mount and incorporates TSC material in its design which does not expand or contract if the weather is too cold or too hot. Hands down, this is one of the best Sigma lenses around.

Sigma 85mm f/1.4 DG HSM Art Lens for Nikon F (321955)
  • The Sigma 85mm 1.4 DG HSM Art is the latest addition to the world renowned Sigma Global Vision Line
  • It has equipped newly designed hyper sonic motor (HSM) for nimble AF control, 1.3 times better torque of its predecessor
  • Compatible with the Enthusiast APS-C Nikon D7100, D7200, D500, and D3100, D3200, D3300, D5100, D5200, D5300, D5500 DSLR...
  • Minimum Focusing Distance-33.5inch. Maximum Magnifications-1:8.5. Angle of View (35mm)-28.6°

3. Sigma 50mm f/1.4 DG HSM Art lens

The Sigma f/1.4 50mm has a special place in my heart. You can say I go somewhat weak in the knees when I see one in action. It is arguably the best street photography lens if you are shooting with a full-frame camera. Then it also doubles up as a decent portrait lens when you are on a crop camera. On a crop Canon camera, the crop factor of 1.6x makes this an 80mm. Near about the same focal length of that of an 85mm portrait lens.

Related Post: Sigma f1.4 Art VS Nikon f1.4 G

This is a very well made lens. It incorporates 1 molded glass aspherical element, 3 special low dispersion elements as well as super multi-layer coating.

The barrel is made of a thermally stable composite material which does not expand nor contract with fluctuating temperatures. And I have not even got into its maximum aperture thing. The lens shoots at a maximum aperture of f/1.4.

9 rounded aperture blades make up the lens diaphragm. This is what produces that lovely creamy bokeh. For some photographers, this is the sharpest 50mm auto-focusing lens, and easily one of the best Sigma lenses ever.

Sigma 50mm F1.4 Art DG HSM Lens for Canon
  • 50mm focal length
  • 75mm equivalent focal length on APS-C cameras, 80mm equivalent focal length on Canon APS-C cameras
  • F1.4 maximum aperture; F16 minimum
  • Ring-type ultrasonic-type AF motor with full-time manual focusing
  • 77mm filters.Angle of View (35mm):46.8°

4. Sigma 70-200mm f/2.8 EX DG APO OS HSM

A lot of acronyms but they all do something or the other. This is one of the best mid-range wide-telephoto lenses around. Fast, accurate and almost distortion free, the Sigma 70-200mm f/2.8 is a joy to work with. 9 diaphragm blades make up the lens aperture and produce nice out of focus effects.

The 70-200mm focal length covers the essential focal length range which wedding, portrait, and even wildlife photographers would find useful. Maximum aperture of the lens is f/2.8. That makes this lens perfect to shoot in almost all kinds of lighting. Construction also includes 2 FLD glass elements, 3 SLD glass elements. This is aimed at suppressing chromatic aberrations. Additionally, the lens also includes a super multi-layer coating that reduces flares and ghosting.

Built-in image stabilization on the lens is rated up to 3 to 4 stops. That means you could shoot at a shutter speed 3 to up to 4 stops slower than what the camera’s metering system tells you when hand-holding the camera and yet get sharp images.

The Sigma 70-200mm f/2.8 is somewhat of a unique lens as this is the first third party telephoto lens that incorporates OS and HSM (Hyper-sonic Motor) technology. The later ensures that the lens is ultra-quiet when auto-focusing.

Compared to the Art lenses that we have discussed thus far, the Sigma 70-200mm f/2.8 isn’t the sharpest, at least certainly not when shooting at the tele-end. But it does a better job at the wider end. Overall, it is a nice alternative to the OEM options.

Sigma 70-200mm f/2.8 APO EX DG HSM OS FLD Large Aperture Telephoto Zoom Lens for...
  • 70-200mm focal length, Minimum focus Distance - 1.40m/55.1 inch
  • 105-300mm equivalent focal length on APS-C cameras, 112-320mm equivalent focal length on Canon APS-C cameras
  • F2.8 constant maximum aperture; F22 minimum, Ring-type ultrasonic-type AF motor with full-time manual focusing
  • Image stabilization, 4 stops claimed. Dual mode, normal and panning
  • 77mm filters, Available in Canon EF, Nikon F (FX), Pentax KAF3, Sony Alpha, Sigma SA mounts

5. Sigma 35mm f/1.4 DG HSM Art

The 35mm is probably one lens that finds itself often spoken about in the same breath as the 50mm. This is a lens designed for street, wedding and anything else that requires a sharp piece of glass for shooting great quality images. The first of Sigma’s Art or A-line lenses, the Sigma 35mm f/1.4 DG HSM is a great lens to shoot with.

There are some photographers who shoot almost all their images with a 35mm. For them, the Sigma 35mm f/1.4 DG HSM is a fine option to have. This is a sharp lens. It has 1 “F” Low Dispersion glass elements and 4 Super Low Dispersion (SLD) elements, plus 2 aspheric elements. These take care of chromatic aberrations and increases sharpness. Along with it the lens also has Super Multi-Layer Coating. This coating cuts down on reflections and flares.

Related Post: Best Medium Range DSLR Zoom Lenses

A floating internal focusing system ensures fluid auto-focusing no matter what the focusing distance is. 9 curved blades make up for the aperture diaphragm of the lens. The fast f/1.4 aperture produces nice background blur.

Overall the lens is a viable option for both Nikon and Canon shooters who are looking for a sharp, reliable lens at a price that is cheaper than the ones made by their OEM.

Sigma 35mm F1.4 Art DG HSM Lens for Canon, Black, 3.7 x 3.03 x 3.03 (340101)
  • High speed with large aperture
  • HSM (Hypersonic motor) and inner focusing system
  • Accessories include: Lens Hood (LH730-03), carrying case
  • 35 MM Focal length, Lens not zoomable
  • 67mm filters

6. Sigma 150-600mm f/- 6.3 DG OS HSM Sports lens

2 versions of the Sigma 150-160mm lens exist and this is the one that consists the better features. The other one, that is the contemporary one, is lighter, cheaper and has some notable shortcomings when compared with this one. But that one is out of the scope of this review.

The maximum aperture of this lens ranges from f/5 -6.3. You would be buying this for its super telephoto range and 9/10 times you would be happily shooting away at its longest focal length.

The lens construction consists of 2 FLD elements and 3 SLD elements. Plus, the lens comes with optical image stabilization for the purpose of stabilizing hand-held shots. At this huge optical focal length range, it is pertinent some semblance of image stabilization is provided. The lens also has a special coating that repels water and oil coating at the front and rear elements of the lens.

The lens barrel comes with an array of switches and controls. Primary among them is the zoom lock feature. This locks the zooming function of the lens when you have your subject at a fixed distance from the camera. There is also a manual focusing override which allows you to precisely adjust focus manually when the lens’ auto-focusing mechanism seems to be hunting for it.

The lens is not perfectly weather sealed. Though there is weather sealing provided at various points on the lens, chiefly the lens mount. The biggest USP of the lens is the phenomenal optical range of 600mm which should appease birding and wildlife photographers. Especially, the ones who are looking for a budget lens. 9 rounded aperture blades make up the diaphragm giving nice background blur or subject separation for your images. This one’s probably not the best Sigma lenses in terms of performance, but certainly, an attractive proposition when it comes to the focal length.

Especially, the ones who are looking for a budget lens. 9 rounded aperture blades make up the diaphragm giving nice background blur or subject separation for your images. This one’s probably not the best Sigma lenses in terms of performance, but certainly, an attractive proposition when it comes to the focal length.

Sigma 150-600mm 5-6.3 Sports DG OS HSM Lens for Nikon
  • Maximum Aperture Range: f/3.5-6.3
  • One SLD and Four FLD Elements
  • Super Multi-Layer Coating
  • Hyper Sonic Motor AF System
  • Optical Stabilization


  • Rajib is an avid travel photographer and an overall shutterbug. He loves to test and review new photography gear. He has been writing about cameras and lenses for over 10 years now. You can consider him as your "master guide" here at PhotoWorkout.

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