Sigma 50-100 f/1.8 ART Lens
Sigma 50-100mm f/1.8 DC ART Lens, with hood.

Sigma Announces 50-100 f/1.8 DC Art, and 30mm f/1.4 DN Contemporary

Although Sigma announced two new lenses tonight, only one of them is ground-breaking: the spectacular new 50-100mm f/1.8 ART series lens. That’s not a typo. This lens has a wide, f/1.8 aperture available throughout the entire zoom range, allowing in more than two times as much light as an f/2.8 zoom.

Only two years ago, Sigma surprised us all with the announcement of the 18-35mm f/1.8 ART series lens, the first f/1.8 zoom lens ever produced. Today, they can add the world’s first f/1.8 telephoto zoom to their trophy case.

The Sigma 50-100 f/1.8 ART, without lens hood.
The Sigma 50-100 f/1.8 ART, without lens hood.

Unfortunately, the lens is a DC model, meaning that it is suitably only for the smaller APS-C sensor cameras, where it will have a field of view roughly similar to a 75-150mm lens. Still, it will pair nicely with the Canon 80D and 7D Mark II, and the new Nikon D500 for portraits and low-light action work. Wedding photographers and journalists will swoon.

The lens will begin shipping at the end of April at a retail price of $1099. It can be pre-ordered now at B&H Photo in Canon or Nikon mounts. It’s also available with Sigma mount, but nobody cares about that.

The Sigma 30mm f/1.4 DN Contemporary

The Sigma 30mm f/1.4 Contemporary, with lens hood.

Though it may seem like an afterthought at this point, the Sigma 30mm f/1.4 DN Contemporary lens for micro-4/3 and Sony-E mount is still a solid offering. On these smaller sensors, its field of view will be more similar to a standard 50mm lens, and Sigma claims that it’s innovative optical design will provide image quality that would match an ART series lens. It will be an excellent companion to the new Sony a6300.

Available in mid-March, the 30mm f/1.4 will cost only $339, significantly less than a 50mm ART. It is currently available for pre-order in Sony-E and Micro-4/3rds mounts.

  1. Mathew,
    Thanks for you thoughts and insights…I hadn’t considered the depth of field aspect of using this lens so that’s something I will need to consider as well!

  2. Hi Mathew,
    I’m really excited about this new Sigma 50-100m f/1.8 lens since a lot of what I shoot is basketball. The only concern I had was that it does not have image stabilization, which is something both of my current lenses that I use for basketball have. In your opinion is the fact this lens has no image stabilization a deal breaker for shooting basketball/volleyball?

    1. Hi Eric,

      When I first heard about this lens, I thought the exact same thing. Basketball in those big, poorly lit gyms would be so much easier with a lens like this! I thought.

      Having given it some thought, I’m not concerned about the image stabilization. If you’re shooting sports, you’re going to have to use a high enough shutter speed that camera movement on a 150mm (Nikon DX) lens won’t be a big issue; you’ll be shooting (hopefully) at 1/500th or 1/1000th of a second, and that’s just fine to hand hold. If you’re concerned, you can always use a $20 monopod… although I know that’s not very convenient in a basketball arena.

      However, there is one thing that you should keep in mind. Shooting ANYTHING a with a 100mm (160mm, Canon) f/1.8 is tricky.The depth of field will be very, very shallow, and if you’re shooting fast moving athletes, getting perfect focus will not be easy. Now, it may turn out that the shallow depth of field will separate the subject of your photo nicely, if you can get them in focus consistently, and this lens is supposed to have an improved new AF motor, which will help. But having attempted to shoot action with various 50mm f/1.4 lenses, I’m concerned about how practical it will really be.

      For the price of a 50-100 f/1.8, you could also buy several flash heads and some radio triggers. As you may know, when we shoot basketball in many college arenas and all professional arenas, there are “house lights”, large flash units that are installed in the area for photographers to use, triggered with Pocket Wizards. The same effect can be achieved with 3 or more speedlights with radio triggers, and they only cost about $100 each these days. Of course, that takes a lot more time for setup… so it can be a bit of a pain.

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