THE SIGMA BRAND has long been a by-word for quality and value, and it’s one of the reasons why it’s so well favoured by professionals working across all genres, as well as those who are looking to add a hybrid side to their businesses. The latest optic to be launched, the small and perfectly formed 16-28mm f/2.8 DG DN Superzoom, is one that’s only going to enhance the company’s reputation, and it’s already being widely touted as having the potential to become something of a blockbuster in terms of sales over the coming months.
Becoming available in the middle of June and carrying an affordable £749.99 price tag, the new lens is designed from the ground up to partner mirrorless cameras, and at the moment it’s available in Sony E Mount and L-Mount fittings. As well as covering what’s becoming an increasingly popular zoom range, some of the appeal is also bound to come from the fact that it’s so compact and portable – it weighs in at just 450g and has dimensions of 77.2×100.6mm. It also happens to be awesomely well put together and offers high optical quality, both factors highly attractive to the professional user.
Weight has been kept to a minimum through the use of specially selected lightweight materials, including Thermally Stable Composite (TSC), a polycarbonate with a thermal contraction rate similar to that of aluminium. This enables the lens to function at peak performance even in environments with harsh temperature differences, as the metal and plastic parts contract and expand to similar degrees.
Meanwhile the precision of each individual component and the simple beauty of the finished product are made possible thanks to the craftsmanship and expertise of Sigma’s lens design and production teams. Also crucial is the unparalleled manufacturing technology employed by Sigma and the rigorous quality control exerted at the company’s sole production base in Aizu, Japan.
Of course, the look and feel of any new lens is only part of the story, and a high level of optical quality and control of aberrations is also hugely important, and here it’s clear that the new lens is very much delivering a premium result. For a start edge-to-edge sharpness, so important a factor in wide angle lens performance, is exceptional, thanks to the inclusion of five perfectly arranged FLD glass elements (whose characteristics mimic that of fluorite), along with four aspherical lens elements. Together these effectively suppress the lateral and vertical chromatic aberrations that often diminish the image quality of other wide-angle designs.
The lens also comes with the capability to tap into the advanced digital correction capabilities of modern cameras to enable it to achieve such impressive image quality in such a small body. Meanwhile, an f/2.8 constant aperture throughout the entire zoom range of the lens delivers a shallow depth-of-field, which is especially useful when shooting close-ups.
The bokeh that this lens can achieve is smooth and circular, thanks to the nine rounded diaphragm blades that have been utilised, which means the background never distracts from the in-focus subject. Sigma has also taken extensive measures to counter ghosting and lens flare, which are generally caused by reflections inside the lens barrel. A Super Multi-Layer Coating ensures that punchy, high contrast results can be achieved, even when faced with the most challenging of backlit conditions.
Easy to Use
Along with exceptional optical performance, this latest Sigma lens also takes account of the requirements of the modern imaging professional, being capable of a high level of performance on video productions as well as stills, while there are plenty of details that show the thought that’s gone into the design.
For a start there’s a front filter thread built in, which allows ND and polarising filters to be quickly and easily fitted. Meanwhile the inner zoom mechanism ensures that the lens maintains its original size throughout the zooming range, with almost no shift to its balance point, the extra stability gained ensuring that the lens can easily be paired with a gimbal or used for hand-held or vlog-style filmmaking.
By using a stepping motor to control the AF actuator, the autofocus of the 16-28mm f/2.8 DG DN Contemporary is both fast and silent, making it ideal for shooting in quiet environments, such as weddings, and also for video when using an on-camera mic.
As well as offering a stand out performance in its own right, the new lens also has a valuable role to play in terms of providing the professional with a key part of their overall optical set-up. Pair it with Sigma’s 28-70mm f/2.8 DG DN Contemporary lens, for example, and photographers would then be able to cover ultra-wide to medium telephoto focal lengths with just the two lenses. Their combined weight of only 920g makes for an extremely versatile, compact lens system, which features uniform f/2.8 brightness throughout the entire range.
It all means that, for an outlay that shouldn’t alarm the bank manager too much, you can set yourself up with a pair of modern, efficient and versatile lenses that should serve you well for years to come, with plenty of future-proofing built in. It’s a sign of Sigma’s impressive forward-thinking, and it’s a chance to revamp your business with a matched pair of optics that aren’t going to let you down.
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