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Sigma Just Entered The Cinema Lens Market With An Impressive New Line Of Cine Glass!

Sigma has been aggressively innovating their product line over the last few years, and as of today they just made their biggest announcement yet – a brand new cinema lens lineup. While I personally haven’t invested in any Sigma glass as of yet, that may very well change in the near future thanks to today’s announcement…

In total, Sigma has announced no less than 8 new cinema lenses. 3 zooms and 5 primes:

  • 18-35mm T2 (APS-C) Zoom Lens
  • 50-100mm T2 (APS-C) Zoom Lens
  • 24-35mm T2.2 (Full Frame) Zoom Lens
  • 20mm T1.5 (Full Frame) Prime Lens
  • 24mm T1.5 (Full Frame) Prime Lens
  • 35mm T1.5 (Full Frame) Prime Lens
  • 50mm T1.5 (Full Frame) Prime Lens
  • 85mm T1.5 (Full Frame) Prime Lens

The first two lenses on this list (the 18-35mm and 50-100mm) will be the first to be released at the end of this year. The rest of the lenses, including the full frame prime kit and the full frame 24-35mm zoom will be rolled out in 2017.

No prices for any of the lenses have been released just yet.

Sigma Cine Lens Lineup

I can only imagine that much like the Zeiss Cp2’s or Rokinon XEEN’s, these are re-housed stills lenses. The focal lengths and speed of the glass is of course the giveaway, since they perfectly match Sigma’s Art series. With that in mind, I’m sure there will be some notable differences between the new cinema-housed Sigma lenses and the Art series, above and beyond the physical housing.

When stills lenses are re-housed for cinema use, other small but important tweaks are often made along the way. For instance, it’s common for manufacturers to add more aperture blades and use better lens coating on the glass to allow the lenses to perform at their absolute best. While we don’t yet know exactly how these lenses will differ from the Art lenses (other than the housing of course), I’m sure they will offer numerous improvements and optimal performance.

Sigma Zoom Cine LensesSigma Prime Cine Lenses

These lenses have the potential to make a massive dent in the industry as long as they meet one criteria – they need to be priced very competitively. Currently, Rokinon’s XEEN lenses are the most affordable cinema lenses on the market, and they seem to be selling pretty well. That said, their glass (in my opinion at least) is not at the level of the Sigma Art lenses, so I don’t doubt that Sigma’s new cinema series will sell even better than the XEEN’s, so long as they’re priced right.

Rokinon’s XEEN lenses each cost about $2500 a pop, which is significantly lower than just about any other option on the market. The next cheapest options are the Schneider Xenon’s, the Canon CN-E’s, and the  Zeiss Cp2’s, which all run in the $4000 – $6000 range per lens.

If Sigma can price these in the same ballpark as the Rokinon lenses ($2500 or less per lens), they’ll fly off the shelves. Generally speaking, it would be a no brainer for most filmmakers to choose the Sigma’s over the Rokinon’s at that price, since the Sigma’s will likely deliver better quality image in every way. On the other hand, if these lenses are priced higher (in that $4000-$6000 range), they’ll be a much tougher sell. There’s more competition at that price point, and some filmmakers may prefer to invest in one of the more established cinema-lens brands, namely Zeiss or Schneider.

That said, the Sigma Cinema line is going to have some advantages over Zeiss and Schneider, especially when it comes to speed. Sigma’s cinema primes are all rated at T1.5, unlike the Zeiss Cp2’s which vary from T1.5 to T3.6 or the Schneider Xenon’s which range from T2.1 to T2.4. This may not be a deal breaker for everyone, but the fact that Sigma’s prime kit is effectively super speed caliber (and constant throughout the line), is definitely going to sway some buyers.

Sony’s CineAlta lenses are another option for filmmakers looking for cinema glass on a budget (the 6 lens set is about $12,500), but they too have disadvantages when compared to the Sigmas. Specifically, the CineAlta lenses don’t cover full frame sensors and they are all rated at T2, which again is slower than the blazing fast T.15 Sigma is delivering.

Sigma Cinema Lens Lineup

Sigma’s entire line of cinema lenses will be offered in EF and E Mount right off the bat, and PL mount versions are said to come later. This might give us some hope that the pricing on these lenses will be very competitive, seeing as Sigma is clearly going after the lower budget market with EF and E mounts offered before PL. It’s not yet clear whether or not the lenses will have swappable mounts (allowing them to be changed to PL down the road), but hopefully that’s something Sigma has in the works.

I’m definitely looking forward to trying out these lenses, and putting them to use on some future productions. If nothing else, I’m happy to see Sigma is shaking things up in the cinema lens market, and hopefully more lens manufacturers will follow suit in the future. 

Let me know what you think of these lenses in the comments below.

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About Author

Noam Kroll is an award-winning Los Angeles based filmmaker, and the founder of the boutique production house, Creative Rebellion. His work can be seen at international film festivals, on network television, and in various publications across the globe. Follow Noam on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook for more content like this!

10 Comments

  • Michael
    February 7, 2017 at 5:22 pm

    Hello!
    I’m wondering if anyone has had a chance to test out the SLR Magic APO HyperPrime Cine 25mm, 50mm, 85mm. They are going for 6790.00 for the set. I have found a few older articles on the 50mm but nothing on the 25mm or the 85mm. I’m thinking of purchasing a set so any input is definitely welcome. Rumor has it they are working on a wider and a longer lens as well.

    Thank you!

    Reply
    • Noam Kroll
      February 9, 2017 at 8:42 pm

      I haven’t myself, but perhaps someone else here has!

      Reply
  • Drew
    September 9, 2016 at 9:30 pm

    Well, they just released more information on the Sigma Cine series. Only 9 blade apertures (same as Art series), 180 degree focus rotations (an increase of 90 degrees compared to the Art series), zooms are not parfocal (same as the Art series…although they are close to being parfocal, they are not quite there), interchangeable mounts but only if sent to a Sigma service center (same as Art series), same amount of focus breathing as Art series (this is okay because the Art series doesn’t breath that much except for the 50-100mm zoom that breathes like a beast), bulbous front on the 20mm makes screw on filtration more difficult/expensive, and no same size and weight (although the focus, zoom, and iris gears are all in a standard position on all the lenses). No news on additional lenses or coatings.
    At first I was excited with the Sigma Cine series announcement, but they really are just the Art series lenses in cine housings without any increase to image quality. Their price will determine if they are worth it or not. GL Optics completely rehouses the Sigma Art lenses into cine lenses with 300 degrees of focal throw and the zooms are parfocal for around $3500 for a zoom, I believe. For the Sigma Cine series to sell, the price/quality needs to better than that of the other affordable full frame cine lenses (Xenon, CP2, CN-E, Tokina, Celere), the GL Optic sigma conversions, and still glass such as Zeiss, Leica, Nikon, Canon, and Sigma that are cinemodded. I’m thinking $2000 for the Sigmas to $2500 is about right, forcing the Xeens to go down to $2000 or $1500.
    If the Sigmas are $3000 or more, I’d probably go with another cine lens that fulfills some of the specs that the Sigma Cine lenses miss or just stick with Sigma Art stills glass that could always be cinemodded.
    By the way, the Tokina Cine Primes look amazing. 35mm, 50mm, and 85mm at T1.5 with a 18mm T1.5 and 25mm T1.5 coming. No breathing. Supposedly completely new optical designs. Add a 100mm T1.5 and a complete set of 6 would be done (add a 135mm T1.5 as a seven lens set and it would be even better). Price is $4000 to $5000 per lens, closer to the prices of Celere, CP2, CN-E, and Xenons than Xeen and Sigma Cine, but the quality and specs look great. Hopefully, they deliver with image quality and mechanics.
    Has anyone tried the Celere HS lenses? I’ve heard they blow the CP2, CN-E, and Xenons out of the water.

    Reply
    • Noam Kroll
      September 19, 2016 at 2:32 pm

      Agreed that the Tokina’s look promising! Can’t wait to check them out…

      Reply
  • Tom
    September 9, 2016 at 1:57 pm

    Good News!!!
    Threre are a pletora of offerings right now, adding the new Cine Tamroms full frame 35, 50, 85 T 1.5 and the 16-28mm available on january!

    Reply
    • Noam Kroll
      September 19, 2016 at 2:32 pm

      Thanks Tom! I’m excited… It’s a good time to be investing in glass – that’s for sure.

      Reply
  • JR
    September 8, 2016 at 10:13 am

    The stills versions of all three zooms don’t telescope when zooming so I doubt these will either!
    I just hope they address the focus breathing issue in the 50-100. Image rendering is absolutely gorgeous, but the breathing is noticeable even with the slightest focus pull, so I hope this is something they can improve on with the cine version. The 18-35 on the other hand, is the most amazing piece of glass I’ve ever used. In my experience actually out-resolves some of Canon’s cine primes, and even maintains a nice, sharp image wide open throughout the entire range (on a GH4) with an anamorphic adapter attached.

    Reply
    • Noam Kroll
      September 19, 2016 at 2:29 pm

      Good point JR – I’m also hoping the lenses perform better in the new housing and that these issues are minimized or eliminated completely. My guess is that they will, as I’m sure Sigma is aware of how these problems could affect a more professional filmmaker investing in this level of glass… But I guess only time will tell! Thanks for the note.

      Reply
  • Drew
    September 7, 2016 at 10:52 pm

    I have been waiting awhile for these.
    My brother has all the Sigma Art full frame lenses for his 5d Mark III and they are awesome in regards to overall image quality and also image quality for their cost. I expect these to be just as good if not better.
    If these are between $1500 and $2500, they will sell like hotcakes and the Rokinon Xeen will have to lower their prices to be competitive (for the same price, people will buy the Sigma Cine over the Xeen). This will be good for buyers of the Sigma Cines and the Xeens.
    In fact, for $1500-$3000, people will buy the sigmas instead of the more expensive and renown Zeiss CP2s, Canon CN-Es, and Schneider Xenons (as long as Sigma Cine completes its line with at least 18mm, 28mm, and 100mm full frame primes). Based on their Art series counterparts, the Sigma Cines will be faster than the CP2s and Xenons, have less chromatic aberration than the Xenons, be sharper wide open than the CP2s and the CN-Es, have less breathing than the CP2s and CN-Es, and be more uniform in quality and size than the CP2s which have some amazing lenses in their lineup (such as the rectilinear 15mm) but also some lesser lenses (such as the 18mm which isn’t even full frame).
    If they cost over $3000, I think they will be considered overpriced and will not sell as well due to competition from the CP2s, CN-Es, and Xenons.
    I expect the same optics as the Sigma Art Series lenses, but with better coatings and color matching.
    As far as mechanics go, it seems these will be well-built and at least partially weather proofed. They will increase the focus throw from 90 degrees on the Sigma Art lenses to 180 degrees. They will have manual focus, iris, and zoom rings. All the rings will be at the same place regardless of the lens so there will be no need to adjust the follow focus on your rods. They will give you the choice of EF, E, and, eventually, PL mount.
    My concerns with the Sigma Cine line are:
    the current unknown price, the uniformed focus, iris, and zoom rings but no uniform overall lens length, will the zooms telescope when zooming, will the lens mounts be interchangeable, will the zooms be parfocal, will they add 18mm, 28mm, and 100mm lenses and how fast will they be ( the 28mm needs to be T1.5 and the 18mm and 100mm need to be T2.0 or faster), the Sigma Cine lenses’ focus rings have 180 degree rotation but 270 to 300 degrees of rotation would have been better, will they add a lens to cover the 35-50mm gap in their S35 zoom lenses (a 40mm lens comes in handy now and then…too bad they do not reengineer the zooms to cover the gap, such as an 18-45mm and a 40-100mm), will they add more blades to the aperture (I believe the Art series has 9 blades, but something closer to the 14 blades of the Xenons would be better), and will they ever add more lenses outside the normal at fairly fast speeds (such as 15/16mm, 135mm, and 200mm full frame primes at T2.8 or faster and a T2.0 100-200mm S35 zoom)
    Hopefully they will address these questions and concerns sooner rather than later so people can start saving up for these lenses. They seem like they will be an excellent option for lower budget filmmaking as well as bigger budgets. Yay for the democratization of cinema.

    Reply
    • Noam Kroll
      September 19, 2016 at 2:17 pm

      Thanks so much for the detailed response Drew. You make some really great points here, and I think many of your concerns and hesitations are shared by other filmmakers, so hopefully some of the details will be cleared up in the near future. The biggest drawback for me that you mentioned is the lack of a uniform size across the lens kit. That said, if the price is right and the image quality is where it needs to be, that’s something I can live with!

      Reply

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