Blog / Learn & Help / Lenses Sigma Cine Primes and Zooms – all you need to know Lenses This article seeks to introduce the range of Sigma Cine Primes, Classic Primes and Film Zooms and to explain why we like them as much as we do and to give a list of compatible lens mounts for this range of lenses which VMI stocks, since we don’t (yet) stock all focal lengths in every available mount. Updated Jan 2020 to include new Classic Primes Since the full range of Sigma Cine FF primes and zooms landed at VMI in 2017, Sigma, a manufacturer better known for lower-cost DSLR and SLR lenses, has produced a magnificent range of 20 x cine primes and 3 x cine zooms. They are seriously impressive and well worth a look, especially since they resolve 8K, are compact, affordable and are available in EF, PL, as well as E mount, with LPL mount coming soon. All primes cover Full Frame and S-35 format too. What is surprising is that since taking delivery of our first set of Sigma primes in early 2017, VMI in 2020 now owns 7 sets today of Sigma Cine and Classic Primes in EF and PL mounts and also more than 10 cine zooms too. Sigma Cine Primes – good enough for Top Gun Amazingly, Sigma Cine Primes were the choice of DP, Claudio Miranda, which were used to shoot the latest feature, Top Gun: Maverick, which is the sequal to the famous 1986 orignal – both starring Tom Cruise. Miranda, best known as the Academy Award-winning director of photography on Ang Lee’s film Life of Pi and David Fincher’s The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, apparently really liked the look of the lenses and whilst he didn’t hire them from VMI for this production(!), it is safe to say that if they are good enough to shoot Tom Cruise, then they are probably good enough for your production too! If Sigma Cine Primes are good enough to shoot Tom Cruise, then they are probably good enough for your production too.Barry Bassett,VMI Sigma Primes now available with Modern or a Classic Look Sigma are joining Cooke, Canon, Zeiss and others, to manufacture lenses which concentrate on ‘character’ so that they flare more and lens aberations have been deliberate created in their design in order to produce a more pleasing look. Sigma describe the process of creating this look as being due to their newly developed coatings which both assist with the look and also make the coatings more durable too. What we know is that we all really like the images which have warm colour tones with pleasing colourimetry, no perceptable focus breathing, attractive bokeh. The Sigma Cine Primes have a very fast T1.5 maximum iris whereas the Sigma Classic Primes are all matched at T2.5 (14mm and 135mm are slower). You decide what look you like best. All Sigma PL Primes are now available with Cooke/i data compatibility Some years ago, Cooke pioneered a data standard which they branded Cooke /i data, which allows all digital lens data (iris, focus & zoom) to be read and recorded by the camera and other peripherals. This is very helpful for the crew, since the lens data set includes the lens attributes as well, so in combination, this can avoid the need to manually mark up lenses when working with some lens control systems, which can save a lot of time in prep. As an aside, the lens data is also captured during record and is very useful in post as well. All Sigma Classic/i Primes and Sigma Cine/i Primes are compatible with Cooke/i data This has been so successful that most lenses made by the best lens manufacturers such as Angenieux, Cooke, Zeiss, ARRI, Leitz, Fujinon etc all read Cooke/i data. The great news is that this facility is now offered by both Sigma Classic/i Primes and now also their latest Sigma Cine/i Primes as well. (Note that older Sigma Cine Primes do not have this capability). (The story goes that Claudio Miranda INSISTED that Sigma build-in Cooke/i data compatibility into their Sigma Classic Primes for Top Gun 2, otherwise he wouldn’t use them!) Some History When I was growing up, Sigma didn’t have a great reputation for manufacturing lenses. In fact, during the 70s, Sigma produced lenses which you might buy if you couldn’t afford Nikon and the build quality was disappointing. This was my perspective of the brand until I actually saw the lenses in 2016 at IBC. This new range of lenses, instead of simply being based on remounted DSLR lenses, was completely designed from scratch. I am told that Sigma actually spent £10m fitting out a factory in Japan, specifically to manufacture this new range of lenses and Jon Fauer’s excellent article in December 2016’s Film & Digital Times of his tour to visit the Sigma Cine Lens factory, entirely reassured me that I was right to have ordered the UK’s first set of Sigma primes, which arrived in early 2017. We were not disappointed. Sigma Factory, taken by Jon Fauer, Film & Digital Times Sigma Cine Primes – 10 focal lengths 14-135mm From the outset, Sigma announced that they would manufacturer a range of 10 x Cine prime focal lengths from 14mm to 135mm and the majority of these have a T stop of T1.5. Please read the independent IMAGO review of the Sigma lenses here. All cover S-35 and Full Frame FF) and these now include: Sigma Cine Prime 14mm/T2 FF. Close Focus 27cm/11″Sigma Cine Prime 20mm/T1.5 FF. Close Focus 27cm/11″ Sigma Cine Prime 24mm/T1.5 FF. Close Focus 25cm/10″ Sigma Cine Prime 28mm/T1.5 FF. Close Focus 30cm/1′Sigma Cine Prime 35mm/T1.5 FF. Close Focus 30cm/1′Sigma Cine Prime 40mm/T1.5 FF. Close Focus 40cm/1’4″ Sigma Cine Prime 50mm/T1.5 FF. Close Focus 40cm/1’4″ Sigma Cine Prime 85mm/T1.5 FF. Close Focus 85cm/2’10”Sigma Cine Prime 105mm/T1.5 FF. Close Focus 1m/3’4″Sigma Cine Prime 135mm/T2 FF. Close Focus 87cm/2’11” All are available now to buy in PL and EF mount and whilst VMI carry multiple sets in both mounts, not every focal length is available in EF mount, only PL mount, though this is subject to change. Sigma Cine Prime: 5 lens package 20-85mm PL Mount Sigma Cine Prime: 5 lens package 20-85mm EF Mount Sigma Classic Primes – 10 focal lengths 14-135mm As already mentioned, the Sigma Classic Primes are lenses which are designed with ‘character’ so that they flare more and lens aberations have been deliberate created in their design in order to produce a more pleasing look. New durable coatings give warm colour tones with pleasing colourimetry, no perceptable focus breathing, attractive bokeh. Importantly, the new Classic Primes also read Cooke /i data too and VMI are offering these in lenses in sets of either 5 or the full 10 focal lengths in a cost effective package. Please read the independent Cinema 5D review of the Sigma Classic lenses here. All are rated for full 4K resolution and include follow focus rings, clear focus scaling and are fully manual throughout and the build quality is first class. These lenses are optimised for cinema use and all feature a 9-blade aperture diaphragm for a beautiful full rounded bokeh. All are T2.5-T16All have 95mm frontAll have Full Frame coverage FF Φ43.3 VMI Sigma 10 lens Classic Prime Set Comprising: Sigma Classic Prime 14mm/T3.2 FF. Close Focus 27cm/11″Sigma Classic Prime 20mm/T2.5 FF. Close Focus 27cm/11″ Sigma Classic Prime 24mm/T2.5 FF. Close Focus 25cm/10″ Sigma Classic Prime 28mm/T2.5 FF. Close Focus 30cm/1′Sigma Classic Prime 35mm/T2.5 FF. Close Focus 30cm/1′Sigma Classic Prime 40mm/T2.5 FF. Close Focus 40cm/1’4″ Sigma Classic Prime 50mm/T2.5 FF. Close Focus 40cm/1’4″ Sigma Classic Prime 85mm/T2.5 FF. Close Focus 85cm/2’10”Sigma Classic Prime 105mm/T2.5 FF. Close Focus 1m/3’4″Sigma Classic Prime 135mm/T3.2 FF. Close Focus 87cm/2’11” All Sigma Classic Primes have a 95mm front diameter. All are available now to buy in PL and EF mount and whilst VMI carry multiple sets in both mounts, presently, VMI only stocks the Sigma Classic Primes in PL mount, though this is subject to change. Sigma Classic Prime: 5 lens package 20-85mm PL Mount Sigma Classic Prime: 10 lens package 14-135mm PL Mount Sigma Cine Zoom Lenses Sigma also manufacture three zooms in their range, which work over short ranges but are very fast (T2 and T2.2-T16). The 18-35/T2 and 50-100/T2 cover S35 and are available in different mounts. EF Mount: 18-35/T2 and 50-100/T2PL Mount: 18-35/T2 and 50-100/T2 The 24-35/T2.2 which covers S-35 and Full Frame format (FF Φ43.3) and is available in EF mount only. Clients always want lenses which work over a large useful range and which are fast (have a large aperture), so that they can work in low light, however they also want them to be low cost as well… but the science of manufacturing lenses, means that these are conflicting demands. Sigma elected to make 3 x compact zoom lenses which operate over a limited range but in doing so achieve a maximum iris of T2 and T2.2. Being small and lightweight means that they are also portable and the large iris means that they can work in low light. The trade-off is of course that all 3 zoom lenses operate over reasonably short focal ranges but they are very effective and extremely popular too. The performance however is fantastic, especially at their price and Imago have written a very comprehensive technical review of the 18-35 and 50-100 zooms here. The Sigma 24-35/T2.2 covers Full Frame and is available in EF format only. Full Frame cover, T1.5 aperture and 8K quality too 4K might be in vogue now, however Sigma have manufactured these lenses to be future-proof and so ensured that they fully resolve 8K quality. All of the prime lenses fully cover FF format (FF Φ43.3) as well as S-35. All feature clear focus scaling, film gear pitch follow focus rings, are fully manual throughout and the build quality is first class, featuring a 9-blade aperture diaphragm for a beautiful full rounded bokeh. 8 of the 10 lens set (20mm-105mm) all have a maximum iris of T1.5 and even the 14mm and 135mm manage to achieve a maximum iris of T2, whilst all lenses still achieve Full Frame coverage. VMI carries the full range of 10 x Sigma cine primes (14-135mm) and 3 x zooms and most are available in PL and EF mounts too. Make no mistake, these lenses are solidly built and have been designed from scratch by Sigma. They are not simply an adaptation of their stills lens range. Focus breathing is minimised and the lenses look, feel and behave like you expect quality film lenses to. Barry Bassett,VMI Whilt Sigma manufacture these lenses in PL mount, E mount and EF Mount, VMI have chosen to stock most of these in EF and PL mount, enabling compatibility with all pretty much all cameras in S-35 and full frame (FF) format too. (Note that Native E mount versions are not stocked by VMI). These lenses are compatible with all cameras with a PL or EF mount (including Full Frame cameras too) without the need for an adapter or with E mount (alpha mount) cameras such as Sony A7S, FS5, FS7, Panasonic GH5 and other cameras with a suitable lens adapter (Metabones etc). Note that due to the weight of all of these lenses and the inherent strength limitation of the EF lens mount, it is crucial to support each lens using the supplied custom support during use, though this is not required when using the PL mount versions. Sigma Cine Primes There are 10 lenses available in the original Sigma Cine Primes range. Main Features 20-85mm set are all T1.5-T1614mm and 135mm are T2-T16All have 95mm frontAll achieve Full Frame coverage FF Φ43.3All are manufactured in EF, E & PL mounts (presently, VMI are only supplying these in EF and PL mount)All EF mount VMI Sigma primes include custom 15mm lens supports. (necessary for operation with EF mount but not for PL versions)All of the lenses in the lineup are colour matchedDust-Proof and Splash-Proof Design – Each ring and mount is sealed to prevent water and dust from enteringAll Metal Body ConstructionLens Markings – The main lens markings are in luminous paint and intermediate markings are laser-engraved for durability. The focus and zoom markings are readable from either side of the lensLens Gears – All lens gears in the Sigma zoom range are standard 0.8 Mod and feature a damper that eliminates metallic sounds when you reach the end of the lens travel Sigma Cine Primes 14-135mm, all are T1.5 except 14mm & 135mm which are T2 SIGMA Cine FF Prime Set (20-85mm/T1.5) 5-lens package (EF & PL mount) The flagship Sigma 5 lens prime set (EF) or Sigma 5 lens prime set (PL) with extremely fast (T1.5) 20-85mm prime lenses Sigma 20mm/T1.5 FF Prime. Close Focus 27cm/11″ Sigma 24mm/T1.5 FF Prime. Close Focus 25cm/10″ Sigma 35mm/T1.5 FF Prime. Close Focus 30cm/1′ Sigma 50mm/T1.5 FF Prime. Close Focus 40cm/1’4″ Sigma 85mm/T1.5 FF Prime. Close Focus 85cm/2’10” SIGMA Cine FF 14mm Prime (EF & PL mount) Sigma 14mm/T2 FF Prime (EF). Close Focus 27cm/11″ Sigma 14mm/T2 FF Prime (PL). Close Focus 27cm/11″ SIGMA Cine FF 28mm Prime (PL mount only) Sigma 28mm/T2 FF Prime (PL). Close Focus 30cm/1′ SIGMA Cine FF 40mm Prime (PL mount only) Sigma 40mm/T2 FF Prime (PL). Close Focus 40cm/1’4″ SIGMA Cine FF 105mm Prime (PL mount only) Sigma 105mm/T2 FF Prime (PL). Close Focus 1m/3’4″ SIGMA Cine FF 135mm Prime (EF & PL mount) Sigma 135mm/T2 FF Prime (EF). Close Focus 27cm/11″ Sigma 135mm/T2 FF Prime (PL). Close Focus 27cm/11″ Sigma Classic Primes. 14-135mm, all are T2.5 except 14mm & 135mm which are T3.2 SIGMA Classic FF Prime Set (20-85mm/T2.5) 5-lens package (PL mount) The flagship Sigma Classic Prime: 5 lens package 20-85mm PL Mount with 20-85mm/T2.5 prime lenses. Sigma 20mm/T2.5 FF Classic Prime. Close Focus 27cm/11″ Sigma 24mm/T2.5 FF Classic Prime. Close Focus 25cm/10″ Sigma 35mm/T2.5 FF Classic Prime. Close Focus 30cm/1′ Sigma 50mm/T2.5 FF Classic Prime. Close Focus 40cm/1’4″ Sigma 85mm/T2.5 FF Classic Prime. Close Focus 85cm/2’10” SIGMA FF 14mm Classic Prime (PL mount) Sigma 14mm/T3.2 FF Classic Prime (PL). Close Focus 27cm/11″ SIGMA Classic Prime FF 28mm Prime (PL mount) Sigma 28mm/T2.5 FF Classic Prime (PL). Close Focus 30cm/1 SIGMA Classic Prime FF 40mm Prime (PL mount only) Sigma 40mm/T2 FF Prime (PL). Close Focus 40cm/1’4″ SIGMA FF 105mm Classic Prime (PL mount only) Sigma 105mm/T2.5 FF Classic Prime (PL). Close Focus 1m/3’4″ SIGMA FF 135mm Classic Prime (EF & PL mount) Sigma 135mm/T2 FF Classic Prime (PL). Close Focus 27cm/11″ Sigma Cine Zoom Lenses Main Features 18-35 & 50-100 are all T2-T1624-35mm is T2.2-T16All have 95mm frontAll have S-35 coverage24-35 features Full Frame coverage FF Φ43.318-35 & 50-100 are manufactured in EF, E & PL mounts (presently, VMI are only supplying these in EF mount)24-35 is manufactured in EF & E mounts (presently, VMI are only supplying these in EF mount)All VMI lenses include custom 15mm lens supports (necessary for operation with EF mount)All of the lenses in the lineup are colour matched.Dust-Proof and Splash-Proof Design – Each ring and mount is sealed to prevent water and dust from entering.All Metal Body Construction.Lens Markings – The main lens markings are in luminous paint and intermediate markings are laser-engraved for durability. The focus and zoom markings are readable from either side of the lens.Lens Gears – All lens gears in the Sigma zoom range are standard 0.8 Mod and feature a damper that eliminates metallic sounds when you reach the end of the lens travel. SIGMA S-35 Coverage Zoom Lenses SIGMA 18-35mm/T2 Cine Zoom (EOS mount) Sigma 18-35/T2 Cine Zoom Close Focus 27cm/11″ T2 Consistent aperture over entire zoom rangeCovers Super 35 Sensor SizesWeighs Only 1.45kg. SIGMA 50-100mm/T2 Cine Zoom (EOS mount) Sigma 50-100/T2 Cine Zoom Close Focus 95cm/3’2″ T2 Consistent aperture over entire zoom range Covers Super 35 Sensor Sizes Weighs Only 1.89kg. Shoot with a pair of T2 zooms instead of Primes Since the 18-35 and 50-100 are both T2, why not consider shooting with a pair of zooms, instead of a box of primes? With only 2 quality lenses to choose from, this might be a quicker option to consider. Sigma Sigma_Cine Zoom Pair (18-35mm & 50-100 T2 EF) SIGMA FULL FRAME Coverage Zoom Lens This is Sigma’s cine zoom which offers S-35 and Full Frame coverage (FF Φ43.3) SIGMA 24-35mm/T2.2 FF Cine Zoom (EOS mount) Sigma 24-35/T2.2 FF Cine Zoom Close Focus 27cm/11″ T2 Consistent aperture over entire zoom rangeCovers Super 35 Sensor SizesWeighs Only 1.45kg. Related articles New generation of Auto Focus lenses now available with E and EF Mounts Lenses Auto Focus is here to stay and whilst this is not a panacea to force all focus-pullers to retrain, the increased adoption of Full Frame (which necessarily makes focussing more critical than S-35 or APSC formats) and the enhanced development of the technology, makes this functionality more useful and as a result, we are noticing an increased interest in it. What real world Cinematographers think about using Infiniprobe lenses Cinematography, Lenses The Digital Cinema Society presents an exploration of Micro/Macro cinematography with three DPs including Bill Bennett, ASC, James Mathers, and Cameron Cannon. The trio photograph a variety of shots in order to evaluate these exceptional lenses and also share their insights in behind-the-scenes coverage. Some S-35 zooms already cover FF (you just didn’t know this!) Lenses This is an extremely brief article to help to explain a lesser-known but extremely valuable tip. In summary, film zooms designed to cover S-35 sensors, will also cover Full Frame as well IF used with a 1.5x extender and this is built into several zoom lenses already, such as the Canon Cabrio zooms.