Ronkonkoma, NY—Sigma Corporation of America, developer, manufacturer and service provider for lenses, cameras and flashes, unveiled the family-owned and operated company’s global vision at photokina 2012 in Cologne, Germany.
The company will restructure the Sigma lens lineup into three new categories, launch a new lens in each of those categories, develop a new quality control inspection and measurement system for the lenses, and design new software and a USB docking station that will enable photographers to update and adjust their lenses to suit personal preferences.
“We’re moving in a new direction that simplifies the lens selection process for photographers and helps them realize the full potential of the DSLR system,” said Kazuto Yamaki, CEO. “In addition to making it easier for photographers to find the right lens, we’re empowering them with more control over their equipment, while furthering our commitment to them by establishing a higher expectation for the quality of the lenses we produce.”
Starting immediately, all newly produced interchangeable lenses from Sigma will be designed for and organized into one of three product categories: Contemporary, Art and Sports. Each line has a clearly defined concept to guide shooters in the selection of the right lens for their photographic interests.
Contemporary. These lenses incorporate the company’s latest technology and keep size and weight to a minimum, without compromising optical performance or utility. “High-performance, versatile, compact and superbly portable,” according to Sigma these lenses will be largely comprised of standard zooms, telephoto zooms and high-magnification zooms for various photography, including landscape, travel and casual portraiture.
Art. With an emphasis on artistic touch, these lenses are designed to meet the expectations of users who value a creative, dramatic outcome. Along with landscapes, portraits, still life, close-up and casual snaps, they are geared for “the inner artist.” This category will be comprised of many focal lengths and designs, such as large-aperture prime lenses, wide-angle lenses, ultra-wide-angle lenses, macro lenses and fisheye lenses.
Sports. Offering high-level optical performance and power, these lenses are engineered to capture fast-moving subjects, even at a distance. This line offers a variety of functions to aid photographers in challenging conditions and scenarios. Besides sports photography, they are also effective for nature shots featuring birds, wild animals and other creatures, and for the capture of aircraft, trains and race cars. The Sports line is also unique in that users can adjust the lenses’ focus speeds and the focus limiters via a button on the lens. This category will be comprised of telephoto lenses, telephoto zoom lenses, super-telephoto lenses and super-telephoto zoom lenses.
The creation of these new categories comes with the introduction of three lenses:
- 17-70mm f/2.8-4 DC OS Macro. In the Contemporary line, this lens is designed for cameras with an APS-C sensor and covers a 25.5-105mm equivalent range. An upgrade to its predecessor, which was released in December 2009, this general-purpose lens has a new, more compact design.
- 35mm f/1.4 DG HSM. This Art lens provides an alternative to the more conventional 50mm, with one FLD glass lens and four SLD glass lenses to help ensure correction of axial chromatic and lateral aberration. At low apertures, it can perform like a wide-angle lens; when opened up to f/1.4, it will provide background bokeh like a mid-range telephoto lens.
- 120-300mm f/2.8 DG OS HSM. Employing redesigned mechanics, this lens in the Sports category is an update from its predecessor that was released in February 2011. It offers a maximum focal length of 300mm and a wide-open aperture of f/2.8. Like the other Sports category lenses to come, it is dust and moisture resistant and also allows users to adjust the focus speed and the focus limiter via a button on the lens.
New User-Control Tools and Software, New Quality Control Measures
Sigma also announced Sigma Optimization Pro software and a USB dock, both designed exclusively for these new product lines. They will enable Sigma users to connect their lenses to their computers to update lens firmware and fine-tune focus parameters via on-screen controls.
And all new lenses will be subject to Sigma’s new, proprietary modulation transfer function (MTF) measuring system, called “A1.” Named in honor of the company’s sole production base, the Aizu factory in Aizu, Japan, the A1 system is designed to enable inspectors to verify previously undetectable high-frequency details in each lens before it is shipped.
“We used to measure lens performance with a MTF measuring system using conventional sensors, but this new A1 system uses our own 46 megapixel Foveon direct imaging sensors,” explained Yamaki. “We view this new method of performance evaluation as being incredibly important, not only because we owe it to our customers but because we owe it to ourselves. We’ve spent more than 50 years perfecting our design and manufacturing processes, and now we deliver a complete package by closing the loop on that commitment to quality by adopting a more stringent verification process.” sigmaphoto.com