The L-Mount universe is expanding: Sigma releases a new 70-200/2.8 in their medium-priced “Sports” range. The new evergreen zoom lens is rather compact, reasonably priced and should be warmly welcomed. With the new announcement, L-Mount grows where it is needed most, in the telephoto range. The 70-200mm F2.8 DG DN OS will be available from 7 December for £1,499, €1,699 and $1,499.
Wide-angle and standard primes are legion now from Leica, Sigma, Panasonic and some other members of the L-Mount alliance. Moreover, some wide-angle zooms cover just about all needs. In the medium telephoto segment, Leica pioneered with the excellent but huge 90-280, Panasonic offered two 70-200mm lenses, one with a constant aperture of f/2.8, the other one with f/4. Sigma, so far, had telephoto zooms that reached to 600mm but are rather slow (60-600/4.5-6.3, tested for Macfilos by Nick Ut himself, and 150-600/5-6.3) and a 100-400/5-6.3, a lens in the affordable “Contemporary” range which Keith James reviewed for use here.
The new Sigma lens stirs up competition, which is good news. L-Mount alliance does not mean the manufacturers are a cartel that divides the market among its members. Even price-wise, the new Sigma is a statement. It costs less than the Panasonic 70-200/4 (€1,899 RRP) which is a full stop slower. The Pana 70-200/2.8 even has a recommended price of €2,299. Let alone Leica’s €6,700 APO-Vario Elmarit.
The Sigma 70-200mm F2.8 DG DN: Good for many purposes
The press release shows the many purposes a versatile 70-200 can serve: “Shoot sports, wildlife, weddings and live events in stunning detail with the new SIGMA 70-200mm F2.8 DG DN OS Sports, designed exclusively for full-frame mirrorless cameras.” It will be produced not only for L-Mount, but also for E-Mount. The big market share of the Sony bayonet is a blessing here. It makes such developments possible in the first place. I wonder if Sigma could manage such an effort for the L-Mount sector alone.
In terms of technology, it becomes more interesting. According to Sigma, the new lens has “Dual HLA (High-response Linear Actuator) motors” that “deliver rapid, accurate and silent focusing that can handle even the most challenging of fast-action subjects.” This double motor concept is something Leica took much pride it, just listen to this webinar with their lens guru, Peter Karbe. Add an optical image stabilizer with up to 7.5 stops, a de-clickable aperture ring, a built-in Arca Swiss compatible mounting and weather sealing – and ask which boxes are missing to check.
For the Sigma 70-200mm F2.8 DG DN, the engineers pulled many stops
The performance promises to be excellent. Sigma’s latest lenses support the expectation that the following sentences in the press release are not just marketing prose: “Designed using ultra-high-performance low-dispersion glass, which includes six FLD and two SLD elements, the SIGMA 70-200mm F2.8 DG DN OS Sports delivers outstanding image quality throughout the entire zoom range, even wide open at F2.8. Three aspherical glass elements further improve optical performance by reducing spherical aberration. Distortion and vignetting are extremely minimal and chromatic aberration is very well controlled even in high contrast areas.”
The lens is a new design if we compare it with Sigma’s existing 70-200 for SLRs. The DN in the name shows that Sigma specifically designed it for mirrorless cameras. “A multi-material structure consisting of CFRP (carbon fibre reinforced plastic) and TSC (Thermally Stable Composite) materials” leads to a very reasonable weight of 1,345g, and they even managed to build in an internal zoom mechanism. It means a clear plus when using the lens for videos on a gimbal. However, I would say that it also greatly improves usability in hand-held photography. And the risk of sucking in dust should be reduced.
Allegedly, also some Leica lenses come from Aizu…
Some more good news: The new 70-200 is compatible with Sigma’s L-Mount teleconverters (1.4x and 2x). The lens hood comes with the lens. In addition, Sigma claims that they test every single lens before shipping. Where does this lens fare in relation to Leica standards? It might feel a bit less solid, it might depreciate a little more than Leica in percentage terms. But it is an open secret that more than one Leica branded “Made in Japan” lens comes from the Sigma works in Aizu, Japan. While we can presume that these lenses are manufactured to even higher standards than their Sigma siblings, Leica’s choice of partner can certainly give diehard Leica fans some confidence.
What do you think? Is this the lens the L-Mount community has been waiting for? Or is it just another 70-200/2.8, a workhorse for amateurs and pros with limited appeal? Would you consider a Sigma lens instead of a Leica one? Discuss in the comments section.
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