Contemporary Lenses: Q&A by SIGMA – YMCinema


SIGMA defines its contemporary lenses as compact, high quality and affordable, to meet the needs of a wide audience of creators who simply want great images and product quality that doesn’t break the bank. But how can the Contemporaries differentiate themselves from other formations, including Art and Sport? Luckily, SIGMA has released a Q&A session that might shed some more light on this. Check it out below.

Contemporary glasses are made to the same exacting quality standards as all SIGMA glasses. Photo: SIGMA

SIGMA lenses are grouped into three ranges: Art, Sports and Contemporary. Most people know what they get with an Art line lens: incredible optical performance, state-of-the-art technology, not to mention dust and splash resistant construction. Sports range lenses offer incredible long-telephoto capability, as well as ultra-durable build quality that withstands the most extreme conditions. However, the lenses in the Contemporary range give you performance, portability and value, all in one. As of May 2022, SIGMA offers 16 different contemporary lenses for DSLRs and mirrorless cameras. “With so much to offer, there’s bound to be an essential place for contemporary lenses in your collection, whether you’re a professional photographer, an enthusiast, or just a casual shooter,” says SIGMA.

SIGMA contemporary lens.  Photo: SIGMA
SIGMA contemporary lens. Photo: SIGMA

main Features

The main characteristics of SIGMA Contemporary lenses are (as defined by SIGMA):

  1. Exceptional overall image quality that rivals more expensive competitors and, in many cases, is comparable to Art lenses.
  2. The latest technology that delivers solid AF and MF performance on any compatible camera, plus in-camera digital corrections.
  3. Compact size for more practical real-world use, when space is an important consideration.
  4. Moisture and dust resistant mount to prevent contaminants from entering the camera housing at the point of connection.
  5. Competitively priced, making high quality lenses more accessible to all levels of photographers and video makers.
  6. Updatable firmware to allow for continuous compatibility and performance updates.
  7. High precision brass lens mount for exceptional durability.
  8. 4-year US warranty when purchased from an authorized SIGMA dealer for peace of mind.
A SIGMA Contemporary lens.  Photo: SIGMA
A SIGMA Contemporary lens. Photo: SIGMA

SIGMA has summarized the key takeaways from the Contemporary Series by posting a Q&A session described below:

Question: Are Contemporary lenses only for cameras with a crop sensor?

To respond: No, there are contemporary lenses for full frame (DG) and crop sensor (DC) cameras, both DSLR and mirrorless (DN). Over time, the product selection will evolve, but the Contemporary line is intended to serve multiple format camera users so everyone can enjoy photography.

Contemporary lenses feature a dust- and splash-resistant mount (seal shown above), so contaminants won't get on your image sensor or inside the back of the camera body. the goal.  Photo: SIGMA
Contemporary lenses feature a dust- and splash-resistant mount (seal shown above), so contaminants won’t get on your image sensor or inside the back of the camera body. the goal. Photo: SIGMA

Question: Are contemporary glasses worse than Art or Sports glasses?

To respond: Worse, no. Different, yes! We designed the lenses in the Contemporary range to have exceptional image quality, but our main objective is to find an optimal balance. So while an Art Line lens of a similar focal length may perform better in studio testing or have a larger maximum aperture for more dramatic bokeh effects, a contemporary lens has the advantage of being more smaller, lighter, more affordable and chances are it is. This will be all the lens you need for almost any situation.

Question: Why are Contemporary lenses cheaper than Art or Sport lenses?

To respond: There are a few reasons. Typically, Art and Sports lenses have a few extra features, such as customizable buttons, function switches, dust and splash resistance, and most notably, large diameter optical designs that simply take longer to manufacture and incorporate larger and more expensive glass elements. Our contemporary lenses, on the other hand, typically keep buttons and controls to a minimum, and more compact optical designs don’t cost as much to manufacture and assemble.

SIGMA's contemporary range includes telephoto zooms, daily zooms and prime lenses for multiple camera formats.  Photo: SIGMA
SIGMA’s contemporary range includes telephoto zooms, daily zooms and prime lenses for multiple camera formats. Photo: SIGMA

Question: Are Contemporary lenses weatherproof?

To respond: Partially. Contemporary lenses feature a frame-level seal that protects against dust and moisture, but none feature a seal over the entire lens body (this is another reason why contemporary lenses are more affordable) . That said, the vast majority of contaminants enter lenses through the rear mount, so as long as they aren’t abused, these lenses will provide many years of trouble-free use, even in moderate weather. For regular use in more extreme conditions, Art or Sports lenses are the way to go.

Question: Are Contemporary glasses made of plastic?

To respond: Most contemporary lenses have lens bodies and outer shells made of TSC (Thermally Stable Composite) which is technically a type of plastic. However, TSC is an advanced polycarbonate designed to be both lightweight and extremely durable, and its chemistry means it won’t shrink or expand with changes in temperature. This material is of such high quality that we also incorporate it into our Art and Sports lenses to provide lightness and thermal consistency.

The SIGMA 18-50mm F2.8 DC DN |  C. Image: SIGMA
The SIGMA 18-50mm F2.8 DC DN | C. Image: SIGMA

Question: Why should I buy a SIGMA Contemporary lens?

To respond: There are definitely reasons why you might want to spend a little more on an art or sports lens, but for most people the SIGMA Contemporary line really is the go-to. Compact size, excellent image reproduction, exceptional build quality, modern technology and an affordable price.

The contemporary lens.  Photo: SIGMA
The contemporary lens. Photo: SIGMA

As SIGMA explains, contemporaries grant videographers a sweet spot, or as you wish, an ideal balance between what you pay for and what you get. This means you can get a solid piece of glass without breaking the bank. A The contemporary lens will allow you a decent image quality which can serve you well. Obviously, the contemporaries weren’t designed for high-end cinematography, but rather as a starting point for junior videographers who want something different and perhaps more refined than Canon’s low-end lenses. What do you think of Contemporary? Have you used them?

Product list

Here are the products mentioned in the article and the links to buy them from authorized retailers.

  • SIGMA contemporary glasses


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