Sigma is a well-known brand which gets itself talked about more and more in the world of photography. In this article, I’ll introduce you to the best Sigma lenses for Sony cameras (APS-C and Full Frame), the ones I consider as the most interesting. Although, when we think about “photography”, we naturally think about historical brands like Canon, Nikon, Leica or Fujifilm. By the way, as an aside, we have started listing all the lenses and their main characteristics for each brand. We will keep this page updated as much as possible, so that you have a general view of the lenses available in the mount of your choice!
But let’s come back to the subject of the article. Sigma exists since 1961! So, we’re not talking about newborns in the history of photography, but we have to admit that the brand took a step forward with the arrival of its new CEO Kazuto Yamaki in 2012, as well as its 3 new ranges’ launch: Art, Sport and Contemporary.
The 1st of these new lenses, the 35mm f/1.4 Art for DSLR, quickly became the talk of the town. While Sigma was previously considered as a “low-cost” brand, with nevertheless interesting lenses such as the 24-70mm f/2.8 EX or the 105mm f/2.8 EX macro, which both had the advantage of being available at very competitive prices in spite of a less ambitious quality of construction and lens, the brand became a possible choice to compete with the high-end lenses of manufacturers, Nikon and Canon in the lead. Later on, they completed the range with several prime lenses and some zooms, some of which being off the beaten track like the 18-35 and 50-100mm f/1.8 for APS-C, or the 24-35mm f/2 for FF. They have even started producing cameras and have recently concluded an alliance with Panasonic and Leica.
Although they started making Sony E-mount lenses back in 2013, it wasn’t until 2018 that they started producing for full-frame Sony mirrorless. Even though Sigma adapted their “old” DSLR lenses for the E-mount, they released new, completely redesigned ones dedicated to mirrorless mounts to take advantage of the disappearing mirror in the bodies. In 3 years, no less than 14 FF lenses came out of Sigma factories for the greatest happiness of Sony FF camera users, which makes about 5 new lenses a year!
For now, these lenses are only available for the E-mount and L-mount of Panasonic, Leica and thus Sigma, which took advantage of the alliance to use this mount. But it is very likely that, when they will have the possibility, they will start offering these lenses also for the recent Nikon Z and Canon RF mounts – that’s why I will develop here only the lenses designed for mirrorless cameras. As a reminder, the acronym DC DN is for the Sigma lenses built for APS-C cameras, while the acronym DG DN refers to Sigma lenses dedicated to full frame sensors.
As usual, you will find a summary table of the main characteristics of the lens as well as a visual. Please note that even if this article is dedicated to the Sony E mount, if you own a L mount camera (Sigma, Panasonic, Leica), the recommendations in this article also apply to the L mount. You will find in the scrollbar below the links to buy the same lenses for the L mount.
In Sony E-mount, Sigma has not been very active in designing lenses adapted to mirrorless cameras since there are currently few choices (but of good quality!). If you want to see what other brands offer, you should have a look at our page dedicated to Sony lenses for Sony APS-C cameras. You will find there all the Sony lenses, but also all the third-party brands offering very good quality alternative lenses. Note that these three lenses are also found in Micro 4/3.
Here are the 3 lenses mentioned below:
Few brands offer wide-angle APS-C prime lenses, except Fujifilm. Here is then an interesting lens by Sigma, although relatively large and heavy, but with a very large aperture that makes it stand out from the competition.
The build quality is very good, and the optical quality is homogeneous from the maximum aperture. Closing the aperture a stop or two improves the sharpness to provide excellent performance. AF is fast and reliable. The only flaws of this lens are mainly its chromatic aberrations, which can still be corrected by the camera or a dedicated software, as well as the flare which are a little more annoying as it is difficult to correct, although predictable on such a short focal length.
Available at a relatively affordable price considering its performance and maximum aperture (less than 400€), this 16mm is a must-have for anyone owning a Sony APS-C camera and who wants the best wide-angle, perfect for landscape photography.
This 30mm fixed focal length on APS-C is an ideal angle of view for street photography. However, Sony is a great competitor, especially with its 35mm f/1.8 OSS which has the advantage of being stabilized and has a similar price to Sigma. Then, this latter would be more interesting if you want to do video.
For photography, the Sigma offers a very high quality wide open. The build quality is very good, like the 16mm, and the autofocus is also fast and reliable. Although its weight and size seem reasonable, they are less so than many other lenses in the same category such as Fujifilm’s 35mm f/1.4. A few flaws are reported at full aperture, including vignetting and chromatic aberrations that can be corrected, but also a high distortion (which can also be corrected in photography but will be more annoying in video). Note that it manages very well the flare and it enjoys a very soft bokeh.
With a price tag of around 350€, this is the best standard lens for Sony APS-C camera, even if less convincing in video where its flaws will be highlighted.
This 56mm is probably the most appreciated lens in this range for APS-C. Adapted to portrait photography, you’ll be able to strongly reduce the depth of field thanks to its large aperture combined with its focal length and to produce a nice blur in the background.
The construction is again very good and all-weather, unlike the other two. Given its focal length and aperture, you might have thought it would be much bigger and heavier than the 16 and 30mm, but that is not the case. The AF is again fast and reliable. The optical quality is very good, and even exceptional when closing the aperture a stop or two. It has some important flaws such as a rather visible distortion and a strong vignetting, but both can be corrected in photography. Chromatic aberrations are moderate, as is flare.
Again, the 50mm f/1.8 OSS option from Sony will be more interesting for video with a non-stabilized sensor. If it is, the Sigma will take the advantage. Its price under 400€ and its characteristics make it a perfect lens to shoot portraits with an APS-C Sony camera, with a very soft bokeh.
Recently, Sigma decided to release an 18-50mm f/2.8 for Sony APS-C mirrorless. This is the first f/2.8 constant aperture zoom lens available for mirrorless from Sigma, in this format, which comes shortly after the 17-70mm f/2.8 offered by Tamron.
It delivers very good performance, the image quality is great from full aperture and the AF is fast and silent. Its build quality is also high level, better than the Tamron, and almost the same as the Sony 16-55mm. Distortion is important, as on competitors, but is easily corrected. It displays few chromatic aberrations and a fairly well controlled flare, which can be seen at times but still less than with the Tamron and Sony.
Available at a price of 500€, it is more affordable than the Tamron (850€) and even more than the Sony (1150€). If you are willing to compromise on a shorter focal length range, you ‘ll enjoy with this Sigma a relatively affordable lens with a large constant aperture, all in the lightest and most compact package of its category.
I won’t list all 14 lenses offered by Sigma (at the time of writing) and will limit myself to the ones I think are the most interesting, starting with zooms and then fixed focal lengths.
As for APS-C lenses, you can have a look at the list (regularly updated) of all Sony FE lenses for full frame cameras.
Here are the mentioned lenses:
Sigma’s 14-24mm is the best solution if you’re looking for a quality ultra-wide-angle zoom lens (114° angle of view) with a sturdy construction and can’t afford Sony’s 12-24mm f/2.8 GM (which costs a whopping €3300). This is the classic focal length range of an ultra-wide-angle lens, ideal for capturing landscapes or architecture.
Indeed, the Sigma is currently priced at 2000€ less, while still offering excellent construction and fairly good image quality, although not at the same level as the Sony, especially at the longer focal lengths. Edges are behind compared to the centre, and you will have to close to f/5.6 or even f/8 to have a good homogeneity. The AF is still fast and precise, and optical defects are mostly present at 14mm, with a good resistance to flare.
It is a more convincing choice than the 12-24mm f/4 proposed by Sony for its price. The bulbous front element prevents the use of screw-in filters, but Sigma has left the option of using some on the back. It would also be a very good choice for astrophotography, with a very decent coma correction, and obviously for low light photography with its f/2.8 aperture and 11-blade diaphragm, providing soft and well-rounded bokeh.
The 24-70mm Art is probably the best choice for anyone looking for a standard zoom lens with a large constant aperture and pro construction, better than the Sony GM in many ways, and much cheaper.
The image quality of this Sigma seems to be particularly suited to portraits, with very good performance beyond 35mm and an 11-blade diaphragm providing beautiful bokeh. AF is fast and reliable, distortion and vignetting are significant but easily corrected, and flare and chromatic aberrations are well controlled.
Given its price (just over 1000€), its build and image quality compared to the Sony GM, I see no reasonable reason to spend more than 2x the price for the latter.
Sigma finally offers their long telephoto 150-600mm lens to compete with Sony’s 200-600mm and Tamron’s 150-500mm. Although they also offer a 100-400mm, this one is from the less ambitious Contemporary range.
This 150-600mm offers outstanding build quality, on a par with Sony’s 200-600mm, as well as a plethora of features and customization buttons. As a result, you’ll enjoy far more convenience than with the Tamron’s 150-500mm, and all for a lower price. The AF is not as good as the Sony but is still fast and reliable in most cases, as much as the Tamron. About optical quality, it is difficult to distinguish the 3, but the Sony seems slightly better at full zoom with sensors having a lot of pixels.
The Sigma offers the best compromise: the shortest focal length of the Tamron and the longest of the Sony, bigger and heavier than the Tamron but a bit less than the Sony (when folded), with the comfort features of the Sony, while being cheaper than both. It will be ideal for wildlife photography.
Sigma recently released a new 24mm. While we could have expected them to redesign their 24mm f/1.4 Art in a mirrorless version, as they did with the 35 and 85mm, Sigma decided to offer a 24mm f/2 in the same range as their 24mm f/3.5.
It is however better than the f/3.5 on image quality, very homogeneous and already very good at full aperture, to get excellent once one stop closed. The construction is excellent, like all I-series lenses, with an aperture ring (not clickable), an AF/MF switch and an all-weather construction. The AF is very fast, and it has few optical defects – except a flare that can be annoying, lens hood recommended!
Released at 620€, this is a very well-placed price since it is hardly more expensive than the Samyang, certainly f/1.8 but not as well built. We can however wonder how Sigma will be able to keep the f/3.5 version at more than 500€ given the difference in aperture. It is especially much cheaper than the Sony f/1.4, offered at 1350€ for a very similar quality.
Sigma renews its 35mm f/1.4 in a mirrorless version, lighter and more compact than the DSLR version, after designing a high quality 35mm f/1.2 Art (ideal in low light). It is an ideal focal length for street photographers.
The build quality is exemplary, with the comfort features found on Sony GMs, AF/MF switch, clickable aperture ring and customizable AF button on the barrel. The AF is very fast, precise and silent, and the optical quality is very good from the full aperture, to become excellent at f/2.8 throughout the field, as well as a very nice bokeh. The optical defects are not very annoying, the important distortion and the vignetting can be corrected, with a flare and chromatic aberrations well controlled.
Regarding image quality, this Sigma 35mm has no competition but the more expensive and heavier f/1.2 and the 1700€ Sony GM, which is 2x more expensive. If you want a cheaper lens, you’d better forget about the f/1.4 aperture. Sigma offers the 35mm f/2 Contemporary which is overall less interesting than the 35 f/1.8 from Sony and Samyang on many points.
Sigma had announced a Contemporary line that was supposed to be more reasonable, lightweight, and affordable compared to the Art and Sports. But with this I series, they changed their approach to offer robust and high-quality lenses, while remaining moderate on the maximum aperture.
Among the I series, this prime lens, the 65mm f/2, is the one offering the most remarkable image quality, but also probably the most atypical focal length/aperture duo. The level of details is very high wide open, homogeneous, all in a very high-quality body since even the lens hood is made of metal. The AF is very fast and quite reliable. Distortion and vignetting are important but easily correctable, while chromatic aberrations are moderate and flare well controlled. We can regret the choice made by Sigma to not make the aperture ring clickable for video, as they do on the fixed focal lengths of the Art range.
In short, a very high-level lens relatively expensive (around 700€). A price I believe justified considering the optical quality and the all-metal construction, but many will probably rather look at Samyang, with their 85mm f/1.4 for image quality and their 75mm f/1.8 for compactness and lightness, both being offered at much more affordable prices.
A reference among 85mm for the Sony E-mount, this 85mm f/1.4 DG DN from Sigma even received a TIPA award. Its advantages are numerous, and few lenses offer such a quality/price/features/functions ratio.
Its build quality is excellent, the optical quality is also outstanding, and the ergonomics with its clickable aperture ring, AF/MF switch and customizable AF button are also great. It has the luxury of being better, lighter, and more compact than the old DSLR version, but also than the much more expensive Sony GM version. Even the AF is better! Its only flaws are a significant distortion, correctable in photography but more annoying in video, and a just good flare resistance – but honestly, who is going to shoot the sun with 85mm at f/1.4?
For just over 1000€, this is the best 85mm for Sony Full frame. The Sony GM is more expensive and not as good in almost every way, meaning it will be hard if you don’t already have it to justify buying it, while the Samyang is available for half the price but still slightly worse in optical quality and construction.
Another TIPA award winning reference from Sigma, the 105mm f/2.8 Art macro is one of the best macro lens choices for Sony FF cameras.
The build quality and AF of this macro lens are both very good, and the optical quality almost flawless. In fact, it’s the small comforts normally found on this kind of lens that you quickly notice. For example, the focusing ring has no stop, and there is no indication of the focusing distance or magnification on the barrel. Although Sony FF bodies have a stabilized sensor, macro lenses also benefit from the comfort of stabilization. Otherwise, as with other Art lenses, there is a clickable aperture ring and a customizable AF button, in addition to a distance limiter to reduce AF travel.
For about 750€, Sigma offers the best image quality macro lens with this 105mm. However, those who do serious macro photography may prefer the manual focus and stabilization comforts of Sony’s 90mm GM, which costs more. The Sigma is however the most versatile if you want to use it for portraiture, for example.
Sigma offers other E-mount lenses for full frame sensors:
- The 28-70mm f/2.8 Contemporary is more suitable for travelling since it is lighter and offers better quality at short focal lengths than the 24-70mm, all for a lower price. It is even better in most ways than Tamron’s 28-75mm f/2.8 for only slightly more money.
- The 100-400mm f/5-6.3 Contemporary is notable for being three times cheaper than the Sony GM, but concessions had to be made on maximum aperture, build quality and optical quality. It is also remarkable for its weight as well as its more reasonable dimensions for a long focal length.
- The 24mm f/3.5 Contemporary Series I doesn’t have much of an argument against the competition in my opinion. Its price and weight are higher than the recent 24mm from Samyang, which opens at f/1.8. If you want a small aperture 24mm, light and compact, I rather recommend the 24mm f/2.8 G from Sony since it doesn’t cost much more.
- The 35mm f/1.2 Art, which I mentioned with the f/1.4, is much bigger and heavier (it’s over a kilo!) but offers a slightly better optical quality, close to the Sony GM f/1.4, and an aperture that guarantees the softest and most harmonious bokeh.
- The 35mm f/2 Contemporary Series I, also mentioned with the f/1.4, offers a remarkable metal construction quality, but is consequently much heavier than the competing 35mm f/1.8. It is also more expensive than most of them.
- The 45mm f/2.8 Contemporary Series I, like the 24 and 35 in the line, faces many competitors that may be more interesting in many ways, such as the Samyang 45mm f/1.8. It is very suitable for street photography thanks to its robust construction and compactness. But as for the 24mm, Sony has recently released a 40mm f/2.5 G that is a bit more expensive but more attractive overall.
- The 90mm f/2.8 Contemporary (Serie I), a portrait lens characterized by its very small size and weight with a high level of build quality and excellent image quality. It is however proposed at 620€, which may seem high compared to the 85mm f/1.4 Art, and especially the 85mm f/1.4 Samyang and 75/85mm f/1.8.
Sigma has already developed some nice lenses for Sony E-mount, especially in full-frame, and it is likely that they will not stop there. For example, a high quality 70-200mm f/2.8 can be expected soon, as well as some fixed lenses for SLR that might be renewed for hybrids like the 35 and 85mm (I would bet on a 24 and a 50mm f/1.4).
Some of these lenses can compete with Sony’s high-end lenses without any problem, for much more interesting prices. Even if we agree that most of them are high priced, they are still very reasonable for high-end full frame lenses.
I hope this article will help you make your choice and maybe give you more confidence in this brand, especially for the few disappointed people who might have known older and less successful DSLR versions.
Finally, if you want to go further, I invite you to have a look at all our articles dedicated to Sony mirrorless cameras. You’ll find several articles summarizing our best tips for choosing your lens.
See you soon for the rest,