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The Sigma lens history: the first 50 years

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#1 Rover

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Posted 05 March 2017 - 08:33 PM

I think I found this on DPReview.com, posted by someone in a comment thread. Maybe this isn't very groundbreaking, but there's a (brief) history of the Sigma brand from 1961 to 2011. It's not as complete (nor as slick) as the Canon Camera Museum but I've found this page to be quite enjoyable. Many (though not all) lens/camera names are clickable, leading to sub-pages describing the relevant product. Some pages aren't working fully or are missing images though, presumably due to being out of date.

 

http://www.sigma-ima...to-present-day/

 

This answered a few questions of mine - say, in which year Sigma has introduced HSM lenses, or how old is my 14/2.8 lens (turns out it was introduced in 1998 and was one of the first "crinkle finish" units, as well as one of the earlier HSM units, even though there had been HSM lenses with "Zen" finish like the famous 300/4 and 400/5.6.

 

The Global Vision era is not covered - but it's pretty well documented anyway. It's the "Dark Ages" that look the most interesting to me.



#2 Klaus

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Posted 06 March 2017 - 04:08 AM

Dark vs new age - I think that this is a generational question. The founder was a fan of mass production and competing via low pricing. He died in January 2012. His son started the shift to high quality products and better QC. The ART|SPORT|Contemporary lineups were announced in September 2012.

Of course, dark ages is a relative term. Business-wise the original founder was very successful. 


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#3 Arthur Macmillan

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Posted 06 March 2017 - 06:10 AM

The dark ages I think can best be summed up by the noisy AF and lack of optical image stabilization.  If you were a Canon user, no third party lens could compare with Canon's Ring USM, and IS.  Now there is a large contingent saying that the Art lenses are both better and much less expensive than Canon's L lenses. 

 

For now I have to be content with reading what other people think about them.  But at least there is real hope for professional quality at a price that could be tolerated maybe once or twice.  I'm actually watching with great interest.  I've thought for years, why are primes so expensive when they are so simple compared to zooms.  The answer is pretty simple.  If you say people want zooms and charge outrageous prices for primes, you will never have your premise questioned.  This Sigma option might prove that people will shoot with primes if they are priced more in line with what they cost to manufacture.



#4 Rover

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Posted 06 March 2017 - 09:38 AM

The timing is nebulous - after all, the first HSM lenses started appearing 20 years ago. I remember a very favourable review of the 400/5.6 HSM from that period here in PZ (and I could swear there was a review of its 300/4 sister lens, but it's nowhere to be found). The Sigma 14/2.8 I have is pretty good mechanically - apart from the missing weather sealing, but that's the one area where Sigma is lagging to this day - while being only slightly more recent (no idea when exactly my unit was made though). Yet despite all the evolution and the switch to Global Vision they're still making a few godawful lenses from the late 90s like the 70-300 (and the test made by Markus has clearly proved it as inferior to pretty much anything in the class). Incidentally Canon is also making the dirt cheap 75-300 (or at least was producing these turds until very recently).



#5 JoJu

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Posted 06 March 2017 - 11:53 AM

Sigma is reacting on litereally thousands of "no weathersealing - booooooh, bad Sigma" posts and put a rubber gasket on their 85/1.4 Art. After all, in that weight class, they also could offer a free scuba housing... :D

I thought, they continue with their 24-70/2.8 but realized, all recently introduced lenses have that rubber gasket, even the 100-400 contemporary. Except for their own mount... But who would dare to use a Sigma mirrorless in real weather?

#6 Klaus

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Posted 06 March 2017 - 12:04 PM

I remember that some of their technically good lenses - such as the 300/4, 400/5.6, 135-400, 170-500, 300/2.8 had a tendency of losing their front-elements in hot weather. The glue of the duct tape which was being used to hold it in place got soft.

Ah well, the good ol times when photography was still an adventure ... ;-)


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#7 Rover

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Posted 06 March 2017 - 04:20 PM

I remember that some of their technically good lenses - such as the 300/4, 400/5.6, 135-400, 170-500, 300/2.8 had a tendency of losing their front-elements in hot weather. The glue of the duct tape which was being used to hold it in place got soft.

Ah well, the good ol times when photography was still an adventure ... ;-)

W00t!

Oh well, I need to be careful if I ever decide to shop for a 300/4 - I had that idea some time ago. :)



#8 dave's clichés

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Posted 06 March 2017 - 09:05 PM

   I've had a few Sigmas, most have been Ok. the two macros 105mm PK mount screw drive, basic but good, now the 150mm HSM really solid and decent (nearly an APO)  The MkI Bigma 50-500mm F4-6.3 screw-drive, big league stuff in it's day now dated. The worst was the 28-70mm screwdrive F mount crap gears straight on to the plastic barrel. Ugh!  HSM really helped those early lenses.

  Still have the 50-150mm F2.8 EX HSM great lens, unfortunately in the PK mount (can't sell it).

 

 Just as they "upped" the game, Tamron add VC and weather-sealing in metal!

 

      Man it's tough at the top I guess,  that's why I take it easy at the bottom!  :P



#9 dave's clichés

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Posted 06 March 2017 - 10:59 PM

300/2.8 had a tendency of losing their front-elements in hot weather. The glue of the duct tape which was being used to hold it in place got soft.

 I wish my AF20 D's couplet had been put together with duct tape!  :unsure:



#10 miro

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Posted 10 March 2017 - 12:01 PM

I remember that some of their technically good lenses - such as the 300/4, 400/5.6, 135-400, 170-500, 300/2.8 had a tendency of losing their front-elements in hot weather. The glue of the duct tape which was being used to hold it in place got soft.

Ah well, the good ol times when photography was still an adventure ... ;-)

Eh good old times.

BTW Why they don't re-use the the"genius" Canon idea.  Paint all flourite leneses in white :-)

or there ware patent issues for such stupid solution.







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