“Native” lenses for cameras are expensive. Sometimes very. But there is a salvation for your budget and psyche — Sigma with its high-quality and inexpensive “glasses”. For example, the Sony FE 85mm f/1.4 will cost 130 thousand rubles, but the analogue from Sigma, which is not much inferior to Sony’s super portrait, is one and a half times cheaper. In our ranking you will find the best Sigma lenses for any task — from astro to macro photography!
What is important to know about Sigma lenses
Sigma optics are compatible with popular brands of cameras including Canon, Nikon, Sony, Pentax, Leica, as well as various cinema cameras. But when choosing a Sigma lens, make sure that the model you are interested in has the mount necessary for your camera.
Most often, Sigma releases variants of the same model for different mounts. At the same time, some models for SLR and mirrorless cameras may have the same name, but differ somewhat in terms of optics. In terms of mirrorless cameras, Sigma has focused exclusively on Sony and the L mount (Leica, Panasonic and Sigma), but with the growing popularity of full-frame mirrorless cameras among other manufacturers, we may soon see special lenses for the Canon EOS R and Nikon Z.
In this rating, we have collected for you the best Sigma glasses of seven main types — portrait prime, universal prime, standard zoom, wide-angle zoom, telezoom, macro and cinema lenses. In addition to the winner, in many nominations you will also find alternative options: models with a different choice of focal lengths or with other mounts.
We rated each model on a ten-point scale: this score reflects not only the level of the lens itself (strong assembly, beautiful picture and additional goodies), but also how good it is in terms of price-to-quality ratio, because attractive price is one of the main arguments for in favor of lenses from third-party manufacturers.
Best portrait: Sigma 85mm f/1.4 DG HSM Art
Bayonets: Canon EF, Nikon F (FX), Sigma SA, Sony FE
— Excellent sharpness
— High aperture
— Fairly large and heavy
— No stabilization system
According to many experts and photography enthusiasts, the Sigma 85mm f/1.4 Art is one of the best portrait lenses for any system.
Launched in 2016, the model has captivated users with its exceptional optical performance and ability to capture the finest details even at wide open apertures. The quality of the body and build of this lens is on par with its optics, even though it is at a lower price point than competitors from Canon and Nikon.
The portrait lens from Sigma is quite large and heavy, but its main drawback is, perhaps, the lack of optical stabilization. But, if your camera is equipped with a built-in stabilization system, this problem does not concern you.
In 2020, the DN (Digital Native) series, developed specifically for Sony FE and L (Panasonic / Leica / Sigma) mirrorless systems, released a model with identical focal length and aperture — Sigma 85mm f / 1.4 DG DN Art. However, this is the only similarity between the two lenses, otherwise they use completely different optics. The new portrait lens also received a fairly high rating from photographers, but it is still far from the legendary status of the Sigma 85mm f/1.4 DG HSM Art.
Best Universal Fix: Sigma 35mm f/1.4 DG HSM Art
Bayonets: Canon EF, Nikon F (FX), Pentax KAF3, Sigma SA, Sony/Minolta Alpha, Sony
— Excellent optics
— Fast, quiet and accurate autofocus
— No weather protection
— Bokeh in the form of “onion rings“
The 35mm prime is one of the classic lenses in photography and Sigma has a really cool option. First of all, the Sigma 35mm f / 1.4 DG HSM Art stands out for its optics: “glass” shoots with virtually no distortion and chromatic aberration, with color reproduction at the highest level. And in terms of sharpness, this lens easily outperforms Canon’s 35mm f/1.4. At the same time, the Sigma model is almost half the price. The only subjective negative in terms of the picture is bokeh with “onion rings” (characteristic concentric rings inside blur disks), which not everyone likes.
The case and build quality, autofocus — everything is at the highest level. Unfortunately, unlike the more expensive Canon counterpart, this 35mm lens is not protected from dust and moisture.
If 35mm is too “wide” for you, then Sigma has a wonderful “fifty” — 50mm f / 1.4. This is a great choice for street photography and “environment” portraits.
Best standard zoom: Sigma 24–70mm f/2.8 DG OS HSM Art
Bayonets: Canon EF, Nikon F (FX), Sigma SA
— Sturdy housing and protection against dust and moisture
— Stabilization system
— Constant maximum aperture
— Weak corner sharpness at f/2.8
— Moderate chromatic aberration and distortion
Sigma 24–70mm f/2.8 DG OS HSM Art is a standard zoom for full-frame cameras with an excellent optical stabilization system. The versatile range of focal lengths is quite suitable for both landscapes and portraits. Thanks to a constant aperture of f / 2.8 throughout the range, in addition to optical stabilization, the “glass” copes with not very good lighting. Stabilization also makes this lens a good option for shooting video.
Although the model does not provide such a level of sharpness when shooting at a “wide angle” as its main competitor from Tamron, the picture is quite decent throughout the zoom range — the lens is also suitable for working with high-megapixel matrices.
The model is protected from dust and moisture, and the case is designed for long and intensive use — there are definitely no comments for Sigma.
Overall, the 24–70mm f/2.8 looks like a more budget-friendly but good replacement for the Nikkor 24–70mm f/2.8E and the Canon EF 24–70mm f/2.8L II USM.
If you’re looking for a more versatile range of focal lengths, check out the Sigma 24–105mm f/4 DG OS HSM Art. This is a good versatile “glass” for travel photography. Of course, it has a smaller maximum aperture, but like the 24–70mm f/2.8, it has built-in stabilization.
Best Wide Angle Zoom: Sigma 18–35mm f/1.8 DC HSM Art
Bayonets: Canon EF‑S, Nikon F (DX), Pentax KAF, Sigma SA, Sony/Minolta Alpha DT
— High aperture
— Excellent sharpness for such a zoom
— No stabilization and protection from adverse weather conditions
— Not very reliable autofocus when shooting wide open
If you shoot with an APS‑C camera and are looking for a quality wide-angle lens at a reasonable price, the Sigma 18–35mm f/1.8 DC HSM Art is one of the best third-party options for Canon, Nikon, Pentax and Sony DSLRs.
This model was the first zoom lens on the market with a maximum aperture of f/1.8. In addition, the Sigma 18–35mm f/1.8 is very sharp for both zoom and wide angle. This lens covers focal lengths of three primes, maintaining good sharpness throughout the range.
Like other lenses in the Art series, this zoom is equipped with an ultrasonic HSM motor, which makes autofocusing almost silent. And thanks to the built-in focus motor, the lens works with older cameras. Some users find its autofocus not reliable enough when shooting wide open. However, this can be fixed by purchasing a Sigma USB Dock that matches your camera mount to fine-tune autofocus.
The maximum aperture of f/1.8 is great for shooting in low light and for creating beautiful bokeh. There is no image stabilization in the model, but this is slightly compensated by its aperture (or the camera itself, if you are shooting on a device with built-in stabilization).
Unfortunately, the lens is not protected from dust and moisture.
But overall, the Sigma 18–35mm f/1.8 DC HSM Art is a great wide-angle zoom for crop cameras, suitable for landscapes, interiors, street photography and astrophotography.
If you need an even wider angle, Sigma has another old but very good quality lens, the Sigma 10–20mm f/3.5 EX DC HSM.
Best Telezoom: Sigma 150–600mm f/5–6.3 DG OS HSM Contemporary
Bayonets: Canon EF, Nikon F (FX), Sigma SA Bayonet, Sony/Minolta Alpha
— Fast focus
— Sharp image
— Excellent range (medium to super telephoto)
— Narrow aperture
— No weather protection
The Sigma 150–600mm f/5–6.3 DG OS HSM Contemporary has an excellent telephoto range and impressive image quality for a more than justified price (considering its class): at the moment, this professional lens costs 80–90 thousand rubles.
Even at maximum aperture, the picture is sharp from edge to edge. Although, if you shoot at the maximum telephoto distance, you can notice slightly soft corners and slight image distortion.
However, these are minor shortcomings, given the price of the lens, as well as a fairly reasonable size and weight. If you need a little more professional optics, the Sport version will cost about 50 thousand more.
Optical stabilization of the Sigma 150–600mm f/5–6.3 DG OS HSM Contemporary is at a very good level, which is not surprising, because the lens is designed for shooting moving objects at long distances. The same can be said about the fast autofocus system.
In general, this is an excellent in all respects and at the same time a budget telezoom for sports and wildlife photography.
Best macro lens: Sigma 70mm f/2.8 DG Macro Art
Bayonets: Canon EF, Nikon F (FX), Sigma SA, Sony FE
— Protection against dust and moisture
— Excellent optics
— No image stabilization system
— Difficulties with focusing
The Sigma 70mm f/2.8 Macro is a long-established budget alternative to native macro lenses like the Canon 100mm f/2.8L Macro IS USM and the Sony FE 90mm f/2.8 Macro G OSS. A shorter focal length means you need to get a little closer to your subject. It can also be frustrating that there is no optical stabilization system.
Nevertheless, this first macro lens in the Art lens series for creative shooting is equipped with very high quality optics, has a macro reproduction ratio of 1:1 and is protected from adverse weather conditions. And the angle of rotation of the focus ring in this lens has been specially adjusted for macro photography.
Some users complain about focusing difficulties, however, given its price (almost two times lower than for “native” lenses), this drawback can be put up with.
In addition to macro photography, the focal length of this model makes it a good option for portrait shots.
Best Cinema Lens: Sigma 18–35mm T2 Cine
Bayonets: Canon EF, Arri PL, Sony E
— High-quality optics
— Noticeable “breathing” of focus
Sigma is known not only for its photographic lenses, but also for excellent zooms for professional cinematographers. Most of them are compact and cost two times cheaper than similar models from Zeiss. We chose the 18–35mm T2 for this rating, but the longer focal length 50–100mm T2 essentially differs from the first only in focal length.
The Sigma 18–35mm T2 is a wide-angle Sigma cine zoom that captures motion, contrast and color perfectly while delivering resolutions up to 8K. This is a great option for filming feature films, documentaries, music videos, commercials and any other professional task.
Of the shortcomings — a noticeable effect of “breathing” focus (changing the focal length in the process of adjusting the focus). It is most obvious in the long focal length 50–100mm T2 at 100mm, but also in the 18–35mm T2 it shows up to 18mm.
Both lenses are designed for Super 35 format (and cameras with APS‑C matrices). If you’re looking for a full-frame cine lens, the Sigma 24–35mm T2.2 is worth checking out.
The best Sigma lenses: ranking results
|Lens||Type of||Advantages||Flaws||Our assessment|
|Sigma 85mm f/1.4 DG HSM Art||portrait fix||One of the best portraits for any system, with excellent sharpness and aperture||Big and heavy||9/10|
|Sigma 35mm f/1.4 DG HSM Art||Universal fix||Classic 35mm prime with excellent optics||Not everyone likes his bokeh||9/10|
|Sigma 18–35mm T2 Cine||Cinema lens||Inexpensive cinema lens with a cool picture||Focus noticeably “breathes”||8/10|
|Sigma 70mm f/2.8 DG Macro Art||Macro||A real macro lens with a great picture||Sometimes it’s hard to focus||8/10|
|Sigma 18–35mm f/1.8 DC HSM Art||Wide-angle zoom||Very “sharp” fast lens for landscapes, street and astophotography||No stabilization||8/10|
|Sigma 24–70mm f/2.8 DG OS HSM Art||Standard zoom||Versatile lens with robust body, constant f/2.8 maximum aperture and OIS||Imperfect optics||7/10|
|Sigma 150–600mm f/5–6.3 DG OS HSM||Telezoom||Super telephoto lens with fast autofocus||No weather protection||7/10|
Sigma has great lenses for every genre of photography and every level of photography, from landscapes to sports, from social media shots to professional portraits. Often Sigma “glasses” are not far behind in quality from “native” optics, but at the same time they are much cheaper than it. The Art series has especially proven itself — it is not surprising that five of our seven “nominees” are from this line. And the Sigma 18–35mm T2 Cine cinema lens is essentially the same Sigma AF 18–35mm f/1.8 DC HSM Art, only in a special housing for filmmakers.
Our highest praise was given to two cool Sigma primes — an 85mm portrait lens and a wider-angle 35mm one. Given the high cost of many “native” fixes, especially with such aperture, this is a great alternative to premium models from Canon, Nikon and Sony. The Sigma 70mm f/2.8 Macro is also one of the best value for money macro lenses available for all systems available.
Among the numerous zoom options, we’ve selected three solid models covering distances from wide-angle to super-telephoto. And although some of these Sigma lenses lose to analogues from camera manufacturers in terms of picture or aperture, but for the money they are again one of the best models on the market.
Finally, the Sigma line of cinema zooms is real manna from heaven for indie film studios and commercial videographers. At half the price of analogues, you get a professional cinema lens with which you can solve the most complex creative tasks.
Do you use Sigma lenses? We’d love to read about your experience in the comments.