I have done a lens abbreviation guide and sort of history for Nikon and Canon. So now, I figured to do a similar guide for the third party lens. This guide is all about Sigma, which has so far produced lens for Nikon, Canon, Sony and Pentax mounts.
Please don’t be confused, Sigma is a Japanese company founded in 1961… and not a western based company. With over 50 years of history, Sigma is definitely not some cheap company producing crappy lens. In fact, they have some excellent lens, priced at a fraction of the “original”.
Sigma offers quite a range of lens, or you can call it “category of lens”.
- Contemporary (C) : Mainly zoom lens for general use, or if you prefer, the “regular Joe” lens.
- Sport (S) : Rather expensive range of long telephoto lens meant for sports and wild life photography.
- Excellence (EX) : Sigma’s top performing lens. The equivalent to Canon’s luxury red ring or Nikon’s gold ring. Sigma seem to have dropped this in favor for the newer art series.
- Art (A) : The highest performing, large aperture, top grade optical lens. Generally expensive, but still cheaper than the Nikon / Canon counterparts.
- Ultra Compact (UC) : Small and lightweight lens.
- Digital Grade (DG) : Lens built for the full-frame and crop (APS-C) sensors.
- Digital Compact (DC) : Lens built for the crop (APS-C) sensors.
- Deluxe (DL) : Film era lens.
- Digital Neo (DN) : Lens built for mirrorless camera (APS-C and MFT sized sensors).
- Aspherical (ASP) : Actually a common term. I will let Wikipedia explain this.
- Apochromatic (APO) : Again, Wikipedia has the answer.
- Special Low Dispersion (SLD) : Lens designed to minimize chromatic aberrations.
- Extra Low Dispersion (ELD) : Lens with even lower dispersion, supposed to be better than SLD glass.
- F’ Low Dispersion (FLD) : Lens with performance equal to fluorite glass. Low dispersion, low refraction, and high light transmission. Simply put, the current best technology among the low dispersion family.
- Hyper Sonic Motor (HSM) : Sigma’s auto-focus motor. The equivalent of Nikon’s SWM or Canon’s USM.
- Helical Focusing (HF) : The front element does not rotate during focusing.
- Rear Focusing (RF) : Only a few rear elements moved during focusing. Supposedly speeds up auto-focus speed.
- Internal Focusing (IF) : Lens does not extend nor contract during focusing. Everything is “done” internally within.
- Dual Focus (DF) : The outer focus ring is disconnected during auto-focusing; The focusing ring does not turn during auto-focus.
Sigma calls their stabilization Optical Stabilizer (OS). Pretty much the same stuff as Nikon and Canon, where the elements move to counter the shake.
- MACRO : Shoots up-close, but note, Sigma lens are not necessarily 1:1 magnification.
- Fisheye : Super ultra wide angle lens.
- Thermally Stable Composite (TSC) : Some kind of special material. Elastic as polycarbonate and tough as metal, supposedly takes temperature changes better and makes better lens bodies.