In recent years, vintage lenses are consistently being hunted down by cinematographers for their nostalgic look and “in-camera quality.” Sigma noticed this trend which led to the development of their new line of primes. Introducing the Sigma Cine Classic Art Prime lenses.
First of all – if you want more technical info on these lenses, head on over here for more and to join the list for updates… Taking inspiration from 70’s cinematography and prior, the un-coated lenses generate large warm-colored flares that are very reminiscent of said era. The optics are still based on their ART line which means they inherit the sophisticated optical design – producing crisp details while providing a gentle, pleasing character to the entire image. Careful consideration has also been taken to ensure bokeh is as beautiful and pleasing as possible.
The source of this beautiful new image is a result of the coatings …or lack thereof. Sigma experimented with a wide variety of options in regards to the quality and quantity of coatings, ultimately settling on a simple single layer coating only on the outward facing elements for protection. This produces two notable results – the beautiful, character rich look that we’ve been hunting for, and a slower T-stop.
The T-stop is a subject that I’m pleased Sigma addressed. If you pay attention to this blog or the cinema lens industry, you’ll notice a plethora of “vintage” efforts, especially in the last year. Most manufacturers have attempted this by offering lesser coatings or simply no coatings. This makes for nice images, but what nobody is considering is one of the primary functions of AR coatings… Light transmission. Fundamentally, AR Coatings are meant to provide efficiency for light to pass through each surface of each lens element. This is one of the keys to higher speed lenses with more sophisticated optical designs of recent years. But remove those coatings and you’ll begin to tax your T-stop. Sigma, to my knowledge, is the first manufacturer to openly acknowledge this by properly testing and marking their lenses. So yes, they’re the same optical design as the original Cine Primes from Sigma, but without their advanced coatings the T-stop drops from T1.5 to T2.5.
Before you get all upset at the speed, don’t forget about the physics of what is happening here. There’s a good chance that you want the speed because you crave a shallow depth of field. If so, you’re in luck! Depth of field is determined by the f/stop, not the T-stop. The /f stop of these lenses remains an f/1.4 since it’s simply part of their physical design. But the actual light being passed through the lens is reduced. So think of it as a permanently built in ND filter 😉 You’ll still calculate DoF as if the lenses are f/1.4, but you’ll light to a T2.5. If this doesn’t make sense to you, drop me an email and I’ll sort you out.
Most of the other specs will remain the same between the Classic and the regular Sigma Cine Primes. They’ll still cover Large Format sensors. They’ll still be the same size and weight. Same gearing and build quality. This new family of lenses is currently still under development. Expected ship date is September 2019. No word yet on firm pricing. But if you’re already convinced or you want more info as it’s released, find some more details and sign up to be on the early notice list here.
In related non-lens specific news – Kazuto Yamaki of Sigma announced another interesting product that we’re quite excited about. The upcoming Sigma fp camera. It covers full frame, it’s mirrorless, and it can fit in your pocket! I genuinely feel that this will be the future of Director’s Finders. And if you know anything about me and my history in the world of cine lenses, you know my relation to Director’s Finders. Drop a comment below if you want to see a dedicated post on the fp as a Director’s Finder.