For the last five years cinematographers have been asking Sigma for a 65mm high speed prime. Sigma has responded with the addition of a 28mm, and 40mm, even a 105mm high speed prime. At long last, we’ll have a 65mm to fill out the ever-popular Sigma Cine Prime family. Sigma issued a press release with some details of this new lens as well as a few other updates.
The new 65mm is the first in the Cine line to be developed exclusively for the cinema market according to Sigma’s press release. But what does this mean for the new focal length? If we consider the original lineup of cine primes, you may recall Sigma’s “100%/100%” slogan. This was based on the fact that the original Sigma Cine Primes inherited their optical designs from the famed ART series of still-photo lenses – a tactic that allowed Sigma to produce such high quality lenses while keeping a class-leading price. Then came what we’ll call the “second wave” of Cine Primes out of Aizu; the 28mm, 40mm, and 105mm. These new additions were indeed not, at the time, shared with still-photo cousins but were destined to share their optical designs as ART lenses as well. In the case of the new 65mm, its existence is uniquely bound to the motion picture market and will never be simultaneously occupied by a still-photo chassis. The reason for this is pretty simple. Sigma has committed their resources to the ever-growing mirrorless market. There’s simply no use for an optical design based on a longer, reflex-style flange focal distance. Although, I do hope to see a 65mm f/1.4 DG DN (full frame, mirrorless) ART Prime someday. But that’s a different post altogether.
Sigma’s press release was not a product launch, but rather an development announcement which means, presumably, that the lens has been greenlit and is being designed, refined, and mastered. There are a few key specs that Sigma has confirmed. The focal length, obviously, 65mm. The speed of the lens at T1.5. Full Frame, Vista Vision coverage. Many of the other specs are still to-be-determined such as the final weight of the lens and even the price. Although, I anticipate the price will be right in line with the rest of the primes in the set. Speaking of consistency with its siblings in Sigma’s high-speed prime lineup – this is pure speculation, but I’d imagine the image quality of the 65mm is going to be world-class. If the other recent focal lengths are any indication such as the 40mm, then this new 65mm is going to be an optical masterpiece. The last missing piece of the puzzle is the delivery date which is entirely unknown.
Moving on to the other items in the press release. The 65mm detailed previously will be birthed along with its very own evil twin – the Sigma 65mm Classic Prime. If you’re not familiar with the Classic Primes (read more here), allow me to elaborate. Sigma has made a name for themselves in developing highly corrected, accurate, sharp lenses. Much to the dismay of optical engineers the world over, the trend of aberrations, focus falloff, and other technical flaws became fashionable shortly after digital cinematography found its place in the industry. Sigma’s solution to a more character-rich lens with dramatically enhanced flares was the Classic Primes. The recipe was quite simple and highly effective. The Classic Primes only stray from the regular Cine Primes in the absence of anti-reflective coatings on particular elements – and as a result, the effective T-stop of the lenses. This allows the Sigma Classic Primes to produce a beautifully enhanced look full of flares and nostalgic character. Naturally, Sigma is developing the Classic version of the 65mm right alongside the regular 65mm.
Speaking of the Classic Primes, Sigma also used this press release to announce the ability to purchase single Classic Primes. Historically, the Classic Primes were only available as a complete 10-lens set. Again, speculation here, but this is most likely because of the introduction of the new 65mm. Sigma hadn’t released any new focal lengths since they launched the Classic Primes several years ago. It would be painful for current owners of the Classic Primes to not have the beautiful new 65mm available as a single lens. Allowing users to purchase just the 65mm to complete their set means that Sigma would need to go through the logistical requirements necessary for individual lens sales, so why not just do that for all of the focal lengths. Now we’re departing from lens news and diggin into Sigma’s business affairs. So now’s as good a time as any to dive back into the lenses.
In summary – Sigma has announced the development (not launch) of a brand new 65mm T1.5 and 65mm Classic Prime and will open up the Classic Primes to individual lens sales in the near future. There’s no firm price on the new 65mm yet, but expect it to be in lline with the rest of the Cine Primes, and no firm ship date yet. However, you can already pre-order the 65mm T1.5 Cine Prime from Duclos Lenses here. Here’s the specs that we have confirmed from Sigma so far:
|MOD||1′ 4″||1′ 4″|
|Mount||PL, EF, E||PL, EF, E|