Sigma recently announced that they are making a range of Classic Primes. Lenses that are said to create a vintage look have become increasingly popular and a lot of lens manufacturers such as Cooke, Tokina, and Canon have come out with lenses that are either uncoated or have minimal coatings.
DP Timur Civan shot a short test called “Operator” with the Classic Primes on a RED Monstro.
Here are his thoughts about the new lenses.
“They are designed to create a visually striking, sensual image. The same power the standard Cine set had creating optical perfection, the Classics have creating an enigmatic and boisterous image. A surprise awaits around every photon.
The Classics are not just a set of Sigma Cines with the front element coating taken off to introduce a tiny bit of flare and a tiny bit of ghosting. These things are their own species. They are designed to create a visually striking, sensual image.
There is vignetting, softer corners, reduced contrast, very vocal veiling and specular flares, while still being very sharp in the center. Contrast can be achieved if you keep the lens well protected from errant light.”Timur Civan
Timur also said that last fall Matthew Duclos hand-built a Sigma 35mm Cine out of completely uncoated Sigma optics. It seems the results of this experiment made its way back to Sigma, and they took it’s potential seriously. The lenses they provided me were prototype 35mm and 50mm “Classic” lenses. These are early proof of concept lenses. These are NOT delivery lenses. Do not take their performance in this demo to be fully indicative of how they will be when released. I am under the impression they will be very similar, but some changes may still be made. That said, the fact that they are releasing footage means the concept is pretty close to completion.
These lenses are fascinating to shoot with. They felt at times almost like K35’s, in that they are full-frame, and have a dramatic visual presence when bright lights are pointed in their direction. However, they are more active in their flaring characteristics. With the rising popularity of lenses that have distinctive and reactive flaring and optical characteristics, I think these will be a big hit for those looking to create images with lenses that will surprise and delight their users.
If you want to read even more in-depth information about the new Sigma Classic Primes, head over to Timur’s blog.
Sigma’s Classic Primes have a modified coating formula and the company claims that their Classic Primes will have a warm, vintage look from the ’70s with some flare and ghosting.
The Classic Primes feature uncoated elements throughout the lens, with the exception of the outward-facing elements. The front element and rear element have a special protective coating to improve durability and exposure to the elements.
As a result of the modified coating formula, contrast is dramatically reduced, creating an organic in-lens softness without sacrificing detail. Blooming highlights provide a nostalgic appeal reminiscent of genuine classic cinema.
Another result of the unique coatings, flares are no longer suppressed and in fact, encouraged. The result is a genuine effect that is often attempted in post-processing. The native flares produced by the Sigma Classic Primes provide another layer of realism unique to this set of primes.
The Classic Primes will be available in the following focal lengths and T stops:
- 14mm T3.2
- 20mm T2.5
- 24mm T2.5
- 28mm T2.5
- 35mm T2.5
- 40mm T2.5
- 50mm T2.5
- 85mm T2.5
- 105mm T2.5
- 135mm T3.2
Sigma is going to officially announce the lenses at IBC 2019.
The Classic Primes are essentially Sigma’s current FF High-Speed Prime lenses with different coatings. According to Sigma, even though you will get a lot of ghosting and flaring, the sharpness remains the same as the FF High-Speed Primes.
All of the classic Primes have higher T stops than the Cine Primes this is because light transmittance decreases due to the difference in the coatings. However, even though the T stop value of the lens changes, the F stop value remains unchanged and the amount of bokeh and background blur you can get stays the same.
On the lens barrel, you will see the word “Classic’ engraved in yellow letters. Aizu (where Sigma’s factory is located) is known for its lacquer craftsmen. The ‘Classic’ yellow lettering will be hand done by these local lacquer craftsmen.
Price & Availability
We currently have no information about pricing or availability for the new lenses. All we know is that they will be officially announced at IBC in September.
What do you think about the look of these lenses? Do you think the trend of single coated or uncoated lenses is going to remain a trend? Let us know in the comments section below.
All information and images from Timur Civan were used with his full written permission.