Home Buyer's Guide Lenses-2013
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The latest optics for DSLR and mirrorless models

This Article Features Photo Zoom
It's hard to imagine a lensmaker having a busier year than Sigma. With six new models on the market—including three primes and three zooms, and lenses for Micro Four Thirds, Canon, Nikon, Sony and more mounts—there's likely something for every need in this recent crop of glass.

The 19mm EX DN and 30mm EX DN lenses are for the Sony NEX as well as Panasonic and Olympus Micro Four Thirds cameras, on which they become moderate wide-angles and normal lenses, respectively.

The 180mm F2.8 Macro lens incorporates image stabilization and a fairly fast maximum aperture while creating life-sized reproductions as close as 18 inches.

The zooms are all for DSLRs, and they cover everything from ultrawide to seriously telephoto. There's the 18-250mm F3.5-6.3 DC Macro with optical image stabilization and a compact size for such a powerful lens, the 50-150mm F2.8 APO EX DC II HSM, which has optical image stabilization and—given the range of the lens—a superfast ƒ/2.8 maximum aperture, and the updated 18-200mm F3.5-6.3 II DC OS HSM, which adds improved optics by way of FLD glass to one of the original extreme zooms.

Sigma 18-250mm F3.5-6.3 DC Macro OS HSM; Sigma APO Macro 180mm F2.8 EX DG OS HSM; Sigma 19mm F2.8 EX DN

Estimated Street Price: 19mm ($199); 30mm ($199); 180mm ($1,699); 18-250mm ($549); 18-200mm ($499); 50-150mm ($1,099).

Sony Alpha DT 55-300mm ƒ/4.5-5.6 SAM; Sony Alpha DT 16-50mm ƒ/2.8 SSM
Sony's newest lens is the 55-300mm extreme zoom for the Alpha DSLR system. With a variable ƒ/4.5-5.6 maximum aperture, it remains compact for a lens with such focal range, and extra-low-dispersion glass—commonly found on premium G-series Sony lenses—improves edge-to-edge sharpness and reduces color aberrations.

Prior to this recent addition, Sony added another Alpha lens, plus three models for the NEX compact camera system. The DT 16-50mm SSM zoom is an A-mount for the Alpha line with a fairly fast ƒ/2.8 maximum aperture across the zoom range, which is ideal for an everyday wide-to-normal zoom. Aspherical elements and ED glass help to minimize aberrations for sharper, clearer, higher-fidelity photographs with this lens, which performs equivalent to a 24-75mm zoom.

The three E-mount lenses are the fast 50mm ƒ/1.8 OSS prime lens, the 55-210mm ƒ/4.5-6.3 OSS superzoom and the Carl Zeiss Sonnar T* 24mm ƒ/2.8 ZA wide-angle. The 50mm is equivalent to a telephoto 75mm lens when used on APS-C-sized cameras, and its optical image stabilization (when combined with the wide maximum aperture) make it ideal for low-light handholding.

The 24mm prime is the first "premium" lens in the NEX lineup—as the Zeiss name suggests—and it performs like the classic and popular 35mm lens from the era of 35mm film SLRs.

The 55-210mm zoom also has optical image stabilization, and it performs equivalent to an 83-215mm telephoto lens.

Estimated Street Price: 55-300mm ($299); 16-50mm ($799); 24mm ($1,099); 50mm ($299); 55-210mm ($349).


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