Sigma has just announced their new lenses, and here is our first impressions of the all-new Sigma 65mm f2 DGDN Contemporary “I-series” lens for the L-mount.

Let’s talk about the design of this all-new 65mm f2. Like the 35mm f2, they have a very similar design concept and it’s a really handsome, really good looking lens when you see it in person. So much so when we first saw this, we thought it was even better looking than the Sigma ART lenses that are currently on the market, that’s including the 85mm f1.4.

It has this amalgamation of cinema design, the contemporary design as well as that art design, but it’s really high quality in terms of materials so you’re getting that aluminium crafting throughout this. There are these black chrome bits that extend to accentuate the lens in certain parts to give it this very modern look and of course, you’ve got this all-metal hood. This lens is coming in around 405 grams and it feels pretty lightweight here on the Sigma FP. On the Panasonic S1R, it feels really good as well but it is a solid lens through and through.

The manual focusing ring is beautiful, it’s smooth, the aperture ring has got a nice click to it. You also get your manual focus and autofocus switch, everything feels very high quality because sigma is considering this an I series lens now.

What is an I series lens? This is where it gets a little bit confusing. You have the Contemporary lenses which are the very affordable compact primes, then you have the ART series lenses which of course are the very fast, higher-priced prime lenses and then you get into the sports line of lenses. Now, the I series is a combination of the Contemporary and the ART series lenses, so you still get that same optical quality that you would get in your ART series lenses that are currently on the market, but with the design of the Contemporary lenses.

So it’s compact, it’s small, it’s lightweight, but that’s what Sigma wanted. They wanted something that was more compact, really good performing, looked great, but it filled a void that they felt was out there in them in the marketplace which is really high-quality prime lenses that are smaller in form factor that fit a lot of these cameras. A lot of people out there who’ve been wanting this especially for the Sony A7C are going to be very happy with this lens in terms of design.

Now, let’s talk about what is inside of this lens. You have 12 elements, nine groups. You have from f2 to f22 in terms of the aperture, nine rounded diaphragm blades, the weight is 405 grams as mentioned before so it’s quite lightweight. It is a very high performing lens; in terms of optical quality, this lens is fantastic. Besides that, this lens is beautiful, but there are some new things to this lens. Usually, with lenses, you get a plastic lens cap. Sigma decided to do something different with the I series lenses, they’ve included in the box a magnetic lens cap.

It’s got felt underneath it, so it’s very soft on the lens, it’s not going to scratch it, but there’s also something more. They also have a lens cap holder or a clip that you can get from your sigma distributor or reseller that actually fits this lens cap like a tee, and it’s really cool because they fit on your belt loop or it can fit on your bag and you just take the lens cap, pop it on there and while you’re shooting, your lens cap is always with you so you do not lose your lens cap. But make sure that the magnet is secure, because we’ve actually dropped this a couple times and got some nicks unfortunately on this review lens cap.

Overall, we love this design and we have a feeling this will be something that we see in more Sigma lenses coming in the near future because this is fantastic.

So what’s this lens like to use? It’s a very fast focusing lens, that’s the first thing we noticed when we hooked it up to the FP and even the Lumix S1R and the S1H. It is a very fast focusing lens so being a pre-production lens, if Sigma is going to improve the autofocusing even more then we’re going to be very impressed because this locks on target very quick and it is a very sharp lens now.

Sharpness is not the only thing that we consider in terms of optical quality and image quality, but it’s something that we always look at when we’re looking at a lens of this magnitude at a 65mm f2, you want a sharp lens, modern rendering, you’ve got a creamy bokeh in the background, it is sharp edge to edge, there isn’t much chromatic aberration to this whatsoever.

It is a very high performing lens much like the ART series lenses that we’ve tested previously from Sigma, that same optical quality is here in the 65mm f2. The 65 millimetre focal length is very interesting and it’s kind of like the 45mm, it’s between the 35mm and the 50mm, or you know this is between a 50mm and a 75mm and it’s a pseudo portrait lens, but it’s a good street lens as well.

So if you pair this with a 35mm f2, you should be pretty much good to go in terms of primes if you want to go and stay in the Sigma family, but it also adds a nice alternative for Lumix users that have the 50mm f1.4, but if you want a smaller lens, the 65mm f2 will come into play.

If you are a Leica shooter and maybe you can’t afford the 50mm Summicron SL f2 lens, the 65 f2 would be a nice alternative. In terms of optical quality, we have to say though we’re really impressed with the image quality out of this lens. It is a great portrait lens and we love the bokeh on this. We really like this lens for the price point; the build quality, the optical performance, it’s really good.

Taking a look at images from the 65mm f2 with the Lumix S1R as well as the Sigma FP, one of the first things you’re going to notice when you take your first few shots with this lens, as we mentioned in the review it is a very sharp lens, exceedingly sharp. This is one of the sharpest Sigma lenses we have used for the mirrorless lineup to date, we would say it’s even sharper than the 85mm f1.4. One thing that Sigma did point out with this I series of lenses is that they want them to perform optimally at f2 or whatever their fastest aperture is.

This is more of a photographer’s lens than a video lens, but if you need, it will do video in a pinch. With the 65mm f2, it definitely will do the job, but our overall thoughts on this lens are that it’s a beautiful lens aesthetically, but also the image quality is very impressive. The autofocusing is quick on this, the stepping motor inside of this lens, it works fantastic and this is a pre-production lens, to boot. We can’t wait to see how the final production lens will perform, especially if there are additional firmware updates to make it even better.