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Decoding Sigma Lens Abbreviations: A Guide to Understanding the Hidden Meanings

If youve ever delved into the world of photography, you know that lenses are a crucial element in achieving stunning images. But have you ever been puzzled by the seemingly complicated abbreviations that accompany the names of Sigma lenses?

Fear not, as we delve into the world of Sigma lens abbreviations. In this article, we will explore the purpose of these abbreviations and provide explanations of some common ones, giving you a clear understanding of what each abbreviation signifies and how it affects the performance of the lens.

So lets dive in and uncover the hidden meanings behind Sigma lens abbreviations!

Purpose of Lens Abbreviations

Sigma lens abbreviations serve as a shorthand way of conveying important information about the characteristics and features of a specific lens. Instead of using lengthy descriptions, Sigma employs a variety of abbreviations to provide a quick snapshot of what a particular lens can offer.

These abbreviations are designed to inform photographers about the lens’s intended purpose, its compatibility with different camera systems, and its specific features and capabilities. By understanding these abbreviations, photographers can make informed decisions when choosing the perfect Sigma lens for their needs.

Example of a Lens Abbreviation

Lets take a look at an example to illustrate how Sigma lens abbreviations work in practice. One popular lens is the Sigma 17-50mm f/2.8 EX


Breaking down the lens abbreviation, we can see that:

– “17-50mm” refers to the lens’s focal length range, indicating its versatility for capturing a wide range of subjects. – “f/2.8” denotes the lens’s maximum aperture, which highlights its ability to produce sharp images even in low light conditions.

– “EX” signifies that this lens belongs to Sigma’s high-end Professional Prime Lens series, which is known for its exceptional optical performance and construction. – “

DC” indicates that this lens is specifically designed for APS-C DSLRs, making it compatible with a wide range of crop-sensor camera models.

– “OS” stands for Optical Image Stabilization, a feature that helps compensate for camera shake, enabling sharp handheld shots at slower shutter speeds. – “HSM” refers to the Hyper Sonic Motor, a technology that provides fast and silent autofocusing, ideal for capturing fleeting moments.

– “FLD” represents the use of Fluorite, Low Dispersion glass elements, which help minimize chromatic aberrations and enhance overall image quality. Now that we have a grasp on the purpose of lens abbreviations and have examined an example, let’s delve deeper into the different types of abbreviations you may come across when exploring Sigma lenses.

Explanation of Sigma Lens Abbreviations

Art (A)

Sigma’s Art series lenses are known for their exceptional optical performance, making them a popular choice among professional photographers and enthusiasts alike. These lenses are designed to deliver outstanding image quality, with a focus on capturing every detail with remarkable clarity.

The Art lenses often feature wide apertures, allowing for beautiful background blur and low-light capabilities. The Art series includes a wide range of lenses, from fisheye and wide-angle options to versatile zoom and macro lenses, catering to various photographic styles and preferences.

Apochromatic (APO)

The Apochromatic abbreviation, commonly referred to as APO, highlights Sigma lenses’ superior correction of chromatic aberration. Chromatic aberration occurs when different colors of light do not converge at the same focal point, resulting in reduced contrast and color definition.

By utilizing specialized lens elements, APO lenses effectively minimize this aberration, allowing for sharper and more vivid images. APO lenses are particularly well-suited for applications that demand precise rendering of colors and high contrast, such as landscape and architectural photography.

Aspherical (ASP)

Aspherical lenses, denoted by the abbreviation ASP, are designed to correct spherical aberrations, resulting in sharper and more accurately rendered images. Spherical aberrations can cause a loss of sharpness towards the edges of an image when using traditional spherical lenses.

By incorporating non-spherical lens elements, Sigma’s ASP lenses effectively reduce these aberrations, resulting in improved image quality across the entire frame. These lenses are particularly beneficial for wide-angle shots and can help maintain image quality even at wider apertures.

Contemporary (C)

Sigma’s Contemporary lenses, identified by the abbreviation C, offer a combination of affordability and versatility. These lenses are designed to cater to the needs of photographers on a budget who still desire high-quality optics.

The Contemporary series includes variable aperture lenses, making them suitable for a wide range of shooting scenarios. Additionally, these lenses are often designed for use with APS-C camera models, providing a lightweight and compact option for photographers who prioritize portability without compromising image quality.

Teleconverter Compatible (CONV)

Teleconverter compatible lenses, labeled with the abbreviation CONV, have the ability to be used with Sigma APO Teleconverters. Teleconverters increase the effective focal length of a lens, allowing photographers to reach longer distances while maintaining autofocus and automatic exposure functionality.

With CONV lenses, photographers can achieve the desired reach for capturing subjects in wildlife or sports photography, offering more flexibility without the need for purchasing additional specialized lenses.



DC abbreviation designates lenses specifically designed for APS-C DSLRs. These lenses are optimized to cover the smaller image sensors found in APS-C cameras, providing an angle of view similar to that of a larger lens on a full-frame camera.

DC lenses are generally more compact and lightweight compared to their full-frame counterparts, making them an attractive choice for photographers looking to travel light or reduce the overall size of their gear without sacrificing image quality.


DG lenses are Sigma’s designation for lenses designed to be compatible with full-frame DSLRs. These lenses are capable of covering the larger image sensors found in full-frame cameras, providing an angle of view suited to the dimensions of these sensors. Whether you are shooting landscape, portrait, or any other genre of photography,

DG lenses are an ideal choice for maximizing image quality and taking full advantage of the capabilities of full-frame camera systems.


DN lenses are specifically designed for compact system cameras, often associated with micro-four-thirds sensor systems. These lenses are known for their small size and weight, making them perfect for photographers seeking a lightweight setup with excellent image quality.

Whether you are a traveling enthusiast or a professional photographer,

DN lenses offer a portable solution without compromising on image quality.

Extraordinary Low Dispersion (ELD)


Extraordinary Low Dispersion (ELD) abbreviation denotes the use of specialized glass elements known as

Special Low Dispersion (SLD) elements. These elements effectively reduce chromatic aberrations, resulting in sharper and more accurate images throughout the entire focal range.

By minimizing color fringing and loss of contrast, ELD lenses provide photographers with superior image quality, making them an excellent choice for those who demand high performance and exceptional optical characteristics.

Professional Prime Lens (EX)

The Professional Prime Lens series, commonly abbreviated as EX, represents Sigma’s highest level of quality and craftsmanship. These lenses are designed for professional and discerning photographers who demand outstanding performance, build quality, and image quality.

The EX series is often compared to Canon’s renowned “L” series lenses, as they share similar characteristics. Whether you are shooting portraits, landscapes, or any other type of photography, EX lenses deliver exceptional optical performance and are constructed to withstand the rigorous demands of professional use.

Fluorite, Low Dispersion (FLD)

The Fluorite, Low Dispersion (FLD) abbreviation signifies the use of fluorite glass and specialized Low Dispersion (SLD) elements. These elements work together to reduce chromatic aberrations and enhance image quality.

FLD lenses are particularly effective in minimizing color fringing and enhancing sharpness, resulting in outstanding image quality across various focal lengths. With the optical characteristics of fluorite combined with the corrective properties of SLD elements, FLD lenses deliver exceptional image quality, making them a valuable tool for photographers who strive for high performance.

Hyper Sonic Motor (HSM)


Hyper Sonic Motor (HSM) abbreviation indicates the presence of an ultrasonic autofocus motor within the lens. HSM technology enables fast and quiet autofocusing, ensuring photographers can capture sharp and accurate images, particularly in situations where the subject may be in motion.

HSM lenses are especially beneficial for action photography, whether you are capturing sports events, wildlife, or any other fast-paced subject. The ability to achieve precise focusing with minimal noise makes HSM lenses a favorite among photographers who value speed and reliability.

Internal Focusing (IF)

Internal Focusing (IF) is an abbreviation you may come across when exploring Sigma lenses. IF lenses enable focus adjustments to be made internally, without any external movement of the lens barrel.

This is particularly advantageous for photographers, as internal focusing minimizes the overall size and weight of the lens, making it easier to handle and allowing for faster and more precise autofocus performance. IF lenses are often sought after by photographers who require quick focusing and wish to maintain a compact shooting setup.

Macro Lenses (MACRO)

The MACRO abbreviation indicates lenses specifically designed for macro photography, allowing photographers to capture subjects in extreme close-up detail. Macro lenses enable macro magnification, offering a closer minimum focusing distance and allowing for stunningly intricate images of small objects and creatures.

Whether you are shooting nature, product photography, or simply exploring the beauty of macro imagery, MACRO lenses offer the necessary focal lengths and optical characteristics to achieve exceptional close-up results.

Optical Image Stabilization (OS)

Optical Image Stabilization (OS) is a vital feature found in many Sigma lenses. OS technology compensates for camera shake, allowing photographers to capture sharp handheld shots even at slower shutter speeds.

By counteracting the effects of camera movement, OS helps eliminate blur caused by unsteady hands or external vibrations. This feature is particularly useful when shooting in low-light scenarios or situations where a tripod or other stabilization methods are not feasible.

With OS lenses, photographers can enjoy greater flexibility and confidence in capturing sharp images in various conditions.

Rear Focusing (RF)

Rear Focusing (RF) is an abbreviation used to describe lenses that utilize a design where the focusing mechanism is located at the rear of the lens barrel. This design allows for faster and quieter auto-focusing performance, as only a smaller portion of the lens needs to be moved during the focusing process.

RF lenses are valued for their ability to provide smoother and more discreet focusing, making them well-suited to situations where silence or speed is essential. Whether you are capturing wildlife or in a quiet setting, RF lenses enable photographers to maintain a low profile without compromising on performance.

Sport (S)

The Sport series, indicated by the abbreviation S, encompasses both fixed and zoom telephoto lenses that are designed to cater to the needs of sports and action photographers. Sport lenses are engineered to deliver outstanding performance, capturing fast-moving subjects with exceptional precision and image quality.

These lenses often feature fast apertures, allowing for high shutter speeds to freeze action. The Sport series provides photographers with the tools to capture dynamic moments, whether it’s on the field, documenting motorsports, or any other high-speed scenario.

Special Low Dispersion (SLD)


Special Low Dispersion (SLD) abbreviation indicates the use of specialized glass elements that effectively minimize chromatic aberrations. Chromatic aberrations occur when different wavelengths of light do not converge at the same focal plane, resulting in color fringing and reduced image quality.

By incorporating SLD glass elements, Sigma lenses effectively counteract these aberrations, resulting in sharper and more accurately rendered images. SLD lenses are particularly beneficial in situations where high contrast and color accuracy are crucial, such as when photographing high-contrast scenes or subjects with fine details.

Thermally Stable Composite (TSC)

Lenses constructed using a

Thermally Stable Composite (TSC) feature a lens barrel made of a special alloy and polycarbonate material. This combination provides increased stability, durability, and resistance to fluctuations in temperature, making TSC lenses less prone to distortion or deformations that can affect image quality.

TSC lenses are valued for their performance in changing environmental conditions, ensuring photographers can rely on consistent performance and image quality regardless of the external temperature or weather conditions. By understanding the implications and meanings behind Sigma lens abbreviations, photographers can make informed choices when selecting the perfect lens for their photographic needs.

Whether you are a professional photographer or an enthusiastic hobbyist, having a clear understanding of these abbreviations will help you navigate the vast array of Sigma lenses available and choose the optimal one to achieve your desired results. In conclusion, Sigma lens abbreviations serve as a shorthand way of conveying important information about a lens’s characteristics and features.

These abbreviations encompass various aspects, such as focal length, aperture, compatibility with different camera systems, and specialized features. By familiarizing yourself with Sigma’s lens abbreviations, you can gain a deeper understanding of the capabilities and strengths offered by each lens, ultimately allowing you to capture exceptional images that showcase your artistic vision.

So the next time you come across a Sigma lens with an abbreviation that may seem perplexing, refer back to this article to decode its hidden meaning and unlock its full potential. Happy shooting!

Importance of understanding Sigma lens abbreviations

Understanding Sigma lens abbreviations is of utmost importance for photographers who are looking to make informed decisions when purchasing lenses. By comprehending these abbreviations, photographers can gain a clearer understanding of the specific qualities and features each lens offers.

This knowledge allows photographers to determine whether a particular lens will meet their needs and expectations, taking into account factors such as focal length, aperture, compatibility, and specialized functionalities. One key benefit of understanding lens abbreviations is the ability to determine the intended purpose of a lens.

For example, the Art (A) series is known for its exceptional optical performance and wide aperture capabilities, making it suitable for photographers who prioritize capturing every detail with remarkable clarity and require low-light capabilities. On the other hand, the

Sport (S) series lenses cater to action photographers, with features such as fast apertures and precise autofocus performance, enabling them to capture fast-moving subjects with outstanding precision and image quality.

The compatibility aspect of Sigma lens abbreviations is also crucial. By knowing whether a lens is designed specifically for APS-C DSLRs (

DC), full-frame DSLRs (

DG), or compact system cameras (

DN), photographers can ensure that the lens is compatible with their camera system.

This compatibility ensures optimal performance and image quality, as the lens is specifically designed to cover the appropriate image sensor size and deliver the desired angle of view. Understanding specialized features denoted by the lens abbreviations can also influence a photographer’s decision.

Abbreviations such as OS (Optical Image Stabilization) and HSM (Hyper Sonic Motor) indicate the presence of specific technologies that can greatly enhance the shooting experience. Optical Image Stabilization compensates for camera shake, allowing photographers to capture sharp handheld shots, while the Hyper Sonic Motor provides fast and silent autofocus performance, perfect for scenarios where speed and accuracy are essential.

By comprehending these abbreviations and the qualities they represent, photographers can ensure they are making the right investment in their gear, ultimately leading to improved image quality and greater creative possibilities.

Recommendation to try Products in Focus e-book for studio photography

For photographers interested in studio photography, Sigma offers the “Products in Focus” e-book, which provides valuable information and insights on using Sigma lenses for product photography. This e-book guides photographers through the process of capturing stunning images of products with exceptional detail and clarity.

The “Products in Focus” e-book covers various aspects of studio photography, including lighting techniques, composition, and post-processing. It emphasizes the importance of using the right lens to achieve optimal results in product photography.

By understanding the specific qualities of Sigma lenses, photographers can choose the most suitable lens for their specific product photography needs. The e-book offers recommendations for lenses like the 105mm f/2.8 EX

DG OS HSM Macro and the 50mm f/1.4 EX

DG HSM Art, which are well-suited for capturing intricate details and achieving beautiful background blur.

It provides tips on maximizing the capabilities of these lenses and harnessing their unique features to create visually stunning product images. Through step-by-step tutorials and practical examples, the “Products in Focus” e-book showcases the versatility and capabilities of Sigma lenses in the studio environment.

It aims to inspire photographers and provide them with the guidance they need to create compelling and captivating product photographs that stand out. By exploring the “Products in Focus” e-book and actively applying the techniques and insights it offers, photographers can elevate their studio photography skills and achieve professional-level results.

Whether you are a beginner looking to learn the basics or a seasoned professional seeking new inspiration, this e-book serves as a valuable resource for honing your studio photography skills and maximizing the creative potential of your Sigma lenses. In conclusion, understanding Sigma lens abbreviations is essential for photographers in making informed decisions when choosing lenses.

These abbreviations convey important information about a lens’s focal length, aperture, compatibility, and specialized features, allowing photographers to select the lens that best suits their specific needs. By comprehending these abbreviations, photographers can ensure that they invest in lenses that will enhance their photographic capabilities and deliver exceptional image quality.

Additionally, for photographers interested in studio photography, Sigma’s “Products in Focus” e-book serves as a valuable resource for learning about the optimal use of Sigma lenses in product photography. By delving into this e-book and applying the techniques it offers, photographers can refine their studio photography skills and capture stunning images that showcase their creative vision.

So, embrace the world of Sigma lens abbreviations, dive into the realm of studio photography, and unlock the full potential of your imagery. In conclusion, understanding Sigma lens abbreviations is crucial for photographers seeking to make informed decisions when selecting lenses.

These abbreviations provide valuable insights into a lens’s focal length, aperture, compatibility, and specialized features, allowing photographers to choose the lens that best suits their needs. By grasping the meaning behind these abbreviations, photographers can maximize the potential of their gear, resulting in improved image quality and enhanced creative possibilities.

Whether it is capturing stunning landscapes with the Art series or freezing fast-paced action with the Sport series, Sigma lenses with their unique abbreviations offer photographers a world of possibilities. So, unravel the hidden meanings behind Sigma lens abbreviations and elevate your photography to new heights.

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