DOP Rick Joaquim reviews the Sigma Cine Full Frame High Speed Primes

I recently used a set of Sigma FF High Speed Prime Lenses on a recent project for Bridgestone South Africa and Silver Bullet Films. The branded film follows the truly inspiring story featuring Lawrence Brittain, a South African rower who defied all the odds to take Silver at the Olympic Games Rio in 2016 after beating Cancer two years before that. These lenses helped me capture some beautiful images paired with the Arri Alexa Mini.

The full video can be found here:

Sigma has come such a long way and I am such a fan of these lenses for certain applications or projects that require the sharp, clean look they offer – These prime lenses take things one step further for Sigma putting world class optics into housings designed for manual control and the rigours of professional film and video productions. The lenses cover a full frame or large format sensors which are continuing to roll out on from manufacturers in the video and cinema world. So these are future proof lenses.

The lenses are available with PL, E mount or EF mounts. The set we had were fitted with a PL mount and you can have the mounts swapped by Sigma if you do find that you need to change it for some reason down the line in time… This is quite useful given that you could invest in a set of lenses that would last you a lifetime.

They are all fast lenses with most of them opening up to T1.5, which helps a lot when you want that shallow look or need an extra stop or two I darker locations. At T1.5 you have a 20, 24, 35, 50 and 85mm lenses and at T2.0 you can go as wide as 14mm and as long as 135mm. I shot with the lenses wide open for as close to possibly at T2 in some pretty dark places and even wide open they stay tack sharp. Take a look at the images and the final video, it’s really sharp.

They are of all metal construction, the build quality is absolutely great and feel great to the touch. Therefore they are not the lightest of lenses if you’re used to stills or cine modded lenses, coming in at between 1kg to 1.3kg in PL mount form, but that weight gives you the confidence that these are lenses that will last and make it through a shoot for sure. They are dust and moisture sealed, which is probably just as well as on this shoot there was a lot of water splashing around and we kept the camera package in a rain bag just In case too.

The focus and aperture markings are very clear and really easy to read they even glow in the dark. The breathing is also rather minimal and the focus ring rotates through a full 180 degrees and both the focus and aperture rings have standard 0.8 pitch teeth for follow focus controls etc. The gear rings are all the same distance from the mount so there is no need to move the follow focus when changing lenses. You have no idea how useful this is when swinging or changing lenses on set. A really nice touch is the use of a damper at the focus stops so there is no noise if you hit the end stops.

These lenses are great for many applications – I especially enjoy them on Green-screen or VFX shoots in particular when you need shallow depth of field but still need to retain a super sharp, clean image or you don’t wish to include artefacts such flares or halation when shooting at faster stops or even wide open for certain projects. The lenses behave flawlessly and retaining deep shadows and very high contrast still.

They are very competitively priced, especially when you consider that these are full frame lenses. I will continue to use them again and again on future shoots. They really are top notch lenses and the images I captured with them look great!

Rick Joaquim, Director of Photography

Credits List:

Production Company: Silver Bullet
Director: Wayne de Lange
Producer: Diana Keam
Production Manager: Learmont Keam
Production Co-ordinator: Diani Gernandt
Featuring: Lawrence Brittain
Cinematography: Rick Joaquim SASC and Wayne de Lange SASC
Focus Puller: Khalied Manuel
Gaffer: Kobus Visser
Grip: Mark Keith Cardno Davidson
Best Boy Grips: Simphiwe Ndulula
Gear Rental House: Media Film Service JHB

Equipment Used:

ARRI Alexa Mini
Sigma Cine Lenses SA FF High Speed Prime Lenses
Easyrig Vario 5 and Flowcine Serene
Freefly Systems MōVI Pro and a Predator Arm

More of Rick’s work can be found here:

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