Like other lens manufacturers, Sigma uses codes in the names of their lenses to identify key features and technologies of the lens.
Once you know how to read them, they can be very useful as a shorthand way to quickly categorize a particular lens. But the codes can also be confusing.
So here’s a breakdown of the codes Sigma uses in naming their lenses. I’ve grouped them by the type of information they convey.
Sigma Lens Codes for Mount Types
Codes in this category help identify which lenses are compatible with which types of cameras. As a third-party manufacturer, Sigma makes lenses for its own cameras as well as with other mounts by different brands.
- SA – Sigma’s proprietary lens mount designed for their own camera bodies. Sigma SA-mount lenses are not compatible with other camera brands directly.
- Sigma Canon EF – Lenses designed for Canon EF and EF-S mount cameras.
- Sigma Nikon F – Lenses designed for Nikon F-mount cameras.
- Sigma Sony E – Lenses designed for Sony E-mount mirrorless cameras.
- Sigma Sony A – Lenses designed for Sony A-mount DSLR cameras.
- Sigma L – Lenses designed for L-mount camera systems, which include Sigma, Panasonic, and Leica cameras.
- Sigma mFT – Lenses designed for Micro Four Thirds (mFT) mount cameras, used by Olympus and Panasonic.
Sigma Lens Codes for Lens Categories
- DC – Lenses designed for APS-C sensor cameras, similar to Nikon’s DX and Canon’s EF-S lenses. DC lenses are not recommended for full-frame cameras as they produce a smaller image circle.
- DG – Full-frame lenses designed to cover a 35mm sensor or film frame, similar to Nikon’s FX and Canon’s EF lenses. DG lenses are compatible with both full-frame and crop-sensor cameras.
- DN – Lenses designed specifically for mirrorless cameras, such as Sony E-mount, L-mount, and Micro Four Thirds cameras.
Sigma Lens Codes for Lens Series
- Art or A – Sigma’s high-quality lenses aimed at professionals and enthusiasts, offering superior optical performance, build quality, and focus on image quality.
- Contemporary or C – Lenses designed for everyday use, balancing optical performance, size, and weight. These lenses are versatile and suitable for a wide range of photography styles.
- Sports or S – Lenses designed for capturing fast-moving subjects, such as sports and wildlife photography. These lenses typically have a rugged build, fast autofocus, and Optical Stabilizer technology.
- I-Series. This is a collection of compact prime lenses designed exclusively for mirrorless cameras. They have all-metal bodies, manual aperture control, and magnetic lens caps (most of them, anyway).
Sigma Lens Codes for Autofocus Motors
- HSM – Hyper Sonic Motor, Sigma’s high-performance autofocus motor technology that provides fast, accurate, and quiet autofocus.
Sigma Lens Codes for Optical Technologies
Some lenses feature notable technology that the designers (and marketers) consider worth highlighting in the name of the lens and may well influence a buyer’s decision (and the price). An important example is newer lenses that feature lens optical stabilization.
- OS – Optical Stabilizer, Sigma’s in-lens image stabilization system, similar to Nikon’s VR and Canon’s IS. It helps to reduce camera shake and enables sharper images at slower shutter speeds.
- APO – Apochromatic lenses, which use special low-dispersion (SLD) glass elements to correct for chromatic aberrations and improve overall image quality.
- F – Lenses with a large aperture, typically f/1.4, f/1.8, or f/2, designed for low-light photography and providing a shallow depth of field.
Sigma Lens Codes for Optical Lens Coatings
- Super Multi-Layer Coating – Sigma’s lens coating technology used to reduce lens flare, ghosting, and improve color accuracy and contrast.