Sigma 8-16mm Wide-Angle Lens Announced

Sigma 8-16mm ultrawide lens is widest focal length available for APS-C sensor dSLRs
By Scott Gietler

Sigma announced it's new Sigma 8-16mm F4.5-5.6 DC HSM lens is now for sale. This ultra-wide lens gives cropped sensor (APS-C) dSLR users a new wide-angle lens to consider for both landscape photography and underwater photography. 


Go straight to the review 


I've owned a sigma 10-20mm for quite a while, it is an excellent lens for the price, and I consider that lens a must have for all of my nature photography trips, so I had high expectations. Read my review of the Sigma 8-16mm.


Sigma 8-16mm lens availability & price


Sigma has released the Canon, Nikon, Sigma,  Sony and Pentax mounts. 


The price  is $699 in the USA.  The price in sterling in the United Kingdom was just announced on April 15th to be  £799.99.


Key Features of the Sigma 8-16mm wide-angle lens


The Sigma 8-16mm lens is not a fisheye lens, but an ultrawide rectilinear lens.


Sigma 8-16mm Quick specs:

  • 24cm (9.45 inch) minimum focusing distance. This is considered excellent, and is the same min. focusing distance as the Sigma 10-20mm and Nikon 10-24mm

  • Angle of view: Depends on the mount, 76-115 degrees on some cameras, but up to 121 degrees. For comparison, the Sigma 10-20mm lens has an angle of view of 64-102 degrees on a Nikon Mount.

  • Lens does not take a filter

  • Weight: 545 grams

  • Incorporates HSM internal focusing motor

  • Mounts available for Nikon, Canon, Sony, Pentax, Sigma cameras

  • Largest aperture is F4.5 at 8mm, F5.6 at 12mm-16mm

  • 35mm equivalent focal length is 12-24mm

  • Very similar in size to the Sigma 10-20mm lens


sigma 8-16mm wide angle lens


Sigma 8-16mm Potential for Underwater Photography


With an ultra-wide angle of view, and a great minimum focusing distance, this lens could work out well for underwater photography, but I think it's unlikely to replace the Tokina 10-17mm fisheye as the lens of choice for underwater photographers. Read about dome port optics to see why min. focus distance is important. This lens will be popular with people who want straight lines in their wreck photography.


Wide angle lens are very important in underwater photography because you must get as close to the subject as possible, to maximum color, image sharpness and contrast.


Although this lens is not a fast lens, usually wide-angle lens are stopped down, unless you are doing natural light photography underwater - so I don't see that as a big issue, especially since the wider the lens, the slower the shutter speed it can be hand-held. 


Why get an Ultra-wide lens like the Sigma 8-16mm lens?

  • Unique perspective and 3-D look that you only get with an ultra-wide view

  • Ability to make small foreground objects like flowers look large, which gives excellent compositions

  • Close-focusing distance will make this lens excellent for close-focus wide angle

  • Because when you go wide, you can never be wide enough!

  • I suspect this lens will have some small amount of barrel distortion (but nothing like a fisheye), which should be easily correctable in software 


Official Sigma 8-16mm lens Press Release:


February 21, 2010: The Sigma Corporation is pleased to announce the new Sigma 8-16mm F4.5-5.6 DC HSM. This is the first ultra wide zoom lens with a minimum focal length of 8mm, designed specifically for APS-C size image sensors. This lens has an equivalent angle of view of a 12-24mm lens when used on digital cameras with an APS-C size image sensor.


The wide-angle of view from 121.2 degrees produces striking images with exaggerated perspective, enabling photographers to emphasize the subject. Four FLD (“F” Low Dispersion) glass elements, which have the performance equal to fluorite glass, compensate for color aberration. One hybrid aspherical lens and two glass mold elements give excellent correction for distortion and astigmatism.

Incorporating an inner focusing system, the lens produces high definition images throughout the entire zoom range. The Super Multi-Layer Coating reduces flare and ghosting while superior peripheral brightness ensures high contrast images throughout the entire zoom range.


This lens incorporates HSM (Hyper Sonic Motor), ensuring quiet and high speed AF as well as full-time manual focus capability. It has a minimum focusing distance of 24cm throughout the entire zoom range which allows photographers to emphasize the subject by creating exaggerated perspectives. This lens has a compact construction with an overall length of 105.7mm and a maximum diameter of 75mm.


Additional Sigma Lens announcements


Sigma also added image stabilization (Sigma calls it OS) to three of it's existing lenses: The Sigma 17-50mm F2.8, Sigma 50-500mm F4.5-F6.3, and the Sigma 70-200mm F2.8. It also released the full-frame Sigma 85mm F1.4 portrait lens.


Sigma's April 25th Press Release


April 25th, 2010:


Sigma Corporation of America (, a leading researcher, developer, manufacturer and service provider of some of the world's most impressive lines of lenses, cameras and flashes, has announced that its new, 8-16mm F4.5-5.6 DC HSM lens, which incorporates the company's new "F" Low Dispersion (FLD) lens glass, is now available.
This rectilinear lens, which was first introduced at PMA 2010 in February, is the widest angle zoom lens on the market today. The 8-16mm F4.5-5.6 DC HSM is designed specifically for APS-C size image sensors and has an equivalent angle of view of a 12-24mm lens when used on digital cameras of that sensor size. The lens is currently available in Canon mount at all authorized Sigma dealers for the MSRP of $1,100, and it will be available in Sigma, Nikon, Sony and Pentax mounts in the coming weeks.



"As the manufacturer of the first ultra wide angle lens, there are a number of reasons why we are incredibly excited about the arrival of this lens. The fact that it produces a wide-angle view of nearly 121.2 degrees, depending on what camera you are shooting with, is definitely at the top of that list," said Mark Amir-Hamzeh, general manager of Sigma Corporation of America. "Another feature that we are extremely proud of is this len's use of our company's new FLD glass, which boasts performance equal to fluorite glass, but without the added weight."


FLD glass is the highest level, low dispersion glass available with extremely high light transmission. With a performance equal to fluorite glass, this optical glass has a low refractive index and low dispersion compared to current optical glass. It also benefits from high anomalous dispersion. These characteristics offer excellent correction for residual chromatic aberration (secondary spectrum), which cannot be corrected by ordinary optical glass and ensures high-definition and high-contrast images.


In addition to having four elements of the FLD glass, the 8-16mm F4.5-5.6 DC HSM also offers one hybrid aspherical lens and two glass mold elements for excellent correction of distortion and astigmatism. It incorporates an inner focusing system to produce high-definition images throughout the entire zoom range, and has Super Multi-Layer Coating to reduce flare and ghosting with superior peripheral brightness to produce high-contrast images. The lens' Hyper Sonic Motor (HSM) provides quiet and high-speed auto focus, as well as full-time manual focus capability.


The 8-16mm F4.5-5.6 DC HSM has a minimum focusing distance of 9.4 inches throughout the entire zoom range to create exaggerated perspectives and help photographers emphasize the subject. Its compact construction measures up to an overall length of 4.2 inches and a maximum diameter of 2.9 inches.



Is 8mm too wide in a lens?


It really depends on your tastes in photography. I love close-focus wide angle photography. On a recent trip to Milford Sound, New Zealand I used the Sigma 10-20mm lens all of he time, and I never thought that 10mm was too wide. I can't wait to see what shooting at 8mm is like with the Sigma 8-16mm lens. Here's some photos I took with the Sigma 10-20mm lens at 10mm focal length, with my Nikon D300.


sigma lens at 10mm

sigma lens photo, new zealand


sigma wide angle lens


sigma wide angle lens review


Further Reading


Sigma Corporation

Best lenses for underwater photography

Lens reviews

Fisheye lens vs wide-angle lenses

Wide angle underwater photography

Lens basics

Review: Canon 8-15 mm Fisheye Lens



Scott Gietler is the owner of Bluewater Photo, Bluewater Travel, and the Underwater Photography Guide. Bluewater Photo, based in Culver City, CA is one of the world’s largest and most prestigious underwater camera stores, serving many thousands of customers each year, where nothing is more important than customer service. The Underwater Photography Guide is the world’s first website to feature free tutorials on underwater photography, and has become the most trafficked resource on underwater photography worldwide. Bluewater Travel is a full-service dive travel wholesaler sending groups and individuals on the world’s best dive vacations. 

Scott is also an avid diver, underwater photographer, and budding marine biologist, having created the online guide to the underwater flora and fauna of Southern California. He is the past vice-president of the Los Angeles Underwater Photographic Society, has volunteered extensively at the Santa Monica aquarium, and is the creator of the Ocean Art underwater photo competition, one of the largest underwater international photo competitions ever held in terms of value of prizes. He lives in California with his wife, newborn girl and scuba-diving, photo taking 4 year old son.

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