Lens Decoder: Sigma Edition

7 May 2023

Buying a new lens for your Mirrorless or DSLR camera can be a daunting task. As well as considering the compatibility, budget, and size of the lens, you need to decide whether its focal range is suitable for you and your needs. While our camera lens buying guide can set you on the right path with focal length, aperture range, and other important features, you might still need a bit of help discovering precisely what all of those letters adorning our lens collection actually mean.

Our lens decoder series aims to do just that, and today we have our Sigma lens edition, for your reference.

Sigma Optical Technology Explained

EX - A lens containing Sigma's high-end optics, although this abbreviation is not seen in more recent releases.

Art - Sigma's Art lineup provides exceptional optical quality and streamlined physical designs. These lenses are generally fast-apertured prime lenses.

Contemporary/C - This group of lenses provide incredible value for money and is usually beginner and enthusiast-friendly. These lenses will often also offer more portable build quality.

Sports/S - Sigma's Sports lineup includes its highest-quality zoom lenses, which feature top-tier optical and build quality, and more often than not, fast aperture performance throughout the zoom range.

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DG - A Lens designed to be used on full-frame DSLR Cameras.

DC - Another one for DSLR cameras, this time for APS-C Format models.

DN - This set of lenses is Sigma's dedicated mirrorless lens offerings.

DG DN - A combination that is seen on recent Sigma releases, which means the lens is for full-frame mirrorless cameras.


HSM - This lens will deliver fast and quiet autofocus performance, thanks to its ring-type ultrasonic motor.

OS - Expect camera shake to be less of an issue with this lens mounted on your camera, as it includes an Optical Stabiliser.

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ASP - This Sigma lens features high-quality Aspherical lens elements.

SLD - Special low dispersion lens elements are included in the optical design of this lens, which delivers better chromatic aberration handling.

ELD - Another type of low-dispersion glass, with the E standing for extraordinary. This lens element is of higher quality than SLD elements.

FLD - Yet another kind of low-dispersion glass, F low-dispersion lens elements offer extremely high light transmission, and are the best performing low-dispersion glass in the Sigma optical range.

APO - Sigma's APO or Apochromatic lenses are designed to provide better chromatic aberration handling, thanks to the inclusion of various optical elements and designs.

RF - Sigma lenses with RF in their name feature rear focusing in their design, with the benefits being faster autofocus performance, as well as non-rotating front lens elements.

IF - IF refers to internal focusing, which results in only some of the lenses' internal elements moving during focusing. The lens then remains at its most compact size throughout performance.

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TSC - This lens includes thermally stable composite materials in its physical design, which allows the lens to be rugged and tough, while more portable and lightweight than all-metal lenses.

Shop Sigma Lenses at Ted's Today

Are you getting ready to pull the trigger on your next camera lens purchase? Our product roundups are here to help you finalise your choices and don't forget to have a chat with our friendly staff in-store if you need some more advice.

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