Once you’ve taken the jump from the average kit lens to more refined optics, there is a whole world that opens up. One area where high-quality glass can be found outside the Nikon camp is with third-party lens makers, which is why today’s focus is on finding the best Sigma lenses for Nikon crop sensor cameras.
Sigma has been making some quality prime and zoom lenses of late, mainly coming from their Art and Contemporary range. However, like any piece of fine optics, you will have to pay to play.
This may seem like overkill at first on a Nikon cropped camera, but the resulting images will be more than worth the initial outlay. This is why we have erred on the side of more high-quality examples. It’s better to invest in lenses that will stand the test of time and which you won’t outgrow in a few months.
1. Sigma 50mm f/1.4 DG HSM Art
If you’re undecided on a specific focal length, but still want all-around versatility, the Sigma 50mm f/1.4 DG HSM Art is a prime candidate (pardon the pun). The 50mm focal length is a nice, happy medium viewpoint. It’s wide enough to capture scenic views, while also being narrow enough to fill the frame with a subject. Essentially, it’s one of the best all-around focal lengths.
As is typical of modern Sigma lenses for Nikon crop sensor cameras, the 50mm f/1.4 DG HSM Art has its sole focus on high-quality optics. Size and weight-saving comes way down the list, which is why this thing weighs in at 815g. We wouldn’t exactly say it’s a very compact lens.
To make sure all the light rays stay true, three special low dispersion and a molded glass aspherical element have been added, along with a super multi-coating applied to each element.
The f/1.4 aperture is wide enough to dive into low-light conditions, along with providing excellent bokeh or background blur for portrait work. This lens is also very sharp with the aperture wide open, with the most tack-sharp results across the frame coming in from f/2.8.
Considering the 50mm focal length is such a competitive arena, this lens is up there with the best. It lands in quite an affordable price point for this level of optics. We discuss further in our full review of the Sigma 50mm f/1.4 DG HSM Art.
2. Sigma 50-100mm f/1.8 DC HSM Art
Crop sensor camera owners want the highest quality lenses, just like anybody else. But range and versatility in a zoom lens package is also key before going down the path of remortgaging your house for a bunch of top-end prime lenses. This is where the Sigma 50-100mm f/1.8 DC HSM Art comes into play, offering a 75-150mm focal range on cropped camera bodies.
Just like the lens above, the 50-100mm f/1.8 DC HSM Art is a good chunk of glass, weighing in at 1490g and even coming with its own tripod collar. The lens benefits from a higher-than-usual f/1.8 aperture for a zoom, with an optical arrangement of three FLD, four SLD, one high-refractive index, and one high-dispersion glass element.
With such a shallow depth of field at f/1.8, you have to be careful at the longer focal lengths with the area of focus. But in every other respect, this is a terrific lens to cover the short telephoto range, providing a wonderful degree of color, contrast, and sharpness where it counts.
3. Sigma 150-600mm f/5-6.3 DG OS HSM Contemporary
For those times in life where you need the longest stretch from a lens, the Sigma 150-600mm f/5-6.3 DG OS HSM Contemporary provides a ridiculously long 225-900mm viewpoint on crop sensor cameras. If you’ve ever checked out the price of a high-quality 500mm or 600mm prime, you’ll see why this lens is such an affordable proposition.
To cover this long focal range, the optics consist of 20 elements in 14 groups, which also means a bicep-straining 1830g in total weight. However, the lens does come with its own tripod collar, as it’s more than likely it will live on a high-quality tripod or monopod most of the time for telephoto images.
The lens also benefits from an image stabilization system, which is most handy at the longer focal lengths. It comes with additional features such as a zoom lock switch, weather sealing, and a fast and efficient Hyper Sonic autofocus motor.
It does have a variable aperture, which means it’s built for well-lit or outdoor use. But in every other respect, when the lens is set to f/8, it provides a wonderful amount of sharpness and clarity where it counts, as we discuss in our Sigma 150-600mm f/5-6.3 DG OS HSM Contemporary review.
4. Sigma 18-35mm f/1.8 DC HSM Art
If you need to cover the more wide-angle views of the world, the Sigma 18-35mm f/1.8 DC HSM Art gives a 27-52.5mm focal length on crop sensor cameras. This range is still wide enough for landscape shots, while also verging into the territory of standard views.
The lens features a wider-than-normal aperture of f/1.8, which works great in low light and for achieving good-quality bokeh when needed. The five SLD and four aspherical elements, along with super multi-layer coatings, retain image clarity throughout the focal and aperture range. The HSM autofocus motor is very quick, quiet, and precise for both video and still work.
Considering the price point of this lens, it has all the quality you will need for the wider focal lengths and as a travel lens, with a very usable, wide aperture and neutral image renditions. We’ll tell you more in our review of the Sigma 18-35mm f/1.8 DC HSM Art.
5. Sigma 17-50mm f/2.8 EX DC OS HSM (Budget Winner)
We understand that not every crop sensor or DX user wants to go all in with a high-priced lens. That’s why this 17-50mm lens is one of those good lenses for covering the most-used focal lengths. In this case, the lens provides a 25.5-75mm viewpoint on DX model cameras.
The f/2.8 aperture is still very useful in low-light conditions and for producing excellent bokeh. The lens benefits from FLD and aspherical elements, a super multi-layer coating, image stabilization, and a respectable weight of 565g. It also has a good close focusing distance of only 28cm, which doesn’t exactly make this a macro lens, but it’s still very good for the smaller subjects in life.
Overall, this last item in our list of Sigma lenses for Nikon crop sensor cameras is great for covering the most common of focal lengths, while still providing great, quality images. You can read our complete Sigma 17-50mm f/2.8 EX DC OS HSM review to learn more.
Sigma Lenses for Nikon Crop Sensor Cameras: A Marriage of Budget and Quality
When it comes to choosing a third-party lens of the Sigma variety, it’s always best to gravitate toward the best-quality optics you can afford. We’ve all been down the path of owning average optics at very cheap prices, only to come out the other side wishing we’d saved up for the good stuff in the first place. This is where the lenses above come into play, all providing great optics for a relatively reasonable asking price.