12 lenses of Christmas: April 2023 was prime time – and Sigma announced a trio of new optics

 Sigma 17mm F4 DG DN C • Sigma 23mm F1.4 DC DN C • Sigma 50mm F2 DG DN C
(Image credit: Sigma)

Sigma’s Contemporary lenses aim for high-end performance packed into a compact and lightweight build, with a modern aesthetic. News of three exciting additions came in April, with the announcement of the Sigma 17mm f/4 DG DN C, 23mm f1.4 DC DN C and 50mm f/2 DG DN C. The 23mm is designed for crop-sensor cameras, available in Sony E-mount, L-mount and Fujifilm X-mount. The other two are full-frame compatible, in E-mount and L-mount versions.

It's not ‘any color you want so long as it’s black’. The new Sigma 17mm and 50mm lenses were also launched in silver. (Image credit: Sigma)

While Sigma went small (at least in the size of its new lenses), Canon went XXL with a new RF 100-300mm f/2.8L IS USM, adding to its ‘trinity’ zooms with a more powerful telephoto lens, ideal for action, sports and wildlife photography. As you’d expect, the big Canon comes with a similarly heavyweight price tag, while rumors circulated of a cut-price Zhongyi Optics 200mm F4 prime for just $600.

The high-performance, high-price Canon RF 100-300mm F2.8L IS USM comes with speedy Dual Nano USM autofocus and 5.5-stop optical image stabilization. (Image credit: Canon)

At the opposite end of the focal length scale, news broke of a wide-angle Z DX 12-28mm f/3.5-5.6 PZ VR, a video-centric lens with motorized zoom. And if that’s not wide enough, Fujifilm also announced a new Fujinon XF 8mm f/3.5 R WR lens.

With its motorized power zoom, the Nikon Z DX 12-28mm f/3.5-5.6 PZ VR for its APS-C format mirrorless Z-system cameras is a good fit for the growing ranks of vloggers. (Image credit: Nikon)

Following pretty much exactly in Tamron’s footsteps, the Samyang 35-150mm F2-2.8 for Sony E-mount cameras was announced in April. The combination of moderately wide-angle to telephoto zoom range and fast aperture rating makes it a tempting all-in-one lens for wedding and event photographers. And for the big screen, four telephoto and wide-angle anamorphic lenses broke cover, to complete the Laowa Proteus 2X set for serious filmmakers

In addition to the lenses pictured here, Laowa announced new 20mm, 28mm, 100mm and 135mm primes, all with a T2 light transmission rating. (Image credit: Laowa)

Back in the lab, we tested the OM System M.Zuiko 90mm f/3.5 Macro and were impressed with its 2x macro magnification ratio, bumped up to an effective 4x magnification when you take the MFT crop factor into account. The Nikon Z 85mm f/1.2 S came through with flying colors, sailing through our lab tests and real-world tests to earn a 5-star rating. We also went large with the Tamron 50-400mm F4.5-6.3 Di III VXD, which stretches from a standard focal length to super-telephoto territory at the twist of a wrist.

Sometimes less is more. Weighing just over a kilogram, the Tamron 50-400mm for Sony E-mount camera certainly isn’t a small lens, but it can be more convenient than switching between two or three lenses while you’re shooting. (Image credit: Tamron)

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Matthew Richards

Matthew Richards is a photographer and journalist who has spent years using and reviewing all manner of photo gear. He is Digital Camera World's principal lens reviewer – and has tested more primes and zooms than most people have had hot dinners! 


His expertise with equipment doesn’t end there, though. He is also an encyclopedia  when it comes to all manner of cameras, camera holsters and bags, flashguns, tripods and heads, printers, papers and inks, and just about anything imaging-related. 


In an earlier life he was a broadcast engineer at the BBC, as well as a former editor of PC Guide.