Why Are Sigma Lenses Cheaper?

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Like in all industries, third party manufacturers exist to provide the market with cheaper equivalents of brand products. The same applies to the photography industry with third party manufacturers providing low-cost lenses and cameras that photographers can use.

Sigma is one of the companies that creates third party lenses at a cheaper and more affordable cost than the main brands like Canon and Nikon.

Why Are Sigma Lenses Cheaper?

Sigma lenses are cheaper alternatives compared to those from leading brands such as Canon and Nikon because Sigma’s lenses are cheaper to manufacture, do not focus as accurately, and are not as compatible with a brand’s line of camera bodies.

Many factors contribute to the low price tags of these lenses, with the main reason being the cost of manufacture.

How Cost of Manufacture Affects the Price of Sigma Lenses

Let’s take a look at how the manufacturing process can affect the overall price of Sigma lenses and allow this brand to produce cheaper gear.

A Sigma lens cap on display

Quality of Materials Used

While the quality of material used for Sigma lenses is not inferior, it still is not in the same league as quality of materials that top brands use. This allows the lenses to be of a lower price as the cost of manufacturing them in terms of materials used is not as high.

Canon and other leading brands have a reputation to protect, and they will therefore use high-quality materials that allow their products to meet the expectations of users.

Lens Design

Compared to leading brand names, the design of Sigma lenses will not be up to the same standard as leading brands. The lenses will have lower resolution than that of brand names.

The differences in resolution and other elements that improve quality in design make the lenses cheaper. Making the lenses deliver more would mean a marginal increase in manufacture costs.

Manufacturing Processes

A fine-tuned manufacturing process ensures the lens assembly utilizes very few parts. A simplified process also helps Sigma lenses maintain their affordable prices.

While leading brands may enjoy improved processes, they invest heavily in building a reputation and therefore have the liberty of setting higher profit margins per unit compared to Sigma. 

Does Using Sigma Lenses Affect Image Quality?

With the lower prices, you may have concern as to whether the Sigma lenses will deliver good quality images. Many users get satisfactory results from using the lenses, as the manufacturers focus on maintaining quality and meeting the diverse needs of photographers.

Overall, the lenses are close to the quality produced by lenses from leading brands.

That said, using the lenses does come with challenges. Leading brands such as Canon and Nikon manufacture the camera bodies their lenses are used on, ensuring full compatibility in terms of focus.

Sometimes, the Sigma lenses do not achieve 100% compatibility with the cameras and this may affect how photographers use them. Trade secrets that bring about compatibility with the same brand camera and lens is lacking with third party lens manufacturers.

How Do I Choose the Right Sigma Lens?

Deciding whether to go for Sigma lenses or other brands is a dilemma many photographers face. If you do decide you want to purchase a Sigma lens, consider the following:

  • Budget
  • Purpose

Budget Limits

Budget is one deciding factor as to what lens brand to go for. If you have a tight budget, you can opt for Sigma lenses. This can also be applied to other kinds of cameras, such as vlogging cameras.

While they may not be at the same level of quality as expensive brands, you still get quality photos with these lenses. Moreover, you could also explore some third party flashes for the camera.

If you can afford the pricier options, you can opt for them. Aside from budget flashes and affordable gimbal; cheap lenses are ideal for people who are just starting out photography and do not have the money to invest in advanced photography gear. Sigma lenses therefore provide an option that amateur photographers can utilize.

A Sigma lens product do display

Purpose of Lenses

If you are a professional photographer, then you may forego the use of cheap lenses. Commercial and other professional photography require accuracy.

It also calls for presentable images that only compatible lenses can provide. Using third-party lenses may compromise the photos, thus affecting your career.

If on a limited budget as a professional, you can opt for use of the Sigma lenses but ensure that you pick the right lens based on what you are shooting.

You also need to ensure that the lens gives the closest best effect for a polished photo. Even if the lens does not reach full compatibility with the camera, it should still provide a clear focused image.


When you are on a budget, there is always an option to find the cheapest in leading brands for your camera. You could also find some when you are just starting to make a film.

Sigma lenses are cheaper as the manufacturer uses various methods to cut down on manufacturing costs without compromising on quality.

The use of lower quality materials, changes in lenses design and improved manufacturing costs help reduce manufacturing costs, with the advantage passed on to photographers. They can get quality lenses that still work just as well as leading brands’ lenses.

Kaitlin Cooper is an active professional wedding and portrait photographer in San Diego, California at Kaitlin Cooper Photography. She is also a contributor to many large publications, including Bridal GuideBustlePixpaWith Joy, and Hello Giggles.