What Does It Mean?


As a professional photographer and one of the Sigma Pros, a lot of people write to me asking all sorts of questions about lenses and cameras and well just about everything imaginable about photography. One of the common questions is about lenses for Full Frame and Cropped Sensor cameras. A full framed lens will work on either camera while the cropped sensor lens will only work on a cropped camera.

With the Sigma lenses there are 2 different designations in the name, which specify the camera they are to be used with. DC, which is only for cropped sensor cameras, or DG which are lenses for full frame or cropped sensor cameras.

Here are two lenses, do you know which one is only for cropped sensor cameras?

Sigma 24-70mm f/2.8 IF EX DG HSM

Sigma 17-70mm f/2.8-4 DC Macro OS HSM


So what does everything else mean?

IF stands for internal focus – the front of the lens doesn’t rotate when focusing, this is a good feature if you are using a polarizing filter. It also allows for the lens to focus faster.

EX stands for the professional top of the line lenses – optically and mechanically.

HSM stands for Hyper Sonic Motor. It is a new type of motor used for auto focus in some of Sigma’s newer lenses.

OS stands for Optical Stabilization which helps to keep the camera steady when handholding with a longer shutter speed.


6 Responses to “What Does It Mean?”

  1. Ken Ward says:

    Thanks, this is something that I have always been confused about.

  2. Jason Donoghue says:

    So which lens would you choose????

  3. GB says:

    Jason, since I only have Full Framed cameras, can you tell me which one?

  4. Jason Donoghue says:

    Hahaha Okay you got me! Sigma 24-70mm f/2.8 IF EX DG HSM

    Your photos are amazing!

  5. I like that…. thank you for taking the time!

  6. GB says:

    Jeannine you had emailed asking which lenses will I be bringing to this year’s workshop in Nova Scotia. Here’s the equipment list:

    Canon 5D MKIII
    Canon 5D MKII
    CANON EF 16-35mm f/2.8 L USM
    SIGMA 24-70MM F2.8 IF EX DG HSM
    SIGMA APO 70-200MM F2.8 EX DG HSM
    SIGMA 120-400mm F4.5-5.6 DG APO OS HSM
    Kenko Auto Extension Tube Set (12, 20 & 36mm Tubes)