Sigma finally proved the great equalizer in the field of view battle between full frame ad APS-C digital SLRs when it announced its ultra ultra wide 8-16mm lens for PMA 2010. For years, crop cam shooters have had to content themselves with a 15mm equivalent field of view (109 degrees) courtesy of 10-20ish zooms while full framers got to enjoy a 121 degree field courtesy of Sigma's 12-24mm lens.
Well, full frame wide angle supremacy is a thing of the past.
Priced at a competitive $700 (cheaper than both Canon and Nikon's widest APS-C zooms that only start at 10mm), the Sigma is sure to be a hit. Obviously, with such a one of a kind lens, potential buyers were sure to want an expert review on which to base buying decisions.
Enter Photozone, which scored a lens almost immediately upon release. What follows is a very basic summary of Photozone's findings. For the full review, go here.
Build quality: Photozone is very enthusiastic about the build of Sigma's 8-16mm, noting that it is mostly made of metal (yes, metal), the lens remains constant in length (though the inner tube moves a little), and that the bulbous front element is actually 'fairly well protected' by the built in hood.
Distortion: Being the widest angle rectilinear lens on the planet, the Sigma does distort quite a bit at 8mm, but after that, the distortion pretty much stops being noticeable.
Vignetting: The Sigma vignettes quite a bit, especially at widest apertures. Wide open at 8mm, there is almost a 2EV light falloff in the corners! Stopping down and zooming in, falloff decreases, but the center never gets less than 1EV.
Sharpness: A trade off for worse than usual vignetting is the above normal sharpness. At all tested focal lengths, the lens was sharpest in the center wide open. Wide opena t 8mm, it even out resolved the 15Mp sensor of the EOS 50D! Stopping down softens the center, but brings up the corners a little for more uniform sharpness across the field. Photozone recommends f8.
Chromatic aberration: Exceptional performance here, those FLD (imitation fluorite) elements really pay off in preventing false color!
Conclusion: Photozone really likes this lens, giving it a 4/5 for image and mechanical quality and a 5/5 for price to performance ratio. Biggest (and pretty much only) complaint: the vignetting. Positives: just about everything else.
More Good News:
Reviews of Canon's 70-200 2.8L IS Mark II are coming in as well. Result: universal praise noting that this lens is without question better than the old version. Check out the full details by following the links below.
If you found this informative (or at least entertaining), check out my Examiner page for more great stuff. By doing this, you are helping me pay the bills, which I am grateful for.
Don't forget to pass this link along, either.
For something even better, become a follower.