Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Sigma 8-16 Review At Photozone

The Sigma 8-16mm f4.6-5.6 DG HSM Lens

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.

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