Friday, November 4, 2011
SIGMA 24-70mm f/2.8 IF EX DG HSM Practical Review
As you probably noticed, I am somewhat biased concerning Canon gear when it comes to photography. Canon DSLR's, Canon point and shoots, Canon lenses and everything Canon including knock off Canon lens coffee mugs fill my ChadSorianoPhotoBlog. This obsession does not make me blind to other brands especially when it comes to budget alternatives to Canon products. So, I picked up from my friends at North Tampa Photography the SIGMA 24-70mm f/2.8 IF EX DG HSM standard zoom lens which has a street price of $899 for a practical lens review.
Just like my previous SIGMA 30mm f/1.4 EX DC HSM Practical Review, I wanted to give this SIGMA 24-70mm f/2.8 IF EX DG HSM standard zoom lens real time use out in the field for my practical review. "Real time" meaning capturing life's moments of my family one picture at a time. Nothing fancy or scientific but actual pictures to look at and inspect for yourself.
Why would you even consider the SIGMA brand with Canon? Value and limited selection.
Considered Canon's workhorse, the EF 24-70mm f/2.8L USM standard zoom lens is no doubt the ultimate in color, sharpness and focus speed. Unfortunately, it has a street price of $1400 and definitely not for the budget conscious. The closest focal and aperture equivalent to this "L" lens with compatibility for full frame and crop sensor cameras is the SIGMA 24-70mm f/2.8 IF EX DG HSM lens.
"L" stature for $1400 or SIGMA "stigma" for $500 less? Read on.
The SIGMA 24-70mm f/2.8 IF EX DG HSM verdict? The SIGMA is quite impressive. The standard zoom lens has the color, sharpness and dreamy bokeh of an "L" lens at all focal lengths. It definitely has that "pop". The SIGMA is not heavy and it is compact for such a fast lens even with the included hood attached. Vignetting at the widest focal length is barely noticeable on the 5D Mark II and can be tweaked in post. Overall, lens quality is just about equal to "L" stature.
Just like in my previous SIGMA 30mm f/1.4 EX DC HSM Practical Review, the SIGMA auto focus is slow and inaccurate in low light situations when compared to the Canon brand. My "OOF" shots declined in number only in very bright situations. The SIGMA AF is definitely not Canon "L" quality especially in low light. It is ironic that a fast aperture lens tailored for low light shooting has inconsistent AF in dark situations. Definitely, a "stigma" in my opinion.
This AF "stigma" is not a problem for landscape photography. If portraits are not your staple, the SIGMA 24-70mm f/2.8 IF EX DG HSM standard zoom lens is perfectly fine. The SIGMA at 24mm is nice and clean for wide shots. Even in low light landscape situations such as "twilight" shots can be manually focused for critical focus. You can use the $500 savings for a nice inexpensive prime such as the Canon EF 35mm f/2 or the EF 50mm f/1.4 USM for portraits.
If you are looking for the ultimate "walk around" lens for your 5D Mark II that does just about everything flawlessly, save your coin for the Canon EF 24-70mm f/2.8L USM lens. If landscapes or still life are your fancy, the SIGMA 24-70mm f/2.8 IF EX DG HSM is just fine and you save $500 as well.
You can view comparison images shot with identical settings and focal lengths with the SIGMA 24-70mm f/2.8 IF EX DG HSM and the Canon EF 24-70mm f/2.8L USM lenses in my SIGMA 24-70mm f/2.8 IF EX DG HSM Lens Review Gallery.
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