Sigma 10-20mm F3.5 EX DC HSM A-mount lens review by Moredsir

reviewer#11793 date: Apr-27-2014
sharpness: 5
color: 4
build: 5
distortion: 4
flare control: 5
overall: 4.6
tested on:
  • film camera:Film camera
  • APS-C: 6MP6 MP; 10MP10 MP; 12MP12 MP; 14MP14 MP; 16MP16 MP; 20MP20 MP; 24MP24 MP
  • full frame: 12MP12 MP; 24MP24 MP; 36MP36 MP; 42MP42 MP; 61MP61 MP
ownership:I own this lens
compared to:Sony 16-50/F2.8 SSM
Sony 18-135/F3.5-5.6 SAM
Minolta 70-210/F4
price paid:600 USD New
positive:Very sharp for such a wide angle lens
Extremely useful DOF
Good (simple) distortion control considering width
No vignette from filters
Good bokeh (but hard to get anything out of focus!)
Very short minimum focus (95mm!)
Almost no flaring/ghosting which is surprising
negative:82 mm filters are expensive (but no vignette!)
Um, not good for portraits or shots of people
comment:I really cannot understand why this lens is not rated much higher. Are people rating the lesser 4-5.6 version, which is clearly worse, by mistake?

This is a 10mm ultra wide angle rectilinear lens with minimal and easy to correct distortion at 10mm, and almost no distortion at all 14-20mm. That's pretty impressive already.

Minimal flare/ghosting in a very wide angle lens is extremely important, the sun or bright lights are almost always in the FOV. In this respect the Sigma makes the Sony 16-50 look terrible, I'm often getting severe flaring at 16mm on that, due to it's flat front element I assume.

This is a very enjoyable lens to shoot with, the hyperfocal distance at F8 is a crazy 2 feet! Just switch it to manual, focus at 2 feet, and the world is in focus. I can shoot from the hip, puts people at ease. It's also brilliant at tourist attractions because almost certainly I have the widest lens there and can stand in front of everyone making the area look like I had it to myself.

Yes the corners aren't so sharp if you test for it. This used to bother me, but I looked at hundreds of photos I took in Japan and none suffered due to that corner sharpness. Then I did a test with the Sony 16-50 and 18-135 and this lens all at 18mm. There was almost nothing in it, and I think perhaps the Sigma was the sharpest.

The 82mm filter is annoying due to the price, but at 12mm you can use a step down ring and 77mm filter with no vignette, and of course an 82mm filter of standard thickness has no vignette at all (no need to buy the thin ones that cost even more again).

I bought this lens because it kills the Tokina 11-16 for centre sharpness at 11mm and has way better flare control. It's considerably cheaper than the Sony 11-18 and faster, and sharper and less flare problem.

At this time this is the best ultra wide angle lens on APS-C by a fair margin. And yes, the step from 16mm to 10mm is quite noticeable.

rating summary

lens image
  • total reviews: 16
  • sharpness: 4.41
  • color: 4.50
  • build: 4.38
  • distortion: 4.19
  • flare control: 4.19
  • overall: 4.33 - Home of the alpha system photographer
In memory of Cameron Hill - brettania