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

reviewer#6350 date: Nov-9-2009
sharpness: 4
color: 5
build: 5
distortion: 5
flare control: 5
overall: 4.8
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 used to own this lens
compared to:Sigma 10-20 f/4-5.6
Sigma 15-30
price paid:Grey import - Ł495 inc tax
positive:Fast focusing
Consistent IQ across zoom
Flare control excellent
Clear pictures with no cast
Very little vignetting
negative:Corners soft at f/3.5, f/4
Not full frame
comment:I had a couple of copies of the previous (cheaper) version and was never satisfied with the clarity and colour. They were not totally sharp but had sufficient contrast to give an impression of being good in terms of resolution. Also, I noticed vignetting at 10mm f/4 and always had to stop down for cleaner pictures - which slowed the lens down indoors.

This new version solves all those problems, plus it has very fast focusing. The HSM is quieter but not silent, and can be a bit fidgety in low light.
f/3.5 pictures are very usable, meaning it can be handheld at say ISO1000 indoors. Flare is not a problem, although the A700 will blow out bright lights and windows. Highlight Recovery tool can help.

I've done three paid shoots with it and the distortion control is very good, better even than the original version.
Colour is clear and very well balanced using A700 AWB. It produces good bokeh too. Exposures have been very accurate compared to previous version.
Sharpness is better than the previous version, but I can't give it a 5. It's very good for a lens with such amazing spec though! 10mm to 20mm all at f/3.5? Pretty impressive.
Great build, feels compact and solid without being heavy.

I am upgrading my camera body to a full-frame so this lens has to go already. I've been spoilt by the IQ from this 10-20 which means I can't go back to a clunky, flare-prone 15-30, I've never been sold on the 12-24 and so the only attractive upgrade in terms of speed, AF and IQ is to buy a CZ 16-35/2.8 at great cost. This puts the value of the wider 10-20/3.5 into very sharp focus!

Highy recommended lens.

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