Sigma 12-24mm F4.5-5.6 EX Aspherical DG A-mount lens review by artuk

reviewer#2521 date: Jul-7-2007
sharpness: 4
color: 5
build: 4
distortion: 5
flare control: 4
overall: 4.4
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:Sigma 20-40 EX DG f2.8
Minolta 17-35 f2.8-4
price paid:75000 Yen
positive:The widest full frame zoom lens ever made.
Extremely well corrected.
Very good resolution for width.
negative:Large front element needs care.
Extreme width makes it flare prone.
A little slow.
comment:On full frame there is no other zoom lens, or even a Minolta mount prime lens, that goes as wide. Resoltion at centre is very good. It is extremely well corrected at field edge even at 12mm.

Some people criticise this lens for its corner / edge resolution. They clearly do not understand what is possible for a full frame 12mm lens. No lens of that width, even a prime, could ever deliver the same edge resoltion as at centre frame. The problem is far greater when the lens is a zoom. "Soft" corners are a by-product of extreme wide-angle lens design. Wide open, central resolution is good, corners less so. Stopped down, the performance across the full frame is more consistent. I would regard the resolution of this lens as very good for its class. It's not realistic to compare a 50mm prime to a 12-24mm zoom.

I have also seen this lens criticised for being very prone to flare. Again, this is rather overlooking the fact that this is a 12mm full frame lens. All extreme wide angle lenses are prone to flare due to the size and curvature of their front elements. Although this lens is prone to the problem of flare, it is reasonably well controlled and tends to give localised flare somewhere in the image, often characterised by a geometric shape in the pattern of the aperture blades. This is far preferable to the type of flare that dramatically reduces overall image contrast and therefore often renders phoographs useless. Therefore, I would regard the performance of this lens to control flare as very good.

The lens has an overall medium to high contrast (surprisingly so for its width), and colour appears neutral and is well saturated.

The build is good. It is finished in Sigma matt black. I personally find this finish is easy to scuff and mark. However, my copy is well made, and the metal lens cap and hard fabric carrying case are both nice touches.

Overall, an extraordinary lens offering very good performance on full frame.

rating summary

lens image
  • total reviews: 49
  • sharpness: 4.03
  • color: 4.39
  • build: 4.49
  • distortion: 4.49
  • flare control: 3.63
  • overall: 4.21 - Home of the alpha system photographer
In memory of Cameron Hill - brettania