Sigma 17-50mm F2.8 EX DC HSM A-mount lens review by QuietOC

reviewer#44225 date: Feb-11-2019
sharpness: 4.5
color: 4
build: 4
distortion: 4
flare control: 4
overall: 4.1
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 have experience with this lens
compared to:Sony DT 16-50 F2.8 SSM
Sony E 16-50 F3.5-5.6 PZ OSS
Vario-Sonnar 16-80 F3.5-4.5 DT
Sony DT 16-105 F3.5-5.6
Tamron SP 17-50 F2.8
Sony DT 18-55 F3.5-5.6 SAM I/II
Sony DT 18-70 F3.5-5.6
Sony DT 18-135 F3.5-5.6 SAM
Sony DT 18-200 F3.5-6.3
Canon EF 22-55 F4-5.6 USM
price paid:123 USD (used)
positive:Optical stabilization
Good image quality
negative:Malfunctioning AF (no a65, a77 compatible sticker on box)
Size and weight
Reverse zoom direction
77 mm filter thread
comment:Used copy with all original packaging purchased from an individual eBay seller via auction. This lens came out a year before the A77 was released and these early HSM lenses needed to be returned to Sigma to be updated to work on the new cameras. Sigma released a Contemporary version of the smaller 17-70 F2.8-4, but there is no Global Vision version of this lens. Sigma is currently offering a $300 retail discount that seems to be a clearance sale on remaining stock. "MADE IN JAPAN"

This lens is slightly larger and heavier than the Sony DT 16-50mm F2.8 SSM. It's main feature over the Sony lens is optical stabilization. This lens lacks a focus clutch and uses a SAM type focus mechanism. The AF switch mechanically decouples the focusing motor. The focus control ring turns during AF operation.

This seems to be an early copy with optical stabilization but no a65, A77 compatible sticker on the box. The lens doesn't focus well on any of my cameras. It hunts almost like the camera is using contrast-detect AF. It also hunts on the LA-EA4 and LA-EA3. I don't currently own any post Maxxum 7, pre-A77 bodies to try it on. There are references on this website and others to a free update offered by Sigma to fix focusing issues, but the linked Sigma pages no longer exist.

This lens is sharper than the best copy of the Tamron 17-50 F2.8 I tried, but it is not as sharp outside the center of the frame as my Sony DT 16-50mm F2.8 SSM. The wide end is not as wide as the Sony, and the long end is a bit wider than the long end of the Sony and much wider than the Tamron 17-50. The angle-of-view of the long end is similar to their 50 F1.4 EX DG HSM and the Sony DT 50 F1.8 SAM as well as the 45 mm primes.

The optical stabilization (OS) works well by itself, but it doesn't work properly with Steady Shot Inside. One of them needs to be disabled. The OS works constantly when enabled.

This lens seems to be a good choice for Canon, Nikon, and Sigma dSLRs especially with the current sale and used prices.

rating summary

lens image
  • total reviews: 6
  • sharpness: 4.58
  • color: 4.50
  • build: 4.17
  • distortion: 4.00
  • flare control: 4.50
  • overall: 4.35 - Home of the alpha system photographer
In memory of Cameron Hill - brettania