Sigma 24mm Super Wide II F2.8 A-mount lens review by transiently

reviewer#33734 date: Dec-17-2016
sharpness: 4.5
color: 3
build: 2
distortion: 4
flare control: 3
overall: 3.3
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:I have used many 24/2.8 lenses in the past: Canon FD, Zuiko and Nikkor were probably the best, and my belief is that this is as sharp as any of those, which puts it significantly above the reasonably good Tamron, Tokina and Cosina lenses and a long way above some others. I have only briefly used the Minolta AF 24/2.8 and believe this Sigma to again be at least as sharp, but obviously without the Minolta colour, although like the Minolta, this gives a slightly less contrasty look than the Canon, Zuiko or Nikkors.
price paid:
positive:Outstanding sharpness which almost certainly places a good correctly-centred example up with the best of its contemporary 24mm lenses by camera makers. When I've used this one more, I may consider upgrading the sharpness score to 5. Both samples I've used have been well-centred, unlike several other (more recent!) Sigma zooms I've used. My first one was also a sharp lens on film over a quarter of a century ago.
negative:The focusing of this one makes the same sound as did an example I briefly had c. 1990: there is a fairly loud rattle when using AF which sometimes turns into a really nasty-sounding squeal. If I hadn't experienced the same thing 26 years ago, I would say that the lubricants had dried out. I just think that Sigma probably didn't work out how to adequately lubricate the focusing gears in the first place. I hope they don't strip.

It's really hard to trust the AF accuracy when shooting this on my A37, due to the friction noise I hear when focusing. In fact it can usually focus correctly, but sometimes focuses behind the subject, particularly at close distances. I have not yet worked out why, but it's another reason to use manual focus.

My lens just fractionally misses infinity focus with my camera, but is close enough that shooting at f8 or 11 provides sufficnent DOF to cover it.

Linear distortion is certainly present, as it often is for wide-angle lenses, even primes, but it doesn't seem much of a problem in real-world shooting on a crop sensor. I can't remember whether it is higher than every 24 I've used, but my impression is that there is possibly more of it with this than with the absolute best 24's. Will update when I've shot more.

Colour is a little less intense than 1980's Minoltas.

The lens flares like crazy at maximum aperture into strong light and gives some interesting effects I may be able to use creatively. They reduce hugely with stopping down to f4 and seem gone by 5.6.
comment:Typical Sigma combination of good optics and poor mechanics, found here in a rather extreme form. Mine lacks the ridiculous "Zen" body coating and is finished in painted metal. Build quality actually gives a positive superficial impression which is soon forgotten when you turn the focus ring.

I am a little concerned that this lens might damage either the camera's focus motor/gear or itself due to potentially inconsistent friction levels in the focus drivetrain, so will probably use it mostly in manual focus, which should not be at all onerous as I can use focus peaking.

The site data for this lens gives a date of 1998, which is impossible as I was using a secondhand one on my Dynax 7000i at the beginning of the 1990s! 1988 is a possible date of introduction, but in any case the optics are based on those of the pre-existing manual focus lens which probably dates from the early 1980's.

Definitely very very sharp when correctly (manually) focused.

Charity shops hardly ever seem to have lenses in them these days, so finding this optical gem in one was a great surprise to me!

rating summary

lens image
  • total reviews: 73
  • sharpness: 4.51
  • color: 4.36
  • build: 4.29
  • distortion: 4.05
  • flare control: 3.70
  • overall: 4.18 - Home of the alpha system photographer
In memory of Cameron Hill - brettania