Sigma 70-200mm F2.8 EX APO IF A-mount lens review by Pirate

reviewer#9718 date: Dec-27-2011
sharpness: 5
color: 4
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 MP24MP24 MP36MP36 MP42MP42 MP
ownership:I used to own this lens
compared to:Tamron SP AF 70-200mm F/2.8 Di LD (IF)
Minolta AF 70-210mm F4 Macro 'Beercan'
Sony AF 70-300mm SSM G
Minolta AF 300/4 SSM G
Sony AF 70-300mm SSM G
Sony AF 70-400mm SSM G
Sigma AF 100-300mm F4 EX DG (IF) APO
Minolta AF 80-200mm f/2.8 SSM G
Sigma AF 120-400mm F/4.5-5.6 EX APO HSM (DG OS + non OS)
price paid:Part of bundle
positive:Well built
Nice balance & tactile feel
Not too heavy
No HSM (Hallelujah)!
Price (if you can find one for about £350.00)
Buttery smooth bokeh
negative:Maybe not quite as Minoltaesque in terms of colour rendition, but even that's a harsh criticism.
comment:This lens is an absolute peach! Yes it's an original Mk 1 5-pin version, but it delivers in spades and makes a few of the more up-to-date optics look tame at twice the price. No names mentioned.

Build isn't to Sigma's top grade standards in terms of tactile feel and finish as it doesn't have the extra DG lens coating or the rubberised external barrel coating, but as most people who have owned any Sigma EX DG version will know how that's finished. This is a lot smoother on the surface (no ridges or roughness), but it's nicely balanced with smooth zoom and focus control as well as being very quick when in AF mode. MF to AF is with a simple forwards/backwards movement with a nice 'click' so you know it's properly selected. Bokeh is buttery smooth.

I wasn't expecting to like this lens, but my opinion was very quickly changed as all-in-all it's a very high performing lens that will deliver clean sharp images even from f/2.8 which was a surprise, but these lenses are pretty rare being the early EX (IF) APO, but if you do trip over a clean copy . . . do yourself a favour if the price is right . . . buy it!

My copy was supplied complete and looks and works like new, so had been extremely well cared for.

Who needs quiet HSM focussing unless you work in a library or a church when raw torque AF speed is what this lens was designed for with this little number which is another BIG plus as far as I'm concerned, and comes a relatively close second only to the Minolta AF 80-200/2.8 APO HS G overall IMHO.

rating summary

lens image
  • total reviews: 26
  • sharpness: 4.56
  • color: 4.62
  • build: 4.81
  • distortion: 4.92
  • flare control: 4.65
  • overall: 4.71 - Home of the alpha system photographer
In memory of Cameron Hill - brettania