Sigma 70-200mm F2.8 II EX DG APO MACRO HSM A-mount lens review by ivansinger

reviewer#22453 date: Dec-14-2015
sharpness: 3.5
color: 4
build: 5
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 own this lens
compared to:Nikon AF-D 80-200/2.8 (push-pull variant)
price paid:$650
positive:Inexpensive entry in the 70-200/2.8 territory
Surface feels great in hand, easy to zoom with one finger
HSM is quiet and reacts fast
Little CA (purple fringing), corner IQ is very good for APS-C
negative:Not calibrated well at all, back focussing (A77ii had to be set for -9 at 200mm)
AF tends to hunt terribly, usually too near, regardless of in-camera focus limiter controls
No built-in focus limiter on lens
Does not nail focus reliably
comment:I waited a long time to review this lens because I really wanted to put it through it's paces and ultimately find out how/if it shines. The Minolta-Sony Alpha system cameras and lenses are unique in that they focus fast and are relatively inexpensive entries into sports photography, which is why I invested in a set of four A57s to shoot indoor sports with strobe. I dedicated this lens to one A57 body and shot it for about 9 events, each time trying to improve my hit rate of roller derby skaters, using the AF-C mode and zone focusing (the A57 has 15 points covering 3 zones across the center of the viewfinder). At first, it seemed like my images shot at f2.8 were softer around faces, possibly due to motion blur, but that improved greatly once I could shoot at f4.5. However, even at those considerably smaller working apertures the out-of-focus areas seemed kind of mushy, almost watery, and distinctly lacking in contrast. The sharp areas of frames that AF nailed, even at f4.5 seemed acceptably sharp, but it was rare that I could capture a sequence of in-focus images. Once I purchased the A77Mii, I could test the lens in the studio to see how much micro-adjust was needed and had to dial in a whopping -9 at 200mm. Once micro-focus was adjusted, I could see that the lens tended to undershoot focus regularly causing me to miss shots that the AF system should have little trouble tracking, even with the built-in camera focus limiter constraining to a narrow focus area. That's when I knew I had a dog of a lens and decided to send it back onto ebay, where I bought it. Other than the AF issues, the lens build is very nice and images I have created that are in focus are pleasing, though far from exceptional, technically.

rating summary

lens image
  • total reviews: 48
  • sharpness: 4.47
  • color: 4.56
  • build: 4.85
  • distortion: 4.73
  • flare control: 4.44
  • overall: 4.61 - Home of the alpha system photographer
In memory of Cameron Hill - brettania