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

reviewer#7318 date: Apr-19-2010
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 MP; 24MP24 MP; 36MP36 MP; 42MP42 MP; 61MP61 MP
ownership:I own this lens
compared to:200/2.8, 70-210/4, 85/1.4, 100/2.8, 100/2
price paid:~Ł500 new
positive:-Great price:performance ratio
-Quick and accurate focus
-Discrete colour
-Close MFD
-Excellent bokeh throughout the range, remarkable
-Excellent manual focus ring
-Full time direct manual focus
-Had to send it for service to get AF correct
-Hood is plastic
comment:Bought this lens over a year ago as wanted to get into wedding photography and was told a 70-200/2.8 would be a good investment. I had shot with the 200/2.8 for a couple of years before hand, but it was sold 3-4 months after the purchase of the zoom.

Mine had to be sent into be calibrated to focus correctly with my A700 - something to bear in mind if buying second hand. Focus wasn't majorly off, but it was off and needs to be spot on.

It does what I wanted of it. Tele range, 2.8, quick and accurate focus. If I'd got that for the price I'd paid, I would have been happy, but there were pleasant suprises along the way. Firstly, the manual focus ring. Probably as good as I've felt, on any lens... that's including manual focus lenses! A joy to use... even if I'm not that great at manual focusing these days. Detail rendering... really good, another surprise. If you're looking at this lens you've probably read a few reviews that say it's not 'as sharp as the Tamron, but has better focusing... so it's a difficult choice'. Well, like most things that are scrutinized in reviews, it's BS. I've used this lens across the entire zoom range, at wide apertures and medium aperture and small apertures.. not against a test chart, but in real life, creating photographs and art. I've never had questionable 'sharpness'. If i have, it's because of sloppy technique. It's a modern lens, most modern lenses have a higher micro contrast, it shows. If your lens seems 'soft' it's because of a focusing error or it's been put together by a monkey, the latter is very, very unlikely! One of a the reasons i chose this over the other options was also because of the MFD, most don't mention it but being able to fill the frame at 70mm makes it even more versitile. I should also mention the bokeh, which is excellent, across the range. Very useful for neutralising backgrounds and making your subject stand out. Other lenses will make you work harder for a background or you may have to PP it softer layer, but this just gives you a beautifully smooth defocused background in almost any situation... handles specular highlights really well.

I should mention colour. Like a lot of Sigma lenses, it leans towards the slightly warm and slightly less saturated colours. I wasn't too keen on this at first, but found it works pretty well in the end. I much prefer it over the overly punchy colours i get from my Tamron 17-50/2.8. The Sigma is great for skin tones, I just won't use the Tamron for skin tones anymore.

So pretty happy with it a year on. I hope it keeps going and going!

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