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

reviewer#9130 date: Jun-14-2011
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 used to own this lens
compared to:Mi 80-200/2.8 HS G
Mi 200/2.8 HS G
Canon 70-200/2.8 USM L
price paid:649 EUR new
positive:build quality
touch and feel, zooming
tripod collar rotatable
negative:color fringing
bad contrast
sharpness not perfect
comment:Okay, I have a Sigma, the 50/1.4 HSM and I was really ikmpressed, that I wanted to give the 649€ 70-200/2.8 a try.
Unpacking from the box gave me the wow, solid build feeling; the tripod collar makes it easy to mount it on a tripod for optical comparison shots and in real life you'll need a monopod at least, as this lens is heavy, but that's not a bad thing.
First object is my wife, I took pictures of her eyelashes; the Sigma at 200mm was smudgy, not really sharp; I took my 200 prime and WOW, that's sharp and yes, there is contrast, I can see makeup details around my wife's eye; the Sigma was not that impressive; I give the Sigma always a second and third chance, inviting a Canon buddy with his 5DII and a 70-200 USM L lens; I organized a 80-200 from Minolta as white HS G for the comparison; object: an orchid, light straight from the back, identical optical axis.
Sigma 70-200 vs Minolta 80-200:
Sigma tends to blueish colours, Minolta look warmer, more pleasing. sharpness @70/80: Both are sharp, Minolta with more plasticity / contrast, Sigma looks bad honestly, no detail, flat look. 200mm is the desaster: Minolta: sharp, but not as sharp as the prime (no wonder why) but the Sigma misses the sharpness point by 6 cm; colour is pleasing with the Minolta and not satisfying for the Sigma. Contrast was poor through the total picture.
Test results between Canon and Sigma lens were quite identical, sharpness between Minolta and Canon equal, Canon a tic sharper, Minolta a tic more contrast and nicer colour.

Bottom line:
If you don't care much about contrast, try to get a good Sigma and it will serve you well; if you wat to have sharpness and contrast look for a s/h Minolta - that's what I'll do...

BTW: Flare and distorsion were very good for a zoom, but will never achieve the quality from my prime, that's why I gave a "4" as a rating.

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