Well, to start off, what a mouthful. Let me explain what they mean first:
- Focal range, this becomes 105-300 on cropped sensor bodies (a tiny bit more on canon bodies).
- Largest aperture. This is constant throughout the zoom range.
- sigma claims this is apochromatic glass, which in practice means less (chromatic) abberation (purple fringing).
- Sigma's EXcellence coating for pro-grade lenses
- Optimized for digital, whatever that means.
Macro - Minimum focus distance of 1 meter. Not a true macro (1:3.5), but nice to have.
- Hypersonic motor. Faster and quieter autofocus.
- Version 2
So, now we have that out of the way, let's start with the look and feel
The first thing you notice when you hold this lens is that it's heavy, 1370g to be precise. This is because of the large aperture, which requires a significant amount of glass. The fact that the lens is made of metal also adds to that.
Ahh yes, metal! Not flimsy plastic, no, this thing is mostly metal, coated with sigma's EX coating. Some say they like the white Canon coating better, but I prefer this one. It feels more solid, gives you more grip, and reflects almost no light (less than nikon's coating actually), which means you won't stand out THAT much from the other photographers around.
Moving on to the zoom and focus rings. These are smooth, but sturdy enough to prevent any creeping. The zoom ring takes a bit more force to twist than my kitlens, which makes sense because of the large amount of glass that has to be moved. It feels like you have a solid product in your hands.
The focus ring is different though. This is quite smooth, and can rotate as much as you want. A built-in stop within the lens stops the elements from moving, but the focus ring can still turn. This is good when you are tracking something, and suddenly have to jerk focus ring into infinity, and don't want to destroy the mechanics.
The lens hood snaps on both ways (can be reversed), and is ribbed on the inside. It is plastic, but still benefits from sigma's EX coating.
The tripod collar is perhaps the most surprising about this lens. It's well balanced, solid metal (again with the EX coating). The turning is smooth, but what surprised me most was how it was in use. Where canon and Tamron's implementations required the lens to be removed from the body, sigma's collar can click right off with the turn and pull of a ring. Secure, yet very handy.
Sigma fitted this lens with an HSM motor, making autofocus quick and silent. The lens focuses to infinity and back in under a second, and is quite accurate. I have not had the lens hunt once, even in low-light, except for when I tried to focus on a reflective smooth metal surface.
For sports, when set to continuous autofocus, this lens sometimes focused on the background, although I suspect that was my fault for not keeping the focus point on the sporter. (Nikon's 3D tracking may help here)
Chromatic abberations: Could be better, but it's not too obtrusive in real life. Might pose a problem for macro photography when every pixel counts. Solution: get a macro lens, not a telephoto.
Vignetting: What? What's vignetting? Seriously, this lens is a saint on fullframe cameras, and cropped frame is even better. I don't notice it, and neither does my postprocessing app.
Flaring: Reviews say this thing flares quite a bit, but I haven't personally had trouble with that. I recommend a decent filter though (multicoated). I got the Hoya HMC one.
This is a great lens for the money. The 2.8 aperture really allows for low-light and sports shooting, and it's great for portraits too. Bokeh's nice, autofocus is swift, and the imagequality is good. The only thing missing from this lens is stabilisation, but that can be overcome with high shutter speeds (you need those in sports photography anyway). Seriously, if you're looking for a nice 70-200 F/2.8 zoom, you have found it. How it compares to the tamron? I don't think anyone's going to be able to tell the difference without fancy schmancy testing charts.
I don't have testing charts, and I'm not going to put my lens on a tripod, use mirror lockup and photograph a stationary object with different apertures and different zoom settings.
Why not? Because that's not how I use this lens! All the images you see here are real-life situations, because that's the way the lens will actually be used. They are postprocessed in some cases, because I'd like to show you what you can do with this lens, not what it does by default. Images are available full-size on my deviantart for your pixelpeeping pleasure. Have fun studying individual pixels, whilst I'm out taking actual pictures with my lens.
http://citruspers.deviantart.com/art/Wa ... -131202395
http://citruspers.deviantart.com/art/Pu ... -131202081
http://citruspers.deviantart.com/art/As ... -130610325
http://citruspers.deviantart.com/art/Wi ... -129331088
http://citruspers.deviantart.com/art/Du ... -129329584
New photos - 23-09-09
http://citruspers.deviantart.com/art/Bo ... -137435976
http://citruspers.deviantart.com/art/Pu ... -137438154