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PostPosted: Tue Jul 28, 2009 3:18 pm 
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Joined: Sun Feb 15, 2009 12:59 pm
Posts: 6009
Location: The Netherlands
Well, to start off, what a mouthful. Let me explain what they mean first:

Sigma - nevermind

70-200 - Focal range, this becomes 105-300 on cropped sensor bodies (a tiny bit more on canon bodies).

F/2.8 - Largest aperture. This is constant throughout the zoom range.

APO - sigma claims this is apochromatic glass, which in practice means less (chromatic) abberation (purple fringing).

EX - Sigma's EXcellence coating for pro-grade lenses

DG - Optimized for digital, whatever that means.

Macro - Minimum focus distance of 1 meter. Not a true macro (1:3.5), but nice to have.

HSM - Hypersonic motor. Faster and quieter autofocus.

II - Version 2

So, now we have that out of the way, let's start with the look and feel

Image

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.

Image

Autofocus

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)

Imagequality

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.

Conclusion

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.

Sample Images

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. ;)

Image
http://citruspers.deviantart.com/art/Wa ... -131202395

Image
http://citruspers.deviantart.com/art/Pu ... -131202081

Image
http://citruspers.deviantart.com/art/As ... -130610325

Image
http://citruspers.deviantart.com/art/Wi ... -129331088

Image
http://citruspers.deviantart.com/art/Du ... -129329584

New photos - 23-09-09

Image
http://citruspers.deviantart.com/art/Bo ... -137435976

Image
http://citruspers.deviantart.com/art/Portal-137435130

Image
http://citruspers.deviantart.com/art/Pu ... -137438154

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Last edited by Citruspers on Wed Sep 23, 2009 4:35 pm, edited 3 times in total.

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PostPosted: Tue Jul 28, 2009 4:28 pm 
Thanks alot, thats really helped! The review is great, i think i am 99% posetive that this will be my next lens now!
Cheers


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PostPosted: Tue Jul 28, 2009 6:47 pm 
Nice Review Marijn! Can you show the picture the 70 200 attached on a Nikon D90 :wink:


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PostPosted: Tue Jul 28, 2009 7:01 pm 
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Location: The Netherlands
Thanks guys. Adi, here you go ;)
Image

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PostPosted: Tue Jul 28, 2009 7:05 pm 
*Drooling*....................

Nice One & thanks for picture Marijn :D


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PostPosted: Tue Jul 28, 2009 7:29 pm 
Adi Zulhusni MarkII wrote:
*Drooling*....................

Nice One & thanks for picture Marijn :D


+1

Soon it shall be mine :twisted:


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PostPosted: Tue Jul 28, 2009 8:18 pm 
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Location: The Netherlands, Ridderkerk
Nice review Marijn! :D

- Bjorn -

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PostPosted: Tue Jul 28, 2009 8:59 pm 
Great review! I too, own this lens and would recommend it to anyone that needs fast glass on a budget. A couple things I wanted to add:

- This lens is not sealed against the elements unlike it's Nikon or Canon cousins. Of course, one has to wonder really how much that matters... both my D60 and the Sigma got rained on pretty hard (from a camera's perspective) on Sunday and kept on ticking.

- This lens does occasionally exhibit a 'blooming' problem as seen in this sample image that originated in this thread. I too have noticed it in a few of my shots. While I am far from an expert I only seem to notice it on high-contrast, slightly out-of-focus subjects. More of an annoyance than anything, it's not super significant and has not cost me a shot yet.


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PostPosted: Tue Jul 28, 2009 9:07 pm 
Dojobear wrote:
- This lens does occasionally exhibit a 'blooming' problem as seen in this sample image that originated in this thread. I too have noticed it in a few of my shots. While I am far from an expert I only seem to notice it on high-contrast, slightly out-of-focus subjects. More of an annoyance than anything, it's not super significant and has not cost me a shot yet.


I have heard this is worst and most frequent at the extreme Macro end, as for the rest i believ from what i have heard it isn't meant to happen at non-macro positions!


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PostPosted: Tue Jul 28, 2009 10:08 pm 
At the macro end? Most of my experience with it tended to occur at the telephoto end... :/

Also, I had forgotten to mention in the original post:

The supplied caps that come with the lens SUCK. The rear cap was a complete PITA to put on/take off and the front cap felt flimsy and cheap. I immediately went out and purchased Nikon caps to replace them.


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PostPosted: Tue Jul 28, 2009 11:07 pm 
Dojobear wrote:
At the macro end? Most of my experience with it tended to occur at the telephoto end... :/

Also, I had forgotten to mention in the original post:

The supplied caps that come with the lens SUCK. The rear cap was a complete PITA to put on/take off and the front cap felt flimsy and cheap. I immediately went out and purchased Nikon caps to replace them.


Your going to get the best macro at the telephoto end, thats what i meant! So the Haloing starts at the longest focal length at close focusing!


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PostPosted: Tue Jul 28, 2009 11:25 pm 
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Posts: 660
Location: Ontario, Canada
Citruspers, great review and very tempting but it zoom range falls short for what I do in the field. Still tempting though.


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PostPosted: Wed Jul 29, 2009 12:39 pm 
definitely great value for money especially for sports or other fast moving object. for still images it will be pretty challenging to handle especially in crop frame camera.


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PostPosted: Wed Jul 29, 2009 1:36 pm 
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Location: Copenhagen, Denmark
Very nice review Marijn :) Thanks!

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PostPosted: Wed Jul 29, 2009 9:49 pm 
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Location: The Netherlands
Dojobear wrote:
At the macro end? Most of my experience with it tended to occur at the telephoto end... :/

Also, I had forgotten to mention in the original post:

The supplied caps that come with the lens SUCK. The rear cap was a complete PITA to put on/take off and the front cap felt flimsy and cheap. I immediately went out and purchased Nikon caps to replace them.


My caps are fine, love the center-pinch front cap!

About the blooming: I just noticed this in one of my "macro" shots, but, really, this is not a macro lens ;)

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