If you want a ‘one lens for all subjects’ workhorse, the 70-200mm f/2.8 is exactly what you need. And the Sigma 70-200mm f/2.8 EX DG OS HSM is definitely an optic that’s worth a look…
The Sigma 70-200mm f/2.8 EX DG OS HSM is a feature-packed lens with a mid-range price-tag of just £899. With mounts available for Canon, Nikon, Pentax, Sigma and Sony cameras, this lens is available for plenty of DSLRs. Optical quality comes from 22 elements in 17 groups, and image stabilisation comes in two modes – one for normal use and one for moving subjects. Minimum focusing is at 140cm.
This Sigma lens looks and feels good in the hand, and once on the camera its weight balances well against the weight of the body. Autofocus is controlled by a switch on the side of the lens and is easy to change with your thumb while shooting. Below this is the image stabilisation switch that is equally easy to use, but with three settings – off, Mode 1 and Mode 2 – it pays to change settings while you’re looking at it. The one thing that takes a little getting used to is the small focusing ring that sits behind the nice big zoom ring. It’s a shame they’re not the other way round, which would be more logical, but you do get used to the arrangement.
In terms of image quality the Sigma is as sharp as its more expensive rivals. At most apertures the difference between this and its Canon and Nikon counterparts is marginal and this is definitely something worth thinking about when you’re buying a 70-200mm. There’s a small amount of barrel distortion at 70mm, and pin-cushion distortion at 200mm.
In terms of overall performance there’s no beating the Canon and Nikon 70-200mm lenses. They do the best job of focusing on fast-moving subjects. However, this Sigma isn’t too far behind when it comes to tracking movement. The fact that it offers the same key functions as the Canon and Nikon, and is equally as sharpest, makes this Sigma lens an extremely attractive option for anyone shooting with Canon, Nikon, Pentax, Sigma or Sony DSLRs.
- Street price: £729 (As of July 2016)
- Mount availability: Canon, Nikon, Sony Pentax & Sigma
- Image stabilisation: Yes – Mode 1 & 2
- Max. aperture: f/2.8
- Min. aperture: f/22
- Minimum focus distance: 140cm
- Construction: 22 elements in 17 groups
- Diaphragm blades: 9
- Filter thread: 77mm
- Weight: 1430g
- Visit: www.sigma-imaging-uk.com
This review was first published in the September 2012 issue of Practical Photography - download back issues here.