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Sigma 12-24mm f4.5-5.6 EX DG Aspherical HSM

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102 303831 Jan 15, 2013
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94% of reviewers $632.87
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The large angle of view (122 degrees super wide angle of view at 12mm along the diagonal axis) is ideal for shootings indoor as well as landscape photography. It has a variable angle of view from 122 degrees at 84.1 degrees. Four Special Low Dispersion (SLD) glass elements are provided for effective compensation of color aberration, which is a common problem with super-wide angle lenses. Two pieces of Glass Mold and one-piece hybrid aspherical lenses offer excellent correction for distortion as well as all types of aberration. By effective arrangement of lens elements and advanced technology this lens has Super Compact dimensions of 3.9 inches full-length, and 3.4 inches maximum diameter.

It is equipped with Inner focusing system that will keep the length of the lens unchanged while controlling aberration. The models, which are equipped with HSM (Hyper Sonic Motor, available for Sigma, Canon and Nikon camera mount lens) system offer Full Time Manual Focusing. It has a minimum focusing distance of 11 inches (28cm) at all focal lengths. This lens is equipped with an integral Petal-type hood to block out extraneous light.


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Registered: Jan 16, 2008
Location: Netherlands
Posts: 0
Review Date: Jan 15, 2013 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 9 

Pros: Extremely sharp and contrasty, quick HSM-focus, solid build, very LOW distortion, hardly any chromatic aberrations.
the extreme corners of the image are soft and distorted, but it improves dramatically when stopped down. vulnerable to flare,

I bought this lens as an experiment for an architecture assignment, I wanted to include some extra "spicy" images in the portfolio. I quickly found out that I could use it for almost ANY subject. It is far more versatile that I imagined!!

The extreme wide angle (12mm) on a full frame or film camera really challenges you, and changes the scene, so much, that, when used carefully and properly, one can make interesting shots of almost anything! So, this way, it quickly became my all time favourite lens!

Sigma still is (jan 2013) the only manufacturer that makes lenses this wide, and every mm counts!!!

It features an extra lens shade extension for DX / APS-C camera's, the "normal" shade is metal, and fixed.
There is a new version of this lens on the market, but I can't think of a reason to trade mine in.

Jan 15, 2013
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Registered: Sep 13, 2012
Location: United States
Posts: 3038
Review Date: Nov 5, 2012 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $350.00 | Rating: 10 

Pros: Sharp, excellent build quality, not heavy, widest available, inexpensive, distortion well controlled

I am an amateur photographer so my review is based on my needs as an enthusiast. I bought the lens used here on FM for my D600 and this lens has been the best value I invested so far in photography.

Build quality is great without being ridiculously heavy.
The lens provides the widest available focal length for FX and it's much wider than it's competitors like the Tokina 16-28, Nikon 16-35 and even the Nikon 14-24, that's a huge plus in my opinion, especially that it controls distortion better than the others. Please note that I only owned the 16-35 and the Sigma so my comparison with the 14-24 and 16-28 is quite subjective based on online photos.

The lens is sharp, really sharp. Maybe not as sharp as the 14-24 but for my needs I wouldn't justify the $1500+ price difference. It's sweet spot is F/9 and it's sharp all across the frame. Maybe Sigma has issues with QA and that explains some complaints about sharpness (this has been the case BTW with the Sigma 10-20). So I suggest if you are buying used, since it's discontinued, to ask for sample photos taken at different apertures before buying.

The no filter issue is actually not an issue for me since I knew that before buying it. It's like saying the only negative of the nikon 105 2.5 AIS is that it's manual focus which is unfair. Besides, there has been many solutions for using filters for this lens, you can google this. The same applies to comments about it's speed, you knew that before buying it and it's not a big deal since most UWA shots are taken at small apertures except in rare cases.

The only downside for me is flare, it's doesn't handle flare very well. My copy produces blue flare particularly when street lights are in the composition.

All in all this lens has been a pleasure to use and I definitely recommend it to anyone using a full frame camera. On the other hand, if you are using cropped sensor then I wouldn't recommend this lens since there are better and wider options like the Tokina 11-16, Sigma 10-20, Nikon 10-24 and many others.

Nov 5, 2012
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Kevin Sanders
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Registered: Jun 4, 2010
Location: United Kingdom
Posts: 5
Review Date: Jan 12, 2012 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $500.00 | Rating: 10 

Pros: Range, build quality, image quality
Can't use a polarizing filter at the wide setting.

I don't understand why people pick up a lens second-hand, find it doesn't perform very well and then denigrate it without checking to see if it is faulty or if it was abused by the last owner. Why was it sold and why was it so cheap? Do they never ask these questions? No. They run off at the mouth and give a perfectly good product a rating of one because they bought a wrong 'un. Better to not rate it at all, huh? How about sending it in for service? Nope. They rant wouldn't be the same, would it? OK, that's my rant over <grin>.

I bought mine new when it was on offer at Warehouse Express and have nothing but good things to say about it.

I have compared it with images taken with my friend's Nikon 12-24 on a D300 and find that mine are just as good from the Canon 1D III or D40 using this lens. It is sharp wide open and gets sharper still when stopped down. I do miss the ability to use a polarizer, but you can't have everything.

It is especially useful at events like car shows where you can get in real close and cut out most of the surrounding exhibits.

Sigma products are no different to others in that you get what you pay for. I have several Sigma lenses in Canon, Nikon and Sigma fit as well as their SD15 camera. One can find fault with anything if one looks hard enough, but Sigma stuff is pretty good and holds it's own with the likes of Canon and Nikon.

This is a great lens and is always in my bag. I'm currently trialling the Mark II version, but so far have found no great improvements save the new body finish, which I like.

Jan 12, 2012
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Registered: Feb 12, 2011
Location: Ireland
Posts: 0
Review Date: Feb 12, 2011 Recommend? no | Price paid: $500.00 | Rating: 1 

Pros: nothing
lack of Sigma's QC, lens is soft overall, slow AF

Agai, lack of Sigma's QC:
i bought one second hand, but this lens is a lemon, you can throw it away. The lens was soft overall no matter what i used, really bad till f7.1, from f8 till f22 was overall soft. I think HSM doesn't exists in this lens because the 15-30EX without HSM was faster than this copy of mine. What i can say if you don't need a full frame lens you better buy the Sigma 10-20DC lens...

Feb 12, 2011
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Registered: Feb 15, 2003
Location: United Kingdom
Posts: 12031
Review Date: Feb 7, 2011 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 8 

Pros: Very wide on full frame, sharp when stopped down, well built, quite inexpensive for the widest non-fisheye available, decent contrast. Remarkably distortion free if kept upright
Very slow at f4.5-f5.6, dreadfully soft at wider apertures, some CA, needs a tripod and liveview to get the best out of it - needs using like a large format lens really

Bought one used, mint.

Astonishingly wide but this is a lens that begs to be used on a tripod and stopped well down, to f11 at least, if not further, where it does shine with some great results.

It's just too slow for general hand-held use (which is not what it's really designed for).

It's very well built and comes with the built-in hood and a nice case.

It's a niche lens - landscapes and interiors - and for that it's really very good. For anything much else I've had some horrid results, especially handheld, perhaps IS would help.

I certainly don't regret the purchase, with it being less than a third the price of the Canon 14mm L.

It does it's job well, but that job is fairly limited

Feb 7, 2011
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Registered: Aug 1, 2010
Location: United Kingdom
Posts: 0
Review Date: Aug 2, 2010 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 9 

Pros: Price Excellent range Comparative quality Weight & size
Cannot use filters; Nothing else really (for the price)

I bought this lens to replace the Nikon 14-24 with my D700. I also have the Nikon 24-70 (and 70-200 VR2) and do not often use a lens below 24. The 14-24 was therefore quite a waste.

However, I wanted something much cheaper that is not too different in terms of results. After extensive research (reading almost every review of every wide lens I could find) I bought the Sigma on amazon for a great price - Ģ 350 used. Everywhere else was around Ģ 500-550.

It arrived in its box and was as new. It is really good to use. I have been used to using the Nikon professional lenses and wondered how disappointed I was going to be.

In fact, I am thrilled. It is a great weight and size, definitely better than having to carry the 14-24. It covers a great range (12 is quite a lot more than 14), the AF is good and it is very sharp.

Some reviewers said that the Sigma was quite soft. I disagree. At least the one that I have is excellent. The colour is also very good and contrast is fine.

I did a blind test of my wife and kids to see which they preferred. Everyone chose the Sigma sample pictures. I can see why, it is great.

If you are looking for the very best, get the 14-24. There is nothing better. If not, consider the Sigma: you will save a fortune and the difference will be minor. A great lens.

PS my 14-24 is available for sale: great condition

Aug 2, 2010
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Registered: Aug 16, 2005
Location: United States
Posts: 15
Review Date: Jul 17, 2010 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $860.00 | Rating: 9 

Pros: Works great on 5 DII, only lens to do true 12mm, little linear distortion. Sharp where it counts.
Quality control on the lens is not great.

I take images of landscapes and cityscapes. My 17-40, an OK lens, has significant linear distortion at the wide range. The Sigma is one or two steps up in this regard even at the 12 mm range. Wide corners at the 17mm are sharper in the Sigma (based on testing 4 Sigma copies) compared to my 17-40. The Sigma has nice construction, fast AF, takes fairly sharp images at 12mm up to 24mm.

Unlike some of my other wide lenses, this lens seems to take more light, thus I find underexposing by two stops gives me better skies.
One of the copies I tested was defective on one corner, the other had overall softness from the 12-20mm range. Overall, I am quite pleased with this purchase.

Here are a few images with this lens, mostly at the 12mm many showing linear distortion is well corrected for a lens of this type.

Jul 17, 2010
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Registered: Jan 16, 2010
Location: United States
Posts: 513
Review Date: Apr 26, 2010 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $600.00 | Rating: 8 

Pros: Excellent color and very good sharpness, even at 12mm. VERY nice from 14-24mm. Good low price for the wide view(s). Solidly made.
Hard lens for a slow learner like me.

This lens has a fairly steep learning curve compared to most. On a FF it vignetts (sp?) if the filter/lenscap holding ring is left on, for example. It took me a while to really appreciate what this can do for me.

I wanted a low level shooting position and a wide view for certain landscape type images I had in mind and this lens did the trick, even when used on 5D2 - the full frame. 12mm is awesome! It's a huge change from 16mm.

Apr 26, 2010
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Registered: Nov 30, 2008
Location: Finland
Posts: 0
Review Date: Dec 29, 2009 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 9 

Pros: With Canon 1 D mark III (1,3 crop sensor) in apertures 8-16 sharp also in corners, good colours and contrast, no distortion, no CA. 12mm really wide.
a little heavy and bulky, not possible to use uv/skylight filter in front of the front lens.

I bought this lens for Canon 1D mark III in order to get more wide angle. I have also Canon 17-40mm, but difference between 17mm and 12 mm is big in 1,3 -crop body. Must be stopped down to f8-13 to get best results, and in landscape photography itīs usually ok. Works also in indoor or low light situation when camera is supported. I like this bulky friend! Practically no distortion or vignetting at f8.

Dec 29, 2009
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Registered: May 6, 2006
Location: United States
Posts: 3267
Review Date: Nov 16, 2009 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $500.00 | Rating: 7 

Pros: Range Distortion generally well controlled. Center sharpness is good Good CA control
Corners, never completely sharp Slight decentering No possiblity for filters slightly flare prone

using this lens on a 5D, and 5DII. Returned my copy to sigma for some decentering. Came back better, but not perfect. The corners are never sharp, even at f11-f16, but the rest of frame is very good. I look at it as an effective 14mm lens, as I have to crop the corners out if I want great sharpness for large print. Contrast is good. CA is surprisingly good. A little prone to flare, especially b/c of protruding front element.
It also makes for a very fun indoor video lens.

Nov 16, 2009
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Registered: Jul 19, 2009
Location: United States
Posts: 2
Review Date: Nov 13, 2009 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $428.00 | Rating: 8 

Pros: Build quality seems good. Picture quality good.

I've only had the lens for a day and using with a 5D MKII, but I like it so far. I have a 17-40L, but I wanted something wider for a different perspective....I don't plan to use the lens except for at 12mm and it seems like a quality alternative to a 14mmL considering the price difference!

Here's a couple samples just for fun (first one cropped):


Nov 13, 2009
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Registered: Sep 1, 2005
Location: Australia
Posts: 225
Review Date: Nov 5, 2009 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 10 

Pros: very sharp, lovely colors, strongly built,
Cannot fit filters.

I bought this lens as i wanted a wider angle for scenery.
I find when I do things right the pictures are very sharp and crisp, and that is what is important to me. The lens seems to be well made but a tad heavy for me.

Nov 5, 2009
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Registered: Apr 16, 2005
Location: United Kingdom
Posts: 17
Review Date: Oct 9, 2009 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 9 

Pros: Built quality good, focusing quick and precise,color are good.
No yet.

I must say I was a little worried about the reported QC issues and number of soft lenses out there. This lens quite expensive new here in UK and I don't think I would have bought it at that price but I came across this immaculate copy used for a very good price and I must say I am very pleased with the sharpness and overall quality of the lens on my 1Ds FF. 12mm is wide, really wide and will take a little getting used to but should be able to get some really funky images with this.

Oct 9, 2009
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Registered: Nov 10, 2008
Location: United States
Posts: 69
Review Date: Sep 28, 2009 Recommend? | Price paid: Not Indicated

Pros: The widest lens on 35mm SLR system, useful range
I had 2 different copies of the lens - one had a soft spot on the left edge, another soft spots on the right

I got it from Amazon craving the ultra wide perspective. I loved the perspective, but the lens had soft spots that were just not acceptable. I contacted Sigma, and they advised to send in the lens and the camera. I did not have the luxury of time, so I returned the lens. Amazon gave me full credit for it, they stand behind the product they sell. Too bad, it could have been a much better experience.

Sep 28, 2009
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Registered: Jul 11, 2005
Location: United Kingdom
Posts: 319
Review Date: Aug 8, 2009 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 8 

Pros: Sharper than I expected, super wide on full frame that's great fun to play with. Less distortion than I'd expected.
Flare can be ugly

This was bought as my 16-35L just didn't seem wide enough on the 5DmkII for many shots. Wow! This is an amazing lens that impressed me for the lack of distortion (of course there is some but it's very good) and the lens is useable wide open though it really is best stopped down to f/8 and beyond. I think that f/22 is better than would be expected too.

Getting close up to objects is huge fun and it's brought some renewed wide angle creativity out of me. For the money it's superb. Yes, when I get the cash I probably will sell it and get the 14L mkII but that's a way off.

The things that have to be taken in to account are:

- It's a slow lens. Not really suitable for indoor situations without paying attention to lighting, ie, flash. Environmental indoor portraits are unlikely to be this lens' best features.

- The flare can be horrible. Care needs to be taken. Spot lights etc can be an issue and shooting with the sun anywhere in the frame can case problems.

For the money, it's a ten out of ten. Money aside, it's really a 7 or 8 when compared with some of the great glass out there. Creative abilities push my rating up again and give it an 8.5. Mind you, on that scale, the 85L is a 17+ :-)

Aug 8, 2009
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Registered: Jul 20, 2009
Location: Indonesia
Posts: 0
Review Date: Aug 7, 2009 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 9 

Pros: extremely wide, build quality, sharp!!!
cannot accept any filter at front thread

When I got my first full frame camera (5D) there is nothing else I was thinking then to get this lens because i've heard that it is the widest lens in the world!!

In my country, there is no returning policy, so you must be happy with your purchase after walking out the store's door, like it or not. I had to tell the salesman to take all the stocks she has in the warehouse and I tried it one by one, and I'm glad I did this. It was my third attempt from all 5 lenses that worked.

Generally, from f/4.5 - 8, i experience a light fall-off at the corners, but f/8 - upwards this symptom is gone and the image is tack sharp from corner to corner!!! The extremely wide angle is soooo exceptional and I am so loving this lens because of it.

I also own a canon 15mm fisheye and a 16-35mm II L, who are canon's state-of-the-art lenses for sharpness. But hey, you can only see the difference when magnify 100%. In other words, both the fisheye and 16-35 win over a slight margin only.

I wish it had been a prime 12mm, cos I never used it in other focal lengths....

no problem with autofocus since I usually manual focus for landscape photography...

Loving this lens for its Extremely-Ultra-Wide-Angle!!!

If this lens can accept filters, i would have rated 10!

Aug 7, 2009
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Sigma 12-24mm f4.5-5.6 EX DG Aspherical HSM

Buy from B&H Photo
Reviews Views Date of last review
102 303831 Jan 15, 2013
Recommended By Average Price
94% of reviewers $632.87
Build Quality Rating Price Rating Overall Rating


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