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Sigma 10-20mm F4-5.6 EX DC HSM

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167 403373 Oct 28, 2014
Recommended By Average Price
84% of reviewers $472.26
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Lens Construction: 14 Elements in 10 Groups
Angle of View: 102.4 - 63.8 degrees (Sigma SD format)
Number of Diaphragm Blades: 6 Blades
Minimum Aperture: F22
Minimum Focusing Distance: 24cm / 9.4 in.
Maximum Magnification: 1:6.7
Filter Size Diameter: 77mm
Lens Hood: Petal Hood
Dimensions: Diameter 83.5mm X Length 81mm
3.3 in. X 3.2 in.
Weight 470g/16.6 oz.


- It covers a superwide angle of view 102.4 to 63.8(SD format)

- Three pieces of Special Low Dispersion (SLD) elements and three aspherical lens elements produce top quality optical performance.

- Inner focusing system ensures the length of the lens remains unchanged whilst controlling aberrations.

- Equipped with HSM (Hyper Sonic Motor) system

- Minimum focusing distance of 24cm (9.4) at all focal lengths.

- Relatively compact, lightweight for an ultra wide-angle zoom lens.


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Registered: Apr 2, 2006
Location: Switzerland
Posts: 0
Review Date: Apr 2, 2006 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 10 

Pros: Focal length, sharpness, build!, price
nothing spectacular

I'm using this lens on a Nikon D70. It performs very well.
Nikon offers almost the same lens (12-24mm) for double the price but not double the quality.

Apr 2, 2006
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Registered: Jul 31, 2005
Location: United States
Posts: 28
Review Date: Apr 2, 2006 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 5 

Pros: Beautiful construction and design. Comes with hood and lens pouch.
Poor image quality

I wanted this to be an affordable option to the Canon 10-24 but saw with the first shot that the right side was out of focus. Ran some tests and all f-stops and shutter speeds and the right side remained blurry. Took it back and paid the extra money for the Canon and am very happy.

Apr 2, 2006
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Registered: Sep 22, 2003
Location: N/A
Posts: 452
Review Date: Apr 1, 2006 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $475.00 | Rating: 8 

Pros: Rectilinear ultra-wide can finally be had on a APS-C DSLR, minus the EF-S exclusivity bullcrap.
Weird distortion character at 10mm, variable aperture design can be annoying, stupid hood/cap design, Sigma QC?

Optically, this lens is alright. It can be sharp, and is amazingly resistant to flare and veiling artifacts for a super-wide. The lens does exhibit a weird distortion character at 10mm - it's essentially free of any distortion in the center, but as you get to the edges, there's some barrel distortion going on. It is correctable, so getcher plugins out. Perspective distortion on the other hand is very high, but that's a consequence of it's focal length, not this lens. I don't dig the variable aperture design, but I generally treat this lens as I would a (SLOOOOOOW) prime and avoid zooming for any given shoot. There is some slight vignetting wide open, but that can either be corrected for or used as an artistic border for images. Overall, I can pretty much print photos made with this lens at 13x19 with no huge complaints.

From a mechanical point of view, I like how this lens handles. Zoom and focus rings are smooth, almost close to the way manual focus lenses of yesterday were. On the other hand, the lens cap design is flawed - you can't remove it from the lens if you have the hood mounted facing the subject. Well, actually you can, but you'll need a long set of fingernails to do this. Deduct a point for this backwards-assed design. I hear that Tamron make a 77mm center pinch cap that might actually circumvent this, but Sigma should've made one and included it the lens. The lens case is a pretty nifty idea, and for my uses, it does help when I play switcheroo with some of my lenses.

Now that I got that out of the way, this lens is FUN AS HELL! I really like that I can get some sense of scale and perspective for subject-background relationships that I can't always get from my telephotos. Mind you, it is perhaps a little exaggerated, but a cool tool nonetheless. For my needs, this alone is indispensable.

For the money, you can't do much wrong going with this, but you may get as many kicks as I am out of it. I honestly wish ultra wides for aps-c dslrs came out sooner, but better now than never I guess.

Apr 1, 2006
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Crazy Fool
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Registered: Aug 5, 2005
Location: United Kingdom
Posts: 1
Review Date: Mar 31, 2006 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 10 

Pros: Sharp and contrasty, fast silent focusing, good range, good build.
Some red / yellow chomatic aberration in harsh lighting but this is minimal (and expected). Easily fixed and practically invisible unless you're pixel peeping.

I've only had this lens for one day but I'm very happy with it.

I tried this out in Jessops (UK) and the contrast and price won me over.

I just shot a resolution chart at home and its sharper wide open than my sharp 24-85 USM at f8!

I deliberated between this and the Canon 15mm fisheye, but I know the long end of this zoom will be useful for the occasional snapshot with people in it, and the distortion doesn't need correcting either.

This is an outstanding lens. I'm sure there are a few duff copies that will need servicing / replacing, but if you buy it locally there's no need to worry is there?!

Absolutely recommended.

Mar 31, 2006
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Registered: Aug 30, 2005
Location: France
Posts: 17
Review Date: Mar 25, 2006 Recommend? no | Price paid: $450.00 | Rating: 3 

Pros: Very good build, HSM is super fast & silent just like Canon's ring USM. Comes with a case & lens hood. Good price. When you get a good copy, it's sharp and a very good alternative to the more expensive Canon.
Absolutely horrible quality control. So many people have decentered copies (soft on one side) that you should only buy this if you can try it out first.

I ordered this lens in preparation for a trip to Yosemite & Grand Canyon. I thought I'd save $250+ by ordering the Sigma instead of the Canon. Instead I just wasted my time and lost money on the shipping. My copy is reasonably sharp in the middle but soft on both sides and extremely soft on the right side. So soft it's blurry. It improves when stopped down but even at f10 it's still blurry. A search on dpreview showed many people complaining of the same thing. I had done my research and thought that only the people with bad copies complain and the chances of a bad copy are slim. In reality there are lots of bad copies. It's just that the people with bad copies don't write reviews. So here you will see mainly the people with good copies.

So I posted a few crops and asked for feedback. One person replied and posted one of his images which had the same exact thing. Another replied saying that it was bad bokeh or focusing error. So I looked at his images and sure enough, the right side was visibily blurry even on his resized images. I think often the people with good copies haven't even realized that they have bad copies. Ultrawides are in their own class and it's not easy to compare them if you only own one. What can you compare them to?

I'm returning mine and will be ordering the Canon EF 10-22. I think the extra money is worth it. If you buy locally and can try before you buy, the Sigma is worth consideration. If you get a good copy it must be a great deal. If you order mail order, I would just order Canon and save yourself time & money.

Finally, it was fun to walk around town with an ultrawide but I am questioning its usefulness outside of landscape photography. In town I found myself having to either zoom or move myself closer to my subject in order to avoid having unwanted items in the view (garbage cans, cars, etc.). It's amazing just how close you can be and still get a shot as if you were across the street. In town or inside I think 18 is good enough. The ultrawides are most useful for landscape photography.

Mar 25, 2006
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Registered: Feb 26, 2006
Location: United States
Posts: 0
Review Date: Mar 23, 2006 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $450.00 | Rating: 9 

Pros: Very wide angle of view. Build quality. Price.
Lousy lens cap. Distortion - but it can be a good thing if you work with it.

I recently got this lens from B&H and my copy is sharp all around. There is a little bit of light fall off in the corners and on the edges at 10-12mm but this isn't as evident when shooting outdoors or when a scene is not evenly lit.
The lens really surprised me the first time that I used it. I was amazed by how much area I could actually see - it's truely a wide angle.
With the crop factor on my D70s this is a 15-30mm, which is great for story telling landscapes and wide interior shots.
There is a bit of distortion with the lens, and shots that have a horrizon line curve a bit due to barrell distortion at the wider side of the the zoom.
Popular Photography recently reviewed this lens, along with the Tokina and Tamron lenses that are similar, and concluded that this was the best of the three 3rd party lenses.
Overall, it's a great lens for the money and I look forward to using it more as the weather gets warmer here in New England.

Mar 23, 2006
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Registered: Mar 22, 2006
Location: Argentina
Posts: 0
Review Date: Mar 22, 2006 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $450.00 | Rating: 9 

Pros: Besides those "bundled" with the lens (very wide, fast silent AF, useful range), i'd say sharp, very little chromatic aberration (even wide open), and excellent construction quality.
Vignetting wide open at all focal lengths.

Well I have to say this is an amazing lens. I just got it used with an UV filter and a nice protective bag for US$450, in mint condition (I am in Argentina and you tend to pay more for this stuff than what B&H lists).

Frankly i was quite worried about ordering one from the US because of the QC issues Sigma seems to have. When I saw this one for sale used, I jumped over it, and I'm really happy I did.

First, this is a really sturdy, well built lens. It is a bit heavy (~500g) and my 350D does balance quite bad with it when hanging from my neck. One you grab it with both hands, though, you get back that nice feeling from the 35mm days that you won't get with a kit lens: the weight of the glass feels really nice and not heavy at all to use.

I would even say weight helps keep the lens steady when shooting at very low speeds. At 10mm, you can get very usable shots at 1/4-0"3, and 1/20 is enough for good sharpness in very low light.
I'm telling you this because you might be worried about the small aperture of this lens. Here's some advice - your other options are primes, mostly the Sigma 14mm and the Canon 15mm fisheye. These get you the wider part of the Sigma zoom, and at the wider setting f/4 really is enough all the time.
At 20mm f/5.6 it does get nastier but honestly i would have bought a 10mm prime if there was one, so I don't care much. Still, the range is nice, and 20mm on APS-C is a very interesting focal length for people photography in "close quarters" - much more fit than 50mm. It made me think about the Sigma 20mm prime :D

The only "issue" this lens has is vignetting. But hey, i quoted that. Here's why: at 10mm, lightning in your scene won't be smooth - you have a 100 FOV so indoors, you will have lots of different lightnings in a single frame. Outdoors, the effect is much less noticeable because of sky lightning being uneven and such things. Thus, vignetting, as bad as it could be (which it isn't) isn't obvious to the eye. I'd go as far as saying that it adds drama to the pictures, enhancing contrast and giving your shots more "punch". Hey, I'm as worried about this kind of "flaws" as the next photography hobbyist, but really, I feel vignetting here enhances my pics. I had not even noticed until i did some specific testing.

Anyway, all this goes away by f/8 at 10mm. Whereas the sharpness sweet-spot begins at f/5.6, you have to use f/8 if you want all the vignetting to go away.

Chromatic aberration is surprisingly low across the whole frame, and so is sharpness - comparing to the kit @18mm was a real laugh, trust me.
At 10mm, contrast in the corners sees quite an improvement at f/5.6. Still, at that FL, your corners will be pretty distorted by the perspective so there's nothing to worry about.

As far as distortion goes, there's not much to say here. I haven't done any chart testing, but there isn't anything wrong with this lens in this aspect - i have never said "hey, that was straight" upon looking at a picture.

So, my final advice on this is: "buy it". Make sure you can return it if you have some bad luck with your copy, but on good copies, this is a clear winner. This is of course, if, like me, you like to take great pictures and not great snapshots of test charts. Honestly I couldn't care less about what those say. My subjective opinion after having used this lens for a while, is that i'm very happy I got it, so if you do, there are some good chances that you won't be disappointed either.

Here is my "Sigma 10-20" tag in Flickr. Check it out yourself:

Mar 22, 2006
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Registered: Jan 31, 2002
Location: United States
Posts: 41
Review Date: Mar 17, 2006 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $590.00 | Rating: 10 

Pros: Fast focusing,incredible wide angle of view,razor sharp images.Comes with hood too!
none that come to mind

I bought this lens to work on a weekend project with an advertising client.I normally do not shoot wide angle but it was a joy to work with this lens and the finished photos I took with my Canon 20D are stellar.

I previously had an 8mm and 16mm lens that I rarely used and did not like the idea of frequently changing lenses outside and sucking in dust to my sensor.

The images captured with this were sharper than my former 2.8 fisheyes,better contrast and a really interesting angle.

Mar 17, 2006
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Registered: Feb 17, 2006
Location: Germany
Posts: 0
Review Date: Mar 14, 2006 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 8 

Pros: very sharp -- maybe the sharpest of the all ultra wide angle zooms in the market
chromatic aberation

Mar 14, 2006
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Registered: Jan 24, 2006
Location: New Zealand
Posts: 0
Review Date: Mar 9, 2006 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 10 

Pros: Easy handling, lightish, nice feel in the hand. Responsive zoom and focus rings. Sharp.
at very wide angle vignetting with CPL, got a little flare also in one shot when sun at around 30degrees off shooting angle

Mar 9, 2006
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Registered: Feb 26, 2006
Location: United States
Posts: 42
Review Date: Feb 27, 2006 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 9 

Pros: 10mm w-i-d-e, Very good contrast reproduction, CA well controlled, Great 9" MFD, HSM is swift and silent, FTM, Focus ring is THE BEST dampened (buttery smooth) I've EVER used on an EX lens, Excellent hand-holdability due to wide FL, Lens is amazingly small in size, Can use filters, Lovely EX build and finish.
Barrel distortion and vignetting at 10mm wide open (not unexpected), Slight pin-cushioning at 20mm, Flare resistance could be better, Not FF compatible.
Feb 27, 2006
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Chef Magnus
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Registered: Sep 26, 2005
Location: United States
Posts: 7
Review Date: Feb 24, 2006 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $430.00 | Rating: 10 

Pros: Sharp, UWA, Warm Color, Fast
None, well maybe weight

Feb 24, 2006
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Registered: Oct 13, 2005
Location: United States
Posts: 9804
Review Date: Feb 18, 2006 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $440.00 | Rating: 10 

Pros: Build is awesome, HSM is fast and accurate, sharp lens! Good contrast and tone quality, awesome image quality, next to my primes! Color, zoom ring is very smooth, focus is very smooth, finish is a good quality.
Slower aperture (but I have come to know that even at very slow shutter speeds at 10mm isn't very hard to get a good shot), none else

After just few days I have come to really love this lens. One of the things I WAS looking for was a semi-fisheye lens for creativity. This lens controls the distortion well, but at 10mm you get some distortion (what do you expect at 10mm?)

The build quality is 2nd to none. Zoom ring, focus ring are silky smooth like my L, and HSM is amazingly fast and accurate. Almost makes me want to get another HSM lens.

Image quality is very nice for this lens, contrast is very good. Fstopjojo's test on this lens was very well, and I thought that it was a bit superior to the Canon equivalent 10-22, and better on sharpness too.

This lens is amazing and will be keeping it. I would prefer up to 10-30 but, this is the best you can get for your money.

Feb 18, 2006
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Registered: Feb 25, 2005
Location: Chile
Posts: 237
Review Date: Feb 16, 2006 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 9 

Pros: very sharp, incredible wide, nice colors and contrast, no EF-S, almost no flare.
AF is not so good, some chromatic aberrations under heavy contrast situations, some vigneting wide open and image distortions.

This is my fav. lens for landscapes, great sharpness (starting form the center), and it's very good controlling flare (even with the sun in the scene).

I'm sorry to read users complaining about sharpness, perhaps I was lucky but mine is as good or better than my 50 f/1.8 II

I used to defish a 16mm Zenitar Fisheye for landscapes but color aberrations with this lens were too much. It was a very nice lens and sometimes I miss the rounded corners, but this one is much more useful for me, it's wider and much better optically.
I've used it on a full frame camera once and it was useful even at 13mm with no black borders. I've never seen something so wide it is like a straight 8mm fisheye.
I think 10mm it's too much for most of my shots but it's very nice to have it. A perfect walk around lens for me should be something like a 12-35mm with this image quality.

I use to rectify distortions with ptlens plugin in photoshop but deformations can be annoying when you place your subject near the corner of the frame.

AF is not so good but not a big deal, I use to manual focus using the distance scale.

Feb 16, 2006
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Registered: Dec 21, 2005
Location: Finland
Posts: 0
Review Date: Feb 13, 2006 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $630.00 | Rating: 9 

Pros: Build, image, and feel quality, AF speed
Weight, lenshood

Nice lense!

Fast and accurate AF, good build quality compared to my Canon lenses (no L lenses). A must have with 1.6x crop DSLR's. I use a 350D, only issue is with the camera man Wink

Bought the lens in Finland and paid 539euro for it, so around 630usd. Canon 10-22 cost around 800eur, no point in buing that.

Weight is not an issue but a point to notice before purchase.

Lenshood is build tight to the body and leaves little space for the lenscap but you probably are well off with just using one at a time...

Feb 13, 2006
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Registered: Sep 25, 2004
Location: United States
Posts: 584
Review Date: Feb 11, 2006 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $480.00 | Rating: 10 

Pros: Superb Resolution. As sharp as my 50mm 1.8 and 85mm 1.8. Great wide open, fast AF, HSM wish full-time Manual focusing. Very usable distance scale. Great Lens Hood. Includes case and hood with 3 year warranty. Usable filter threads. Nice and WIDE. My best built lens: makes my 85mm look flimsy. More affordable than the Canon 10-22mm
No DOF scale. Slow f/4-5.6. The lens cap is hard to put on with hood attached.

This first thing you realize when you pull the Sigma 10-20mm f/4-5.6 out of it's box is that it's built like a tank. It comes in its very own zippered case and has the lens hood included. Upon attaching it to the 20D, it feels perfectly weighted. It is just right for the 20D. On a 350D or 300D, it may feel a bit heavy. This is by far my best lens overall in terms of quality of build and photo results. The 10-20 is a slow lens. Thanks to the low noise of the 20D however, this becomes much less of a problem. Frankly, at this length, speed is always a compromise. If photographers absolutely HAVE to have a 102 Degree FOV with an f/2.8 aperture, they'll need to shell out about $4000 trying to upgrade to the 5D and a 16-35L. This lens is great at f/4.0 @ 10mm. and spectacular at f/5.6 at all lengths. I usually just shoot in Av mode with aperture set wide open. Stopping down to f/8.0 at 10mm increased DOF greatly. Shots at this aperture will look sharp all around. The AF is nice and fast but I even find that shooting in MF is more desireable with such a wide lens. basically any object past about 3 feet is pretty much at infinity focus.(LOL the min. distance of my 85) The only real peeve that bothers me is the lens cap. With the hood on, it it almost impossible to remove or attach the lens cap. Sigma should have included a cap with a centered release pinch on rather than the side pinches. After some getting-used to the cap design becomes less annoying. This lens will never leave my bag. Check out the PhotoZOne lens tests at for all the technical crap about this lens. http://www.photozone.de/8Reviews/index.html After owning this lens, Sigma will now always be a consideration when purchasing new gear.

Feb 11, 2006
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Sigma 10-20mm F4-5.6 EX DC HSM

Buy from B&H Photo
Reviews Views Date of last review
167 403373 Oct 28, 2014
Recommended By Average Price
84% of reviewers $472.26
Build Quality Rating Price Rating Overall Rating

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