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Sigma 70-200mm f2.8 EX APO IF HSM

Review Date: Sep 16, 2004 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $1,179.00 | Rating: 10 

Pros: Solid build, HSM focus is quick, extremely sharp, good contrast, FTM focusing, awesome warranty (7 years in Canada)
HSM not as fast as USM, heavy

I bought this lens primarily for portraiture as I am still shooting film and the focal range is perfect for me. My first engagement session with the lens was a pleasant surprise - bokeh is very nice, colour is a little on the warm side (which I like), focusing is quick (although not as quick as USM), and although it's heavy I didn't find it unmanageable by any means.

I was coming up on my 15-day return limit and decided I'd better test it for sharpness just to be safe. I shot some leftover Portra 160NC that I had lying around at 70mm, 135mm, and 200mm all at f2.8, f4, f8, and f16. I set my gear up on the top of my condo building looking out over the city and used mirror lockup (although my remote batteries were dead, so I still had to push the shutter). I scanned the tested photos on my Minolta 5400 at full resolution.


The sharpness of this lens blows all of my other lenses away (including my 24-70L - which I'll be returning - and my travel Tamron 24-135). In all honesty, the shots at f2.8 are almost indistinguishable from those at f4 and f8. Remember, this is under scrutiny of 40megapixel scans! I had always enjoyed my Tamron lens but this Sigma puts it to shame in the corner sharpness department.

I don't know if I ended up with an exceptional copy, but this lens will definitely not be leaving my bag any time soon.

I'll be posting some crops from the testing at pbase when I get a chance or you can email me for some examples at [email protected]