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Sigma 17-35mm f2.8-4 EX Aspherical

17_35f2_8_4EX_1_
Review Date: Apr 18, 2004 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $300.00 | Rating: 4 

 
Pros: Cheap, rather solid and has the f2.8@17mm
Cons:
Soft, poor contrast, bad colours, severe vignetting and lots of purple fringing

This is a peculiar case of zoom - it performs OK (but not terrific) on film but is bad in almost every aspect when used on a digital body. Not sure if this is due to the light hitting the image sensor at low angle or because of some other reasons, the truth is that 17-35 doesn't go well with the Canon 10D, D30, D60 not to mention the elders, 1D or 1Ds.
The filter size is 82mm, which is rather unusual and the front element is rather "bulby" making the usage of filters (such as a polarizer or gradual ND) an adventurous business.
Wide open the lens exhibits severe vignetting which doesn't seem to go even at f8 or f11. Soft all over at f2.8, it gets better after 5.6 but no matter the aperture the corners will stay soft up to f16.
Eventually I ended up selling this and buying the 17-40/4L, which is a jewel from every point of view. If you're thinking of buying it to go with a digital body, I'd suggest to save up for a 17-40/4L or get one of the dedicated Nikon DG wide angles.


 
Sigma 28-70mm F2.8 EX Aspherical

28_70f2_8lens_1_
Review Date: Apr 18, 2004 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $300.00 | Rating: 8 

 
Pros: Very good contrasty glass, beautiful bokeh and colours
Cons:
A little bit soft, zoom range not very suitable for a digital 1.6 crop factor body

I got the Canon version of this lens and played a little bit with the Nikon variant. For the owner of a film SLR body, this lens is a bargain compared to a Canon/Nikon 28-70/2.8's which are at least four times the price of the Sigma. Bokeh at 2.8 is superb and the contrast of this lens at all apertures is amazing. Resolution is not great but hey, otherwise nobody would be buying those expensive 'L' / 'ED' glass, right?

For somebody who plans to use it on a digital body though, with APS-sized sensor, the 45-112 zoom range on Canon (42-105 for Nikons) is not very usefull and the lens doesn't seem to solve all the resolution of current 6MB image sensors. In such cases, it may really be worth looking up the 24-70 elder of the series, which at least is a little bit better in the zooming range. (but heavier and more massive)

Otherwise, the 77mm filter thread can be perfectly paired with the Canon 17-40/4L as well for many other popular "pro" lenses, at least until Canon comes with a 17-70/4L, which would solve all the issues.

A nice bargain, especially for the people (still) shooting film.


 
Canon EF 17-40mm f/4L USM

ef17-40_4l_1_
Review Date: Mar 22, 2004 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $660.00 | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: Sharp, contrasty and very solid build.
Cons:
None, except price.

Before testing the lens, I was afraid the results will not be sharp given that almost every other wide angle I've seen was somehow soft. Surprisingly, the 17-40 delivers excellent images, both very sharp and contrasty. Colors are excellent and for this weight, you may carry it just about everywhere with your 10D, they seem to have been made one for each other.
Put side by side with the competition (eg. 17-35) I especially like the 77mm filter thread and fast USM autofocus, which I'd rate about 5 times faster than the Sigma 17-35. (yes, I've had that one as well, went to 17-40 for an upgrade)
Bottom line, after using it for about one week I've become hooked to it, will probably never travel or go shooting without having the 17-40 in the bag.

Superb quality, no doubt worth the 'L' in the name.


 
Sigma 105mm f2.8 EX Macro 1:1 Lens

05_105mmEX_1_
Review Date: Dec 31, 2003 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $300.00 | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: Cheap, superb glass
Cons:
A little bit soft at f2.8, CA above f5.6

I've got this lens to use it on my 10D for macro and portraits and been very happy with it. Image quality is terrific, colors just excellent and on the 10D (as well for D30, D60, 300D) it goes up to 1.6:1 which makes it almost as good as a G3+50mm/f1.8 reversed.
Of course, the Sigma 50mm/f2.8 Macro may be a little bit sharper but I believe that with the 105 you can get much better shots because you don't have to get as close to the subject as you would with a 50mm lens.
So, if you're looking for a good and affordable macro lens to use it on DSLR you can't beat the Sigma 105mm/f2.8 Macro EX.