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Sigma 15-30mm f3.5-4.5 EX Aspherical DG DF

15_30f35_45_1_
Review Date: Feb 3, 2006 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 9 

 
Pros: Sharp, well-built, works on full-frame as well as 1.3x and 1.6x cropped DSLRs. Focus a little noisy but more than fast enough for such a wide angle lens.
Cons:
Bit big & bulky. Hood / lens cap arrangement a bit clunky. Flare needs to be watched. Forget even trying to use the little pop-up flash on your camera body!

I was on the lookout for a wide lens for my EOS 10D. I've been making do with a 28-70 zoom since I got the 10D nearly a year ago, and was missing my wide angles.

I happenned to be walking past the local camera store (Jessops) and saw they had this Sigma for UKP 99.99 (about US$ 180). Most online prices are in the UKP 280-350 range. The store manager said it was being discontinued - but at that price is was way too hard to resist...

Initial tests seem to show that it is *very* sharp when stopped down a bit, and still pretty good wide open at the short end. Wide open at 30mm may be a bit on the soft side, but it's still more than usable.

There are some downsides: it's a big, bulky lens, and blocks the little built in flash on my 10D at all focal lengths. The hood arrangement is a bit cumbersome. It's no so bad if you use it only on a cropped DSLR - but if you mount it on a full-frame camera you need to remove a separate collar with the lens cap to avoid severe vignetting.

It is also a bit prone to flare. When indoors, lights in the frame can cause the odd blue spot. Being sensible outdoors during the day, however, reveals no significant problems.

All in all, for the price I'm extremely happy. I would still have been happy had I paid UKP300. If I'd paid the full UKP450 or so that this lens commanded when it first came out, then I think I would have been somewhat less forgiving of its shortcomings.


 
Sigma 28-300 f3.5-6.3 Macro

28_300_macro
Review Date: Mar 1, 2005 Recommend? no | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 3 

 
Pros: Wide zoom range, cheap, useful for those one-lens-must-fit-every-situation days.
Cons:
Distortion (at both ends), poor resolution at long end. Seemed nowhere near 300mm (change from 200mm to 300mm setting was negligible). My copy broke.

Ok it was very cheap, and I got some passable photos with it. Stopped down it was reasonably sharp, but wide open it was horrible. And the opportunities to use a 300mm f/6.3 lens handheld without it being wide open are very limited! Of course, I could have used a tripod, but that seemed to negate the whole ease-of-use ethos of this lens.

Focusing was often slow and ponderous, especially at the longer end of the zoom range.

Worst of all, my copy broke after 15 months (out of warranty). Sigma wanted more than it was worth to fix it.

I didn't bother.