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  Reviews by: jma24  

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Sigma 28-70mm f2.8 EX Aspherical DF

Review Date: Jul 11, 2004 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $400.00 | Rating: 10 

Pros: Price, performance.
Not as good as Nikon's AFS 28-70 esp in relation to autofocus.

I bought this lens after the horrible performance of the 18-50 DC lens that I bought first. I had a go with this and was impressed, so I upgraded.

I loved the lens at first thought but wanted to wait before reviewing it and also replaced my camera body soon after (Fuji S2 in place of S1) so I waited a while longer before my 2 cents. I have now shot some 2-3000 frames so I think I'm qualified to have something to say now.

First impressions of the lens are that it is very well built indeed. I like the EX finish - it glances off the odd knock and scratch nicely. Lens hood is nicely made. Manual focus ring has plenty of friction, which makes it very nice to use in MF mode. Zoom ring is a bit stiff, but it is loosening up and I expect it to continue to do so.

In general use this lens is fast and sharp. I'm not totally convinced that this lens is really a 2.8 through and through, because it can be a little soft when wide open. Sigma have a habit of trying to match Nikon's technical specs with only being able to get 95% of the optical quality (albeit at a MUCH lower price point). This seems to show itself where you'd expect it most, wide open at 70mm. But if you use it as a 2.8/4.0 you will get great shots every time.

Flare is excellent, CA negligable, there is relatively little distortion (and I take pictures of my girlfriend's paintings, so distortion is obvious). Colour is simply lovely, outside in bright lights or at night.

Autofocus is the usual Sigma weakness - it's a bit loud especially when compared to say Canon's L series but I don't think the noise is such a problem. On my S1/S2, it also searches periodically, and its performance in low light leaves something to be deserved. Again, I often shoot in MF mode anyhow, so no worries there.

So if you have the money, the $1600 Canon/Nikon lens will make a small difference. If you don't (like me Smile, be thankful Sigma make a lens as good as this, at this price point, because the Tokina/Tamron/cheap Nikon alternatives that I tried didn't do what the EX can do.

Sigma 18-50mm F3.5-5.6 DC

Review Date: Jun 27, 2004 Recommend? no | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 2 

Pros: Price, compact
Everything else, especially autofocus

Everything else. The worst thing about this lens is the autofocus. It's plain awful. Noisy, terrible unless you're in a bright surrounding, I mostly just set it in manual mode and save on battery power. It constantly hunts and usually gets it wrong.

Other than that, the image quality is OK, if lacking a bit in sharpness. The lens has a tendancy to look a bit two-dimensional, as someone else pointed out. Oh, and below 28, the lens tends to distort the image something rotten.

I went into a shop today and tried out the 28-70 EX variant, and since they offer a 30 day money back guarantee I will be returning this lens next week. The EX was so much better in focussing and image quality.

If you truely need the cheapest lens money can buy, it does have a metal mounting and it is fairly reasonably made. But you get what you pay for.