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  Reviews by: Bitty  

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Sigma 10-20mm F4-5.6 EX DC HSM

Review Date: May 1, 2007 Recommend? no | Price paid: $289.00 | Rating: 4 

Pros: Nice EX finish, lens bag and hood. Small and HSM. Works on any EF mount.
Won't AF consistently.

I have 15-30 but wanted something smaller and wider. This 10-20 fitted the bill and pocket. Sadly, it's AF is way off on my 20D and D60. It will focus then it won't. Nearby is more certain than farther off. My 15-30 is much better. I'll stick with that rather than play lens tennis.

Canon EF 20-35mm f/3.5-4.5 USM

Review Date: Dec 13, 2005 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $110.00 | Rating: 9 

Pros: Good optically, nice contrast and colour, ring USM with FTM. It is small on contrast to my other lenses and so will travel easily.
MF ring tiny, but usable.

I bought this used from Park Cameras, UK. It was supposed to be in 'nice condition' but is anything but. It is very marked all over, the hood has a split in it and it stops a little short of 35mm at 33mm. Do they bother to check these lenses before selling them? However, I like it. Optically, it is clean and very good even wide open (edges are a little soft there). I like the warm contrasty tones it produces - a little like my Sigma 15-30 EX DG. I like its small size too. AF is quite fast on a 20D and silent. There is some barrel distortion at the wide end but nothing too bad. I also get some CA and flare but again nothing objectionable. I paid 110 UK for it and think that's not too bad for what I got - scratches are cosmetic and 2mm is not that much. I only hope it lasts...

Sigma 20-40mm f2.8 EX Aspherical DG DF

Review Date: May 3, 2005 Recommend? no | Price paid: $260.00 | Rating: 2 

Pros: None
See below

Got this today from UK. I was not convinced it was brand new; I'd guess new. Whether this was as Sigma off-loading returns, I do not know. Whatever, using a 20D and D60 with a good tripod) there is nothing optically that looks right about this lens. I tried it outside first then a newspaper test. It is soft in different places (right side, left side, all over etc) at different focal lengths and apertures. Even f8 still leaves soft corners. It is flare prone and exhibits a lot of CA - as bad as my pocket Canon S50.

Mechanically it seems fine - just like my Sigma 28-70 EX DF (which is a very good lens). But the comparison stops there.

In the last 12 months, I have tried five Sigma lenses from three different shops. I tried two 15-30s from Jessops both proved to be faulty. I tried two 20 f1.8s from Ffordes both optically faulty. Now I have just tried a 20-40 and the same faulty performance. Sigma trully is getting a very bad name for quality. These were all EX lenses, ie their best. I truly do not think I will bother with Sigma again. When they're good they're really good value but trying to get one is NOT worth the hassle!

Sigma 20mm f/1.8 EX DG Aspherical RF

Review Date: Apr 27, 2005 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 4 

Pros: Very sharp in areas. Great macro for closeup work. Colour was slightly warm which I like.
Sadly the two I tried, direct Sigma UK, were terrible with decentred elements.

I had read so much about this lens over time that I finally decided to go for one. Mine was sent direct from Sigma UK. First one was right-side soft - top to bottom - and the centre was not in the centre but towards the bottom left. A lemon.

Second one again from Sigma UK was slightly better but still had the same basic issues as the first. It was though much sharper - indeed, the sharpest lens I have ever seen. But the sharpness was ruined by a decentred element(s).

I hate these lens ping pong games. I just want what I pay for and if Sigma cannot be bothered to provide enough QC to supply a usable lens to me, then I cannot be bothered trying anymore. They really need to do something about this kind of thing.

So potentially a great lens let down by poor QC.

Canon EOS D60

Review Date: Apr 3, 2005 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 9 

Pros: Handles well. Excellent image quality. Accurate AF. Durable.
Slow general operation by today's standards - but still very usable in most situations.

Handles well. Excellent image quality. Colour is very nice with rich, not over-saturated, colours. At iso100-200 it is better than the 20D which I also have - not bad for a three-year old dslr! Using RAW and C1 Pro, then iso400 to 800 is as good as the 20D. I prefer the smooth plastic of the D60 to the buff metal of the 20D - it cleans easier and is very durable. I also think that the D60 is better built than the 20D - the bits fit better and seem more solid.

AF and low-light AF are understandably slower than today's DSLRs. But, given reasonable light and even lowish-light, it performs very well. Use the 550EX AF assist and the low-light problem is gone. Its AF accuracy is very good - very few OOF shots. General speed of operation is slower than today's DSLRs, egs are CF operations, turning on, image viewing. The 20D is VERY fast by contrast.

After three years with the D60 I still use it though I use the 20D more - basically because of the speed. For anyone who cannot afford a 350D then a D60 would be a great alternative.