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  Reviews by: agnius  

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Sigma 12-24mm f4.5-5.6 EX DG Aspherical HSM

Review Date: Sep 28, 2009 Recommend? | Price paid: Not Indicated

Pros: The widest lens on 35mm SLR system, useful range
I had 2 different copies of the lens - one had a soft spot on the left edge, another soft spots on the right

I got it from Amazon craving the ultra wide perspective. I loved the perspective, but the lens had soft spots that were just not acceptable. I contacted Sigma, and they advised to send in the lens and the camera. I did not have the luxury of time, so I returned the lens. Amazon gave me full credit for it, they stand behind the product they sell. Too bad, it could have been a much better experience.

Sigma 12-24mm f4.5-5.6 EX DG Aspherical HSM

Review Date: Mar 16, 2009 Recommend? no | Price paid: $799.00 | Rating: 4 

Pros: Lens is wide, colors are vivid, fairly sharp across the frame when focused at infinity
First sample was soft on the left edge of the frame, second sample is better, but dof becomes very fuzzy.

I have wanted a wider angle rectilinear lens since I got to play with a 15mm Sigma fisheye. When I received a 12-24 and taken couple shots, I was very disappointed by a band of softness on the left side of the frame. I contacted amazon, and they rushed me a new copy of the lens. The second copy did not have the soft side, but whenever focus was not at the infinity, background got soft - even dof scales predicted background being IN focus. Auto focusing didn't work too well on a wide end either. Focusing at 24, then zooming and recomposing worked better, but not locking on infinity led to contacting Sigma support, and they advised sending BOTH lens and camera in for calibration. After recently going through out of focus ordeal with Canon's d1sm3, I doubt that that will happen, especially when borrowed 16-35 mark2 focused dead on - I don't want ANYBODY messing with a working camera. So 12-24 is going back to Amazon soon, and I will seriously consider Canon's 14mm, as that's what I most liked about 12-24 (well, I liked 12, but 14 will have to do). I have been lusting for Nikon's 14-24 (and at the height of focusing crisis was almost ready to jump Canon's ship all together) but that's an expensive proposition. Adapter for Nikon G looses auto aperture control, and although might be doable, sounds too much like a hack. In my case switching systems is an unnecessary radical surgery - a solid shot of a "feel good syrup" might do a job. 14mm m2, there I come!

Sigma 50mm F1.4 EX DG HSM

Review Date: Nov 16, 2008 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 9 

Pros: Sharp, auto focus right on the money on Canon 5D, small (compared to 28-70 f2.8), bright
Mount is tight - not as smooth mounting as with Canon lenses

I like photographing at night, especially on Halloween. I like going to the West Hollywood parade and take portraits of people there. First attempt was to put f1.0 lens on Canon 1n 10 years ago ended up in a disaster - camera would not focus in the dark. Then, following year, I rented a Leica M6 with a f1.4 50mm - I could focus, but not fast enough for moving targets, but it was possible to work with pre-focusing. Then, exposures were off as there was no metering automation in the camera. Later, I acquired Konica Hexar Silver. Hexar could focus in the dark, would take great pictures, and I thought I was set. Then came digital revolution... I was back to the square one. I wish there was a rangefinder type digital camera with IR autofocus system. The rumors of digital Hexar never came true. Maybe Nikon will have a rangefinder type system coming in the future? Well, this year I rented Canon f1.2 50mm for my 5D, and was quite surprised. That lens was way sharper than my beloved f2.8 28-70, but still focusing was a problem. Next year I plan on using flash with a lumisphere, that should give some reasonably nice light to the darkness shots. But I regress. Canon's 50mm made me think of adding another prime to my shooting kit (I have f2.8 20mm, which I never considered that highly, just passable). I considered Canon's f1.4 50mm, but based on reviews available decided to forgo because of halation reports wide open. Sigma was a new kid on a a block, with good potential. So I bit the bullet and ordered one. I am very pleased with the results. I feel like I just saved a bunch of money over f1.2 50mm from Canon. Works great with 5D! I also use 25mm extension ring for close up shots, I feel this lens is very nice for that too. Lens has a nice finish to it, non slippery sandblasted feel. Color saturation and contrast are good. There is flare if you shooting into the sun (I did not have the included hood on though). There is a shot at f1.4 at iso 800, 1/25th sec -
Close up shot -

Canon EF 28-70mm f/2.8L USM

Review Date: Nov 10, 2008 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 9 

Pros: Good quality, durable, good image quality
Eventually zoom mechanism broke - would not zoom all the way. Canon repaired for around $100


I have purchased this lens based on the reviews of from the mid 90's. I have gotten over 10 years of good service from this lens. Now, after being repaired, it is going strong again. It has been stepped on during a bus tour in Baja Mexico (the little plastic window on the top of the barrel got cracked) but it still kept on ticking for the number of years. Eventually it jammed inside the Shiva temple in India, just to be restored to new state once back home and again continues going. That is some strong construction. I rented ef 100 2.8 macro, and I don't think it would survive as much use as the 28-70 has. 100 macro just feels way to fragile.

I have noticed that 28-70 is one of those lenses that as per Ron Popeil you just "set it and forget it". It is good for over 90% of type of photography that I enjoy. I have been thinking about getting a lens for a backup (in case of a break or jam again) but I am hard pressed to justify the weight and because of the recent overhaul I will keep using 28-70 for a long time.

The initial high price has been long forgotten and the quality of the lens will continue to perform for years to come.

Verdict: Workhorse lens.

Definitely recommended.