By >Daimaou - G.G-B
[Review] Sigma lenses, are they really worth your time and money? Well, the answer is YES!
As you know we at Akihabara News are not professional photographers and in fact we are still wondering what it means being a professional photographer. Well sure there are some people whose daily job is to shoot photos for a living but this does not mean that their pictures are always the most beautiful pieces of art ever. On the other hand there are some people among us who shoot photos for fun, never get paid for doing so and offer us fantastic pieces of photography… Basically what I want to stress here is that while we cannot call ourselves professional photographers, we however need on a daily basis to get the best pictures possible and to play with different settings and that gives us a unique opportunity to play with different cameras and lenses.
Like us, I am sure that you asked yourself many times once you bought your shiny new DSLR which lens to mount on it, which one will do the perfect job in all conditions. Ever since we started to use DLSR, just 10 years ago, we have been struggling to get a straight answer for you. To make things even more complicated, on the market there are lenses sold for your camera made by other manufacturers, often cheaper and on the paper identical to the ones proposed by your camera Manufacturer.
So how on earth in this jungle of lenses can we, the humble shooters, be sure to get the perfect one, the perfect lenses that will blow our little minds?
Since day one we have been heavy Canon users, and we trusted Canon to bring us perfect lenses matching our needs and our cameras. But, like most of you, we do not have a lot of cash to burn, and despite our needs to get these amazing Canon L Series wonders we had to look around if other manufacturers could bring us the same level of quality as these Canon L Series one.
If you look around there are on the market, for both Canon and Nikon, only 2 major manufacturers… Tamron and Sigma. Although disappointed with SIGMA lenses in the past, we decided to give SIGMA one a shot and asked both Canon and Sigma to give us some toys, sorry lenses and DSLR to play with and to check if the Sigma + Canon Combo would create the magic we were looking for at often half the price as what Canon is asking us for its L Series Lenses.
For our test, we took the several DLSR, our good old 30D, a 7D and 5D MK II, then we mounted our cameras with our stock Canon EF50mm F1.4 USM, a EF24-105mm F4L IS USM as well as a Sigma 50mm F1.4 EX DG HSM, a 12-24mm F4.5-5.6 EX DG ASPHERICAL HSM and finally a 24-70mm F2.8 IF EX DG HSM.
Just for you to know, we based our choice on what ideally we would buy for our use. I am sure if you may probably take other lenses, but with these 3 lenses we could cover most of our needs…
So what to think about these lenses?
Well, first of all we kind of liked the built quality of each lens. Sigma paid a lot of attention on their lenses to make sure that they will feel just right in your hands, as well as giving you a sense of “luxury” once mounted on your camera. To add to this, Sigma also offer for each of its lenses a nice little pouch to store and carry your lenses. Just for comparison, Canon do not offer pouch on most of their L lenses and regular lenses, but will offer you instead a simple basic bag that will not protect your lenses for any shocks.
Once mounted on our DLSR it is time for us to give these lenses a try. And to be very honest with you, we’ve been quite impressed by our selection of lenses. Quality-wise our 3 lenses were almost as good as the Canon ones, with however a huge difference in terms of contrast. While the Sigma lenses seem to offer a darker image with more contrast, the Canon ones seem to offer a more neutral picture with less contrast giving you more details in dark areas.
Taken the same day, at the same time on the same camera with the same setting it is very interesting to see that both Sigma lenses and Canon ones do not offer the same quality. Sure Canon lenses compared to the Sigma ones will offer sharper pictures especially on the edge of the image.
Another interesting aspect here is the difference between two inormally dentical lenses. In our case the 50mm ones where the Sigma lens mounted on the 5D MK II would offer a wider panorama (See picture below), and where the picture taken with the Canon lens seemed to have been slightly zoomed.
Finally, once you get to know your lenses better and know what the pictures look like, comes the Auto-Focus aspect, and on this one we have quite some difficulty to reach a final verdict. Basically we did not have much difficulty with our Sigma lenses AF and during our week long test could not see any point showing the Canon AF was better than the Sigma one… On the other hand, the Canon L Series lenses are, and this depending on your Canon Lens, often more responsive than their Sigma counterparts.
So… What to think about our 3 Sigma lenses? Well, once again we have to stress that we do not deem ourselves as Professionals, but for our needs we are quite happy with our selection. Sure the Canon lenses feel faster and produce sharper images on the edge, but the Sigma lenses for their price gave use a pretty descent result almost as good as the Canon one with the exception of the Sigma 50mm F1.4 EX DG HSM sold in Japan at around the same price as the Canon EF50mm F1.4 USM.
Bottom line, if you are looking forward to purchasing a Canon L Series lens but cannot afford it, make sure to have a look at Sigma line-up. You will most probably find exactly what you are looking for at a discount price and offering you a picture almost as good as what the Canon one offers.