Published on May 4th,2010 at 2:35 PM
By >Daimaou - G.G-B

[Review] Sigma lenses, are they really worth your time and money? Well, the answer is YES!

Sigma lenses, does 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.

Sigma Lens

5D MK II Canon & Sigma Photos Sample

7D Canon & Sigma Photos Sample

30D Canon & Sigma Photos Sample

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.

Conclusion
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.

Category Review Cameras
              
[Review] Sigma lenses, are they really worth your time and money? Well, the answer is YES![Review] Sigma lenses, are they really worth your time and money? Well, the answer is YES![Review] Sigma lenses, are they really worth your time and money? Well, the answer is YES![Review] Sigma lenses, are they really worth your time and money? Well, the answer is YES![Review] Sigma lenses, are they really worth your time and money? Well, the answer is YES!
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Comments
 

  • http://cutkillavince.com Cutkillavince

    Thx, good to know ;)

  • Balls

    A professional photographer: someone who makes a living through photography. It has nothing to do with one’s skill level.

    While I disagree with testing methodology, I think you’re article’s conclusion hits an important point that is lost on so many photographers: The best lens is the one in your bag.

  • http://www.sapientia.com Boggy

    Grammar error in the title: not “does” but “are” … Thanks for the review.

  • http://www.pasdesite.com Paul

    ”shoot photo for a leaving” you meant ”shoot photo for a living ” ?

  • walang

    Just curious..
    How could the first image be taken at 24mm when the lens is narrowest at 14?

  • TW_s

    Something is wrong about the two first pics, one is said to be @ 14mm, and the other @24, but the image is exactly the same! This is only possible if the two were taken @24, or it was a mistake and someone published twice the same photo.

    Good to see the difference in the dark zones, never going out of nikon lenses now!

    Cheers!

  • Spalbird

    There is no 12-14mm in the Sigma lense line, but a 12-24! The angle of view is the same as in the second picture, therefore the picture was taken at 24mm. Very fast lenses like the f1.4 are optimised for low light situations where high contrast is needed. All three lenses are very good products from Sigma…

  • Umijin

    Lots of grammar errors – but I don’t mind. I know English isn’t your first language. I thought you had decided to become a Nikon fan after reading your reviews on the D90 and others, so I’m surprised to see you using Canon again.

    I think it would be more informative to post comparisons of the same focal ranges of lenses. And it looks like your Canon lens shot was taken when a cloud passed by. But I’m glad to hear you feel Sigmas have good heft and quality. I can’t afford Nikon lenses forever.

    • Daimaou – G-A.G

      Please, do not hesitate to send us your correction ;-)

  • http://www.digitizedchaos.com rian

    yep, for those strapped for cash (like me), third party lenses are the way to go..i’m currently on a quest for sigma glass.. i’m covered on the macro (sigma150) & super tele (sigma150-500) already, looking to replace my walk around zoom(canon1785) with a faster, better IQ (17-50) and midtele(canon50) with the sigma 30mm 1.4.. but from what i can tell from the sigma glasses that i have shot with, they’re the best bang for the buck.. and performed quite excellently.. the lens case & hood is a good bonus too.. ;D

  • Sakaphoto

    When I was selling cameras years ago, Sigma lenses were what you bought when you had to have something, even if quality didn’t matter and that’s what the company sold you.

    Since the EX line, I looked again and asked a lot of questions. Some of the lenses are really good like Bigma, the 50-500mm zoom, but others like the 30mm f/1.4 add colour and often require re-calibration.

  • Tonytee

    Okay, looking at the bottom two photos, to me it seems as though the Canon is a tad clearer. I determined this in this manner. Look at the brick colored building (restaurant). In the upper left hand corner are the words: Better Life Now. I have compared the sharpness of these words, particularly the two Es in the word, better. Using my magnifying glass, it is obvious to me that the Canon lens performed better. However, I must admit I like the color balance better with the Sigma. To me it appears to be a wash. It also depends on how discriminate a photographer, one wishes to be. Also, it depends on how strong one is financially. Overall, I believe either choice is a good one.

    Thanks for reading, and I hope this helps.

    Tony

  • Ben

    A flaw in comparing these images is that they were clearly taken at different times of the day. In my opinion, the images taken with the Cannon lens were taken at a time of day where the sunlight fell in a more pleasing way on the buildings! This was probably not done on purpose, but it definitely affects the comparison.

 

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