BetterPhoto Q&A
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Photography Question 
Elijah J. Kihlstadius
 

Sigma lenses


Lets establish something first. I am a eager beginner/intermediete photographer without a job and limited resources when it comes to money.

I have two questions:

First, I really can't spend $500+ on a super good lens, so I am wondering if me buying a $100-$150 sigma lens is really going to compromise image quality (like, its not even worth buying).

Second, I want to decide between the Sigma 28-70mm f/2.8-4 and the Sigma 28-105mm. I plan to get a 70-300mm or 70-200mm lens, so I am wondering if its worth the sacrifice of 35mm from the focal length and the $30 more on the price tag (I am wondering because it claims to have fast auto focus). So if anyone out there has had experience with these lenses, and is eager to lend some helpful advice, I would be eternally grateful. Thank you!!


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8/20/2007 5:57:44 PM

 
John P. Sandstedt
BetterPhoto Member Since: 8/8/2001
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  One of the things about the Q&As is that the same question is asked over and over. Folks really should check out the many, many tthreads and the equipment reviews before asking identical questions.

I know - because it's yours [or anyone else's] it's unique. But, it really isn't.

Years ago, buying the lenses manufacturered by a camera maker mattered much more than it does today. In fact, Tokina and Sigma make lenses for Nikon and Pentax, and the number of after market manufactirers has shrunk from 10 to 3.

There really is no problem with after market manufacturers' product in general. But, you need to check the reviews for any given lens. ANd, that goes for Nikon and Canon.


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8/21/2007 6:40:31 AM

 
John P. Sandstedt
BetterPhoto Member Since: 8/8/2001
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  One other thing. You didn't identify the camera body you're using. Assuming it's a digital SLR, you shouldn't be considering the 28-70 mm amd 28-105 mm zooms at all; rather something like the Tamron 17-50 mm or its 17-250/300 mm zoom. Sigmas makes fine lenses in the same zoom range.

You need 17 mm as the wide angle starting point because it translates to a 28 mm equivalent focal length.

If you're using a film body, go for a 28-200/300 mm zoom [Sigma and Tamron both make excellent lenses.]

You really need only one lens; I know as I am well served with my Canon EOS 3 fitted with the first generation Tamron 28-200 mm zoom even after eight years. Took vacations with this equipment to Hawaii, the Canadian Northwest, Italy and the Greek Isles.

And, although I had to buy the Canon 17-85 mm IS zoom to get 28 mm wide angle with my Canon 30D, I still use my Tamron 28-200 mm and it's very superior cousin the Tamron 200-440 mm zoom for digital work.


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8/21/2007 7:35:18 AM

 
Elijah J. Kihlstadius   Yes John, I agree with you on the FAQ, but I wasnt sure what to look for (if you understand). I don't like FAQ's either, but I was looking for a quick answer to my question without having to search around fro one. Thanks for the advice. I actually went with a Sigma 28-300mm that was on eBay for only $185 including shipping. No need to switch out lenses now! Thanks again!


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8/21/2007 7:35:57 AM

 
Elijah J. Kihlstadius   Oh, didn't see your second post just then. So do you think the 28-300mm was a bad choice? I can just get a 17-35mm lens. But I will look up that 17-250/300mm. Oh and BTW, what about the stock canon lens (18-55mm) what would that be?


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8/21/2007 7:42:12 AM

 
John P. Sandstedt
BetterPhoto Member Since: 8/8/2001
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  Once, again, you didn't identify the camera body. If it's digital, the 28-300 mm is not as good a choice as the 17-250/300 mm would have been. For the reason, there's no wide angle [capability.]

If you're using a traditional camera [film,] the selction is fine


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8/21/2007 7:45:52 AM

 
Elijah J. Kihlstadius   I am sorry, I thought I said the camera. I am using a Canon 20D. So how much does that 17-250/300mm run anyways?


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8/21/2007 7:52:41 AM

 
John P. Sandstedt
BetterPhoto Member Since: 8/8/2001
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  Approx. $450 for the 17-250 mm at Adorama.


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8/21/2007 8:28:43 AM

 
Elijah J. Kihlstadius   Yeah, a great buy, but not really in my price range. If I just got the 17-35mm or the 18-85mm I should be good right?


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8/21/2007 9:29:26 AM

 
John P. Sandstedt
BetterPhoto Member Since: 8/8/2001
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  I guess I don't understand what you have or want. It took too many e-mails to learn you have a 20D. You should have, as a minimum, the kit lens - an 18-55 mm zoom. That gives you the wide angle you should have.

But, now, you say you want to move to a Sigma 28-70 [that I can't find on the Adorama web site for Canon mounts] to a choice between a 17-35 or 18-85 mm lens. These are not an either or selection possibility - and I've concluded, finally, that you're pulling my and everyone else's leg.

If you were honestly thinking of two decent lenses, their combined prices would be in the order of $350-450. Thus, $450 for the Tamron I suugested is right on budget. But, once again, you've gone to the Q&A to ask someone to make your selection for you.

Why haven't you looked at the Adorama, B&H or Amazon web sites, read the reviews and made your own decision.

If you haven't been able to do that, you probably have way too much camera for your artistic or mechanical skill levels in phtography amd, frankly, why not just try to learn a little with a point and shoot?


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8/21/2007 11:01:29 AM

 
Leisa Allen
BetterPhoto Member Since: 2/7/2007
  Elijah,
Don't buy the 18-55 kit lens. It is yucky. It is the one that comes on most of the canon cameras, and it is not worth the money.
I think that if people are irritated by the questions being asked, they should choose not to respond.
What kind of pictures are you taking? Portraits, landscape, weddings? That will make a difference in what you will want to buy.
~Leisa


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8/21/2007 1:31:33 PM

 
Ken Smith
BetterPhoto Member Since: 6/11/2005
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  I've been very pleased with the Sigma 10-20mm wide angle, and the 105mm macro lens.

SuSana Pindyath also uses the Sigma 105mm macro, and her shots are pretty good! Here's her gallery link:
http://www.betterphoto.com/gallery/gallery.asp?mem=86401


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8/21/2007 2:39:55 PM

 
Diane Dupuis
BetterPhoto Member Since: 12/27/2003
  Personally I have the Tamron 28-75 2.8 and I really like it! I also can't afford more than twice as much for the Canon version. Something else for you to consider...


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8/25/2007 5:52:35 PM

 
John G. Clifford Jr
BetterPhoto Member Since: 8/18/2005
  Okay, you have $500 to spend. My advice is, get the best quality lens you can afford, in the most useful focal length range. That way you won't have to buy it again.

The Sigma 17-70/2.8-4.5 is a very good lens and on your Canon is equivalent to a 28-105 on a 35mm SLR. That's a very useful focal length range.

My favorite in this range, and a lens I have and am very happy with, is the Sigma 18-50/2.8 EX DG Macro. Sharp at all focal lengths wide open, and VERY sharp stopped down a stop or two. Equivalent to a 28-80 on a 35mm SLR, which again is a very useful range. You get better overall image quality compared to the 17-70 and give up a little reach.

Save your pennies, and pick up a Sigma 50-150/2.8 EX in a few months and then you'll have two great lenses and be ready for nearly all photographic opportunities.


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8/27/2007 2:11:30 AM

 
Elijah J. Kihlstadius   Actually I have (or will have) about $350-400 to spend. Does that Sigma 17-50mm have solid 2.8 throughout the entire focal length? Like, does it do 2.8 at 50mm is what I mean.


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8/27/2007 7:01:03 PM

 
Bernard    Does that Sigma 17-50mm have solid 2.8 throughout the entire focal length? Like, does it do 2.8 at 50mm is what I mean.

Elijah, yes it does' I own one. I also use the sigma 50-150 f2.8, I give odds that the next question is "hows the quality? my answer to that question may be biased because I have nothing to compare it to, but Pop photo mag. gave it excellent reviews.


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8/28/2007 12:16:48 PM

 
Elijah J. Kihlstadius   Actually my question is which is better the 17-70 or the 18-50?


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8/28/2007 4:13:59 PM

 
Bernard    oops! I should have read the question more carefully.


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8/28/2007 4:24:03 PM

 
Elijah J. Kihlstadius   So is really all about whether I want aperture over focal length?


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8/28/2007 5:37:59 PM

 
Bernard    Aperture- the greater the light gathering ability the more you pay, the better the glass quality the more you pay , add to that former.. focal length, you pay even more, unless the dealer really likes you. I couldn't afford the price range of Nikon/Canon.
Have yopu thought about the Sigma then adding to it a teleconverter. I hope John C. above dosen't this qoute:

from John C. I don't have any drawbacks with the TC14 teleconverter. on my 70-200/2.8 or the 50-150/2.8 it doesn't seem to have any adverse effect... Except, of course, you trade 40% more focal length for one less f-stop.


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8/29/2007 1:22:42 AM

 
John G. Clifford Jr
BetterPhoto Member Since: 8/18/2005
  Sigma's 17-70/2.8-4.5 lens is a variable aperture lens (the max aperture decreases as the focal length increases). The 18-50/2.8 EX DG Macro has a fixed f/2.8 aperture throughout the focal length range.

Sigma's EX lens line is their top quality. Although the 17-70 is a very good lens, the 18-50 is better according to the MTF charts on Sigma's website. I can vouch that my 18-50 is VERY sharp at all focal lengths. There is a little softness at the edges wide-open, but at f/4 and above everything is tack sharp. I also don't see any CA (which is a big problem in the cheaper Sigma 18-50/3.5 kit lens).

To be honest, unless you pixel-peep at full-sized images you'll never see the difference between the two. They're also within $20 or $30 in price, so if you value the extended focal length range of the 17-70 over a slight sharpness increase and a fixed f/2.8 aperture, there's your answer, and vice-versa. For me, using the lens on a Sigma SD10 and SD14 (two cameras that like shooting at ISO 100 thru 400) it was vice-versa.


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8/30/2007 9:38:21 PM

 
Elijah J. Kihlstadius   Wow, you guys rock. I couldn't ask for more info! well, actually thats wrong because I was wondering wow fast the auto focus is on these lenses too. Auto focus is a bug factor for me. Thank you so much! I plan to get the 17-70mm, infact I was bidding on one last night but I got sniped at the least second :-/. Hope to let you guys know how my new lens works out for me when I get it.


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8/31/2007 8:30:10 AM

 
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