About Thomas Fitzgerald

Thomas is a professional fine art photographer and writer specialising in photography related instructional books as well as travel writing and street photography. 

Sigma 70-200 f2.8 (Nikon) OS Initial Impressions

Sigma 70-200 f2.8 (Nikon) OS Initial Impressions

For the longest time I've wanted a Pro quality Zoom lens. I've been putting off buying one for my Canon 5DII because I wasn't planning on staying with Canon much longer. Now that I've got a shiny new D700 (more on that soon) I figured it was time to step up and get a pro quality lens to go with it. Now, the obvious answer of course would have been to get the Nikon 70-200 VR but that is very expensive, especially here in Ireland. Instead I started seriously looking at Sigmas option. Sigma zoom tests1

I've had mixed results in the past with Sigma lenses. I used to own a 24-70 f2.8 for my old Canon 5D (mark 1) but I found it to be very soft and I sold it when I got my Canon 24-105. I do have a Sigma 10-20 for my Nikon D90 and I've been mostly happy with that. So, going down the route of the 70-200 was a bit of a gamble, but most of the reviews of it online were very positive. In the end I got it for a very good price, so I'm pretty happy with my decision.

I'm saying that mind you in hindsight, because the proof as they say is in the pudding, and this pudding is damn tasty. Before I torture that metaphor any more let me say that, at least with my initial testing, this is one damn good lens. Very damn good.

For those who have never used a pro quality lens, the difference between that and the nearest consumer one is substantial. I don't mean to be elitist here, and I've taken many great shots with consumer lenses, but once you look through a lens of this calibre, you notice the difference immediately. People think it's all about sharpness. It's not (although this is sharp). It's about overall quality. Contrast is the first thing you notice. It's one of those things you read in lens reviews but don't appreciate till you see it first hand. And the Sigma 70-200 f/2.8 OS HSM DG (I've probably missed a few letters there) has it in spades. Oh, and speaking of sharpness, it's pretty bloody sharp.

Sigma zoom tests3

So, in case it wasn't obvious, I'm impressed with the lens. Very impressed. Are there downsides? Well, for one it's extremely heavy. It's like carrying around a 2 liter bottle of water with you. It's not exactly inconspicuous either. This thing is huge. You feel like people are watching you when you're out using it. (in fairness, they probably are)

It's also slightly soft at 2.8 when zoomed to 200. This isn't as big a deal as it sounds. It's still fairly sharp, but you can get, depending on your subject a sort of glow that softens the image. It's not major, but it's the only real let down, and to be honest it doesn't bother me that much. When you stop down to f4 it's gone and it's sharp as a tack

Sigma zoom tests6

I'll try and do a more full featured review when I've had more time to play with it, but for not those are my initial impressions.To sum it up succinctly: "lens good". For now, here's a few more sample images to enjoy:

Sigma zoom tests10


Sigma zoom tests7

Sigma zoom tests5

Sigma zoom tests8

Sigma zoom tests9


I've posted my full review of this lens now, and you can see it here.

New Photo Project - Designtography

Cloudy, With a chance of awesome