Thursday, June 19, 2014

Alternative Lens For Full Frame Cameras - Sigma 24-105mm f4 DG

The new Sigma 24-105mm f4 DG lens is part of the new "Art" Series lenses from Sigma.

For many years, I had been using the Nikon 24-70mm f2.8 lens as my main lens for all of my full-frame cameras.  But I decided to try out a less expensive option to see if these new lenses could compete with the Nikon lens which is often considered the best lens in its focal range.

While the Sigma is not better than the Nikon 24-70mm f2.8, it comes very close.  And at its price, you can't ignore it.  The Nikon sells for $1889.95 whereas the Sigma is $899.  At nearly $1000 difference, it would be very tempting for many photographers to consider.

My copy of the Sigma proved to be a very sharp lens!  But that's not to say it is sharper than the Nikon.

Here are the pros and cons:

Significantly lower price
Overall, very sharp lens
High build quality
Slightly shorter in physical length than the Nikon
Constant aperture
Longer reach at 105mm instead of 70mm on the Nikon
Optical Stabilization for up to 3 times better "hand-holdability"

Vignetting at the corners (all lenses typically have some of this however)
Not as sharp at the corners compared to the center
Not weather sealed
Zoom ring is not in the same position as Nikon... it is closer to the front element rather than the rear element.
Manual Focus ring is rather small
Slower Auto Focus than the Nikon
Maximum aperture of f 4.0 rather than f 2.8
Slight chromatic aberration, especially in the wide angle focal lengths
More prone to lens flare than the Nikon
Heavy lens, almost as heavy as the Nikon

Even with all the cons (all lenses have cons!), I'd still highly recommend this lens for someone just starting out with a Full Frame camera or for someone with an APS-C camera and considering getting a full frame camera down the road.  It's a sharp lens overall and with its Optical Stabilization circuit, you can hand hold a 105mm shot at 1/15 second without much problems!  This helps make up for the f 4.0 maximum aperture when shooting in lower light.

Give this lens a try.  Even compared to Canon's 24-105mm f 4.0 "L" series lens, other reviewers are saying it is better for Canon users.