Sigma 12-24mm F/4.5-5.6 EX DG HSM Zoom Lens for Canon Digital and Film Camera
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- Ultra wide angle zoom lens offers 122 degree view along the diagonal axis
- 12-24 millimeter focal length
- f/4.5-5.6 maximum aperture
- Super multi coating reduces flare and ghosting
- Hyper sonic motor
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This Sigma 12-24mm f/4.5-5.6 lens has a large variable angle of view from 122 degrees super wide-angle (at 12mm/diagonal axis) to 84.1 degrees. The 4 Special Low Dispersion (SLD) glass elements enable effective compensation of color aberration, which is a common problem with super-wide angle lenses. Features an inner focusing system that keeps the length of the lens unchanged while controlling aberration, a minimum focusing distance of 11-inch at all focal lengths and it's equipped with a petal-type hood to block out extraneous light.
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Most helpful customer reviews on Amazon.com
My first experience with Sigma was a 28-300 I had on a camera ages ago. The barrel oil canned and picture quality was so-so. I needed this lens for performing interior and exterior home remodeling pictures as part of a contract job.
First impressions when unboxing. Wow. This is a different breed of lens than my first Sigma. The lens feels solid and well made. Has a nice carry case that comes with it, even though I don't use them.
My first day of playing with the lens was a cloudless day at a tree preservation high up on a hill. First couple of shots I noticed a lot of vignetting on the LCD. I realized then that the lens hood on the end of the lens slides off easily to expose, Popeye!
When not shooting with the hood, you have to be very wary of the sun angles, as you'll get immense flare from the intense curvature of the lens.
The lens takes some learning because of distortion and your physical relationships to your subject. Don't expect, as with any lens, to throw it on and start shooting keepers.
I've found far more uses for this lens that I originally anticipated. In addition to the interior photography, I've found it quite useful in providing a unique venue snapshot when shooting weddings. I will try to upload some customer photos from the lens.
For use on a cropped sensor camera, such as the XT, 20D or 30D a better choice may be the Canon 10-22mm which is uber-sharp in the middle of the frame. The Canon, however, gives fuzzy images on the sides when wide open but sharpens up when stopped down to f8 or more. My third copy of the Sigma lens is less sharp than the Canon in the center of the frame but is sharper starting about halfway to the edge when both lenses are wide open. Near the edges of the frame the Canon gives a dark and mushy image when wide open at 12mm while the Sigma is only slightly less sharp than at the center - truly amazing!
Unfortunately, Sigma lenses are seemingly sold "as-is" with wide sample variations. The autofocus died on my first copy of the lens after less than 30 pictures. The second copy had poor optics with soft and fuzzy pictures even when manually focused. The third copy is sharp at 12mm, even wide open, all the way to the edges, but only if manually focused. At 12mm the lens autofocuses too far away when an object is close and too close for distant objects. At 24mm it autofocuses right on but is softer than at 12mm. I've decided to keep it since it is easy to manually focus. The depth of focus is large at 12mm. For objects further than a few meters away when using 12mm just set the lens to infinity and everything from a few feet to infinity is in focus even at the edges of the frame and in the corners. The lens has a 4-year warranty so I may send it in to Sigma for calibration later.
Pros: (1) Unique ultra-wide angle perspective on a full-frame camera. (2) A good copy will be optically sharp all the way across a full frame, even wide open. Further, there's virtually no purple chromatic aberation near the edges of dark objects with bright backgrounds. (3) Nice build quality with good finish and large smooth focus ring. (4) Straight lines stay straight so no defishing needed (defishing uses interpolation which lowers resolution away from the center). (5) Lens comes with a case and has a small built-in hood (serves mainly to protect the front element). (6) 4-year USA warranty if purchased from an authorized dealer like Amazon or B&H. Otherwise you get a 1-year International Warranty.
Cons: (1) Wide sample variation - getting a good copy takes luck or persistence while trying multiple copies. (2) The bulbous front element (this lens is nicknamed "Popeye") is exposed and no standard filter can be used for protection so be very careful. (3) Flares easily. The sun does not need to be in the picture just anywhere not behind you. This is a result of the ultra-wide design and not a fault of Sigma. (4) Photos sometimes come out too bright, giving the appearance of low contrast. Photoshop or other software easily fixes.