1. OCAU Merchandise is available! Check out our 20th Anniversary Mugs, Classic Logo Shirts and much more! Discussion in this thread.
    Dismiss Notice

My SIGMA 20-40 f2.8 EX DG Review [Updated!]

Discussion in 'Photography & Video' started by jakiman, Jun 23, 2006.

  1. jakiman

    jakiman Member

    Joined:
    Mar 25, 2004
    Messages:
    1,251
    Location:
    Sydney
    Hi all! First time ever posting in the ocau photography forums for me. =)
    (I'm no newbie when it comes to this field though.. hehe..)

    anyways..

    I am a Canon 20D user currently and after some financial issues, I had to sell all my lenses and was left with only the 50 1.4 lens. (Which is brilliant by the way..)

    As I needed an "everyday" lens and always enjoy shooting close ups of everyday life situations and people around me, I decided to go for a wide zoom lens.

    But money was an issue for me still. Then I found a brand new SIGMA 20-40mm F2.8 EX DG online for only AU$400 shipped from US..!! (From Cameta Photos - US$249 + US$50 for express USPS shipping with tracking - Zero GST and Custom Duty as it is below $500 in total. Ended up being around $410 all up.)

    Official Link -> http://sigma-photo.com/lenses/lenses_all_details.asp?id=3259

    So here it is.. A photo of my new "just arrive 2-days-ago" lens..

    [​IMG]

    It's an awkward focal length zoom lens for a DSLR but boy is it good.. (Equiv., 32-64 on the 20D.. 26-52 on the 1.3x crop 1D..)

    The firt thing you notice is the size.. It's much bigger than the 17-40L lens and is also bigger than the Sigma 20 1.8 EX lens also.. (Looks similar though..) But it isn't heavy.. Only 590grams or so..

    Then mount the lens and half press the shutter........omg....focusing motor sound is so robotic and high pitched.. quite loud actually.. sounds like a electric motor when it's not oiled properly.. lol..

    But that's okay.. most of the time, this will either be shooting at infinity outdoors or shooting close up portraits indoors.. so it's not bad at all.. it still focuses fast enough for most purposes..

    The zooming action will protrude the lens unlike the inner-zoom such as the 17-40L... at 20mm, it is out the most and at 40mm, the lens is at its shortest.. It is suitably tight and hence does not move by itself when used vertically..

    Have tried testing the focusing for accuracy as this is my 4th Sigma and 2 of the 3 so far had serious focusing issues. (Couldn't even focus a person inside its own DOF from even like 2m away..!! total blur of the person and well focused to the item behind him/her)

    Here's my totally unscientific test photo.

    [​IMG]

    I've focused on the "P" and it did quite well considering that this is such a shallow DOF situation. I'm happy already. (The pinkyness on the bottom was due to the RAW conversion where I had to up the exposure and change the white balance.. Nothing to do with the lens.. Just due to poor lighting in my office environment...)

    Then the image quality.. As this is not a review and as I haven't had any time to get ready for one, there's not much 100% crops but trust me, my sample of this 20-40 is sharper than the 17-40L F4 and the 24-105L IS F4 lens I've used frequently even at a brighter F2.8 wide open aperture.. Stop it down to the same F4 and it's way ahead.. (In ALL focal lengths..)

    Here is a sample photo and its 100% crop of the centre below.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    (This was shot in RAW with ISO 1600 so don't let the noise of the sensor deter you from how sharp this still is. Totally non-sharpened while converting to RAW and then it was resized and saved using best JPG compression setting.)

    Not just the center but even corner to corner.. (Don't have photos up on the net yet to link..) I guess this is more so as this lens was made for a full frame sensor/film.. so the actualy "edge" of the glass is not being used on the 20D..

    The colour balance is on the typical "old-Sigma-lens-trademark warm" side but I actually prefer this to a slightly colder looking of some Canon lenses.. (And as I only shoot in RAW, this is a non-issue)

    I don't have many photos to upload at the moment as I'm at work right now..
    here's two.. handheld close up shot of my new toy.. NDS Lite.. here..

    [​IMG]

    It wasn't shot with any thought into it, only to just show my friends by email..
    Shot wide open with a shaky 1/40sec or so shutter speed with ISO 800..

    And here's another of my mouse....... =P

    [​IMG]

    This was shot with ISO 1600.. 40mm F2.8 with 1/160sec shutter speed.

    anyways.. Reviews of this lens on the internet is VERY rare so here's my short non-review-review of the lens so far..

    For the money, it's a definite bargain of the century..
    (But 82mm filters it uses are definitely not in the bargain category.....)

    Positives
    - It looks awesome mounted. Very professional looking.
    - Very Solid. Build like a tank. More solid/durable feeling than 17-40L lens.
    - Large flower shaped hood is included.
    - Bright/Fast F2.8 aperture at all focal lengths.
    - Image quality , sharp and a little warm in colour which I prefer more than cold..
    - Very accurate manual focus ring. No looseness whatsoever. Good feel.
    - Can get very close to the subject. Closer than the 17-40L lens.

    Negatives
    - Not as fast or quiet as Ring USM. But it's as fast as the Micro USM.
    - Very large and expensive 82mm filter thread.
    - Not as wide as the 16-35L F2.8. (But no where near as expensive)

    ------

    Any comments / questions are welcome about my review / lens!! :D
     
    Last edited: Jun 23, 2006
  2. oli

    oli Member

    Joined:
    Jun 29, 2002
    Messages:
    7,263
    Location:
    The Internet
    Interesting.

    Looks good considering the price.

    Personally I think the range is a little restrictive though - it's not quite an ultra wide since it's not under 20mm, and it's not quite long enough being only 40mm.

    I'm not really in the market for a lens like this but thanks for the review anyway.
     
  3. Arch-Angel

    Arch-Angel Member

    Joined:
    Sep 6, 2005
    Messages:
    6,940
    Location:
    Brisbane
    It seems like a good lens, and a very competitive price, but I don't think it's enough to sway me from a 17-40L.

    That said, it might serve well as a compliment to the 17-40, as they are notoriously soft at the narrow end. -> Can you give us a shot or two at 40mm f/4??

    Then again, spose there isn't much point in have 2 lenses that cover 20-40mm... :p
     
  4. OP
    OP
    jakiman

    jakiman Member

    Joined:
    Mar 25, 2004
    Messages:
    1,251
    Location:
    Sydney
    Well, if I had to choose between this and a 17-40L, i would choose the 20-40.
    I have used the 17-40L quite a bit and just didn't like the F4 max aperture.

    Of course, 17-40L is better in everything other than the aperture.. =)

    But as I shoot mainly available-light photography, 1 stop is a huge difference..
    Viewfinder is a little brighter and the focusing is usually more faster/accurate.
    (Also, I do have the 50 1.4 still for even better portraits anyways..)

    (This is all taking into consideration the cheap price of this lens btw..)
    (Coz there are better F2.8 wide zooms such as the new Tamron 17-50..)

    I will shoot some stuff at 40mm F4 and post it up later.. =)
     
  5. Kenny12

    Kenny12 Member

    Joined:
    Aug 1, 2002
    Messages:
    2,801
    Location:
    Sydney
    wait this things sharper than a 17-40 at 2.8? :wired:
     
  6. OP
    OP
    jakiman

    jakiman Member

    Joined:
    Mar 25, 2004
    Messages:
    1,251
    Location:
    Sydney
    Comparing to a 17-40L that I've had, Yes, it definitely is much sharper wide open than a 17-40L wide open. (It wasn't that bad of a sample either)

    Keep in mind, like all lenses, they vary in sharpness from sample to sample. Same for L lenses.

    My Sigma lense history so far :

    - Sigma 24mm F1.8 EX DG which was tack sharp wide open but 75% of the time, it didn't focus accurately enough stay within its shallow DOF.

    - Sigma 20mm F1.8 EX DG which was way softer than this lens wide open and roughly equal this 20-40 lens at f2.8.

    - Sigma 70-200 F2.8 EX DG which was not as sharp as this 20-40 wide open but didn't focus accurately at all also.

    (I'm very picky in terms of focusing accuracy and am aware of DOF and what is regarded as sharp or not. I'm not a perfectionist by any means but still like to be a critic..)

    If it passes my unscientific tests of focusing and 100% crop acceptable sharpness, and if it produces likable results in real life, then it passes my satisfactory levels. =)
     
  7. OP
    OP
    jakiman

    jakiman Member

    Joined:
    Mar 25, 2004
    Messages:
    1,251
    Location:
    Sydney
    BTW, my 50 1.4 is super sharp at F2.0. It's the sweet spot for my sample.
    (It doesn't get any sharper above F2.0. It doesn't need to. haha.)
    (It's soft at 1.4. Still useable if need to, but i try not to coz of it.)

    This 20-40 lens at F2.8 is imo not as sharp as my 50 1.4 @ 2.0.
    But there's such a little visible difference that it doesn't matter in real life.
    (Only on the monitor blown up at 100% and beyond which is useless)

    Anyways, there are a few guys at Dpreview forums who claim that this 20-40 is as sharp or sharper than L primes. I cannot disagree with results from my sample.

    I will post more photos later when I get a chance to. Maybe tomorrow.
     
  8. Kenny12

    Kenny12 Member

    Joined:
    Aug 1, 2002
    Messages:
    2,801
    Location:
    Sydney
    wow great lens for the price then, how did u get it at $400AU when the RRP is like 450USD
     
  9. OP
    OP
    jakiman

    jakiman Member

    Joined:
    Mar 25, 2004
    Messages:
    1,251
    Location:
    Sydney
    Just search for "Sigma 20-40mm" from below link.

    http://stores.ebay.com.au/Cameta-Camera

    They are a huge camera retailer. And I received this lens within 3 working days of payment. (And I live in Sydney. Was able to track the item online and everything through USPS) (You can pay by credit card also directly from their site so you have full credit card purchase protection if you are suspect)

    It comes with full proper retail box, an unsigned Sigma global warranty card. (So worldwide warranty , I've used these cards with Sigma before so i know) (But I cannot guarantee as they don't advertise this lens having global warranty :p )
     
  10. Kenny12

    Kenny12 Member

    Joined:
    Aug 1, 2002
    Messages:
    2,801
    Location:
    Sydney
  11. OP
    OP
    jakiman

    jakiman Member

    Joined:
    Mar 25, 2004
    Messages:
    1,251
    Location:
    Sydney
    Yeah.. it is poor.. So far my hit rate has been 50% from 4 Sigma lenses.
    (Although 3 out of 4 were bought as second hand so can't comment..)

    But I've had the same with Canon 24-105L.. So it's all a hit&miss imo.. :p

    Also, most people put up comments more so if it doesn't work properly..
    (You don't normally hear from people who has very good lenses.. hehe..)
     
  12. oli

    oli Member

    Joined:
    Jun 29, 2002
    Messages:
    7,263
    Location:
    The Internet
    I dare say there are more people buying Sigma lenses than Canon ones - simply because of the price. This assumption also leads me to think that the "hit rate" probably isn't all that different between Sigma and Canon gear, the stories are just amplified thanks to the number of people using the Sigma gear...

    Also, two camera salespeople I've spoken to in one of Adelaide's largest camera stores believed Sigmas lenses were no worse than Canons when it came to returns.
     
  13. OP
    OP
    jakiman

    jakiman Member

    Joined:
    Mar 25, 2004
    Messages:
    1,251
    Location:
    Sydney
    yeah.. I agree..

    cheaper stuff = more users = more non-experienced users = more complaints
     
  14. locopano

    locopano Member

    Joined:
    Oct 8, 2003
    Messages:
    1,006
    Location:
    Melbourne
    I agree too.. i try not to test my lenses as if it works ok in normal shooting and doesnt bother me then i just leave it at that. On a side note i believe i bought my first Tamron 28-75 from you. I recognise your webpage - JAY??

    I also ended up getting the Sigma 24-70mm. Still thought that the tamron was slightly sharper but it played up on my 1D so i didnt keep it at the time. Both lenses are awesome.

    PS how did you pay cameta? via credit card over the phone?? they dont seem to accept paypal.
     
  15. OP
    OP
    jakiman

    jakiman Member

    Joined:
    Mar 25, 2004
    Messages:
    1,251
    Location:
    Sydney
    wow.. yeah.. i'm Jay.. so you must have bought it off me.. :shock:

    yeah.. but my sample of that 28-75 was quite a sharp one.. :D

    paid via credit card via Cameta online order form url.
    (Which they send you via email after you win the auction)
     
  16. locopano

    locopano Member

    Joined:
    Oct 8, 2003
    Messages:
    1,006
    Location:
    Melbourne
    hmm looks like i may have one comming my way soonish so i will see how it goes on the 1D. Its basically the same as what a 16-35 f2.8 would be on a 20D because the 1D is only 1.3x so its going to be farily wide.

    I've decided ive had it with the Sigma 24-70mm and 28-75mm tamrons as they are either too short for portraits and not wide enough in reality for wide work so its just endless BS. Hopefully this will fit a little better into what i want to do with it.

    I agree with what you said in your other post about using lenses for applications other than what is traditional. When i had my 10-22 i liked the "portraits" it produced.

    I hope this works well with the 1D.
     
  17. OP
    OP
    jakiman

    jakiman Member

    Joined:
    Mar 25, 2004
    Messages:
    1,251
    Location:
    Sydney
    ahh. I hope the sample of your 20-40 is as good as mine. :D
    it'll end up being 26mm - 52mm which isn't too bad at all on the 1D.

    And definitely let us know about the lense with the 1D and up some samples.
    Would love to see some more oppinions about these "rare" lenses. hehe.
     
  18. locopano

    locopano Member

    Joined:
    Oct 8, 2003
    Messages:
    1,006
    Location:
    Melbourne
    Jay - i did end up getting one of these

    My Impressions:
    - Its built like most other sigmas but its alot smaller than the 24-70 in length which is great.
    - On the 1D its the equivalent of a 16-35 f2.8 on 20D/30D which is nice and wide ( i find it much better suited to a 1D over 20D). Those 4mm extra width are much more apparent than the jump from say 28mm Tamron to 24mm Sigma f2.8.
    - Sharpness is excellent, i would say its been the sharpest Sigma zoom i have purchased. I find it sharper than my 24-70mm @ the wide end, or at least more consistently sharper. Have been very pleased with the results. May be that the 1D interacts better with this lens than the 24-70mm.
    - Contrast and Colours - also seem better than 24-70mm f2.8. Again might be 1D but whatever it is i really like the colours and bokeh and this lens.

    I feel overall its a bargain, its an awesome range for me as you really get the wide angle feel without too much craziness. You can use it for portraits (upper body type stuff) at the 40mm end and its still sharp.

    20mm end is also very sharp - i have mostly used at f4 at which its very very very good but havent used it much at f2.8 as yet.

    Im going to head up emerald /puff billy area to get out of the city - which has given me the flu for the last week. So will see if i get any good shots.

    Thanks for review - i was confident in your ability to assess a good lens cosidering you have owned and can compate it to the same lenses i have = Tamron 28-75, Sigma 24-70, 50 f1.4.
    Cheers
     

Share This Page

Advertisement: