Sigma APO 50-150 mm f/2.8 EX DC OS HSM for Nikon D7000

Sigma APO 50-150 mm f/2.8 EX DC OS HSM for Nikon D7000

With 70-200 mm lenses being so popular for 135 full format, How does this Sigma APS-C equivalent perform?

The build quality is typical for the Sigma EX lenses, which is well constructed with good quality plastic. The hood snaps smoothly (better than many Sigma lenses) and the lens cap is the modern center pinch style. The lens utilizes an HSM focusing motor, that is fairly quick and quiet.

The lenses uses Sigma’s optical stabilization system, which they claim is good for 4 f/stops. It isn’t suitable for use from a vehicle (like Nikon’s Active Mode), but does have mode 1 and 2 so you can use it for normal or panning. There is also an AF/M switch, and the lens has direct manual focusing so you can tweak it after the camera has focused the lens.

The lens has 21 elements in 15 groups, with a 9 curved bladed diaphragm. It uses 6 SLD elements for reduce aberrations, and has a nice minimum focus distance of 0.8 m (31.5 in). The lens is large for the class, about the same size as a 70-200 mm f/2.8, at 86.4 x 197.6 mm (3.4×7.8 in) and weighs a lot at 1445 g (3 lb 3 oz) with the hood, tripod foot, and front cap. You can save 250 grams or so taking off the foot, cap, and hood. It uses 77 mm filters which are common on f/2.8 zooms.

The question remains, does the performance of this beast justify the size?

Optical Performance

50 mm

Please click on the tab you want to view. Only 1 tab may be active at a time. MTF, Distortion, and Lat CA data acquired using Imatest

85 mm

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150 mm

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Comments on the Results

The lens has exceptional resolution and sharpness at all aperture and focal length settings. The “weakest” point is at 150 mm, but it is still very good to excellent across the frame at that setting.

The lens has noticeable barrel distortion at 50 mm (about -1.3%) and slightly noticeable pincushion at 150 mm (about 0.5%), and is neutral at 85 mm.

Lateral CA is well controlled, it is worst at 50 mm, but still not very noticeable. Longitudinal CA is also visible at 50 mm, but is reduced when you go to longer focal lengths. I wouldn’t say it is problematic, but you will notice more purple fringing more at 50 mm than at 150 mm. Lightroom 4.1 allows for correction of longitudinal CA and it does a good job, as long as you don’t overdo it and there aren’t strong colors behind the fringes that will desaturate.

I will update flare once I have a chance to specially test it.

Measured focal lengths are 55 to 145 mm at 1:53 magnification. Focus breathing is present, but not very noticeable. The lens appears to be parfocal design (focus is fixed for all focal lengths).

Focus consistency seems good, my copy has a touch of front focus at one end and rear at the other. End to end focus speed is about 1 second or so, but short adjustments are very fast. I haven’t tested focus tracking ability.

Image stabilizer is louder than I am used to (a bit like Tamron 17-50 VC), but seems effective. I can get sharp shots in the 1/10 to 1/30 second range at 150 mm.

Pros and Cons

Bottom Line

Superb lens. I don’t have much to say. It is excellent at all settings, has the OS that was missing from my Tokina 50-135 mm f/2.8, and performs much better too. It is a great lens, I no longer have any hesitations about the size and weight of the lens given its performance.

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Gallery

to come later

The gallery images are © 2012 Eric Tastad, and may only be used for personal evaluation of the lenses. Click the play button and click “visit gallery” in the upper right to download full size images.

3 Comments

  1. Tom Irwin says:

    Thanks for the review. I shoot with a D7000 and am looking for a cost effective companion to my 2.8 17-55 for low light indoor photography.

  2. admin says:

    It definitely is a great lens, I still use it along with my 17-55mm f/2.8 for shooting weddings/events and the Sigma is on my camera a lot of the time 🙂
    Sigma 50-150mm f/2.8 EX DC OS HSM APO Lens for Nikon F
    Looks like it runs around $999 right now for Nikon and Canon mounts. I want to say I paid $1100 for it last summer.

    Eric

  3. Brian says:

    I own both the 17-50 f/2.8 and the 50-150 f/2.8. I like them both very much as they give me excellent images and they both have a 77mm front, so my variable ND fits them both for video through my 7D. The longer lens is stunning for product photography. I would recommend them both without hesitation.