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?
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
- Excellent Optics
- Excellent Overall
- Size and Weight
to come later