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Sigma lenses...on a Nikon???

Discussion in 'Lens Lust' started by Jeff Mims, Jun 13, 2005.

  1. Jeff Mims

    Jeff Mims

    May 25, 2005
    Several years ago, I frequented a board called photoforum on Compuserve.
    The general concensus there was Sigma had some good glass, but generally weren't well constructed lenses. Good for amauter..or just occasional use.

    At another board in the past few weeks, I see a photographer really recommending Sigma zoom lenses. He says glass quality is equal to Nikon and Canons. This is not the DPPR board either. Anyway, I'm not disputing his statement...I have only used one Sigma lens..and that was about 15 years ago.

    My question ; is he correct? Is Sigma making that good of lenses these days? I know I've used Tokina and a couple Tamrons years ago, and were quite satisfied with the quality, though as I moved to AF, I pretty much stayed with same lenses as the camera brand. Don't know anything about Sigma. I see a few people here use them, so I'm just curious.
  2. twig


    May 23, 2005
    Sigma makes a number of fine lenses,
    150mm macro /2.8
    70-200 HSM

    and more I probably forgot.

    all are commonly owned and desireable lenses, you can find many reviews on the net.

    they have a 10-20 and a 30/1.4 many of us are looking forward to reviews of.
  3. MontyDog


    Jan 30, 2005
    #1064 - You have an error in your SQL syntax;
  4. Flew


    Jan 25, 2005

    I've owned one Sigma lens (the 50-500), and I found it to be very good quality. I sold it because I wanted a faster lens (I got the 70-200VR). The Sigma was f5.6 over most of it's range, and since I shoot flying birds, I wanted something faster.

    Based on the shots that I've seen posted here and on other forums, I believe that Sigma makes very fine lenses. Are they as good as Canon and Nikon lenses? Maybe not quite. OTOH, they are typically less than 50% of the cost. You can get a pretty good selection of excellent Sigma lenses for the price of the Nikon 300 2.8, and I don't know that you would see that much difference.
  5. Last edited by a moderator: Mar 15, 2017
  6. Chris101


    Feb 2, 2005
    A long time ago I had a Sigma lens, the 21-35mm f/whatever. It was the first and only ultrawide zoom lens, and IT WAS GREAT! That lens was stolen along with my Canon A1 and the rest of the (Canon brand, FD) lenses.

    So would I buy another Sigma lens? Yes IF it gave me something I could not get from the camera manufacturer. I WILL be looking at that 30mm soon to hit the streets.
  7. Jeff Mims

    Jeff Mims

    May 25, 2005
    Thanks folks.
    I hope I didn't sound like I was Sigma bashing. I'm neither a Sigma fan or Sigma detractor. I simply didn't know.
    One reason I stayed with the camera brand lenses, with AF bodies, was a compatability issue. For example, Brand X lens works great on my Canon 620, but cannot take full advantage of all options on an EOS3. It seemed Canon lenses, for the most part, would work with all bodies, and retain most all functions. Maybe this is no longer an issue with 3rd party lenses..I dunno.
    I'm not a brand snob, I use the best I can afford that gives me the best quality. It wouldn't matter if that's a Sigma, Nikon, Canon, Tamron..or coke bottle. :) 
    I just got into the habit of buying camera brand lenses.
  8. JeffKohn


    Apr 21, 2005
    Houston, TX
    Compatiblity issues with 3rd party lenses seems to be more a Canon thing than Nikon.

    Generally speaking, the Sigma EX lenses are not quite up to the build quality of Nikon's "pro" glass, but they're very well made and IMHO substantially better than the Nikon consumer-grade lenses.

    Optically, it just depends. The newer releases from Sigma and Tamron are very good in most cases. For a given focal-length/application sometimes the Sigma or Tamron will offer optically quality on par with the Nikkor equivalent. Sometimes they might even be better, and of course some times they're not as good. Of course then there are cases where the Nikkor lense is in a league of its own with no real competitors (70-200VR, 85 1.4, etc).

    Honestly, I don't think it's a good idea to slavishly stick to any one brand - including Nikon. The best thing to do once you decide on the type of lense you want to get is check out the reviews and feedback on all the players. In many cases there will be a clear winner, or one or two that are very close to each other, while others might not be as competitive.
  9. Sigma, Tamron, and Tokina make good lenses. Equal to Nikon? I've never read a professional review that has reached that conclusion. I've only heard it from photographers trying to defend their purchasing decisions, and the claim is invariably accompanied with the qualifier, "for the price".

    Most of them are basing their judgement solely on sharpness, but there's much more to look for in a lens. Here's my checklist:

    AF speed and accuracy
    natural color rendering
    compatibility with Nikon speedlights
    build quality

    I haven't found a 3rd party lens that matches up with Nikon pro glass on all of those fronts.

    Looking at it from a marketing perspective, if the 3rd party glass manufacturers could trump Nikon, why would they need to sell their goods at vastly lower prices in order to get share? And think about it... have you ever heard of anyone upgrading from a Nikon lens to a Sigma/Tamron/Tokina?

    But the 3rd party lenses represent good value propositions, and in some cases, like the Tamron 28-75/2.8, are superior to some of the Nikon consumer lenses. And they offer some solutions, like the Bigma or the 18-200, where Nikon doesn't have an offering.
  10. Jonathan


    Jun 11, 2005
    Southern Maine
    "For the Price" always seems to follow doesn't it. I've really tried to like other lenses, but whenever I try to save a few(OK a lot) bucks, I end up disappointed.

    The only one that I feel may be close that I've really tried for a decent amount of time are some of the Sigma lenses, but could never pull the trigger and buy one.

  11. rbsmith


    Apr 13, 2005
    Saltillo, Ms
    I have the Sigma 70-200 2.8 Ex HSM and the 18-50 2.8 EX. I am very happy with both. They are sharp and both focus very fast especially the HSM. Sometimes I have to back off of a subject to check the focus because they focus so fast I miss it. ( I have the beep turned off).

    Price had a lot to do with my decision. I would love to have all Nikon lenses. But these lenses are very good and are above my photographic capabilties. If I get good enough that I feel like they are hindering me I will do what ever I can to get the better (Nikon) lenses.

    In the mean time I have two very good lenses and with the money I saved I have been able to upgrade my tripod, Ballhead and by a second SB-800.
  12. Igor


    May 15, 2005
    Ukraine, Europe
    Have 14/2.8 and 50-500, both excellent glass/build.
  13. Lars Troels

    Lars Troels Guest

    The Sigma EX70-200/2.8 is super

    In my opinion the AF-Sigma EX70-200/2.8 HSM APO is a fantastic professional lens. It is my only non-Nikkor. I use it a lot in my work. I'm sure the AF-S 70-200/2.8 VR is a better lens for general purpose photography, but for my sportsphotography I doubt that there's a lot of difference. It performs better than AF-Nikkor 80-200/2.8 and the same as AF-S 80-200/2,8.

    Heres an example from sunday, taken with a Nikon D1X and AF-Sigma EX70-200/2.8 HSM APO. At f/2,8.


  14. patrickh


    May 4, 2005
    Thousand Oaks
    I have the 15-30 Sigma zoom. At the time it was the only lens available in its range. Also at the time it was almost no contest. It remains an excellent lens despite the arrival of the 12-24 gang, soon to be 10-20 gang. I would fault it in color rendition ( a common issue according to reports) with Sigma, but it is very easily corrected in PP. It is a notably sharp lens and build is very good - although by no means "pro".
  15. ckdamascus


    May 14, 2005
    New Jersey
    I bought a 70-300mm sigma f/4-5.6 dl super macro years ago for my friend's Nikon N50.

    Now, I bought a D70 and borrowed the sigma lens. I took a lot of pretty good shots (in my opinion) with it. With my quick tests it seemed to be similar to the new nikon 70-300mm f/4-5.6 ED I purchased.

    I did not deliberately test for CA though, so I would "guess" the nikon has slighty more resistance to it being that it has one puny ED element. :) 

    However, one thing I did notice was the sigma's zoom ring was much stiffer. I thought people were being very picky when they mentioned things like that.

    My 18-70mm zoom ring is a lot smoother (and Thom Hogan says it isn't that smooth, but then again he has worked with far more expensive equipemtn than me).

    The 70-300mm nikon ED's zoom ring is a lot smoother compared to the 70-300mm sigma.

    Now, a stiff zoom ring can be pretty darn annoying when you are trying to quickly recompose and cannot afford to move very far. Supposedly, a lot of the sigmas share this characteristic. Some people say over time the stiffness goes away. Your mileage may vary.
  16. dbirdsong

    dbirdsong Guest

    I have a few Sigma lens'. My favorite is the 70-200 2.8 HSM, but I also like the 24-80 2.8 lens is pretty nice too.. Very big lens..
    The 70-300 Super APO macro is a nice lens but since I bought the 70-200 I don't use it that often.
  17. Ken-L

    Ken-L Guest

    My experience is limited, so I can't speak with authority - only offer an opinion.

    It would be hard for any lens company to produce a better lens than the best Nikon lenses. But, there are a lot of Nikon lenses, and only a modest percentage of them are their "best".

    When we consider all the others, Sigma certainly offers comparable lenses, and in some cases has configurations that are not available in Nikon glass. I was impressed with the 50-500 Bigma, and have only seen high praise for it.

    In most instances it is impossible for most people to discern the differences. I have NEVER shown a photo to anyone I have known, and been told they see some anomalies or imperfections caused by using "inferior" glass! And, now as we see more and more photos on monitors, rather than prints, that becomes even more unlikely. So, the last thing the vast majority of us need to "worry" about, is the relative quality of the lenses we are using.
  18. Chris101


    Feb 2, 2005
    How's the contrast and flare with the 14? I almost bought one, but opted for the 12-24DX at the last moment. And believe it or not there have been times I'd like that extra stop.
  19. I recently purchased the Sigma 500 f4.5hsm lens. It was going out of production as Sigma was coming out with the new DX version. I picked it up new for $2,400. I would never have been able to justify the Nikon version for the price. I am happy with the quality but who knows how long it will last compared to the Nikon? So again it is a great lens for the price. If the price was the same I would have picked up the Nikon version for sure. I can still keep AFS with the Nikon TC14EII but I had to modify the TC by cutting the tab. I knew this would work because I was able to test the combo that Bill Dewey has. I think he would agree this is a darn good combo (for the price!)

    You can see most all of my recent bird pictures were with this combo if any one is interested. I only shoot with the D100 and it still focuses pretty fast.
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