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Old Jan 28, 2008, 3:40 AM   #11
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Location: Adelaide, South Australia
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Hi Matt,

I want to quickly give you my thoughts. I have the Sigma 10-20mm lens, and am very happy with it. Very sharp especially at f5.6 - f11, and actually it is probably at it's sharpest from corner to corner at 10mm! And that's why I bought it... for that ultra wide angle possibility. For me the two options were the Canon 10-22mm and Sigma 10-20mm lens.

Having said this, I do have to admit that I had another Sigma 10-20mm lens before that. After having it for about 3 weeks, I returned it as I found that it was a bit soft on the extreme left side (about the left 1/6th of the frame), a bit noticable between 13-18mm. At 20mm it was visible with some pixel peeping. Strangely at 10-11 or 10-12mm softness was not there at all! But still I returned it, as I felt I had paid good money for a new lens, and did not want softness in it at all. At this stage I must admit though, that my 1st Sigma lens was NOT NEARLY as soft (on the extreme left side) as fisheye's lens was (on the general right side!). In other words, my lens' softness was not a major issue, just visible upon close inspection in some shots.

The shop I bought the lens from (a local digital & camera shop in Adelaide) exchanged the lens, no questions asked (well they just asked what was wrong with it - of course). They didn't ask for evidence or anything, but they did write down what I stated, so they could return it to Sigma for possible recallibration / checking. I believe that's good customer service.

I would have bought the Canon 10-22mm lens if it was the same price, but the Sigma I bought was $600 (Aus) whereas the Canon was around $1000 (Aus). I'm happy with my second Sigma copy. I don't think I would buy a lens through an online dealer unless I was guaranteed I could return it "no questions asked" within the first month or so.

The difference between f3.5 and f4 is not going to be noticeable I think. In fact wide angles are mostly used stopped down (for the majority of landscape shots at least). The Sigma lens has a lens hood and lens pouch included, which I think is good value (and the hood helps against flare). Focus speed, zoom ring and general build are very good on my EOS 350D (Digital Rebel XT).

The sigma lens compliments my walkaround 28-135mm Canon lens very well. I decided to stay with 1.6x cropped sensor cameras (for more "reach" in the telezoom lenses)... and so I decided against the 12-24mm Sigma... though if I was going full frame I might consider that... however I would also consider what Peripatetic wrote about the field of plane being "all over the place".... I have read of number of other people not being the happiest with their Sigma 12-24mm on a full frame.... but then again I do believe there are quality control issues at stake too.

I believe I have a good 28-135mm lens, which is decent wide open, and I'd rate it as "very good" stopped down 1 stop. And my second Sigma 10-20mm lens is "very sharp" wide open and "very very sharp" stopped down 1 stop. Other people might have lenses which are soft, due to quality control (as I believe fisheye experienced). This is also evident through many "official" lens testing sites (e.g. photozone.de and slrgear.com) as well through the variety of responses / comments on forums such as here at Steve's and fredmiranda.com

Well, I think I've written enough... hope that's helpful Matt! Best wishes. And do let us know how you go... if you haven't bought one already!

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