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Old Apr 8, 2006, 1:40 PM   #1
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First of all, excuse me for my not so sharp English, but this is not forum about English language and I am sure you will understand my thoughts!

Recently I've purchased Canon 30D after being happy owner of Minolta 7D SLR, Canon Elan-II, Canon A-80.

Selecting new digital SLR body was not an easy task. I couldn't decide between Rebel-XT and 30D. Also new Nikon D-200 was a (remote) option. Once I had 30D in my hands compared to XT decision was easy to make (if you forget about $700CAN difference).

I have two Canon lenses used with my Elan-II which are EF 28-80 and EF 70-300. Not the greatest lenses but good enough for even larger prints.

Then I had to buy new lenses for 30D. Selecting new lens is much more complex for there are so many options and so many reviews. I needed good 'walk around' lens with good range for my trip to Europe. After two weeks of researchI narrowed my potential choiceto Canon 17-40 L, EF 18-85 IS and Sigma 17-70. Each of the lenses has its own benefits. Probably when it comes to quality, L lens would be expected to perform the best but for a price. I liked 18-85 for range, IS and reputable Canon quality. I liked Sigma for good price, good range and macro capability.

Then I had to decide where to purchase the lens. Here, in Vancouver they do not have it and prices are usually 30% higher then in US. I decided to go with B&H photo. Good price (a bit higher than Adorama) but overall rating was close to 10 comparing to 7 for Adorama. I've received my package in just three days (ordered 430EX, third party BH-511A replacement battery, 2GB CF card as well).

I've made about 100 shots with Sigma and that is enough to judge it. In short:

Build: 8.5 out of 10

Picture quality: 8.5 of 10

Speed: 8 out of 10

Functionality: 9 of 10

I believe I am very strict in judgment so 8 is very good for me. Even though I do not have best lens I can tell which one is better by looking at other peoples test shots.

This lens is not light (about one pound) but not heavy either. It looks nice, has nice finish, and it's quite sturdy. Much better comparing to my cheap Canon EF 28-80 (all plastic) lens. At first, you cannot tell if lens is not all metal! When extended, end part of the lens moves a bit (1/2 mm or so) but much less than Canon.

For the picture quality, this lens is sharp enough for possible enlargement with 8MP camera. I could only compare it with Canon EF lens I have and in the center they are almost the same. Lens is slightly less sharp in the corners at 2.8 (I would say 80%) comparing to f11. Nothing to worry about. This lens is excellent when it comes to fringing, ghosting. This is always noticeable when the picture of thetree branches are taken against the sky. I do not see any! Again, on the regular Canon EF lens it looks terrible. But Canon EF is not digital lens, so it doesn't have additional coatings and good quality glass inside (ASP, SLD).

Macro is one thing that not so many other lenses in this range have. Even without it I would still be happy with it.

Many other people complained about AF problems with Sigma. Maybe it depends on the model and particular item, but again, I see no reason to worry! It is not as fast as Canon EF. When in moderate light conditions, lens would go backand forth once before it confirms the focus. With Canon, it just doesn't happen. If you try to take picture inAI Servo mode, lens will constantly go back and forth even when camera doesn't move and subject doesn't move either. So this lens is probably not good for action pictures or at least not in AI servo. No problem with One Shot and AI Focus.For me and for what I do with this lens, it doesn't matter. For action shots I would probably use 70-200 mm lens or something close to that. If you take shot of your fast moving pet AI Servo and Sigma is not a match. I have small rabbit and even though30D is lighting (comparing both to Canon-Elan and A-80), this rabbit is hyper active and unless under sedative - forget about pictures!

There are enough test pictures on the net with this lens so unless somebody is really interested in this baby, I will not post any (here is one though).

I am big Canon fan so me recommending this lens can be taken seriously. Unless you get the bad sample (happens even with L-series lens) you will not regret. If you do, just return it!


Picture info:

1/320 - f11, -2/3, WB auto, Standard style, 33mm-Sigma 17-70mm, RAW converted to JPG - no adjustment.


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Old Apr 8, 2006, 3:01 PM   #2
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Center 100% crop. No fringing!
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Old Apr 8, 2006, 3:04 PM   #3
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Top-left corner 100% crop:
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Old Apr 8, 2006, 3:37 PM   #4
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30D & 17-70
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Old Apr 8, 2006, 3:38 PM   #5
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30D back
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