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09-17-2010, 04:33 PM   #1
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Sigma AF 35-135/3.5-4.5 New old lens: any insight?

LBA strikes again!

I know nothing of this lens, and can find next-to-nothing online about it. I just purchased a NOS copy on the 'bay for $100. Did I get robbed or did I find a good deal? The specs are attractive to some degree - a stop faster than other entry-level zooms, manual focus ring, aperture ring, 55mm filter thread. Does anyone know anything about this lens? What can you tell me? I'll be sure to let you know how it works out when I receive it, too. Here are a couple pics of the lens in alpha mount:

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09-17-2010, 04:46 PM   #2
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I know nothing about this one, but look forward to your report. I just picked up a same-spec Rikenon-P but manual focus, it's my best manual-focus lens. I need to write it up in the review section, it's an 8+ and cost under $50.

Hope the Sigma works out for you!
09-29-2010, 09:17 PM   #3
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Original Poster
Okay, I got the lens, and I have tested it. Unfortunately, I got a bad copy that exhibits extreme softness on the left side of the frame until about f/8 at all focal lengths. Aside from that tragedy, I think this lens has potential with a better copy (I will be returning it). Here is my subjective and relative review of the lens other than the misalignment/softness issue:

Best feature - surprisingly sharp wide open in the center of the frame for a budget lens at all focal lengths.
Worst feature - build quality and long minimum focus distance - front element rotates for focus

At 135mm there is mild pincushion and some vignetting wide open. Vignetting and sharpness improve at f/5.6. f/8 seems to be the sweet spot at this focal length.

at 80mm performance is good - vignetting and distortions are minimal. the sweet spot is f/5.6 at this focal length. F/22 is very soft at this focal length - avoid.

at 35mm the lens exhibits moderate barrel distortion. sweet spot is at f/8 at this focal length. Resolution drops off fast after this and f/16 and f/22 are both pretty bad here.

minimum focus distance at all focal lengths is 1.8m (6 ft!). This pretty much sux, but there is a really pretty bad manual close focus feature at 135mm only that you can engage by pressing a small button near the front of the lens and rotating the front element manually to focus. As I said, the front element rotates for focus, which is also bad and made worse by the plastic ring that contains the front element - it feels loose and turns rough, like it is full of coarse sand, when manual focusing. All this poor design around the front element makes an otherwise solid-feeling lens containing a lot of metal construction seem cheap and delicate (maybe it is). In spite of all of this, auto-focusing seems reasonably fast and accurate.

I hope to get my hands on a better copy of this lens so I can evaluate it more fully.

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