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09-30-2007, 04:06 PM   #1
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First thoughts on Sigma 24-135 2.8-4.5

Just wanted to share some thoughts on my new-to-me Sigma 24-135.

I was in the market for a lens that would be just a little more flexible than what I normally mount as a "walk-around" lens: either my Pentax 18-35 FAJ or my 28-90 FA.

I like the 18-35 very much, it is very sharp and a great wide angle. The drawbacks are that it's quite slow at 4.0-5.6, and only being 35mm means that I need to do a lot of lens changing.

My 28-90 has wonderful colour rendition, but it's less sharp than the 18-35, especially near the corners. 28 isn't quite wide enough (at 42mm equivalent on my *ist DL). Build quality is also a little lacking.

For the price range I had in mind (under $300 Canadian) there weren't many choices for replacing/supplementing these lenses. Finally, after pouring over reviews and sample images, I settled on the Sigma 24-135. I have had good experience with Sigma glass on Nikon, so I was comfortable with it, and knew that Sigma build a sturdy product. I bit the bullet and ordered the 24-135 from KEH in "Excellent" condition for $215 US (which, by the miracle of the Canadian dollar is now $215 Canadian.) By the way, I know some folks scored a deal on these lenses in the last year when they were being blown out by Cameta for half that price... sadly, those deals seem long gone.

The advantages of the 24-135 for me are:
  • full frame coverage (I still shoot 35mm as well.)
  • 24mm is nice and wide on 35mm and on the *ist DL is my favourite focal length.
  • 135mm covers my telephoto needs 99.9 % of the time
  • Fast 2.8 aperture on the wide angle keeps me from having to mount a prime to shoot some casual available light photos

I received the lens from KEH the day after I ordered it. It arrive carefully wrapped and was in better than excellent condition. Only the lack of packaging kept me from believing it was a brand new lens.

The lens is substantial -- especially compared to the lightweight Pentax zooms I normally use. It adds over 500 grams to the camera. It's well built with the nice Sigma finish.

Since receiving the camera, I had the chance to shoot some available-light night stuff, and quickly test it out in the daylight. Autofocus at night is less than stellar, but that's also true of my Pentax lenses. Zooming in on a contrasty edge and then reframing the shot is the only way to keep focus from hunting wildly at night. In the daytime, focus seems as fast as the Pentaxes.

Quickly running through the stops and zoom range, I find that 24mm is actually amazingly sharp. That's a bonus for me, because I will be leaving the lens at 24 a lot. It stays sharp up through 100mm. At 135mm things are getting soft -- it's nice to have the reach, but not recommended for critical work.

At 24mm I ran through the stops. 2.8 is a little soft, but if you NEED the shot, having that extra stop of speed is more important. 4.0 is respectable, but things are really nice from 5.6 on up. So, for critical work it's not a lot faster than the Pentax lenses. But having the extra stops gives you a little cushion for available light.

Bokeh is really nice. That's one of the two things that made me choose this lens over the 18-125 -- good bokeh and full-frame coverage.

I will include a few some samples. Night exposures (from Nuit Blanche) are 24mm at 2.8. Daylight cat is 135 @ 4.5 and the branch is 135 @ 5.6.


Last edited by filmamigo; 10-23-2015 at 07:22 AM.
09-30-2007, 06:05 PM   #2
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Thanks for posting some pictures. I'm actually looking in getting this lens.
09-30-2007, 06:37 PM   #3
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I have this lens as well and really like it. It works very well. I know its a little on the slow end, but it does well. It's sweet spot starts at 5.6 on the 24mm end and around 8.0 on the 135mm end.
09-30-2007, 06:47 PM   #4
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sigma 24-135mm lens

I've been using this lens since I purchased it last August 2006 with my DS. Pros: -It gives beautiful color renditions, especially for sunset shots;
-it is sharp stopped down (even at just f/5.6);
-this is the only lens in my arsenal that, when used at f/16 and at the wider angle range of 24-35mm you get a very crisp and realistic image of fluffy cumulus clouds (I have tried to get the same rendition with my Pentax FA lenses, but the results are not the same);
- it works extremely well with the AF 360GZ Flash of Pentax. AF is fast when the flash is used.
Cons: - it is HEAVY (too heavy for a walk-around lens);
- it suffers from zoom creep (extremely annoying when carried with the neck strap)
- it oversaturates reds (much unlike the Pentax FA lenses, which give an excellent color rendition of reds).
- it suffers badly from flaring.

Because of the cons, I have decided to put it in the market for sale, as I am using less and less of it, and more and more of my FA lenses.

By the way, of the 6 photos that Pentax Gallery have accepted for posting, 3 of them were shot using this lens, which just substantiates the IQ of this lens. Her they are:

Last edited by vinceloc; 09-30-2007 at 07:00 PM.
09-30-2007, 08:04 PM   #5
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I had this lens before and it was a great overall performer. It can't be beat for the price range (got lucky with the Cameta deal). Here are some of my sample photos I took with this lens :

I eventually sold it for the Sigma 18-50mm MACRO since I found myself using the wide angle more. I do miss the longer reach though for a walkaround lens, but it's a compromise I was willing to make

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