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11-25-2011, 11:50 AM   #1
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Sigma 10-20 f/4-5.6 Question

I have the chance to pick up a Sigma 10-20 f/4-5.6 for around $400. It's listed at $450 but I'll only pick it up if I can haggle it down to $400 or lower since Adorama is selling it for $479 new. I like the focal length and have read some good reviews.

My concern is that there seems to be a lot of sample variation. Is there anything I should look for before buying the lens? Are there any particular issues with this lens I should keep an eye out for? I am going to ask to seller to send me some pictures at different f-stops to check for corner sharpness.

Another caveat: I'm going to eventually buy the DA 15, no question. Is there anyone out there who has both? I know the difference between 10mm and 15mm can be significant but I'm wondering if anyone has any real world experience using both lenses. Should I just save the money and buy the DA 15? I know it's highly subjective, but I really want people's opinions.

Any advice would be greatly appreciated.

P.S. I would be mostly using these wide angle lenses for landscape and some architecture.

11-25-2011, 12:01 PM - 1 Like   #2
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I use this lens a lot .. for interiors and last year at the World Expo. However IMO it's not a lens for landscape / architecture due to heavy distortion. The 15 is better in this regard (I also have this lens and it is amongst my most used and most loved) and it is a wonderful lens but again I wouldn't use it for L or A. What I do use for landscapes is a Zeiss 28/2.8 (learn how to stitch if you need to) would focuses to infinity from around 2.5 - 3m (so virtually an AF lens that needs no focusing !), and is an incredible lens, on the level of the 31 Ltd in terms of sharpness, IQ and quality, but would only cost you around $400 plus a mount conversion from MM to PK.
11-25-2011, 01:49 PM - 1 Like   #3
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I would certainly check for decentering across the focal plane. I have sent my 10-20mm in to Sigma in N.Y. and they said nothing was wrong,
but it is quite obvious to me when taking shots of flat surfaces at various f-stops, focal ranges and distances.
Occasionally I'll get a shot that seems to be spot on and I believe to have narrowed it down to the internal lens element that rotates during focusing,
...still trying to find the precise spot where decentering is at the minimum.

I am planning to shoot a video clip with the lens at varying f-stops and slowly rotate the focusing ring to see if I can make the decentering more obvious,
just haven't gotten around to it yet. That may be simpler than taking a bunch of stills (of which I have plenty). It is frustrating...
11-25-2011, 01:59 PM - 1 Like   #4
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I have had one for 6 or 7 years now, and have been very pleased with it. I find it is a key part of my travel kit because when travelling in european cities (especially), you just can't seem to ever be able to back up enough to use something in the 14-15mm range. I have travelled with both this lens and the Samyang 14mm (which asctually measures out to 13.5 mm, or so someone posted) and although I liked the additional speed of the 14mm (F2.8 vs about F4.5 at 14mm for the sigma) I had to reconsider some shots when using the 14.

FOr landscapes, I think you may want something a little longer, because the 10-20 will tend to make distant objects insignificant, but for archetecture and interior work, it is pretty good

11-25-2011, 02:51 PM   #5
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QuoteOriginally posted by Catalana Quote
I would certainly check for decentering across the focal plane. I have sent my 10-20mm in to Sigma in N.Y. and they said nothing was wrong,
but it is quite obvious to me when taking shots of flat surfaces at various f-stops, focal ranges and distances.
Occasionally I'll get a shot that seems to be spot on and I believe to have narrowed it down to the internal lens element that rotates during focusing,
...still trying to find the precise spot where decentering is at the minimum.

I am planning to shoot a video clip with the lens at varying f-stops and slowly rotate the focusing ring to see if I can make the decentering more obvious,
just haven't gotten around to it yet. That may be simpler than taking a bunch of stills (of which I have plenty). It is frustrating...
This is what I was worried about. There seems to be a lot of problems with this lens regarding QC. I guess the good thing about buying it used is I can check it out for myself.
11-25-2011, 02:55 PM   #6
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QuoteOriginally posted by Lowell Goudge Quote
I have had one for 6 or 7 years now, and have been very pleased with it. I find it is a key part of my travel kit because when travelling in european cities (especially), you just can't seem to ever be able to back up enough to use something in the 14-15mm range. I have travelled with both this lens and the Samyang 14mm (which asctually measures out to 13.5 mm, or so someone posted) and although I liked the additional speed of the 14mm (F2.8 vs about F4.5 at 14mm for the sigma) I had to reconsider some shots when using the 14.

FOr landscapes, I think you may want something a little longer, because the 10-20 will tend to make distant objects insignificant, but for archetecture and interior work, it is pretty good
Thanks for the info. I think architecture and indoor shots would be the primary use of this lens if I got it, with occasional landscape use when I need that special wide angle effect.
11-25-2011, 03:06 PM - 1 Like   #7
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Will you be able to return the lens if you're dissatisfied?

When I chose an UWA last year, my least expensive options were a new Tamron 10-24 with a US$100 coupon so it cost US$375 shipped, and a used Sigma for about the same. Others were a DA12-24, and a new Sigma, for about twice as much. I selected the Tamron because of 1) cost, 2) warranty, and 3) it seemed to have fewer QC issues than the old Sigmas. I am VERY VERY hesitant to buy a used lens model with known issues from a seller without a no-questions return+refund policy.

My recommendation: Be paranoid.
11-26-2011, 10:42 AM   #8
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After wavering back and forth over the decision between getting the Sigma 10-20mm or saving the money and waiting for the 15mm I have decided to go with....

the DA 70mm! I got a really good deal on it and I need a portrait lens more than I need a wide angle at this point.

Thanks everyone for the feedback!

11-26-2011, 10:44 AM   #9
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It's important to check any new lens for quality control. Many 10-20 Sigmas have issues, but my 55-300 Pentax had the same problems of uneven focus across the frame. My experience has been that you can't get a lens, at least a typical modern lens, "fixed" for poor performance, when it isn't correct to start with.

Paul
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