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04-20-2014, 09:02 AM   #1
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Sigma 10-20 vs. DA 21mm

Looking to get one of the above for the car show season. I thought about a 15mm but really would almost never use it to warrant the cost as I really do not shoot landscapes all that often. The 10-20 is wide without being fisheye and a little more flexible in tight spots around display cars. 21 would be a great walk around lens for city strolls as well as being wide enough for displays.

I have looked through the samples and club sections and at roughly the same price, I am at a loss as to which to go with.

04-20-2014, 09:25 AM   #2
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FWIW, I have read that the Sigma zoom is considered the stronger performer at its wide end and less so at its longer FL's. I expect users of the 10-20mm on the Forum will be able to address that claim directly for you from their own experience; since the comparison you're making includes the DA 21Limited as a practical complement to the zoom, correct?

Last edited by Kayaker-J; 04-20-2014 at 02:45 PM.
04-20-2014, 09:33 AM   #3
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No, this is an either or situation. I would be at the narrower end most of the time but having the ability to drop down to 10-15 is slightly appealing. Sometimes the cars are situated where my 35 is too long.
04-20-2014, 09:39 AM   #4
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The 15 is not JUST a wide landscape lens, it's actually quite useful for cars:


and dogs:


and shoes:


Closeups of little flowers (almost a macro, it focuses so closely):


And of course, Landscapes with stuff in it:


04-20-2014, 09:48 AM   #5
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I would rate the Sigma 10-20 highest (I have the F4-5.6), DA-15 second. The DA-21 is a very good lens, but not interchangeable with the other two.
Sigma 10-20 F4-5.6 is sharp, wide, zooms, and has a different "look" to its rendering.
DA-15 Ltd gives the viewer a bit of immersion into the picture. Lots of "wow" shots with this lens. And don't forget the pixie dust sparkles. A great walk-around lens.
DA-21 I use for interiors, food pictures, clouds, cactus gardens...
04-20-2014, 09:50 AM   #6
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QuoteOriginally posted by Kozlok Quote
The 15 is not JUST a wide landscape lens...
True, but to spend $400+ on a lens I might use 4 times a year is a bit much. A 21mm or the 10-20 would be far more useful to be honest. I really thought hard on this. I have spent a lot of time looking through the samples and 'clubs' and although the 15 is a nice lens, it really would not click much with me at all.
04-20-2014, 10:01 AM   #7
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Sample 21 Ltd images here...

I don't have a Sigma 10-20, but I do have a Sigma 8-16.
If you are only going to get one lens, get the zoom.
04-20-2014, 10:52 AM   #8
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I had the 10-20. It's a fine lens, but I found I didn't usually go wider than 15 and more often than not had it at 20. I would get the 21, which is what I was going to do after selling the 10-20 if I hadn't come across a 16-50 for a steal.

04-20-2014, 11:45 AM   #9
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QuoteOriginally posted by derelict Quote
No, this is an either or situation. I would be at the narrower end most of the time but having the ability to drop down to 10-15 is slightly appealing. Sometimes the cars are situated where my 35 is too long.
Ah, then I'd check out the strengths and weaknesses of any zoom lens very carefully -- very few don't exhibit a significant focal length bias when you're looking at IQ as a primary requirement. In your case, then, I'd suggest considering the DA 12-24mm: something around the 14-15mm to the 20mm range seems to be the sweet spot in IQ terms, which should serve you pretty well at the auto shows, except for being maybe 1/2 to 1 stop slower than you might prefer. DSims has suggested that the Sigma 8-16mm can produce a somewhat better image; and, though I cannot speak from experience here, I would not want to suggest otherwise (though I have the 12-24mm myself in Samsung/Schneider-K guise)... so I'd just point to the practicalities in favor of the 12-24mm: Compare the weight (the 15.2 oz. weight is pretty sweet for the FL range you're getting)... the availability... and the comparative overall system cost. And you won't necessarily have to find something more "wide-normal" in focal length to complement the zoom right away. I would be uncomfortable having nothing in FL between 16mm and 35mm, myself. But it's your back and your budget! I personally find any set of options available below the 35mm FL on APS-C to add up to much less than an ideal complete kit, for one [subjective?] reason or another (me being an older "primes" guy). Not to spin that too negatively. But "You can't always get want you want."

Last edited by Kayaker-J; 04-20-2014 at 11:55 AM.
04-20-2014, 11:52 AM   #10
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I find the 10-20mm very useful, but if you don't need the wider end, it probably would not be my first choice for use at the longer end. At 20mm it's slow, and you'd then have a big gap to your 28mm. You could get a 16-45, if you can find one without the front barrel wobble, or a 17-50mm Tamron, or 17-70mm Sigma, etc.
04-20-2014, 02:09 PM   #11
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QuoteOriginally posted by tibbitts Quote
I find the 10-20mm very useful, but if you don't need the wider end, it probably would not be my first choice for use at the longer end. At 20mm it's slow, and you'd then have a big gap to your 28mm. You could get a 16-45, if you can find one without the front barrel wobble, or a 17-50mm Tamron, or 17-70mm Sigma, etc.
Agreed re: the reason you'd choose the 10-20mm... or not.

Just to express a point of view, I would consider the 26.5mm to 43-46mm FF-equivalent focal range "where it's happening" for a majority of skilled photographers who use small format cameras to best advantage. I couldn't kick about a 52mm equivalent, though it's not so much to my taste on APS-C. Though to each his own... I want the best I can get in financially sensible (personal, not categorical) terms in this range. Unfortunately, no one as yet offers a photographically sensible, balanced mix of primes to achieve that goal gaplessly in the APS-C format -- the way we had it for film in the '80's -- not from my perspective, anyway (which biases in the direction of landscape/cityscape, "cultural documentary"/travel, etc.) Nor a zoom, either, of both modest proportions & weight, AND class-leading, prime-challenging performance. I have no particular argument with pixie dust effects justifying lenses... but you can't really cover the broad territory with pixie dust. That's an IQ first kind of perspective and may not jibe with others' valid priorities. But I'd argue that those other priorities are better being met by the existing options, in comparison. And one would need, too, approximately the traditional 85-105mm FF-equivalent telephoto to round out the kit to cover the most useful FL range. Specialists need what they need, of course. ...Though people buy what they THINK they need... which isn't necessarily the same thing -- a particularly hazardous pitfall in the internet age. End of editorial.

P.S.: I surely do wonder how the projected 12-28mm wide zoom will turn out. I'd like to think it will be one market-friendly, what you can reasonably expect in the real world kind of lens on the quality front... not too big and heavy (Pentax style), but not biased toward "cute" either... fast enough... low distortion... and competitively priced for the performance on offer vs. Canikon. And no AF or reliability issues, please! Am I dreaming?

Last edited by Kayaker-J; 04-20-2014 at 02:41 PM.
04-20-2014, 02:44 PM   #12
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The 10-20mm f3.5 version is not slow at the long end.
04-20-2014, 03:20 PM   #13
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QuoteOriginally posted by dcBear78 Quote
The 10-20mm f3.5 version is not slow at the long end.
Agreed, I have only the f4 version, which is definitely slow at 20mm.

Considering that the OP already has the 28-75, it would be worth considering the Tamron 10-24, since it would avoid the painful gap from 20 to 28.
04-20-2014, 03:22 PM   #14
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QuoteOriginally posted by dcBear78 Quote
The 10-20mm f3.5 version is not slow at the long end.
And not as heavy as I would have guessed -- 1.16 lbs. The 82mm filter thread, etc., would be a bit burdensome from the space occupying standpoint if one didn't prioritize the last 3 mm of FL at the wide end, I guess. Have you done any comparisons with the DA 12-24mm in the range of overlap? I'm just curious, having an iteration of the latter, and not having reason to be dogmatic about any of these comparisons. My subject bias could probably be most economically, if not completely, stated as traditional "landscape/cityscape"; so I'd be inclined to prioritize the longer of the FL's. Thanks!
04-20-2014, 06:23 PM   #15
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I do a lot of vintage car shows. As you say it's tight between cars.

I use my Pentax 12-24 mostly...it's a wonderful lens. Almost like 3D sometimes. I like the zoom...I can stand there , not move...just flick in between 12-24 and all stops between to get the look I want.

I also use my Pentax 10-17...but at 17mm and I shift around to get the right angle. If I get it right and by now...I've got the knack...the photo's really have added punch with this Pentax FE.

I also use my 40 and 70 Limited..for different components of a car. Say...a first gen Hemi engine (354-392) with 6 Strombergs....part of the outside exhaust of a Cobra replica...or a partial of a weathered old wooden floor and metal sides of a '50 GMC pickup box.
The prime Limiteds are tack sharp and give a different look.

I just got a 21mm Limited...no car shows yet...this is Canada and it's still cold...but in a month I will be trying it out. I have great expectations....which I think will be realized if my other Limited lenses are any indication.

I thought of getting the Sigma 10-20...but didn't . Got the Pentax 12-24 instead and I'm very happy with this lens. Believe Popular Photography rated it as the best of the bunch for super wide angles.

Not sure if the Sigma 1020 is as sharp as the Pentax 12-24 which is a honey of a lens. But aside from that...I think the Sigma would be probably ok.

As far as having a fast lens...say F 2.8 or so...for outdoor car portraits I usually use a minimum of F 8 anyways. Sometimes F 10 to F 11...I like good DOF and sharp for these photos.

Last edited by lesmore49; 04-20-2014 at 06:29 PM.
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