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08-10-2009, 11:35 PM   #1
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Sigma 70-210 F4-5.6 uc-ii

Just wondering if anyone knows much about the Sigma 70-210 F4-5.6 uc-ii, there's one review for it here on the site. At the moment I have the Sigma 70-300mm f/4-5.6 (non-APO) and am considering this lesser-known older lens. Appreciate anyone having some info on it, even a google search doesn't turn up too much.
And yes I'd love a 100-300 f/4 or a 70-200 f/2.8 but I'm on a very tight budget. This is for use with a K10D.

08-11-2009, 12:17 PM   #2
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My thoughts

I've been meaning to get around to adding my review to the database, but I really want to give the lens a little bit better workout first. Anyway, here are my thoughts, based on using the lens for a total of three days spread over the last year.

Pros: looks good, handles well, reassuringly built. It's a light lens, and about as small as a moderate telephoto zoom gets. Makes a nice match to Pentax's smaller bodies (i.e. my *ist DL and MZ-7) and still looks good on the K10D. Focus is reasonably fast. Zoom ring and focus ring handle nicely. Filter ring does not rotate, IIRC. Colour reproduction is nice and neutral. No obvious vignetting.

Cons: Image is quite low contrast, and quite soft wide open, all the way across the lens. On the K10D, it quickly shows how soft it is when pixel peeping. The K10D clearly bests this lens. I need to experiment more with it stopped down considerably to see if it can sharpen up.

I have shot this lens on my *ist DL, on my MZ-7 with Fuji Superia 800, and my K10D.

The best results came from the MZ-7 -- which makes some sense because I had the film processed and scanned at a Fuji Frontier minilab which I normally avoid because of excess sharpening and contrast. In this case, I think the excessive sharpening and contrast of the Frontier brought this lens to it's sweet spot. Colour rendition was lovely, contrast was good but not excessive, and the combination of consumer 35mm film and minilab scanning masked any issues this lens might have with microcontrast.

On the *ist DL, I shot in midday open sunlight, and found that contrast was not what I hoped, but that sharpness was fine. That could be a combination of midday middle apertures, and the 6mp sensor of the DL. Applying a nice strong curve in Photoshop/Lightroom brought out the best in the lens, but without the curve the results were flat.

On the K10D, I shot in moderately dark overcast light. I was shooting moving objects (subway trains on an open stretch of track). The wide open apertures likely contributed, but the shots were so soft as to be virtually unusable. Extensive application of curves and sharpening in Lightroom brought the photos to "acceptable", but no more.

I really want to like this lens, and I have liked what I saw from the MZ-7. I will probably give it one more try, and attempt to get the best from the lens on my K10D.
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