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09-06-2009, 11:31 PM   #1
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Sigma 10-20mm - out with the old, in with the new?

Right - the new version of the ever-popular Sigma 10-20mm EX DC HSM in K-mount is coming any moment now (middle of the month?). The original is loved by all those who love landscapes and dramatic perspectives and who can work with its limitations. It's on the dark side, CA is not unheard of, it needs some stopping down for optimal resolution, and the distortion - while impressively corrected - is still there.

Enter the Sigma 10-20mm F3.5 EX DC HSM. The new version is bigger, heavier, brighter ... and 200 more expensive in the UK. It would be nice to know whether this money will buy better pictures or just a brighter viewfinder image. So, if anyone has any thoughts, impressions of the new lens on other systems, reviews and so on, why don't we gather them here.

There was a thread on this lens earlier, but it's a bit old. Check it out for some cool examples of what these wide angle lenses can do though!

Reviews of the lens in other mounts have been sparse. There is one I cannot understand and one which doesn't say much at all. There is this little gem of an independent test. Adorama had a shot. These guys show up with a better effort, but they don't have a review for the old version.
It would be nice to see a direct comparison between the old and the new models. Either it's too early yet or my google-fu fails me, but I can't find one.


In other news, where the hell is the 11-16mm?? It's such an obvious and necessary addition to the Da* lineup that my lip curls in contempt at the fact that they haven't bothered to slap a Pentax badge on that Tokina yet.

09-06-2009, 11:46 PM   #2
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Thanks for that info. I have the older Sigma 10-20 and have been very happy with it. I noticed that in the last review she commented that this lens was suitable for entry or mid level DSLR. As i use the K20, which I would consider to be a top level DSLR, I was wondering what other ultra wide angle lenses would be a good matchup for the K20? How do the Pentax equivilant stack up against the Sigma?

PS I found this an odd comment as many photographers (including some very good ones) use this lens!
09-07-2009, 12:08 AM   #3
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You were very happy with this lens until someone offhandedly wrote it's "entry level"? Boy, would I like to be your local camera salesman
Well, there are a couple of other options.

There is the Tamron 10-24mm, but the general consensus seems to be that the Sigma is the better of the two (definitely for build quality, and several reviews I've seen indicate that the Sigma is also better optically).

Pentax has the 12-24mm. Now, I think 12mm is just not wide enough when there are 10mm options, but opinions about this lens are very polarized. Some people adore it but it has also caught its fair share of bad reviews.
There is also the 10-17mm, which is a fish-eye, and as such a completely different beast entirely. Getting wider, we have the DA 14mm, but that doesn't seem highly rated at all.

The Sigma has had some QC issues (centering defects, AF problems) and it performs best at f/8-11, but I think it's whoever wrote it's an entry level lens doesn't really understand either the intended purpose of this lens or the optical compromises necessary to make such a wide angle of view possible. It certainly doesn't seem like the Canon/Nikon equivalents are much better (or at least not better enough to put them in a different class), but I haven't read as much about them or seen them in action.

Most the lenses I wrote about are actually compared in K-mount by photozone.de. How convenient! (Except the optical scores kind of go against what I've been saying, so shows what I know )
09-07-2009, 02:38 AM   #4
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Don't discount the Tammy entirely.

I got one and whilst a lens of this range is never gonna be perfect - it ain't too bad.

I have posted some early shots taken with it here

https://www.pentaxforums.com/forums/pentax-slr-lens-discussion/72317-i-love-m...tml#post729772

And whist i need to acclimatise myself to ultra wide photography and PP I am happy with it so far.

Cheerz MZ

09-07-2009, 04:41 AM   #5
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It really depends on the application of the lens.

I have the Sigma 10-20mm (the older one), but since I use it for almost landscapes only, I am more bothered about how it performs on the smaller apertures such as f/11 to f/16 since I want front to back sharpness on the DOF. The constant large aperture, whilst better for a brighter viewfinder, does not interest me at all. What would interest me from my own use, is how the new 10-20mm performs at the aperture that is important to me. If it ends up being the same for sharpness and CA, then it's not worth the money to me. If it is significantly more sharp and better CA control, then brilliant; worth looking into.

On the CA front, the 10-20mm exhibits more yellow/blue CA than the horrible red/cyan CA which is very easy to correct in post processing when shooting RAW. Additionally, the CA is only evident in the corners, I think you would be hard pushed to find a lens with this level of field-of-view that didn't exhibit any CA.
09-07-2009, 04:43 AM   #6
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I really don't see the difference between the two. With such wide angle you don't really need that large of an aperture anyways.
09-07-2009, 05:47 AM   #7
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I entirely agreed with the "wide apertures are useless on this lens" argument until I got to try the Tokina 116 on a Nikon. The Tokina is acceptably sharp even wide open - with these UWA lenses, the main use is landscapes, but they also allow for a lot of other creative uses - just take a look at some of the pictures taken with them on flickr. I do not always need a razor sharp image - sometimes the light is poor and I just want to portray an interesting scene in a fresh way. Being able to shoot the Tokina at f/2.8 means being to capture a lot of pictures impossible with the Sigma.

The Tokina seemed to correct distortions better than the Sigma when I tried it, but that might just be an effect of the slightly narrower FOV. The 11-16mm zoom range is laughable - they might as well have made it a prime. I like the build and finish of the Tokina better, but I prefer the shape of the Sigma. And the price of the Tokina is just a smidgen more then the Sigma. I would buy a Da* 11-16mm in a second as long as the price was not double that of the Tokina.
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