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Sigma EX DC J 10-20mm F4-5.6 Review RSS Feed

Sigma EX DC J 10-20mm F4-5.6

Reviews Views Date of last review
65 212,871 Fri May 6, 2022
Recommended By Average Price Average User Rating
97% of reviewers $432.23 8.89
Sigma EX DC J 10-20mm F4-5.6


An ultra-wide zoom from Sigma with srcew-drive autofocus.

This lens was succeeded by the faster Sigma 10-20mm F3.5 EX DC HSM, which features a built-in AF motor (but no provision for screw-drive).

These two Sigma 10-20mm lenses are compared in this review.

Sigma 10-20mm F4-5.6 EX DC J
©, sharable with attribution
Image Format
Lens Mount
Pentax K
Aperture Ring
Automatic, 6 blades (rounded)
14 elements, 10 groups
Mount Variant
Check camera compatibility
Max. Aperture
Min. Aperture
AF (screwdrive)
Min. Focus
24 cm
Max. Magnification
Filter Size
77 mm
Internal Focus
Field of View (Diag. / Horiz.)

APS-C: 102-64 ° / 92-55 °
Lens Cap
Weather Sealing
Other Features
Distance Scale
Diam x Length
83.5 x 81 mm (3.3 x 3.2 in.)
470 g (16.4 oz.)
Production Years
2005 (start of production)
User reviews
In-depth review
Buy Lens: Buy the Sigma EX DC J 10-20mm F4-5.6
In-Depth Review: Read our Sigma EX DC J 10-20mm F4-5.6 in-depth review!
Mount Type: Pentax KAF2/KAF (screwdrive AF)
Price History:

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Sort Reviews by: Date | Author | Rating | Recommendation | Likes (Descending) Showing Reviews 1-15 of 65
New Member

Registered: April, 2022
Posts: 12
Review Date: May 6, 2022 Recommended | Price: $170.00 | Rating: 9 

Pros: Exciting compositions possible with this lens.Well built
Cons: issues at wide end inconsistent results
Sharpness: 8    Aberrations: 5    Bokeh: 4    Handling: 8    Value: 9    Camera Used: k-x k-r k30    Autofocus: 6    New Or Used: Used   

This lens captures my interest and it's hard to put it down. There were two available at a reputable online store.
I chose the " mint " sample and immediately checked for decentering. It was decentered. So I then spent days uming and aring Should I return it and try the other one?
Whilst I was making my mind up I couldn't put the lens down as I was getting super sharp but also amazing compositions since it has small minimum focus distance. Cheekily I held on to it and ordered the second sample. This one turned out to be a later version, I think, because the Sigma lens cap was now a centre pinch style.
This one doesn't have as much decentering as the other one but it seems a bit less competent at 10mm ( quite soft towards both edges). At 11+ it is superb ( as the other one was really apart from the edge issue ) .
So I am wondering if maybe Sigma reset their assembly machinery at around 2008 when according to reports the centre pinch cap was introduced.
So I kept the second one and returned the first.
My thoughts are ( and they are guesses ) most of these lenses are slightly decentered but the post 2008 ones have been quality checked for this or at least the assembly process was modified. In so doing the lenses might be slightly less good in other respects for example a bit of field curvature.
Anyway, what is indisputable is that this lens is capable of transforming your photography and has had more impact on my hobby than any of my other lenses.
It's a great lens despite its age.
Site Supporter

Registered: May, 2016
Location: Bristol, Tennessee
Posts: 319
Review Date: January 4, 2021 Recommended | Price: $124.99 | Rating: 8 

Pros: super wide, great value
Cons: soft
Sharpness: 6    Aberrations: 9    Bokeh: 7    Handling: 9    Value: 10    Camera Used: k3    Autofocus: 8    New Or Used: Used   

This is by far the best lens value I've ever gotten. I got a well kept, used copy via eBay, because my DA* 16-50 just wasn't wide enough to capture the interior real estate shots I needed on my K3. It's also easy to handle for a zoom lens, and doesn't take up much room in the bag. Images are decent, usable for my needs, but soft. Although I haven't used it much yet, I might just need to find the sweet spot. If you need decent wide shots on the cheap, this may be the lens for you.

Registered: February, 2007
Location: Midwest Coastal Region USA
Posts: 417

1 user found this helpful
Review Date: October 27, 2019 Recommended | Price: $200.00 | Rating: 9 

Pros: Sharpness, Color Rendering
Cons: Heavy, Slight CA and PF
Sharpness: 9    Aberrations: 7    Bokeh: 7    Handling: 9    Value: 9    Camera Used: K-5, K20D    Autofocus: 9    New Or Used: Used   

This copy of the 10-20mm Sigma lens is sharp at f8 and not bad wide open. This copy was sharp from 10 to 20mm. Color rendering is excellent with good saturation. Focus is quick and smooth. The lens did show a bit of PF and CA depending on the angle of the sun at times but nothing serious. The lens is heavy so if you desire a small light wide angle lens the DA21 or DA15 Ltd may be a better choice.

Veteran Member

Registered: June, 2015
Location: Ontario, Canada
Posts: 791

2 users found this helpful
Review Date: October 28, 2018 Recommended | Price: $180.00 | Rating: 9 

Pros: cheap, sharp, takes filters
Cons: some flaws in the 10-13mm range
Sharpness: 8    Aberrations: 8    Bokeh: 8    Handling: 10    Value: 9    Camera Used: K-5    Autofocus: 8    New Or Used: Used   

This is a pretty cheap APS-C wide angle. For the cost, it is outstanding. It's hard to find fault with it. It is super-wide, and super-fun. For the casual landscape shooter, this is an amazing lens and I don't really find myself craving more expensive wide-angle lenses after getting this one.

It takes filters, so you can pop on an ND filter or polarizer. Beware that because it is quite wide, a normal polarizer will show uneven sky colours due to the wide range of angles at which light enters this lens. B+W supposedly makes a closer-sitting filter that ameliorates this somewhat but I've not tried it. Also, you can still use a regular polarizer if you're not shooting into pure blue skies (for example, if you want to cancel some reflections).

Let's talk about sharpness. In the center and midframes, it's pretty sharp. As I mentioned in the top of the review, the edge performance is pretty weak at the wider 10-13mm range. That, however, is improved a little upon stopping down. Also, at 14mm at above, it's pretty strong all around. Still, I wouldn't hesitate to use the 10-13mm range since for many compositions the very edges might not really have as much cool stuff in them. Overall, despite the weaknesses, even the widest setting can still make for interesting shots. In the evening, using a tripod at a narrower aperture will help tremendously.

The autofocus works well. Because the lens is so wide, you don't really need it to be top-notch to get sharp shots. Manual focus also works well too. For landscapes however, setting this thing up on a tripod and using Live View is still important.

The hood is a petal one. It snaps on and off easily.

What about flare? This lens handles flare pretty well. It does not lose contrast when shot into the sun. The flare is well-controlled, and produces minimal effects.

If you want to know the most serious downside to this lens as a landscape lens, it's the sunstars with narrow apertures. This lens has six aperture blades, and produces mediocre, uneven sunstars. I really like shooting into the sun, so I am a little disappointed with the look sometimes.
Senior Member

Registered: July, 2008
Location: Sammamish, WA
Posts: 161
Review Date: August 2, 2018 Recommended | Price: $300.00 | Rating: 10 

Pros: sharpness, color
Cons: none
Sharpness: 9    Aberrations: 9    Bokeh: 8    Handling: 9    Value: 10    Autofocus: 9    New Or Used: New   

This lens is one of my favorites, it is so wide its crazy, and very sharp.
Senior Member

Registered: September, 2014
Location: Nelson
Posts: 265

3 users found this helpful
Review Date: February 1, 2017 Recommended | Price: $195.00 | Rating: 10 

Pros: Image Quality
Cons: None
Sharpness: 8    Aberrations: 10    Bokeh: 5    Handling: 8    Value: 10    Camera Used: K-r    Autofocus: 10    New Or Used: 10   

Started out hunting for a Pentax 10-17 at a reasonable price. This came up and I took a gamble.

It's not without it's faults, soft corners wide-open wide @ 10mm, but I think that's more about the way it has to be manufactured to offer a non-fisheye FOV at this focal length.

Surprised to see comments re. colour-cast and overall colour -suspect a bad copy?

It shines shut down a little @ 10mm; these examples were taken at that.

New Member

Registered: January, 2015
Posts: 15
Review Date: October 13, 2015 Recommended | Price: $200.00 | Rating: 9 

Pros: Good construction, solid feel, good accesories
Cons: Weird coating on the body
Sharpness: 8    Aberrations: 7    Bokeh: 6    Handling: 10    Value: 10    Camera Used: Pentax K-7, Pentax K-r    Autofocus: 9    New Or Used: Used   

The lens is great, I bought it as my first wide-angle-zoom, and I was really impressed. It's fast on the K-7, probably faster on newer bodies. The case is a great bonus for it's price. I recommend using it with a filter, as it can attract dust very easy. Relatively small.

Autumn by Albert Dobrin, on Flickr

University by Albert Dobrin, on Flickr
Veteran Member

Registered: September, 2013
Location: Pasadena, CA
Posts: 1,125
Review Date: September 6, 2015 Recommended | Price: $300.00 | Rating: 8 

Pros: sharp in the center, mid-range and stopped down, good IQ overall
Cons: soft corners wide open, color cast, relatively poor color
Sharpness: 8    Aberrations: 8    Bokeh: 8    Handling: 10    Value: 8    Camera Used: k-3, k-30    Autofocus: 8    New Or Used: Used   

Toyota Camry of lenses. It's a pretty good lens and does it's job well. It's good enough that I don't see a reason to exchange it, but if I had some money to spare, I would.

My biggest gripe is a color cast and overall quality of color that this lens produces. Because of this and slow aperture on the long end I tend to use it less than my other lenses.

Registered: August, 2013
Location: Iloilo City
Posts: 2,247
Review Date: July 19, 2015 Recommended | Price: $412.00 | Rating: 9 

Pros: Great value, bang for a buck. Sharp, quick focus. Great image quality
Cons: Some distortion, not WR
Sharpness: 10    Aberrations: 9    Bokeh: 9    Handling: 10    Value: 10    Autofocus: 9    New Or Used: New   

If it's possible, it would be a 9.5 or a 9.75. It's a perfect zoom for street photography though fixed wide angle to semi wides are recommended. Sharp ay f8 and up and quick to focus. Great image quality. I love this lens. I highly recommend it.
New Member

Registered: July, 2015
Posts: 7
Review Date: July 14, 2015 Recommended | Price: $280.00 | Rating: 9 

Sharpness: 8    Aberrations: 9    Bokeh: 7    Handling: 10    Value: 10    Camera Used: k-50    Autofocus: 8    New Or Used: New   

Good ultra wide angla, sharp and good build quality
Site Supporter

Registered: February, 2012
Location: Houston
Posts: 129
Review Date: March 21, 2015 Recommended | Price: $363.00 | Rating: 8 

Pros: Sharp, very wide, versatile
Cons: size, distortion at Ultra wide end
Sharpness: 9    Aberrations: 7    Bokeh: 7    Handling: 9    Value: 8    Camera Used: k5    Autofocus: 8    New Or Used: Used   

Great lens for landscape, architecture and pictures in cramped spaces. Very sharp especially on a tripod. It also focuses close which is useful in tight spaces.

I was not fond of the size of this lens as it is really big using a 77mm filter. I also did not like the distortion at the 10mm end.
Veteran Member

Registered: May, 2010
Posts: 7,403

10 users found this helpful
Review Date: October 4, 2014 Recommended | Price: $304.00 | Rating: 8 

Pros: Incredibly wide field of view
Cons: Incredibly wide field of view, natural distortions, somewhat soft
Sharpness: 7    Aberrations: 7    Bokeh: 8    Handling: 9    Value: 9    Camera Used: K-5 II    Autofocus: 8    New Or Used: Used   

After seeing numerous photographs taken at wide angle for years, I've wanted an ultra wide angle lens.

I had no idea for what I was in until I actually obtained one!

First off, I love taking photos of sunsets and clouds.. big sky photos and displaying object scale. For this an ultrawide can get you what you want.

However, I had no idea the amount of work involved in avoiding distortion when at the wide side of this lens (10mm)... you must be careful not to pitch up or down the camera from the subject or you will get massive image distortion! This can be played to your advantage but it can also be simply annoying too. Also close up, objects take on a slight to moderate fisheye effect almost. To really get this effect though, the lens would have to be able to focus even closer than it can.

Also, 10mm is simply REALLY INCREDIBLY wide! This is fantastic if you are in a tight place and want to have much of the space in the image (interior shots -- especially in realty or the sort). However, outside in larger space, this means you are losing detail of your subject simply from covering more area in the field of view.

For landscapes and such, the longer end of this lens is probably going to be the smarter option (focal length wise). Forget about Panoramas with the wider end btw. In my experiences, way too much distortion means you will have headaches getting images to properly overlap.. even with distortion correct enabled (LR user here). Plus with distortion correction enabled, means you will be removing a portion of the actual image in crop to accommodate said distortion (it can be rather severe on the edges and somewhat complex). So just use the mid to long side of this lens if you are considering panoramas or landscapes with more detail. The issue there is this Sigma 10-20mm lens tends to be softer in the mid to longer side of the focal range. I think my 18-135 might be sharper and around the same barrel distortion amount as this Sigma lens (which is rather minimal on long side of the 10-20) at 18-20mm. Also, you're getting f/5.6 on the long end of this lens.. so forget about it if you are in a low lit space with no tripod.

I hope this review makes sense.. The lens isn't a dog.. by any means.. it is rather sharp stopped down to F/8 and F/11 but you might want to handle an Ultra wide lens before buying just to ensure this is really your cup of tea. It is the only lens where I really had to practice using it and work through the dynamics of such a particular focal range and the properties of this particular lens -- didn't come automatically.

This is a chubby lens but it is plastic so it is lightweight. Some might find that a flaw, but I think had it been metal, this would have been a brick to hold! 77mm threads means screw-on filters are going to be expensive. I use a Cokin P series step down ring and the square filters instead. That way, I can use all of my ND filters without having to get individual ones for each thread size. Just a cheap step down ring for the filter holder (bought a ton of those step down rings on ebay for next to nothing).

Also, this lens WILL flare in bright light sources (namely the sun!). You won't get a super awesome copy that doesn't flare. This lens flares. Expect it to and plan accordingly. If you take lots of shots with the sun visible or just off camera, and don't want to Post Process the flare effect out, look for a different lens.

I'm glad to have this lens and will get much use out of it.. but I don't think it will be the most affixed lens on my camera as I thought it might have been before receiving it. 10mm, however, is fantastic for big sky photography, massively large landscapes (where detail isn't the leading factor), interior spaces, creative effects, and generally projecting scale of objects. I find, as a result, this Sigma 10-20mm makes up for it's limitations.
Junior Member

Registered: March, 2009
Location: Atlanta
Posts: 28
Review Date: September 14, 2014 Recommended | Price: $489.00 | Rating: 9 

Pros: Wide range, excellent build, sharp
Cons: Minor vignetting at 10mm
Sharpness: 9    Aberrations: 9    Bokeh: 8    Handling: 9    Value: 10    Camera Used: K-3    Autofocus: 8    New Or Used: New   

I got a new one on sale, and I'm surprised to say that this has actually become my walk-around lens! I do mostly landscapes, and in that genre, this lens (especially for the money!) is simply a wizard. Not so good for interior shots, and some of my flash-assisted photos seem to make the minor distortion seem more prevalent, but for anything outdoors, I find it suitably fast, quiet, light, and SHARP at anything f8 and above.

Even at 12mm, the distortion is so low that I have successfully shot dozens of vertical-format stitched panoramics, and (as long as I'm overlapping sufficiently) the distortion is just not noticable whatsoever. This ultra-wide POV, along with the K-3's file size even allows me to crop down when necessary, and still get files that are outstanding when printed large.

I would have given this lens all 10's, except that I do occasionally find the screw-focus hunting a bit, and in very brightly back-lit silhouette shots, the bokeh is not as pleasant as my Pentax lenses. Both of these are, for me, minor issues, but still worthy of a less-than-10 review.

For landscapes... I'm not sure what you could do to get a better value until you are willing to spend 6x.
For interiors... perhaps the 10-20 f3.5 would be better... but I'm not willing to spend the money to find out.
New Member

Registered: April, 2013
Posts: 20
Review Date: June 8, 2014 Recommended | Price: $300.00 | Rating: 10 

Pros: Build, optics, internal focus
Cons: Requires a whopping 77mm filter, aberrations at 10mm
Sharpness: 10    Aberrations: 7    Bokeh: 8    Handling: 10    Value: 10    Camera Used: K5    Autofocus: 9    New Or Used: Used   

Bought secondhand for 180 and in first class condition. First impressions very favourable. Looks and feels like a real quality lens. A small downside to that is it is a little hefty. But balances well with the K5.

Optics are supreme. Perhaps a little soft in the corners at 10mm when wide open. Stopped down a little though and its brilliant, right through its focal range. It also resists CA pretty well. There is some vignetting at 10mm but can be corrected in post.

Focus is just screw drive on the pentax version, Nikon and Canon versions get HSM for the same price......why???? A little unfair. But that said it focuses well enough and not too noisy either. Focusing is done internally which means no rotating front element, which also means no problems using a polariser or Grad filters with this lens.

Finally, value. Always a trump card for Sigma and they play it well again with this lens. Represents truly excellent value for money, new or secondhand. Most reviews put it ahead of the similary priced Tamron 10-24. A way below the price of the Pentax 12-24 option.
My only reservation would be whether it represents the best option when compared to its stablemates from Sigma. Sigma also offer a 8-16, 10-20 f3.5 and 12-24. All of which are optically superior to this lens. And the EX 10-20 f3.5 only costs an extra 50 new and for that you get the HSM focus motor, constant f3.5 and a notch up in optical quality.
Junior Member

Registered: March, 2014
Posts: 38
Review Date: March 23, 2014 Recommended | Price: $650.00 | Rating: 9 

Pros: it's wide! and sturdy!
Cons: a bit slow for a lot of indoor use
Sharpness: 9    Aberrations: 7    Bokeh: 8    Handling: 8    Value: 9    Camera Used: Pentax K10    Autofocus: 7    New Or Used: New   

This lens produces excellent images throughout the ultrawide to wide range, and thus, for me, rates a 9. I'd rate it a 10 if it was faster, but then it would be larger.

If you need an ultrawide lens principally for outdoor landscape use, I'd look no farther. The images this lens produce are as good as anything comparable from manufacturers like Canon - I have compared it with this venerable company's own 10-20, and not found the Sigma lacking. It's sweet spot is 12mm - crisp, clean, minimal distortion, and at f8 it's tack sharp - no slouch down to f4, either.

My only problem with this lens (if it is a problem) is that I don't use the ultrawide range very much, and as a consequence, this is about the least used lens I own. That being said, I wouldn't part with it because when I need it, it's there and it delivers. If I did a lot of indoor stuff, I'd like a 2.8, but I can live with the slower aperture because indoors is tripod territory, anyway. As an outdoor landscaper, you couldn't do better.

Don't hesitate.
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