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Sigma DC Macro OS HSM 17-70mm F2.8-4 Review RSS Feed

Sigma DC Macro OS HSM 17-70mm F2.8-4

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28 124,453 Sun February 6, 2022
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86% of reviewers $397.77 8.21
Sigma DC Macro OS HSM 17-70mm F2.8-4

A revision to the 17-70mm F2.8-4.5 DC Macro, this lens uses a different optical formula (2 additional elements) and provides a generally faster aperture at most focal lengths compared to the original. It also contains Sigma's Optical Stabilization technology that can provide up to a 4-stop stabilization advantage.

Lens Construction 17 Elements in 13 Groups
Angle of View 72.4-20.2
Number of Diaphragm Blades 7
Miminum Aperture f22
Minimum Focusing Distance 22 cm / 8.7 in
Filter Size (mm) 72
Maximum Magnifications 1:2.7
(Diameter x Length) 79-88.9 mm/3.1x3.5 in
Weight 535g / 18.9oz.

Discontinued in late 2012 to make way for a redesigned successor, which will be a part of Sigma's new "contemporary" lens series.
In-Depth Review: Read our Sigma DC Macro OS HSM 17-70mm F2.8-4 in-depth review!
Mount Type: Pentax KAF3 (in-lens AF only)
Price History:

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Senior Member

Registered: March, 2012
Posts: 165
Lens Review Date: April 5, 2012 I can recommend this lens: No | Price: $500.00 | Rating: 8 

Pros: Image quality,long enough for portraits,AF accurate
Cons: Heavy,OS eats battery FAST,AF slow

I did update Kit lens to Sigma 17-70. One thing i really hate this lens is OS=Optical stabilizer. Sigma OS is eating battery too fast, even OS switched of from lens but still something is moving all the time and battery is ampty so very quickly. Can not recomend lens like that to anybody. Newer buy another sigma with OS again...ok maybe some long tele lens OS on lens is usefull but others lens no need OS cos pentax has own SR and OS add few extra class that reduces optical quality and makes lens more heavy and bigger size. Sigma&OS no thanks for me except 200mm or longer!

First copy of this lens AF only worked in good light even normal inside lights were not enough for AF to work. HSM makes little noise and is slow. IQ is good. Little more extra on tele would be nice also. Now i would choose Pentax 18-135 instead. My Sigma max aperture is 17-21mm f2.8, 22-43mm f3.5, 44-70mm f4 so lens is really almous f4...
Veteran Member

Registered: June, 2011
Location: New York City
Posts: 5,632

2 users found this helpful
Lens Review Date: December 29, 2011 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $500.00 | Rating: 8 

Pros: Small, quiet focusing, sharp from 17-50, nice build quality
Cons: not very sharp from 50-70, focusing isn't fast, hood is a bit tiny

I bought the Sigma 17-70 F2.8-4 OS HSM to replace my kit 18-55mm lens as my main walk-around lens. As a kit lens replacement, it's quite good. The HSM isn't fast (I thought it would be like the Canon USM, but I was very very wrong), but it certainly is quiet and does very well at minor adjustments compared to the kit lens. Also, being faster than the kit lens, it does hit focus better.

Picture Quality
To start off, let's talk about picture quality. It's definitely better than the kit lens at all apertures and focal lengths. It does have a certain weakness at 60-70mm, but the kit lens doesn't have that focal length anyways, so that's a different subject. At 17-50mm, this lens is usable wide open, especially if we're talking about web prints. My understanding is that once stopped down, the Sigma and Tamron 17-50s will beat this lens, but wide open they are about comparable.

100% center crop at 70mm F8 - This shot looks pretty sharp to me, and I can't complain since it is a zoom lens. It still can't compare to my Tamron 70-200 F2.8, but that's a mutant lens anyways.

100% center crop at 70mm F8 far focus - Not as sharp, so this lens isn't going to be great when zooming in to something far away.

100% center crop at 17mm F8 - I feel this is sharp enough for a wide angle shot. The corners aren't appreciable though, so it's best to take advantage of the better center sharpness of this lens.

So to recap, this lens is pretty sharp stopped down. I can definitely use the shots online, and I wouldn't mind printing some of the shots. Now, let's talk about that 70mm wide open:

Sorry for all the portrait oriented images - at 70mm F4, this lens produces some weird dreamy effect that comes out when there is major light contrast. It's not entirely bad (as the bokeh turns out super creamy because of it), but it's not sharp. It reminds me a little of the soft focus lenses that some people use for portraiture. I don't know if this is typical of this lens or if there's something wrong with mine, but it doesn't bother me (I like to use it at this setting) so I'm not returning this lens.

This lens comes with the HSM (HyperSonic Motor?) focusing that the newer Sigma lenses come with. My initial expectation was for it to be similar to the Canon USMs or the Nikon SWM (silent wave) or rather, like the Pentax screw drive without the sound (which is what the silent wave focus is like). I was pretty wrong on that expectation. I can't really explain how the HSM in this lens is like, except that it focuses in bursts. When focusing, you can feel the lens move in stops to get to the right focus point, almost like little thuds. The lens is extremely quiet (not as quiet as the Silent Wave focus though) and is impossible to hear in practically all conditions. The speed is pretty slow though, slower than the screw drive. I attribute this to the "stuttering" of the focusing motor, which assists it in the minor focusing adjustments that my kit lens was terrible at.

So to summarize - 17-70 HSM, quiet, weird, different, better than the screw drive when it comes down to noise and minor adjustment accuracy, but I haven't tried it on moving subjects.

This lens is the newer version of the 17-70s, so it has the sparkly matte finish on the lens. I am not entirely fond of the sparkly bits, but I do like the matte finish (the older shiny plastic finish felt terrible to the touch). The lens is noticeably heavy, but it is small. Those two attributes make it feel quite good to hold. The zoom ring is very well damped - I adore the tightness of it. After using this lens for a bit, it makes my Tamron 70-200 F2.8's zoom ring feel terrible. Focus ring is pretty smooth, but a focus throw of about 40 degrees or so makes manual focusing a nightmare.

The OS and HSM switches are nice and solid, and the zoom lock switch is pretty redundant except to keep the lens from zooming out when you pull out the lens from the bag. The zoom is damped enough so that you will never have zoom creep from pointing the lens downwards. It has a non-rotating front element, which is very important to me. The zoom isn't internal, and the lens increases length by about 70% at full zoom. The hood is pretty tiny (I guess because of the 17mm), so some people may want to throw on a UV filter for safety. The front element is pretty fat and huge, which looks nice.

Some bad stuff about the build - the zoom rotation is opposite of most lenses. It's tremendously annoying because since the zoom ring is huge, I usually grab onto that part while putting it on the camera. So while screwing it onto the camera, the lens zooms out. The clip on hood sometimes doesn't clip on very well - this is true for another Sigma lens of mine, so I don't know if it's just their design or what (My Tamron 70-200's hood clips on well everytime). Filter size is 72mm, which may save money for some people, but definitely sucks for me because my 10-20 and my 70-200 are both 77mm. I know that the Sigma 17-50 is 77mm too, so bleh.

As a walkaround lens, this lens is great. As an indoor lens, this lens is pretty good in the 17-50mm range. As a kit lens replacement, this lens is awesome. It's sharp and quiet, hits a good focal length range that I need, and has pretty good bokeh. I would highly recommend this lens to anyone who wants a quiet alternative to the Tamron 17-50/28-75 or who wants a cheaper alternative to the Sigma 17-50/24-70 or the DA*16-50.

Sample Pictures

Veteran Member

Registered: October, 2011
Location: Aylesbury, Bucks
Posts: 492

2 users found this helpful
Lens Review Date: October 26, 2011 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $560.00 | Rating: 8 

Pros: Useful range, image quality, autofocus, close focus
Cons: Not so good at 17mm, somewhat bulky

This will not be the most technical review ever - I didn't spend days photographing brick walls and test charts. I just walked around and took photographs.

The most likely reason to consider this lens is as an upgrade to the 18-55mm kit lens and as such, this is a solid all-round performer, being both wider and longer and two thirds to a full stop faster across the entire range. It also competes well against the Pentax DA 17-70mm, being both less expensive and brighter at most focal lengths.

Image quality looks to be excellent at most focal lengths, although 17mm shows quite severe purple fringing. Colours are vibrant and the bokeh is really rather splendid. The build quality is excellent - very solid with a nice texturized rubber grip on the zoom and focus rings. The black / white with gold highlights colour scheme is quite tasteful too. Because of the width of the barrel, you'll get a shadow with the onboard flash at focal lengths below ~28mm.

Autofocus is quite excellent - very fast and near silent. Manual focus is OK, although you need to disengage AF using the switch on the lens barrel - there is no quick shift focus here. Another minor handling issue is that zoom direction is the opposite direction to the Pentax norm. I can confirm that at the time of writing there is no optical stabilization in the Pentax mount version of this lens so it shouldn't waste batteries.

Despite the "Macro" in the title, this lens doesn't manage 1:1 magnification but the close focusing capabilities are quite impressive: 20cm at all focal lengths. At 70mm focal length you can pretty much focus on a subject touching the surface of the lens.

This isn't a small lens by any stretch of the imagination. On my K-r it looks businesslike to say the least, if not downright aggressive! it's just a little front-heavy too.

Overall I would recommend this lens as a solid upgrade for the first-time buyer.

Junior Member

Registered: March, 2011
Location: Houston, TX
Posts: 34

1 user found this helpful
Lens Review Date: October 18, 2011 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $450.00 | Rating: 8 

Pros: Decent sharpness, autofocus speed and accuracy
Cons: Zoom control reversed, saturation (normal settings)

I was torn between this lens and the Tamron 17-50 around the same price point. The extra 20mm and HSM (in particular) made the choice for the Sigma. (I considered the Sigma 17-50 HSM which would have probably won out, but I couldn't justify the extra $200 right now.) I haven't used or frankly wanted the OS, but it is there if you want it. The K5's built in AS seems to work as well as I have ever needed for what I primarily shoot.

I mostly use this lens for general photography and specifically for shots that I use on my business website. These are not as demanding so some of the things that I may not feel are as up-to-snuff as they could be are either easily overlooked or handled in post production. Specifically, I generally shoot at the K5's normal color balance which does great with my other lens, the Pentax DA* 60-250, but I have to either change the settings or post produce things to get the saturation out of this lens. There are the normal non-parallel parallel lines that you come to expect at the extreme wide end, but this is managed decently and for my interior shots which I use it for, it has never been a serious issue. As some reviews have noted, it is a bit soft north of ~50mm, but again, for my uses (and for pairing with the 60-250 as my only lenses right now) I just remember to stop things down a bit more.

Other than the zoom ring going the 'wrong way' which can get me when I switch lenses, the build quality is above average while not in the caliber (or price range) of the 60-250. And unlike one review here, the autofocus has been very smooth, dead quiet and very quick to lock on target so I expect they got a bad copy.

Overall, very pleased in general, but where I find the DA* 60-250 simply takes consistently great shots with minimal effort, I still have more to learn about how to get the most out of this lens with the K5.
Inactive Account

Registered: August, 2011
Location: worcestershire UK
Posts: 7

1 user found this helpful
Lens Review Date: September 26, 2011 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $420.00 | Rating: 9 

Pros: Versatile, zoom lock for travelling, all round quality
Cons: Slightly heavy after GF1 Lumix

I have taken the plunge and spent all my spare cash on a K5, the Sigma 17-70mm lens with bag, card and filter I have to hold back the strong urge to buy limited, but the 35mm is in truly my sights for the future. The camera does what is says on the box, so to speak, and as other reviewers have said in great quantity. It is good to hold and use. The lens has done what I wanted initially, take good pictures, after help from the forum I went to SRS and they were very helpful with part ex and suggestions. The same evening I had to take publicity pictures for the theatre and the cast for the program. This was some ordeal with new kit , only just out of the box. Yes all on auto for safety one shot time is difficult. But now I have wandered around the garden and looked at nature which is always an obliging subject, I am more than impressed. Remember I had a Panasonic Lumix GF1 with a pancake lens, which takes an image second to none in that small arena. The colour and depth from the K5 is equal to the challenge and the Sigma lens does not disappoint. My portraits for the theatre are good and the ability to take Humming Bird Hawk-moths and plants is very pleasing. Well done Pentax, it is not easy parting with money when you retire but by the results it is well justified.

I will try to replace my pancake lens soon with a Pentax limited, although I am still confused as to which one I should buy, portraits and landscape pictures will be the subjects?

Junior Member

Registered: July, 2011
Location: guernsey
Posts: 40

1 user found this helpful
Lens Review Date: August 12, 2011 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $600.00 | Rating: 8 

Pros: Well built, good all-round quality, good sharpness, f2.8, nice bokeh, macro
Cons: heavy, some CA wide open, soft in corners(at bigger apertures) , zoom creep

A very good upgrade to the kit lens!
This lens is very capable of producing some very very good shots, it is a good all round lens and i would suggest trying this as an upgrade to the kit lens (18-55) as it is so much more versatile. The Autofocus on my K-5 works like a dream and it's never failed me. Sharpness is good to excellent, abberations can sometimes be a burden, but are easily sorted out by PP. Bokeh is very nice, Autofocus as I said is brilliant, Handling is good; it is a very well made lens. The only problem I've had with it is weight and zoom creep. Both of them aren't really a problem to me.
In terms of value, it could be better but i did not regret buying it!
Overall a very good lens and the macro capabilities are an added bonus!

New Member

Registered: June, 2011
Posts: 10

1 user found this helpful
Lens Review Date: August 11, 2011 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $573.00 | Rating: 8 

Pros: minimal focus distance, quick & silent AF
Cons: MF, useless OS, heavy

This is a nice lens, with a good built quality. Zoom is smooth, not too soft nor too hard. There is a "lock" button to lock the lens at the widest zoom (17mm). I don't see any use to it, the zoom is just hard enough so that it will never move unless you want it.

Unfortunately the lens comes with the Sigma OS (optical stabilization) which is mostly useless on Pentax bodies (at least at this zoom level, there is nearly no gain from having the viewfinder stabilized), and makes the lens a bit heavy. In addition, there is something wobbling inside when you turn it upside down.

The autofocus is excellent, very fast and silent. But manual focus is not to par at all: you have to switch the AF/M button on the lens (the corresponding button on the body is made pretty useless, but if it is on MF you won't get AF even if the lens switch is on AF). You have no quick shift focus for manual adjustment to AF, but anyway the MF ring is too loose and its range it too small to be of any use. This is definitely not a MF lens.

The optical quality is good and I have rarely seen any CAs. The greatest thing about this lens is the close minimal focus distance: you can focus at 22cm, which is just a few centimeters away from the front lens. No need to plug a dedicated macro lens for most small things you can see in the garden!

Registered: May, 2011
Location: Pittsburgh,PA
Posts: 321

1 user found this helpful
Lens Review Date: August 9, 2011 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $379.00 | Rating: 9 

Pros: IQ, macro, AF
Cons: no f2.8 all the way

my first lens on K 7. fast auto focus. Great range of focal length.

IMGP6612-new5 by dr_romix, on Flickr

IMGP6971-new by dr_romix, on Flickr

Rome, Italy by dr_romix, on Flickr

Colosseum by dr_romix, on Flickr

Hell Burger, Arlington, VA. Obama's Favorite. by dr_romix, on Flickr
Site Supporter

Registered: December, 2010
Location: San Diego, CA
Posts: 29

3 users found this helpful
Lens Review Date: January 21, 2011 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $440.00 | Rating: 9 

Pros: Focal length, macro, IQ, CA, Flare, bokeh, aesthetics
Cons: OS drains battery

I researched a lot for an upgrade to my K-x's kit lens, and I feel this lens turned out pretty good. After using it day and night for about two months these are my observations:

Sharpness: Pretty good. Much better than the kit lens. IQ is best on average a couple stops down from wide open. Once you hit its sweet spots, the resolution is outstanding. Its sharpest setting is a close match to photos from my Tamron 90mm Di macro lens, although the Tamron is sharp across more of the frame and more apertures.

Focus: Mine came with a very slight front focus bias, around 1mm. But its not that field relevant for me. Speed is quick and quiet. Seems to be consistent.

Bokeh: Very Pleasing. I'm satisfied with the quality of out-of-focus blur, as it is smooth and renders highlights with nice round circles. Since the sharpest setting is a couple stops down from wide open, and the fact that its a multi-varying aperture, bokeh is not as "blurry" as I want it to be. I did notice a small amount of lateral chroma in the bokeh, slight purple and green fringing in front and back out-of-focus planes, but it did just as well as the Tamron macro lens. Overall, good but subtle results from the rounded 7 blades.

Color: Good results. A little on the cool side compared to Pentax. Match this with Pentax's tendancy to saturate blues and you have pretty dramatic skies. Contrast is good enough. I feel Pentax processing tends to over contrast anyway.

Focal Length: Outstanding. 25.5mm-105mm 35mm equavalent is nice for walk-around travel and portrait. Its 1:2.7 magnification ratio is nice enough for macro

Optical Stablization: Works as inteded but I have the most gripes about this one. I've done some tests, and I feel that the Shake Reduction of the K-x is just as effective. Plus the in-camera SR does not drain battery life like SIgma's implementation of OS since in-lens OS is always ON, even when you switch it off. Thats because the OS len elements inside are always gyrating, and engage when you half press the shutter. (*Edit* Just to be clear, turning off OS on the lens disengages optical stabilization but still consumes power because the floating lens elements are still moving.) Occassionally, you will see the image "pop" into place in the viewfinder. On a very good note though, OS in the lens solves the irritable problem of SR noise during movie recording. Just disable SR and enable OS, then record videos while holding down the half-press shutter!

CA: Great results here. I find it handles this one well beyond 17mm. I think the 3x aspherical lens do help.

Vignetting: About par with any good lens. Although there, its not a field issue for me on 17mm focal length.

Flare: Great results. Handles sun shots well. I think the improved ELD glass helps. Comes with a feathered petal hood too.

Distortion: About average. I think the kit lens was a tad more distorted. Geometry is easily corrected in Lightroom.

Cosmetics: Awesome. This lens looks fierce on my small body k-x. Gold accents and soft rubber-like texture give it class.

Handling: Zoome creep is ok. Keeps its own when walking, but if I jump it will creep a little. Only time will tell if it gets worse. The zoom lock is in an easy to reach location. Rotating the zoom ring is a little awkward since its direction is different from Pentax lenses.

Overall, I would definitely recommend this lens. If anyone knows how to disable the OS using the electrical contacts on the back plate let me know.

New Member

Registered: April, 2010
Location: Bloomfield CO
Posts: 21
Lens Review Date: December 3, 2010 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: None indicated | Rating: 9 

Pros: sharp good color
Cons: heavey

no problems works well
good color sharp
New Member

Registered: November, 2010
Location: New York
Posts: 22

1 user found this helpful
Lens Review Date: December 3, 2010 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $400.00 | Rating: 8 

Pros: Relatively light and fast.
Cons: AF is somewhat slow given the limited range.

A relatively light and fast prime lens for the Pentax K-r. though AF is somewhat slower than expected given the limited focal length range.
Veteran Member

Registered: November, 2009
Location: Strand
Posts: 1,366

3 users found this helpful
Lens Review Date: June 9, 2010 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $500.00 | Rating: 8 

Pros: Good allround lens, good IQ, quick and accurate focus
Cons: CA at 17mm that need to be adjusted at postprocessing

I have this lens the day after it was available at the store. Shoot 1800 images with this. Very good image quality. At the wide end, there is visible CA, less contrast. I shoot indoor mostly with this lens. At the first look of images at 17mm, 3-5 feet distance, high contrast, they seem blur. Post-processing does help.

I do recommend as one of travel lenses. You may need extra battery when using this lens.

Edit: Truely a work horse! Now taken more than 20,000 images with it, where half indoor with flash @f5.6, and half outdoor. In spite of color rending is not as good as pentax's, it still is my first choice as single lens for a short trip, and as a piece of my travel kit for longer stay.
Veteran Member

Registered: September, 2006
Location: Texas
Posts: 25,123

3 users found this helpful
Lens Review Date: May 10, 2010 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $449.00 | Rating: 9 

Pros: Great range, excellent fast accurate focus
Cons: None so far....

I bought this a little over a week ago for my vacation to the Big Bend of Texas. I had heard good things of the older version, and was hoping for the same results with this lens. It has honestly shocked me with its performance....from 17 to 70 it is a real winner for my shooting. Color and sharpness are excellent, but the focus speed and accuracy are just amazing. The OS appears to be at least a good stop better than the SR on my K20D, and better still, it is far it has not failed a single time to deliver a stabilized shot handheld.
Excellent build quality and it handles nicely on my K20D. I can't think of another lens I have that will be on my camera more often, including my superb DA*50-135.

You should make sure the SR is off if using the OS on the lens...the two combined will ruin shots...I know, I ruined a bunch by accident.
I bought the new Sigma HSM 3.5 at the same time, but the 17mm was so good that I used this lens for 90% of my vacation shots. Although I am not the best shooter, I can't see where the lens failed me at all. I highly recommend this 17-70.

I don't see how to post photos in this thread, but there is a link to some I took, they are marked as 17-70 shots in most cases. All photos here have Properties to the right when viewed at the larger size......
Best Regards!
Add Review of Sigma DC Macro OS HSM 17-70mm F2.8-4

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