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SIGMA 24-70, HSM F2.8 REVIEW PART 6 (Conclusion)

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Forgive me if you find that I’ve repeated myself, some elements from this conclusion cross over with the Introduction.  I’m trying to keep short.


Starting with quality, the Canon lens is noticeably sharper and able to gather more detail even when wide open.  The Canon lens is an older design but still holding it’s own against the newer Sigma.

The vignetting while more pronounced at f2.8, looks more natural and pleasing.  Whether you prefer this depends on yourself.  I really liked it.  Far more attractive than the vignetting with the Sigma lens.

The design of the Canon lens allows for weatherproofing, but it’s a larger lens for it and the construction is superior; built like a tank.  The Sigma feels solid. Not to knock Sigma’s efforts but you don’t see a single screw anywhere on the Canon lens’s streamlined outer hull.  It doesn’t mean the Canon lens will survive a drop any more than the Sigma would, fragile glass is still inside!

I found a benefit of Sigma’s design; the AF switch is far more finger friendly.  The user benefits from being able to operate the AF switch via touch alone, whereas the Canon’s AF switch conforms to the body shape so as to not snag on anything, but it is harder to switch focus modes without sometimes checking to see if it switched modes.


The Canon lens is far larger and far heavier (nearly a kilo in weight).  The Sigma is positively speaking; half the lens in every way.  Along with the price.

A new Canon 24-70 L retails for around £1400 in the UK and around £800 second hand if you can find one.  A NEW Sigma meanwhile is just £600.  The reverse focal length design, zooming out to 24mm annoyed me, especially when I got close to my subjects.  I don’t tend to shoot landscapes so if you are a landscape photographer this might not be a big enough issue for you.
I don’t want to sound like I have weak wrists, but the Canon 24-70 L is a heavier lens to lug around with a Canon pro body for 6-8 hours a day.  It was one of the reasons why I sold it.  I kept the Sigma because of it’s price, weight and because I believe it’s good enough for what I need it to do.  Even though it suffers slightly with image sharpness as part 4 illustrated.

The way the Sigma zooms out to 70mm instead of 24mm feels more natural to me as well.  Much more practical when in the field. I do a lot of photo documentary work and I’d rather look less intimidating as people feel you were zooming in on them with the Canon lens. I don’t necessarily go out of my way to create ‘beautiful’ images.  Beauty in an aesthetic sense isn’t at the top of my list.  Thinking about it, the quality or should I say lack of quality gives my work an unfinished appeal which I like.

I briefly mentioned the focusing abilities of the Sigma lens in the introduction. But to reiterate, I felt my work hasn’t suffered.  The HSM is just as good as the USM focus mechanism.  I can’t time the differences (if there are any) but I feel I’m getting the same performance for less money.

I’m giving up the weatherproofing by choosing Sigma.  A feature I would have liked for comfort reasons, but it isn’t a deal breaker.  It’s the only feature I miss but I’m not pining over it.  How much does that say about the satisfaction I get from the Sigma lens or how much I needed weather proofing in the first place?

When it comes to putting photo stories together and showing my work, nobody has ever questioned the gear I use, maybe the body, but never the lens unless I offer that information up.  Nobody is demanding I use Canon glass for assignment x. Even with the weddings I shoot, people are attracted to my style.  In reality they care about the insurance and the planning of the event, not my gear.

Where does this concern you?

If your concerns are not financial, but quality and weatherproofing is,(but remember you need a 1 series body to take advantage of it) then the Canon is your only choice.  The older design is the reason for its weight (find a Canon 24-105 for example, it weighs next to nothing) but as I’ve illustrated, the quality hasn’t been surpassed.  I’ve also heard that the Canon 24-70 is due for an update, who knows what that would bring with regard to the issue of weight?

If you’re on a budget, if you’re a photography student, if you’re just in love with photography and don’t want to spend a huge amount of money, if you want a lens that works at f2.8 with that 24-70 focal range you should easily choose the Sigma HSM. You’re not going to benefit in a massive way by opting for the Canon.  You definitely won’t get twice as much from paying twice as much by going Canon, except maybe a feeling of comfort.  The Sigma works, its corrects all the flaws from the previous Sigma 24-70, such as the focusing. I would never recommend  and ask other photographers to consider Sigma’s previous design against the Canon 24-70.  But with this one I would definitely ask you to consider in your purchase options.


I still can’t help but think the Sigma lens is still trying to appeal to those on a budget (though they have pushed the boundary of what ‘budget’ is).  I’ve stated so twice now in this review.  It would be something else if Sigma really threw another Pro version of this lens out there to really give Canon some competition.  Another design, with the weatherproofing and better image quality.

Instead what we have here is a lens that corrects the flaws of the previous model.  Like Apple’s product philosophy; a newer iteration which improves over the previous but nothing that is going to be a massive jump hardware wise.  It would help with changing Sigma’s perception towards solely aiming for the price conscious photographer.

SIGMA 24-70, HSM F2.8 REVIEW PART 3 (Depth of field)

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Depth of Field

Canon 24-70 L vs Canon 24 f1.4 L vs Sigma 24-70 (Quick note)

All these images are from unedited raw files. They show all these lens depicting as much of the same scene as possible for an accurate as possible comparison. I’ve organised the gallery to show the Sigma lens on one side and the Canon version on the other. At the bottom is the Canon 24mm L images just for comparisons sake.



Written by jonathanjk

December 18, 2010 at 13:43

Sigma 24-70, HSM f2.8 review part 2 (Vignetting)

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Canon 24-70 L vs Canon 24 f1.4 L vs Sigma 24-70 (Quick note)

Just to note, the focal plane will shift slightly between lenses due to the different designs of glass. At f2.8 and 24mm the Canon 24mm prime has less vignetting, followed by the Sigma, while to my eyes the Canon 24-70 looks sharper overall. At f2.8 the Canon has a more natural darkening of the edges.

The vignetting on the Canon prime at f1.4 is amazing in my opinion.  I love it!

Vignetting up Close

For comparison here are three crops from all the lenses, illustrating the different amount of vignetting. As you can see the Canon 24-70 is darker around the edges than the Sigma version. It also allows the Sigma to pick out more detail from the edges.  I’d say the 24mm Prime is sharper at f2.8 as well. Remember it isn’t working at its widest aperture like the other two lenses.  The vignetting with the Sigma seems more artificial, if you look at the images above, you can see the corners are well rounded unlike with the Canon lenses. The Canon has a more natural darkening of the outer edges.

Canon 24mm at f2.8

Sigma 24-70 at f2.8 (24mm)

Canon 24-70 at f2.8 (24mm)

Sigma 24-70mm f2.8 HSM review

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Oh yeah, coming very soon, just bought the new Sigma 24-70mm f2.8 lens.  I’ll be comparing it to Canon’s mark 1 24-70mm f2.8 L version and my 24mm prime L series lens.  Leave any comments if you want anything specific from me that I should test.

I bought it from Jacobsdigital for £560 with a coupon.  Normally its £599, which is strange and good value in itself because it retails for £799 elsewhere in the UK.  Normally for me I would buy my gear second hand and normally I would buy Canon L as well.  I had my eyes set on repurchasing the Canon 24-70mm f2.8 L which at second hand pricing is between £700-£800.  But I had given it some thought as to whether weatherproofing was worth £200 extra.  All the stories about Sigma’s mis-focusing or quality control are entirely subjective and can’t concern me until I have one in my hands.

Now I have one and a review will come, my housemate has the Canon L version so I have the opportunity for a good review.

Written by jonathanjk

April 15, 2010 at 14:04

My ebay items

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As mentioned in a previous post, I’ve started to sell some of my gear.  I’m selling my Leica 25mm lens, my Contax G2 with 28mm f2.8 prime and in separate auctions my 46mm Carl Zeiss Planar and 90mm lens.  They can all be found here if anybody is interested:

Written by jonathanjk

October 27, 2008 at 23:55

Panasonic Lumix/Leica 25mm f1.4 (Part 1)

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First impressions and quick comparisons

First off you can get a sense of the quality, simply by holding it. It’s heavy but not too tiring to handle; it’s actually lighter than the 12-60mm Zuiko lens, the construction is solid. My doubts with spending £558/$1116 were cleared as I fastened it to my camera. I bagged this lens on eBay from a very reliable seller, the seller can be found here. The technical specs of these lenses can be found in the links I’ve provided which I’m not going to go into here, I’m simply going to show test images for other peoples benefit as there is a lot of talk about.

The Panasonic Lumix/Leica lens was something I was after ever since I got hold of the Olympus E420, I always want to keep noise down as much as possible by staying away from high ISO. I love my fast primes; I’ve owned the Canon EF 50 f1.4mm in the past and the Canon 50mm FD f1.2mm, these are also great lenses to own. I could have got the Olympus pancake lens but I wanted something faster than f2.8, that for a prime is kinda poor, granted it is a very small lens.

For Bokeh there would be no comparison either :).

In this first part, I’m offering a size comparison between these two lenses and including a Sekonic light meter to help with scale incase you haven’t seen either lens first hand, I hope this helps?

Pictured below are the two lenses. Notice how much extra in length the Panasonic/Leica is, simply with the addition of the lens hood. With the hood down it is shorter but it reminds me of Dark Helmet (also oversized) from Space Balls, the lens itself is quite big but with it attached to my camera, it is still compact for an SLR. It’s much smaller and lighter compared to my 5D with the 50mm lens attached as well.


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