SIGMA 70-200 2.8 II REVIEW
SIGMA was kind enough to send me out their 70-200 2.8 II a few weeks back for me to review. I have been recommending this SIGMA lens for quite sometime as it is a great value at $800 and I have heard good things about image quality. Now it is time for me to find out for myself weather this lens I have been recommending lives up to the Fro stamp of approval. You may be surprised what my findings and final outcome are.
Let’s first look at the build quality of this lens. The first thing you notice is that the lens feels very smooth in your hands. It has some nice weight to it like any other 70-200 2.8 pro lens would. There are no switches on the lens itself and only two rings, a zoom and a focus ring. It is interesting that there are no switches to take it from Auto to Manual like you will find on all the Nikon Models. The Lens comes with a soft case that I personally would not use as this lens went right into my ThinkTank Retrospective 20. There is also a tri-pod collar which I took right off as that is something that I would only use on a 300 2.8 or larger lens. Sigma supplies you with a nice flower shaped lens hood which is stored bayonet style when not in use.
Allen’s Camera stocks this lens for all camera mounts and will ship anywhere in the USA at a great price. Feel free to give him a call at 215.547.2841 and ask for the FRO Price.
As you will see in the review video I tested this lens on the Nikon D3000 and Nikon D3S along with taking comparison images with the Nikon 70-200 2.8 VR II. As you know my way of testing products is to actually use them in real world shooting environments. I tested this Sigma lens at a Hooters Concert as well as a local Middle School basketball game. I have exported FULL res jpeg files converted from the RAW files for you all to download and view. (see below)
While using this lens the first thing I noticed was how fast it was even on the D3000. The Hyper Sonic Motors (HSM) of this lens handled very well in my test images where were shot in tougher than normal lighting situations. I could tell right away while shooting the concert that the lens was creating some very sharp and colorful images that were honestly on par with my Nikon 70-200 VR II. Later on when shooting the basketball I noticed that the Sigma was not as sharp at the Nikon VR II in trying to capture basketball. With that said I was putting a $2300 lens against a $800 lens and the SIGMA in my mind held its own.
Click here to view the full res sample gallery
What it comes down to is I push getting better glass as quick as possible. The 70-200 2.8 range is the perfect lens for sports, portraits, weddings, children and pretty much anything else. The very first 2.8 lens that I purchased was the Nikon 80-200 2.8 ED which is still being produced today. I get asked all the time which should I buy, the older Nikon 80-200 or the new Sigma 70-200 2.8 II. My full recommendation is to go with the Sigma. The Nikon lens was great for its time but for the same price you get a much newer lens with HSM for operation on all Nikon autofocus bodies.
Who is this lens for. This Sigma lens honestly is for any new and upcoming photographer who wants to get better pictures in all shooting environments. I understand that is more expensive than a 70-300 but the quality that you will get out of the 2.8 will go a long way to helping you get better images. If you own a DX camera and do not plan on going full frame anytime soon I would go with this lens over the more expensive Nikon or Canon. If you own full frame or are further along in your photographic journey than I would save up and go for the Nikon 70-200 2.8 VR II.
The reason I suggest that you new guys start out with the SIGMA is because it will free up some money to purchase other pieces of better glass quicker. Second, the Sigma lenses will maintain their value very well so in two years if you are going full frame your can sell your 70-200 for a little less than what you paid. The name of the game is getting into fast glass as soon as possible and this Sigma will get you right there.
This lens is made for the Nikon, Canon, Sony and Sigma mounts and I fully recommend it for any of you up at coming photographers. For a more in depth review please watch the video down below. Feel free to download any of the sample images from the flickr group to see the quality that the Sigma captured.