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I currently have a Canon EOS 550D with a Canon EF 24-105mm F4L series lens however I would like the forums thoughts on a reasonably priced wider angle lens i.e. Sigma 10-20mm F4-5.6 EX DC HSM or Canon EF-S 10-22mm f/3.5-4.5 USM or any other lens in a similar range. Also, I am not sure if this is the right forum but I am visiting Hong Kong in two weeks and wondered if anyone has a good place to shop for camera gear? Regards Lanna
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Remember if you get a sigma lens in Hong Kong it will have a Hong Kong warranty and so any warranty repairs you want done will have to be done in Hong Kong (that means either whilst you're visiting or you have to ship the lens back to them to be repaired - though only under warranty - regular repairs that you pay for will be fine in any country with a sigma repair setup).
As for a wide angle lens I recently went through this choice from the following list:
Sigma 10-20mm f3.5 - there are two versions of this lens from sigma the f4-5.6 and the f3.5. The price difference between the two (at least on the UK market) is (in comparison to the lens prices) marginal and so I'd always plug for the better option. The f3.5 isn't really much of an optical jump from the first (ie from what I've read its not a big upgrade sharpness wise) but it offers you a wide aperture which is also constant through the focal range. That is a big boon to have in any lens.
Canon 10-20mm - myself I discounted this option mostly as it was considerably more expensive than the others and also all reviews I'd read had the others on an pretty even footing image quality wise with this lens. I'm not saying its a bad choice, just that the offers from sigma and Tamron were just as good/better and cheaper
Sigma 8-16mm f4.5-5.6 - offers the worst aperture range overall, but has the advantage of both being the widest of all the lenses and also having outstanding optics. It's the newest offering from sigma and its glass has an advantage as a result. The one thing that does tend to dissuade people from this lens is that it won't take any screw thread filters. This is because its front element is bulb shaped which prevents there being any regular screw thread on the lens. It also won't take current filter holder setups either (Lee Filters have made a new holder for the nikon 12-24mm and are expected to make holders of a similar design for the other "no filter" wide angle lenses like the sigma- also online there are some custom options to get existing filter holder setups to fit using a little DIY).
Tokina 11-16mm f2.8 - this lens has the shortest focal range on offer, but it also has a constant aperture which is also the widest of the options. For low light indoor work or night-time shooting this lens is the best option to go for because of that brighter aperture (which at least gives you a brighter viewfinder image to work with as well as the option of faster shutter speeds when in lower light.
The only major downside is that it does lack fulltime manual focusing motors (unlike all the others which have HSM/USM), but interestingly its MF/AF switch is just pulling back/forward on the focusing ring so changing between the two modes is not that hard (least not as fiddly as reaching back and trying to find a small switch in the heat of the moment).
You might also find the following reviews of aid:
Wide angle zoom comparison
(compares all the options as well a Tamron 10-24mm - though at the time the 8-16mm was not on the market to be tested)
Myself I decided to go for the 8-16mm based on its outstanding optics and the wide angle of view that it offers. The aperture range didn't worry me too much because I don't do much/any night time nor indoor photography so I don't have the pressure to need a working wide aperture for this lens range. Furthermore I don't use protection filters (unless working in a risky environment like seaspray/mudspray etc) nor did the front element bulb worry me (in fact its got a metal permanent lens hood which does a good job of protection). As for filter holders I'm prepared to wait for the Lee Filter holder option to hit the market.
Overall though I don't think from the above options that there is a bad choice - all are optically sound and mechanically solid choices to make. If you have specific needs/requirements (eg budget - low light etc...) then you can split them up and see which one really would suit your needs/requirements the best.
Overread, Thank you for your reply. Your comprehensive comments on the subject are excellent & I will take all on board, Thanks again Lanna
The Sigma 10-20mm has a long pedigree and I suspect, will do most if not all that you need. If you only use it on a tripod you don't really need the newer more expensive version but having said that, for the price difference, if I was buying now I would go for the newer version. I've had the old version from new for about four years now and it's never faltered, a significant amount of my PF has been taken with it. Haven't seen any results from the 8-16mm but I would suspect that at 8mm there will be significant distortion, worse than the 10-20mm at least.
Thank you MalcoimS, much appreciated again your input is taken on-board, Regards Lanna
It is possible to get equipment in Hong Kong with an international warranty but you have to ask for it and make sure you are given it - check before you leave the shop. You do need to take care when buying there, visit several shops and compare prices (with the international guarantee) before you decide where to buy and try to avoid the shops nearest the MTR stations, particularly on Nathan Road, as they spot tourists a mile off and do have a bit of a reputation. Check out the best prices here before you go as it can be just as cheap as buying in Hong Kong these days.
When I had my Nikon D300 my wide lens was a Tokina 12-24 F4 and it was perfect, got good all round reviews and was solidly built (literally like a tank) with metal, so it survived the occasional drop. Images were pin-sharp, flare/chromatic abberation were handled well too. I believe the Tokina 11-16 is also just as good athough but comes with an f2.8 aperture if you need that for low light?
Overall though i'd check them out.
At 8mm it does distort, though from what I've read the distortion at 10mm on the 8-16mm is less than it is on the 10-20mm. I think however with all these super wide choices working with a level of distortion is going to be part and parcel of this kind of photography - so its either a style you get used to and work with or your correct it (DXO Optics Pro is some software I've read well recommended for dealing with wide angle lens distortions as well as other various lens properties).
I have a Sigma 10-20 f4 - 5.6 DC HSM EX (the older version) which I picked up at my local Cash Converters...for £220 and it is perfect. you can get these on ebay for around £270-300 and I would highly recommend. I have read that the newer 10-20's have issues for chromatic aberration (please shoot me down in flames if wrong) but I can't fault this lens even second hand.....
Hi Llana you say you have the Canon 24-105 L series? Can you tell me what you think of it as im thinking of getting that very lens soon... My only concern is i do a lot of night shoots and wondered if i might be better off with something with a smaller F stop?
Any suggestions welcome thanks Nick
One Stop digital in HK is a site i've used before and Digital Rev is cool too - for un UK warrently from HK.
As above the sigma 10-20 is great, and the 8-16 looks superb but out of my budget.
Do you want the lens for landscapes or for buildings? if buildings then would a Tilt & Shift lens be better like the 17mm one? Its silly money though.
Quote: At 8mm it does distort, though from what I've read the distortion at 10mm on the 8-16mm is less than it is on the 10-20mm. I think however with all these super wide choices working with a level of distortion is going to be part and parcel of this kind of photography - so its either a style you get used to and work with or your correct it (DXO Optics Pro is some software I've read well recommended for dealing with wide angle lens distortions as well as other various lens properties).
I use DXO Optics Pro for RAW processing. It has a large range of len/camera combinations for removing geometric and chromatic abberations (e.g purple fringeing). You can also add distortions too.
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