Sigma’s innovative approach to its lenses continues here with this addition to the DC range of cropped sensor only lenses. Designed to fit where the popular 70-210mm models fitted in on 35mm/full frame, we take a look at how it performs.
- Focal length 50-150mm
- Aperture f/2.8
- Angle of view 27.9-9.5° (SD Format)
- Filter size / type 67mm
- Construction 18/14 Elements/groups
- Focusing type Internal HSM
- Closest focus 1.0m
- Weight 0.77kg
- Dimensions 76.3x135mm (Dia x length)
- Mounts available Sigma SA, Canon, Nikon (D)
- Tripod bush No
- Price (SRP) £549.99
Build and handling
As a member of Sigma’s EX family the first thing you notice is the smart matt finish that is proving hard wearing and easily kept clean.
The lens retains the same length as you work through both the zoom range as well as the focus variation, which will focus down to a handy one metre. The HSM motor powering the autofocus has evolved to a stage where it is both fast and silent. The lens is supplied with a simple, shallow cone hood that is a positive bayonet fit around the 67mm filter thread.
Fairly compact for a constant f/2.8 lens, this is the first real example of the idea that APS-C only lenses are likely to be smaller than their old 35mm counterparts. Although there is no direct comparison available, this lens approximately covers the same angles of view that a 70-210mm lens would have done on 35mm film. (75-225mm on a 1.5x crop) and proved to be a popular second lens.
With an almost completely uniform profile, with just the hood being slightly wider, and a pair of equal sized rings for the focus and zoom operations, the handling of this optic is quite natural and, as we have come to expect from the EX range, torque to both of them is just right, not being too stiff, but neither too loose. Zoom graduations are marked at 50, 70, 100 and 150mm and there is a distance window marked in metres and feet.
We have come to expect quite good quality from Sigma’s EX range of lenses of late, and there are no real disappointments with this offering. The resolution at the wider end of the zoom range is excellent and this only deteriorates slightly as the lens is pushed out to its longest focal length, a phenomenon that is quite normal. At the widest aperture of f/2.8 it is slightly more noticeable, but only in comparison to the excellent performance it gives at the short end when used wide open.
Distortion, which is undetectable by eye at 50mm and was measured at 0.79% (pincushion) became just noticeable to the trained eye at the 150mm end and measured –1.57% which is just on the border of becoming a nuisance.
Chromatic aberrations, the bane of digital photographers, is so well controlled in the centre of the optic that it is virtually immeasurable, even with the Imatest™ software and does not reach proportions that would cause concern even at the edges.
Colour control is neutral and contrast, aided by the digital coating, is good to excellent.
The lens shows good contrast. Canon 300D, f/8 and 75mm
Colour rendition is good, as seen here during this sunset masterclass. All images taken on Canon 300D
High contrast images show no signs of Chromatic aberrations
Click on each comparision photo below to view full size versions
Below is our lens test data. To find out how to use these graphs look at this article: How we test lenses
With a compact size and weight alleviating the need for a tripod collar and the third generation of Sigma’s HSM focussing motor making the AF very quick, the lens is fast in every sense and easy to handle. Smooth operating control rings add to the feel of a nice lens that should find it’s way into a good number of kit bags!
In summary, the positive points of the Sigma 50-150mm EX DC HSM are:
Excellent optical performance
Very good handling with fast AF
Compact with a supplied hood.
The negative points are:
Slight fall-off in resolution at the longest focal length.
Distortion just noticeable at 150mm.
Check the latest price for the Sigma 50-150mm EX DC HSM here
Discuss this lens and other related lens subjects here
Test by Ian Andrews www.wildaboutkent.com