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Sigma 70-200mm f/2.8 DG OS HSM Sport Review

John Riley reviews the Sigma 70-200mm f/2.8 DG OS HSM Sport telephoto zoom lens for full-frame Digital SLRs.

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Sigma 70 200mm F2,8 Sport Front Oblique View

The 70-200mm telephoto zoom is, quite rightly, one of the most popular designs in any lens range, being incredibly versatile for many applications. Here Sigma introduce their new f/2.8 lens for full frame cameras, so let's see what it adds to the mix of alternatives already available, and how it performs, using the 50MP Canon EOS 5DS R body.


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Sigma 70-200mm f/2.8 DG OS HSM Sport Handling and Features

Sigma 70 200mm F2,8 Sport On Canon 5DSR

The lens is heavy, weighing in at a substantial 1805g, unsurprising considering its optical construction of 24 elements in 22 groups. This includes 1 SLD (Super Low Dispersion) and 10 LD (Low Dispersion) elements. The front element is fluorine coated to repel grease and water and indeed the whole lens construction is resistant to dust and moisture. The instructions actually define this weather resistance as meaning “light rain”, which is something that some manufacturers can be quite vague about. The lens diaphragm comprises 11 rounded blades, looking to improving the bokeh. Clearly there is a fair bit of glass in this lens and it is held rigidly by a magnesium alloy body. The whole appears to be solid, well made and inspires confidence that it will stand up to hard use.

Starting our lens tour, a large and effective petal lens hood bayonets nicely into position and remains secure thanks to a locking catch. Within the fitting for this we find a standard 82mm filter thread.

First up, as we move towards the camera body, is the wide zoom ring, clearly marked at 70, 100, 135 and 200mm. The zoom action is even, smooth, but not silky smooth. Behind this are three AF function buttons. These can be used to lock or stop AF whilst AF is active. The separately sold USB dock, with its dedicated software, enables these buttons to be programmed with alternative functions, in the Sigma and Nikon mount versions of the lens. In the case of the Canon version this can be achieved via the camera menus.

As we travel onwards, the manual focus ring has the same feel as the zoom ring; smooth, but it cannot be described as silky smooth. Behind this there are several switches on the camera body, plus the distance scale, which is found under a clear plastic window. Markings are in feet and metres, the figures for feet being fairly dull so not as easy to see as the metre scale. Focusing is down to 1.2m (3.94 feet), a maximum magnification of 1:4.8, which is usefully close for a lens of this specification.

Sigma 70 200mm F2,8 Sport Side View

The first switch controls the AF setting. There are three positions, AF, MO and MF. The MO setting activates Full Time Manual Override, making it possible to immediately manually focus whilst in any AF mode. In AF setting manual override is also available when using AF-S, single shot AF settings, as set on the camera. MO sensitivity can be adjusted when the optional USB dock and software are used.

There is a focus limiter switch. This can be set to full range or a restricted range of 3m to infinity. This can be useful to speed up AF if all the subjects being photographed are at the longer range. Combined with an already snappy AF system it is very appropriate in a lens from Sigma's Sports category.

Optical stabilisation has three settings. Off is used when the camera is on a tripod or shooting at the B setting. The standard position is the normal setting and position 2 is designed for use when panning. Sigma quotes a four-stop advantage when using the OS system.

The fourth switch is a Custom setting, with options for off, C1 and C2. Various parameters can be adjusted and saved when using the optional USB dock, plus the free Sigma Optimization Pro software that can be downloaded from the Sigma website. The switch should normally be at the off position.

Sigma 70 200mm F2,8 Sport Front Element View

There is a solid collar with a locking screw that enables the lens to be rotated to any position, so vertical shots are easily accommodated. There are helpful click stops at the 90-degree points. The tripod mount is Arca Swiss compatible. It can be removed if desired by loosening the four screws that retain it on the ring. A hex key is provided for the purpose.

The brass mount is available in Sigma, Canon and Nikon versions. For Canon, the in-camera Canon Lens Aberration Corrections function is active. For Nikon, the diaphragm is the electromagnetic design, so only more recent camera bodies will be compatible.

The lens is compatible with two Sigma teleconverters, the TC-1401, which gives us 98-280mm f/4; and the TC-2001, which gives us 140-400mm f/5.6.

Handling is just superb. This is an efficient and workmanlike design, with all the controls placed ergonomically. There are no particular vices or glitches in its operation and it delivers exactly what a 70-200mm f/2.8 lens should.

Sigma 70 200mm F2,8 Sport Rear Oblique View

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10 Jan 2019 1:06PM
For an amateur like me this lens' obvious competitor is the Tamron G2 70-200 f/2.8, which has also had some stonking reviews. I intend buying one or the other for my Nikon D750 to replace my old Sigma 70-200, but which is better, or is it no more than personal preference?
10 Jan 2019 1:44PM
It's not such a simple question as we need to define what we mean by "better" and that can vary from photographer to photographer. I don't think you can go far wrong with either choice, so perhaps get to handle both if you can, either at a dealer or maybe an exhibition.
20 Jan 2019 8:58AM
"Better" in what way? AF performance? CA? Image Stabilization? Distortion? Sharpness? At f/2.8 or at f/8? At 70mm or at 200mm? For close subjects or more distant subjects?
28 Apr 2019 11:19AM
Taking the comments a step further, I'm really stuck on the idea of having to use the MC-11 adapter to use this lens on a Sony. Why didn't Sigma make the Sony version for Sony, without an adapter that has already proven not ideal for adapting other brands. Bottom line: Resale on a Sigma will always be less than the OEM, so it damn well better be a keeper, in every way matching or exceeding the OEM glass. You spent how many thousands on your body? And you are going to live with less than the best glass? C'mon Sigma. You need to be a G Master killer WITHOUT adapters!

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