SLR Gear, an offshoot website of the Imaging Resource, one of the web's most-trusted resources for all things digital photography, has just posted an in-depth review of the new Sigma 24-105 f4 OS lens, which is set to directly challenge the camera makers and their higher-priced optics. For serious shooters looking for an all-around solid performer, on paper, is the perfect optic.
So, how does it do in practice? Short answer: rather well.
Optically, the lens is pretty good. In terms of sharpness, the lens is good throughout most of the focal range, with the exception being the corners of the frame. Remedy to the problem? Stop down to f8 at and the corners get a lot better. Note: on APS-C format cameras, the corner softness is a non-issue thanks to the smaller chip. As for chromatic aberration and distortion, both are very well controlled. Vignetting? Not surprisingly, it's a non-issue on APS-C but quite prevalent on FF but, stopping down to f5.6 greatly reduces the problem and f8 eliminates it altogether. The good news: if you shoot JPEG on your camera, there's a good chance that it has a vignetting correction function, which means you can use your lens wide open and never notice any corner shading at all.
Mechanically, the lens uses Sigma's HSM sonic-drive AF technology, which results in silent, virtually instantaneous AF. As for construction quality, the lens uses Sigma's new Thermally Stable Composite, which SLR Gear notes feels a lot like metal. Unfortunately, there's no rubber gasket at the mount, so don't go taking this lens out in harsh environments.
If there is one nitpick on this lens, it is its size and weight. Both on the tape measure and scale, the Sigma 24-105 f4 OS is a lot larger than the Canon 24-105 f4Ls as well as the Nikon 24-120 f4 VR. That said the Sigma's size should not come as a surprise if you read the specification sheet! Making chicken soup out of what SLR Gear considers to be chicken poop, consider this: all of that weight means a well-built piece of hardware.
Overall conclusion? Barring the OS issues, very positive, especially considering the unique nature of the lens and a reasonable (for this class of lens) price point.
Want to buy Sigma gear in the Cleveland area? Well, there's Cleveland-based Dodd Camera, with its downtown superstore. In addition, there are many smaller Cleveland metro area chain stores in the Cuyahoga County area, too. Dodd is an authorized Sigma dealer.
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