It’s not all that long ago that if you wanted a decent wide angle, standard and ‘short’ telephoto lens, you needed to buy three separate ‘prime’ lenses. However, recent advances in optics and computing now mean that it is possible to buy one zoom lens that really does do the job of three…and this is that lens!
On the minus side, at 720g, it’s not exactly light, but that’s…counterbalanced (sue me) by the weight of a decent camera body (I tested this lens with a Canon EOS 5, but it would be equally at home and well balanced on any other such semi pro or pro body). Also, on the minus side, its 82mm diameter does mean paying an arm and a leg for filters, but on the plus side this also means a constant aperture of f2.8, which makes this lens great for available/low light photography as well as offering a nice depth of field blur at wide apertures. Also, on the plus side, this lens is such good value that adding in cost of a couple of really expensive 82mm filters, you’ll still be paying less than half the price of the equivalent optics from Canon or Nikon.
Testing showed this lens to be a pleasure to use and the results it produced, with a variety of films and in a variety of situations, were consistently faultless, with pin sharp focus and good contrast. Occasionally, in very low lighting the auto focus did hunt for a tad, but still probably less so than most other lenses in this price bracket.
In fact, there’s almost nothing to complain about…almost….I’m Jewish…I can always find something to complain about. For example, it would be great if this lens were smaller (which I’m guessing the next version will be). But what would be far greater is if this were a 24-85mm lens…
Right now, in terms of constant f2.8 zoom lenses around this focal range, the choice is pretty much between buying a 24-70mm or a 28-80mm. True there’s no such thing as one lens for every occasion, but as far as standard zooms go, anyone shooting landscapes, documentary or reportage is likely to find a 24-70mm preferable as the extra 4mm at the wide end may mean the difference between simply zooming out, and missing a great photo op whilst changing lens. On the other hand, anyone shooting fashion or portraiture is likely to find the extra 10mm a 28-80mm would offer at the tele end, a better choice.
For people like me, who like to shoot a bit of everything (and from time to time, shoot up a bit of everything), this can make choosing a standard lens a bit of a dilemma. In practice, I found that while I could always go wide enough with this lens, I did miss those extra few mm at the tele end (the first time that anything of mine has not been quite long enough…), though not as much as I would have missed those extra few mm at the wide end.
So go on Sigma, give us a 24-85mm (ok…to you, 24-80mm) and I’ll give you 5 bagels…until then, this 24-70mm lens, with its three aspherical elements, two lenses with special low dispersion glass for the correction of chromatic aberrations, minimum aperture of F32, arsenic and lead free ecological glass and petal shaped lens hood, a very worthy 4 ½ bagels and I’ll even throw in a recommendation to buy one as your standard lens….I did and that’s about as good a recommendation as I can give.
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