Sigma 24-70mm f2.8 HSM & 70-200mm f2.8 HSM Review

This has been a long time coming, but I finally got around to putting together a review of my two newest lenses and to help save time, I thought I would review them together. The new glass from Sigma is definitely giving the competition a run for it’s money. I’m not going to cover all the tech specs of these two lenses here, you can read that on Sigma’s website. I’m going to give you a practical review of what would matter to you if you were considering adding one of these lenses to your camera bag.

Build
Both the 24-70mm and 70-200mm lenses are from Sigma’s EX line, which means they are built to stand up to use and abuse. The lenses feel very well built and I have no doubt that they will stand up to harsh shooting conditions. The zoom ring on the 24-70mm lens seems a little stiff at first, but once you shoot with it for a few days you feel it relax a little bit… to the point where it gets comfortable. Even still, lens creep is not an issue at all. Both lenses feel right at home on my D90. Even the 24-70mm which requires an 82mm filter!

Optical Quality
There were a lot of complaints about Sigma’s previous 24-70mm non-HSM lens and it being very soft when wide open. I haven’t had the chance to compare the two, but the new Sigma 24-70mm f2.8 HSM lens is sharp as a tack at f2.8. I have noticed that it does get soft once you go beyond infinite focus. However, that’s to be expected. All fast lenses exhibit some softness when they are wide open.

The Sigma 70-200mm lens is tack sharp throughout the zoom range at f2.8 and it just keeps getting better as you stop down the lens. The Bokeh is amazing and very soft and creamy. I love it! Both lenses have excellent contrast and color. I’m very impressed with the optical quality of both of these lenses.

Auto Focus
Since both the 24-70mm and 70-200mm lenses feature Sigma’s HyperSonic Motor (HSM), the autofocus is very fast and very quiet. I’m excited to put them side by side with their Nikon equivalents and see how the two compare. I haven’t experienced any autofocus hunting in low light with either lens.

Price
You cannot beat these two lenses for the price. You can pick both of them up from B&H Photo for less than you can buy the Nikon 70-200mm lens. The 24-70mm lens sells for $899 and the 70-200mm lens sells for $799. If you’re a serious amateur or even a pro, both lenses are a viable option.

Uses
The 24-70mm lens is a great lens for landscapes or walking around. It serves as a good portrait lens too, but that’s where I really like to use the 70-200mm lens. It compresses the background really well when you’re racked out to 200mm and the perspective for portraits is great! The 70-200mm lens is also great for wildlife (if you’re close enough) and sports.

Features I Like

  • I love the fact that you can open the tripod collar on the 70-200mm lens and remove the lens from it. This is VERY convenient if you have the lens mounted on a tripod and want to hand hold your camera on short notice.
  • I dig that you don’t have to take out a small loan to get great glass!

Features I Don’t Like

  • On the 24-70mm lens, the zoom ring turns the opposite direction of Nikon’s lenses. So to zoom, you turn the ring counter-clockwise instead of clockwise. This bothered me at first a little, but I’m over it now. It’s like second nature to me.

Overall, if you want really great (fast) glass at a reasonable price, these two lenses may just be your ticket. Price, build, optics, and function are just incredible. I think I’ll have these lenses for quite some time and there may be more Sigma lenses in my future!

Now for some examples!

Image above shot with the Sigma 70-200mm HSM EXII Lens

Image above shot with the Sigma 24-70mm HSM Lens


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8 thoughts on “Sigma 24-70mm f2.8 HSM & 70-200mm f2.8 HSM Review

    • Hi,

      Thanks for reading and thanks for the compliments! Sigma doesn’t make a 24-70mm f2.8 lens with an Image Stabilizer. What you might have seen was the “IF” designation, which indicates that the lens features Internal Focus. This means that the front element of the lens does not rotate as the lens focuses, which allows you to place a neutral density gradient filter or polarizer on the lens and not have to worry about adjusting the filter after making focus adjustments.

      I hope that answers your question for you and if you should happen to have any others, feel free to ask!

      All the best,

      Stephen

      • Hey!

        Thanks for the reply!
        Ahh thanks for the info! does it mean that this lens will have problems taking pictures where there is slight movements of the camera?

        Btw between this lens and the 18-105mm nikon lens, which one produces better image quality? and which one produces decent bokeh? i find both lens really good!

        oh ya one more question, is there any big difference in the performance between the one with ‘IF’ and the one without? The price gap is really huge

      • If there is camera shake, VR or Image Stabilization will help some but the best thing you can do is hold the camera as still as possible and use as fast a shutter speed as you can get. If I run into situations where shutter speed is low, I raise my ISO to help get some of that shutter speed back.

        The Sigma is definitely better glass than the Nikon 18-105mm. You will get better bokeh out of the Sigma too because of it’s wider maximum (f 2.8) aperture.

        The newest version Sigma 24-70mm f 2.8 with IF is a FAR better lens than the previous one. The reason for the price gap is the newer lens has better optics and components. Some users reported images being overly soft at f 2.8 with the pervious model. This has been corrected with the new version.

      • once again, thanks for the for the resources!
        ive asked so many question because i will be getting a D90 around end of the year! woohoo!!

        Looks like i need to save up for Sigma too 🙂 I really like taking pictures with decent bokehs

  1. very sorry, may i ask more questions? hahah!
    how about tamron 28-75mm f2.8? have u had any hands on with that lens? i heard its pretty good too!

    It seems t that tamron is within my budget.

    • I don’t have any hands on experience with the Tamron, but I have heard nothing but great things about it. It doesn’t have a built-in auto focus motor, so AF will be a little slower but everything I’ve read says that it’s still very acceptable.

  2. hey, I also heard many great things about the Tamron 28-75mm, but, whick of the Sigma and Tamron is better? Sigma 24-70mm ( non-HSM ) or Tamron 28-75mm?

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