The Sigma 70-200mm f/2.8 II EX APO Macro HSM telephoto zoom lens has a large maximum aperture of f/2.8 which remains constant throughout the zoom range, an improved optical performance, macro capabilities, and is optimized for digital SLR cameras. It also features super multi-layer coating, which reduces flare and ghosting.
This Macro lens has improved macro capability, with a minimum focusing distance of 39.4″ (100 cm) and maximum magnification of 1:3.5. All zooming and focus movement is achieved internally, allowing for a constant length and great resistance to dust and moisture. It comes rendered in a hard coated, baked black EX crinkle finish.
The Hyper Sonic Motor (HSM) ensures a silent, high-speed AF function as well as full-time manual focusing capability for Sigma, Canon, and Nikon mount lenses.
This lens can also be used with the 1.4x EX or 2.0x EX APO Tele Converters (optional), becoming a 98-280mm f/4 autofocus telephoto zoom lens or a 140-400mm f/5.6 autofocus telephoto zoom lens respectively.
Conclusion – Pros
- Decent image quality
- Low vignetting even on full frame
- Fast and positive autofocus
- Very good build quality, excellent tripod collar design
- Low price
Conclusion – Cons
- Relatively weak at 200mm (softness, chromatic aberration, pincushion distortion on full frame)
- Unconvincing ‘macro’ performance; soft at wider apertures, significant focus shift on stopping down
- Red/cyan bokeh chromatic aberration
The Sigma 70-200mm F2.8 EX DG Macro HSM II is a prime example of an independent manufacturer producing a design which can challenge the camera companies’ own lenses in most aspects of optical and operational performance, but at a much lower price. In almost all regards it performs well in everyday use, delivering good quality images across a broad range of situations. The optics are perfectly competent, if not outstanding; indeed the lens is really very good towards the short end, but weaker at 200mm, where it’s slightly soft and suffers from relatively high levels of chromatic aberration. Vignetting is impressively low, even on full frame (presumably a benefit of that broad and stubby barrel design), and geometric distortion reasonably well controlled. So whilst the Sigma’s optics may not be technically quite up to the same standard as the competition, users will find few glaring faults in its performance either.
Two good reasons for buying a third party lens are to get features the camera manufacturer does not offer in one of its own lenses (such as a different focal length or focal length range) or to save money. The primary reason to buy the Sigma 70-200mm f/2.8 EX DG HSM II Macro Lens is to save money as Canon already has 4 excellent-performing 70-200mm models including the similarly-spec’d Canon EF 70-200mm f/2.8 L USM Lens. So, is there a trade-off for the lower price? That is the big question.
- workmanship of very high quality and a solid body,
- very good image quality at the center of the frame,
- very good image quality at the edge of the frame at 70 mm,
- decently controlled coma,
- virtually unnoticeable distortion,
- slight vignetting,
- fast, silent and efficient autofocus,
- abounding standard equipment (tripod mount ring, lens hood, casing),
- three-year warranty with optional prolonging by another two.
- too small resolution at the edge of the frame for the range 135-200 mm,
- poor cooperation with the original Sigma converter,
- chromatic aberration after stopping down reaches large dimensions,
- distinct astigmatism.