Sigma 12-24mm f/4.5-5.6 DG HSM II
£600, $950 This Sigma rules the roost when it comes to getting extreme angles of view from a rectilinear lens
This is the big brother of the DX-format Sigma 8-16mm that we reviewed last month. It has the same actual zoom range as the DX lens’s ‘effective’ zoom range and, as such, gives a practically identical range of viewing angles. At 122 degrees, the maximum viewing angle is wider than anything else on the market for FX bodies without going fisheye. The Nikon 14-24mm comes closest at 114 degrees, which is noticeably less ultra-wide.
The Sigma looks long, but this is only because the lens hood is built in. Indeed, it’s even shorter than the petite Nikon 18-35mm when the latter has its hood fitted. Unlike with most similar built-in hoods, 82mm filters can be attached to the two-part lens cap, but only used at the long end of the zoom range. Upmarket features include ringtype ultrasonic autofocus and four FLD glass elements, which are claimed to equal top-quality fluorite glass in performance.
Centre sharpness is excellent throughout the zoom range, but drops off at the extreme corners of the frame when using wide apertures at very short focal lengths. Barrel distortion is quite restrained at 12mm, being no worse than in the Nikon 1835mm lens at its considerably longer minimum focal length.