The affordable option
Sigma 10-20mm f/3.5 EX DC HSM £385, $450 www.sigma-global.com
For standard zooms, and more especially for telephoto shooting, FX-format lenses can work really well on DX cameras. But when it comes to wide-angle lenses, you really need the right DX-format tool for the job, otherwise you’ll end up with blinkered vision and the wide potential will be lost. There are quite a few DX-format wide zooms to choose from, but the Sigma 10-20mm is arguably the best buy. Unlike Sigma’s older 10-20mm, which is still stocked by some retailers, this newer edition is a completely different lens with a constant rather than variable-aperture design. It’s pretty fast at f/3.5, and boasts both ELD (Extraordinary Low Dispersion) and SLD (Special Low Dispersion) glass elements.
Like most Sigma ‘EX’ lenses (the suffix denotes high quality build and finish), this one comes complete with a lens hood and soft case. Finery includes fast and quiet ring-type ultrasonic autofocus, with the usual full-time manual override. As is typical with the sort of lens, the ultra-wide angle of view not only enables you to squeeze anything from cramped interiors to sweeping vistas into the frame, but also gives you the option to really exaggerate the perspective between near and far objects.
Image quality is impressively sharp for such a wide-angle lens, right into the extreme corners of the frame. And unlike with Sigma’s even wider-angle lenses (see ‘Play the angles’, opposite), the design allows for the fitment of regular screwin filters or filter holders, with an 82mm attachment thread.