SIGMA 70-200MM F2.8 EX DG OS
Sigma’s stalwart 70-200mm undercuts all of the other contenders for price, but that doesn’t necessarily make it a bargain
Predating Canon’s 70-200mm Mk II lens by a few months, the sigma was also launched back in 2010. It’s much less expensive to buy, but is no match for the Canon and nikon lenses in terms of build quality. The mostly metal-based barrel section still feels pretty robust, but it’s the only lens in the group to lack weather seals.
The optical path includes two FLD (‘F’ low Dispersion) elements, claimed to offer the same performance as fluorite glass, and three SLD (special low Dispersion) elements. Controls are the most basic of any lens on test. There’s an auto/manual focus switch with basic manual override available, as featured in the Canon lens, but with no autofocus range limiter. The only other switch is for the dual-mode Os (Optical stabilizer), with static and panning options. The stabiliser itself is rated at four stops, but we could only get three-stop performance at best.
On the plus side, the autofocus system is very fast and able to track moving subjects well. sharpness and contrast are impressive, even when shooting wide open. In this respect, the sigma pretty much matches the performance of the pricier Canon lens. In our tests, the sigma was actually slightly sharper at 135mm and dropped off marginally less at either end of the zoom range, when using wide apertures between f2.8 and f4.
Overall, the lens is well worth its asking price. even so, it’s due an update and would benefit from some of the exotic features built into sigma’s latest 150-600mm sport and Contemporary class lenses.
Back to basics
The autofocus system is speedy but basic, and the optical stabiliser isn’t as effective as in the other lenses on test
Below left Going steady
Performance of the optical stabiliser is mediocre, but good
wide-aperture sharpness enables fast shutter speeds
Below right Tracking parcels
Fast autofocus performance enables good continuous AF accuracy when
panning to track moving subjects