Sigma’s APO 70-200mm f/2.8 EX DG Macro HSM; Pro-Caliber Zoom With Close-Focusing Ability Page 2
The combination of HSM plus wide maximum aperture (that transmits a great
deal of light to the AF sensor) definitely paid off. Even in low light, both
EOS digital cameras focused quickly and reliably without the need for the focus
assist feature provided by electronic flash units. With static subjects, the
ability to quickly fine-tune focus manually at any time was a real plus, to
get focus on the eye instead of the tip of the nose in a portrait, for example.
However, my primary tests of the Hyper Sonic Motor AF system were made with racing horses and cyclists. Performance with the EOS Digital Rebel XT (one of the more affordable digital SLRs on the market) was very good; nearly all frames in a long series were sharply focused. Switching to the EOS-1Ds Mark II, with its more advanced autofocus system, provided an even higher success ratio of sharp focus when tracking action subjects accelerating toward or away from my position.
Anyone who still doubts that a zoom can match a "prime" lens should certainly try this one--it's an eye opener. In terms of sharpness, resolution of intricate details, snappy contrast, freedom from flare and from color fringing, it is definitely an outstanding performer. The very wide f/2.8 aperture is often useful for stop-action photography or for shooting at lower ISOs whenever flash or a tripod is not practical. Overall, this zoom's optics, autofocus, and build quality make it a professional instrument intended for those who want a superior "fast" telephoto zoom and are willing to carry a hefty, oversized lens.
Check out this zoom in person at a photo retailer to determine whether you'll be comfortable in carrying and handling a 3 lb lens. (Removing the tripod mount subtracts about 6 oz.) Frankly, you may find that you prefer something smaller and lighter, and, perhaps, more affordable; Sigma makes many such zooms as well. Though not intended as a mass-market lens, the APO 70-200mm f/2.8 EX DG Macro HSM model will satisfy its target market. Considering its level of performance, this zoom offers good value; it's also mechanically solid and likely to provide long-term reliability. Used with the right shooting techniques, it will pay dividends in terms of professional-caliber images.
For more information, contact Sigma Corporation of America, 15 Fleetwood Ct., Ronkonkoma, NY 11779; (800) 896-6858; www.sigma-photo.com.
Format: Multi-format for 35mm and digital SLRs regardless of sensor size
Minimum Aperture: f/22
AF System: Hyper Sonic Motor; manual focus override available in AF mode
Lens Construction: 18 elements (including four low dispersion) in 15 groups
Angle Of View: 34.3-12.3Þ
Minimum Focusing Distance: 38.4" (100cm)
Filter Size: 77mm
Weight: 48.7 oz (1380 g)
Accessories: Lens hood included; compatible with optional 1.4x and 2x EX DG APO converters
Available Mounts: Canon, Nikon D, and Sigma AF
List Price: $1199 (dealers often sell for less)
A long-time "Shutterbug" contributor, stock photographer Peter K. Burian (www.peterkburian.com) is the author of several books, including "Magic Lantern Guides" to the Maxxum and Sony digital SLR cameras (Lark Books) as well as "Mastering Digital Photography and Imaging" (Sybex). He is also a digital photography course instructor with BetterPhoto.com.
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