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DPChallenge Forums >> Tips, Tricks, and Q&A >> Sigma vs. Canon lenses...
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06/08/2005 02:38:36 AM · #1
I'm debating between Sigma and Canon. Price is the biggest concern right now. I've heard nothing but good things about Canon lenses. However, how do Sigma lenses compare? Are they BAD lenses or will they hold their own? I'm by no means a professional photographer. I'm relatively new to photography...but I'm going to buy a 20D and plan on growing into it. I want to make sure that I have some good lenses to go with it...but I don't want to spend a fortune. I primarily shoot landscapes and "everyday" stuff. My brother in law surfs and sometimes I take pictures of him. What would be the best 2 lenses to get for my circumstances (a "general" lens and a telephoto)?
06/08/2005 03:03:27 AM · #2
I recently got a Sigma 18-50 f2.8 EX DC. A great lens ($420-500 range). The DC is their digital line, EX their pro line. It works better than the reviews and is about $200 less than the Canon 17-40L and has a tad more range, and is a bit faster (2.8 vs 4). Reviews place it as good as the canon in end results (the photos it takes).

Canon L glass holds it's value well, but unless you are a lens hopper and change often, does that really matter? they are sealed against dust and moisture, so for a hard traveling pro that might make a big difference.

Tamron's SP line of lenses is very good. They have a 17-35 that ratges well, and their 28-75 f2.8 XR Di is wonderful from all i hear. Many pick it over the canon 24-70L - for cost reasons, but have no regreets on quality.

The longer zooms are bit trickier. I have not studied up on them, at leat not beyond my choice of the Sigma 70-300 f4-5.6 APO Macro Super 2. it can be had for uner $200 and is very good, a real good value (must he APO version). IS is nice, but heavy.

I am hearing good things about the (sigma?) 50-500. Usually 10X sooms don't rate well, but this one, perhaps due to its range, is getting to be popular.
06/08/2005 03:28:39 AM · #3
The only experience I've personally had with sigma lenses was a set of 2 kit lenses I bought for about $200. When I was starting out, they were great to learn with... when it came time to upgrade I had enough to get the Canon L's so thats what I went with. However, I have a good friend that shoots Nikon and has produced some amazing images with the sigma EX 24-70 2.8 and the EX 70-200 2.8. As Prof Fate stated... I think as long as you go with a pro line from a lens manufactuer, you should be happy with the results. EX line for Sigma and I believe SP line with Tamron. Hope this helps.

On a side note... I have a co-worker that should be getting his Sigma EX 24-70 2.8 in the mail any day now... I plan on doing some comparison shots with my Canon 24-70L 2.8 Let me know if you are interested in the results.
06/08/2005 03:42:57 AM · #4
As with anything, manufacturer name isn't always the best judgement. True, "average" quality can be talked about.. but there are definite Sigma and Tamron lenses that are superior to or can hold their own against the Canon lenses in that same price range and focal length. Definitely look at reviews before assuming that a particular lens from Canon is good.. they certainly have their "blunders".
06/08/2005 04:49:38 AM · #5
If you have enough money and want to make an investment on photography, go to Canon L's. But if you have a limited budget, go to Sigma. EX series of Sigma are very satisfying lenses.
06/08/2005 04:53:41 AM · #6
Two of my most-used zooms are the Sigma 28-70/2.8EX and the Canon 70-200/2.8L.

I think Canon have the slightly edge in their L range, and I know a lot of pro's who just won't buy third party lenses at all.

I've had a number of shots published using my 28-70, and have always got good results with it. I don't think it's quite as good as the 24-70, (nor the Tamron 28-75 perhaps), but it performs reasonably for my needs. I would have no problems buying a third party lens again, IF I couldn't afford the L.
06/08/2005 05:12:25 AM · #7
I have the Sigma 70-200 f/2.8 and love it. It is my most used lens. I chose it for the same reason - price, and have no regrets. I shoot almost entirely handheld, and this lens has been great. (I shot an entire indoor concert with it, getting well over 200 terrific shots.) I have not used the Canon 70-200 f/2.8, so cannot compare the two.
06/08/2005 05:32:35 AM · #8
You say your into landscape and every day stuff.
For that I would recomend a good wide angel lens.
I have Sigma 15-30mm which is quality glass and I´m very happy with it. From others experience I think Sigma 12-24mm, Canon 10-22mm and Canon 17-40mm L are also very good.

You can also use thease wide angel lenses for shooting you brother but for I recomend Canon 50mm f/1,8. Inexpensive but still very good. 50mm f/1,4 is even better but also costs more.

I would also take a look at Canon 17-85mm. Covers pretty much of what you say you are doing.

For telephoto:
Somebody mentioned Sigma 70-200mm f/2,8. Dont know anybody who uses that one but it gets good reviews and I have no doubt that it´s a good lens.
Canon 70-200mm f/2,8L is absolut quality glass and Canon 70-200mm f/4,0L is also very good. Slower but optical quality is the same (as far as I know) and much more inexpensive.
06/08/2005 07:03:09 AM · #9
Whilst I would certainly buy the very best lenses I could afford were I to suddenly win the lottery, I don't feel that they are an option for me at this time.

I don't deny that the Canon L glass lenses are superior and I certainly lust after them but... given my current finances the difference in quality isn't enough to justify the difference in price.

I have used Sigma lenses for a LONG time, first on my Minolta film SLRs and now with the 20D. All the Kenya pictures in my portfolio were taken on that film camera using only Sigma lenses.

I am happy with the 18-125 mm Sigma I use on the 20D. I think the results are perfectly acceptable. Although I'm sure they could be even sharper with L glass, I don't find myself lamenting my lack of L glass every time I look at my photographs.

Sigma are well priced lenses and you'll likely get a LOT of use out of them before reaching the stage where you really feel the need to upgrade to Canon L glass.

Do research any lenses you're considering individually. There are specific lenses made by both Sigma and Canon that are less than great and some by both that trounce the other in their category.
06/08/2005 12:27:17 PM · #10
Canon and Sigma both make good and bad lenses. First ask yourself what range and price you are willing to spend. Generally, Sigma's tend to cost less than Canon's for comparable lenses.
If you are looking for landscape and general walking around, I'd recommend you consider the following
Canon 28-105, 28-135IS, 17-85IS
Sigma 18-50 EX f2.8, 18-125, 24-70 f2.8 (I think)
Tamron 17-35 XR Di, 28-75 XR Di

I think all these are good lenses that you can grow with.
Among all these, I'd probably recommend the Tamron 28-75 for it's price, range, and optics.
06/08/2005 12:29:50 PM · #11
Yes if you go sigma stay with the EX series, with HSM if you can.
06/08/2005 12:31:27 PM · #12
I have the Sigma 70-300. The best I can say is "adequate". it takes nice shots and has a decent reach, but I have yet to get an image out of it that's tack-sharp, tripod or not, and the lack of colour saturation right out of the camera is obvious next to shots taken the same day with my Canon lenses.

Just my $0.02.
06/08/2005 12:46:03 PM · #13
I'm a great advocate of buying used lenses since they cost so much less than new. HOWEVER, there is a caveat regarding SIGMA lenses: many of their older lenses are not compatible with Canon's newer gear such as their ELAN line or the digital SLRs.

I just purchased a 28mm Sigma prime lens -- the older one, not the macro that is a current product. I got it for $130 from KEH, and discovered promptly that it wouldn't work with my 10d. I called Sigma, and their super-cheerful Tech Desk receptionist said "Oh, yes, by all means, we will rechip any Sigma lens for free.", so I ship them the lens.

A couple days later, I get a call saying that the parts to re-chip the lens aren't in stock any longer as the lens is not a current model, but would I care to take advantage of their lens trade-in offer?

To Sigma's credit, they have shipped my lens back to me at their cost, but the "trade in offer" was only $1 less than Adorama. It did include shipping, tho.

Long story short, if I can't sell the old lens, and if I purchase the trade-in lens, I'll have spent the same money as buying a similar Canon NEW in the first place. I guess the lesson here is that if you want to buy an older Sigma, actually speak to a technician to ensure that re-chipping is available BEFORE you make the purchase!

I also want to make it clear that this is not a criticism of Sigma lenses or customer service, just a frustrating experience. I have a Sigma 12-24 and love the HECK out of it!

[edit grammar]

Message edited by author 2005-06-08 12:49:34.
06/08/2005 12:53:28 PM · #14
Another thing you may want to try....here on DPC they have where you can look up the lens and it shows pictures that have been taken with that particular lens. They is a big eye opener! I'm saving for an "L" lens....it will take me a little while but when you see photos on here done with an L....it will blow you away!

06/08/2005 12:57:42 PM · #15
I also advocate buying quality used lenses...

I couldn't afford the 50mm f/1.8 mk I, 16-35 f/2.8L and 80-200 f/2.8L new (Roughly $4200 w/ taxes) but I now have them because I kept my eye open and collected quality used glass for exactly half the price!
06/08/2005 12:58:49 PM · #16
Originally posted by colyla:

Another thing you may want to try....here on DPC they have where you can look up the lens and it shows pictures that have been taken with that particular lens. They is a big eye opener! I'm saving for an "L" lens....it will take me a little while but when you see photos on here done with an L....it will blow you away!


I disagree...It's very tough to see true quality (or lack thereof) in a 640 pix file...
06/08/2005 01:06:56 PM · #17
I have the sigma 18-125 which is a very handy walk around lens if you hate changing lenses like me. Also much sharper than the 300d kit lens.

I also have the sigma 70-300mm apo super macro which is pretty sharp but can hunt a bit in the focusing.

And the sigma 105mm f2.8 EX DG macro which is my best lens and very sharp but again focusing can hunt.

And the canon 50mm f1.8 Amazing lens for the price, great for indoor low light shots without flash. Can`t fault this lens.

My next lens will be the tamron 28-75 XR DI or the Sigma 18-50mm Ex.

06/08/2005 01:10:00 PM · #18
Originally posted by colyla:

Another thing you may want to try....here on DPC they have where you can look up the lens and it shows pictures that have been taken with that particular lens. They is a big eye opener! I'm saving for an "L" lens....it will take me a little while but when you see photos on here done with an L....it will blow you away!


But no blue ribbons from the 2 most popular canon L lenses. 17-40 and 70-200.
06/08/2005 01:26:46 PM · #19
I have 2 Sigma Ex and 1 L glass, And honestly I´m very pleased with them, The thing is that the only way that I would spend thousands of dollars on L glass is that I've been earning at least one thousand dollars per month for shooting, the only L glass I got is 70-200mm f4 for 400 bucks, a real bargain, specially in Mexico where photograhic equipment is 55% more expensive than USA.
09/04/2006 12:23:22 PM · #20
Guys. I have a 20D and a sigma 18 to 128 3.5-5.6 DC lens.
I have been getting vegnetting on my pics and just generally uneven tones of light. I went to some EXPERTS and they told me the facts.

Cheaper lenses basically use more glass which creates more distortions etc.. and angles for the light to hit the censor whereas the better lenses project the image straighter onto the sensor.

To sum up YOUR LENS IS WHAT MAKES THE CAMERA. Don't go and buy junk and put it on a decent camera no matter what it is.The camera is an image recorder. I was told that the best quality I was gonna get for the 20D was the Canon 17-85 4.5 with stabalizer lens. Well I wanted the wider lens.Canon are more expensive and simply better lenses. How many pros use junk like the cheaper Tamron and Sigma.I have heard and believed that Canon lenses were not as good. It's rubbish, the Pros rely on them here in South Africa and we are not short of anything anybody else doesn't have.

Also the less zoom, the better. Avoid more than 1-10 ratio zoom lenses.
At the end of the day, pros use a specific lens for a specific job which alot of them are fixed.

Thanks for reading.

09/04/2006 12:34:08 PM · #21
I'm happy with this Sigma lens and it's not even an expensive pro level lens.

It's amazingly crisp for it's price range.

Message edited by author 2006-09-04 12:34:29.
09/04/2006 12:37:48 PM · #22
I know the topic is Sigma vs Canon but don't count out the Tamron SP line...as they compare to the Canons quality as well.

...but to your regularly scheduled thread.

09/04/2006 12:58:40 PM · #23
I have the Tamron SP AF 28-75mm f/2.8 XR Di. Awesome lens, you can't go wrong.
09/04/2006 01:01:43 PM · #24
I don't own a Sigma lens but I will say that anytime I has bought a Canon lens, I have been thoroughly satisfied. When I buy 3rd party lenses, I am always disappointed that they are not as nice as the Canons I own.
03/14/2009 08:52:27 PM · #25
ok i have been reading all the posts and the sigma doesnt seem to be bad. i have a question though. im looking to get a 55mm-200mm lens for a college i want to go to so i was wondering which brand would be the best choice?
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