Monday, October 21, 2013

Sigma 70-210mm f2.8 APO

This is an older autofocus fast tele zoom lens for full frame Nikons (and presumably also for other mounts). The price of this lens is the main attraction here, as you can get an f/2.8 autofocus lens that reaches all the way to 210mm. Many surely consider this as a cheap alternative to Nikkors (or to modern Sigmas). I bought (and resold) one merely for reviewing purposes - OK, OK, also to see if it would be of any use to me.

+ Great price, for a full-frame f/2.8 lens that reaches to 210mm.
+ Good mechanical quality.
+ Stopped-down it can deliver attractive results...

- ...although, wide-open, it's too soft.You get what you pay for.
- Chromatic aberration is visible.
- Autofocus on the slow side.

Wide-open at 210mm, it's soft. No point hiding it...

Stopped-down to f/8 the resolution is much better - although, notice the vignetting tends to get more visible

Intended Users
Great for:
  • Users who need the f/2.8 in an autofocus tele and can't afford anything better.
  • Portraits, where a bit of softness isn't a deal-breaker.
  • Indoor sports - although the autofocus could be better.

Not for:
  • Those who need top quality wide-open. You get what you pay for.
  • Those fretting over weight - this is a heavy lens.
  • Fast action - autofocus too slow.

Final Verdict
It's cheap considering its features. It's not abysmally bad, but it's not stellar either. Wide-open at 210mm is weak - so, where you would need it the most. On the other hand, it's quite cheap, too, so you should perhaps try one yourself and see if you can live with its limitations. For some applications - such as portraiture - this might be a hidden gem, actually. 210mm at f/2.8 can produce some really dreamy results - where the somewhat soft output is a plus rather than a minus.

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