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Sigma 24-70 for Canon vs. Canon 24-70


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Kyle Heaser , Jun 12, 2010; 10:17 a.m.

Being that I am a college student starting out my photography business I do not have a huge amount of money for purchasing a variety of lenses, so I was deeply considering getting the Sigma 24-70 lens, which is inexpensive enough to allow me to purchase another nice lens. If the Sigma operates very poorly in low light, I may just wait to purchase the Canon 24-70 as well as other lenses. Question for Thomas Sullivan and Collin Carron because you both owned the lenses I am currently looking to buy. What do you think about the low light performance? Will it produce only poor photos or would they only be slightly less quality in low light situations with the Sigma 24-70 as opposed to the Canon 24-70? Thanks a lot guys!

Marcus Ian , Jun 13, 2010; 03:01 a.m.

I have experience with both.
I used the sig for awhile, optically, it performed on par w/ the 24-70L, but the zoom technique is... well different... (tight/hard, then easy, the cam must be odd shaped), and the AF is very slow (compared to the L, of course this sig doesn't have USM)... The other concern is that (like the L) as you go wide, the front element moves out... Sig's lens hood solution sucks compared to canon's (look at the two side by side and you'll see what I mean), it makes the lens hood useless when zoomed in...
But I must admit, I was extremely pleased w/ the shooting value of the Sig (esp. since I paid less than $400 for it), and it made a fine backup for the 24-70L ... As far as low light performance? All zoom lenses suck in low light (yes, including the 24-70L thank you... IMHO low light = prime, IMHO) and the sig performed on par with all my other 2.8 zooms. I think that it is more noticeable NOT because it hunts more, but since the AF is slower, and noisier, it hunts longer, and you hear it the whole time.
In a nutshell IMHO (and to answer your question specifically), your pictures will suck if you take sucky pictures. This lens is not as good as the L, but only marginally (optically) so, It has the capability to make stunning images of people (unlike the 24-105/4 IMO), if it makes the dif between being able to get a second lens, or getting a 5 versus a 7, then you already have your answer though.
For example, you could probably get a new sig 24-70 2.8 + a new sig 70-200 2.8 hsm for what you'd pay for a new 24-70L. That's NOT rocket science...

Kyle Heaser , Jun 13, 2010; 03:39 a.m.

Marcus, thanks so much. That was precisely what I was getting at and considering. Not to mention having a back-up lens would be a nice thing to have assuming in the future when money is more prevalent I could purchase the Canon 24-70L. For now, it would seem as though, based on reviews and cost, I actually may go with the recommended 24-70 Sig and a 70-200 2.8 (I was recommended those two lenses before you, Marcus, even recommended them. So I would say I probably reached a verdict. For now, it's a Canon 5d Mark II with the Sig 24-70 lens. Thanks everyone!

Thomas Sullivan , Jun 13, 2010; 06:19 a.m.

Now, as far as sigma's 70-200 f/2.8 I have that and have never been tempted to buy Canon's version. So, I can't comment on Canon's version, but the Sigma suits me just fine. But, then I bought it for youth ice hockey, mainly, so the light is not that low. Have never actually used it in extremely low light

I do however stick by my previous opinion that the Sigma AF in low light....and I mean nighttime street scenes....is really horrible compared to the Canon.... Although optically if it is less than the Canon, I never noticed it.

Kyle Heaser , Jun 13, 2010; 06:21 p.m.

Thomas, when you say night time street scenes, what precisely would you be referring to? Obviously if I am buying a lens I want to get the right one first rather than buy one then buy the right one, ending up costing me more money in the long run. Do you mean midnight with almost no street lights, or perhaps lots of city lights illuminating the area, or just one bright light within a close range of the shot with no moonlight what so ever?
Thanks Thomas Sullivan

Alberto Dall'Oglio , Jun 14, 2010; 05:21 a.m.

I own the Sigma 24-70 and shoot with film camera Canon EOS 3: my opinion is that the Sigma is a honest lens for its price. When I shoot landscapes on tripod my only concern is the little softness in the corners althought stopped down; when I shoot portraits my only concern is the not too fast autofocus (but only with candid portraits, with no posing subject). I'm sure that the Canon USM outperforms the Sigma in terms of autofocus speed and noise.
I'm interested in someone who uses the Sigma on a Canon 5D II.
Please look at my portfolio (http://photo.net/photos/dallalb) for some examples. Alberto.

Tommy DiGiovanni , Jun 15, 2010; 12:20 a.m.

Alberto, great photos, I love the photo frame in your portfolio.

Alberto Dall'Oglio , Jun 15, 2010; 02:11 a.m.

Thank you Tommy: I'm glad you enjoyed them.

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