Gear

Sigma 50-150 F/2.8 EX DC HSM

Versatile, fast lens for your lens collection

sigma50-150 lensIt’s easy to suffer from sticker shock when buying a digital SLR, but the real shock doesn’t occur until someone starts talking about “fast” lenses. Price just a few of these pro lenses from Nikon and Canon and you’ll quickly start to wonder what the heck you’ve gotten yourself into. That’s where companies such as Sigma come in.

The first thing we noticed about the Sigma 50–150 F/2.8 EX DC HSM was the very quiet and fast autofocus—due to the HSM (Hyper Sonic Motor). We’ve tried other Sigma lenses with this same feature, and we love it. It also has full-time manual focus override, so it’s easy to tweak the autofocus with the focus ring.

The lens feels solid, but not too heavy (27.5 oz and a filter size of 67mm), and the zoom ring has just about the right amount of tension. Another nice feature is the IF (inner focus). This means that the physical length (5.2″) of the lens never changes.

Vignetting was apparent only in the extreme range of f/2.8 at 150mm. Stopping down the lens or zooming out cleared the vignetting. Chromatic aberration was only visible in areas of extreme contrast, such as bright sun behind leaves. One minor annoyance was that the minimum focusing distance was well over 3′, so it was a little frustrating in tight situations. Sigma documents this in their specs, however, so it came as no surprise.

Most of our images were sharp from edge to edge. We did see some softness in images taken at the extreme ends of the aperture range (f/2.8 and f/22), but nothing too discouraging. Overall, the sharpness, color saturation, and contrast that you get from the Sigma 50–150 makes it worth considering, especially with a street price of less than $680.—Chris Main

PRICE: $1,050
FROM: Sigma Corporation of America
PHONE: 800-896-6858
WEB: www.sigma-photo.com
FOR: Canon, Nikon, and Sigma
RATING: 4.5

LAYERS VERDICT
HOT Sharpness, color, and contrast
NOT Vignetting at the extreme ranges

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