This is the first ultra-wide, rectilinear zoom lens with a minimum focal length of 8mm, designed specifically for APS-C-size image sensors. The wide-angle of view from 121.2° produces striking, extremely wide angle images with exaggerated perspective. It has an inner focusing system and a minimum focusing distance of 24cm throughout the entire zoom range.
Four FLD (“F” Low Dispersion) glass elements, which have the performance equal to fluorite glass, compensate for color aberration. One hybrid aspherical lens and two glass mold elements give excellent correction for distortion and astigmatism. The super multi-layer coating reduces flare and ghosting, and the lens incorporates HSM (Hyper Sonic Motor), ensuring quiet and high speed AF as well as full-time manual focus capability.
I was told this lens was just a remake of the old Sigma 12-24mm f/4-5.6 II for Canon for full frame cameras, but there’s more to it than that (although the big bulging front element will certainly remind you of it.)
First and foremost, let’s be clear: 8mm is significantly wider than 10mm, so I consider this lens somewhat different than the other ultra-wides. At 8mm you can get your shoes in the picture if you tilt the lens down just a bit. It’s wide.
It’s also quite sharp, especially in the center and at 8 to 10mm, which is probably what you’re getting this lens for anyway. More surprisingly, it doesn’t have horrible barrel distortion at 8mm, which is pretty amazing. At the longer end it’s not quite as sharp, and at any focal length the corners and even the edges are a little mushy. Chromatic aberration is pretty well controlled, too.
So I’m surprised: I expected to say it was a useful lens if you really want the widest you can get but that, otherwise, the lens had a lot of weaknesses (which is what I said years ago about the 12-24 full frame lens.) But really this one not only lets you get ultra, ultra wide, it can compete with all the other ultra wides from 10mm to 20mm too. It gives up some aperture to most of the others, but except for that, it’s very comparable to them.
And from 8mm to 10mm, well there’s no comparison at all. This isn’t the lens for everyone because many people will never shoot this wide, but if you think you might, this is a great choice and I can recommend it without reservation.
Comparing the ultra-wide, crop sensor camera lenses is an extremely difficult task, so I’ll put the summary first: they all deliver excellent image quality and you can’t go wrong with any of them. To my ‘just taking pictures’ assessment they are all excellent. There are some differences though, so I’ll try to point those out so you have a better chance at choosing the one that’s best for you.
The Sigma 8-16 f/4.5-5.6 is the widest (and remember, 8mm is 20% wider than 10mm, so it’s a very real difference). Not quite as sharp in the corners as the others, and lower maximum aperture, but it’s really pretty good, especially considering it’s the widest of the wide.
The Canon 10-22 f/3.5-4.5 is arguably the most flare resistant, the smallest and lightest when that’s important, and has low distortion. It’s also the most expensive and vignettes a bit. I like it a lot, though, and often find myself preferring it because of its small size.
The Sigma 10-20 f/3.5 has a bit more distortion than the others but delivers very nice images and is also built much better than the Canon 10-22. It does everything well and probably is the best value of the bunch.
The Tamron 10-24 f/3.5-4.5 Di II is the least expensive of the bunch and has the longest zoom range. It actually has less barrel distortion than most of the others, but a bit more chromatic aberration (purple fringing) and perhaps a bit more vignetting. But none of these are severe and the larger zoom range often comes in handy.
The Tokina 11-16 f/2.8 and Tokina 11-16 f/2.8 Mk II (there are really no differences between them) gives you the widest aperture if you’ll be working in low light (with ultra wides, depth of field is rarely an important point), but it’s a bit soft at f/2.8, so the aperture advantage isn’t huge (I usually shoot it at f/4, if I can, to get it sharper). It has very little vignetting and distortion, probably the least of the group. Unfortunately, it does show quite a bit of chromatic aberration and is known to flare at times. But if you need f/2.8, this is your only choice, and it’s not a bad lens at all.
The Tokina 12-24 f/4 PRO DX II is built like a sturdy tank (and therefore a bit heavier). It does tend to give low contrast images when shot into the sun but is quite sharp otherwise. This is the one I’d take if conditions were rough: I pity the rock this bad boy falls on. Poor rock.
But like I said above: they’re all excellent. We hardly ever get anything but happy comments about any of them.
- Filter Size
- rear gel
- 1.9 lb.
- Minimum Focusing Distance
- 0.8 feet
- Maximum Magnification
- Angle of view: (crop frame)
- 114 to 76 degrees
- Zoom method
- Barrel extending (slightly)
- Image Stabilization
- Focusing System
- Internal, A/MF switch, full-time manual, hypersonic motor
- Aperture Blades
- 7 curved
- Max Aperture@focal length
- f/4.5@8mm; f/5@9-13mm; f/5.6 > 13mm
- Low Dispersion Elements
- Aspherical Elements
- Weather Resistant
- Flare Resistance
- Mild ghosting, mild to moderate loss of contrast
- Canon EF
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