Finding an alternative to the Sony 70-200 f/2.8 zoom has become both important (as prices skyrocket) and problematic for us. We had good luck with the non OS version of the Sigma 70-200, have waited a bit since the release of the OS version to make sure there weren’t “new release” problems, and have now added it to our lineup.
The 70-200 f/2.8 OS had an HSM motor for quick autofocus, three Extra Low and two Special Low dispersion elements to reduce chromatic aberrations, and coatings to reduce flare and ghosting. It adds an Optical Stabilization unit rated for 4 stops of stabilization. It doesn’t focus quite as closely as the non-OS version so it can’t get quite the magnification of that lens on closeups.
Please Note: While this lens has a built-in Optical Stabilizer, it is not recommended to use this and the in-camera Sony SteadyShot together. It will not give you double stabilization. Instead, all images will appear blurry. Therefore, if you’re using one method, turn the other off.
Some people don’t realize this is a completely different lens than the older Sigma 70-200, not just the old lens with an Optical Stabilizer added. The OS version is clearly sharper at 200mm than the old one was, but maybe not quite as sharp at 70mm. Overall, though it is clearly an improvement.
If you’re expecting it to be indistinguishable from a Sony 70-200 f/2.8, then you aren’t going to be pleased — it can come close to matching it in the center, but not in the edges and corners, at least not at f/2.8. But it’s an excellent lens at a reasonable price. It also autofocuses quickly and accurately enough to be used for sports photography. It’s sharp in the center even wide open all the way to 200mm, although the edges won’t sharpen until f4 and improve further at f5.6.
For most people who will use this lens for sportshooting the corner and edge softness won’t be an issue. I recommend looking at the LensTips review below before making up your mind. Depending on how you shoot, it may be a great way to save some money compared to the Sony version, but for others it’s weaknesses may be an issue. One thing I will add, though: this lens is NOT 200mm focal length. It’s 180mm or so at the long end, noticeably shorter than the previous Sigma 70-200 or the Sony 70-200 lens. If that’s important to you and you really need every bit of 200mm, this may not be the lens for you.
From long experience I’m only going to recommend this lens if your camera has autofocus microadjustment. We will, of course, test the lens before every rental, but one thing we know, like we know the sun is going to rise in the East, is that there is more camera-to-camera autofocus variation with third-party lenses. A given copy of this lens may be very accurate on one camera, backfocus on another, and frontfocus on a third.
- Filter Size
- 77mm (nonrotating front element)
- 3.15 lb (with tripod collar)
- Minimum Focusing Distance
- 4.6 feet
- Maximum Magnification
- Angle of view: (full frame)
- 12 to 34 degrees
- Zoom method
- Image Stabilization
- 4 stop
- Focusing System
- Internal, Full time active, hypersonic motor, focus limiter switch
- Aperture Blades
- 9 curved, circular aperture
- Low Dispersion Elements
- Aspherical Elements
- Weather Resistant
- Sony Alpha
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