Equipment

Lensrentals.com Review the New Sigma 24-70mm f/2.8 DG OS HSM Art Series Lens

I feel like I’ve written this a thousand times at this point, but credit is deserved where credit is due. There is no lens manufacturer in the world who has done a better job than Sigma Lenses at rebranding their image from a lowly third party manufacturer to a staple in the lens market. With their introduction of the Art Series in 2013, Sigma was met with a new design, a lot of skepticism, and ultimately, a lot of newfound fans.

And since the release of the spectacular Sigma 35mm f/1.4 Art Series, Sigma has turned into a Babe Ruth of sorts, hitting every subsequent release out of the park, and pointing to the fences before they do so. Though there are two lenses that people have been begging for since the introduction of the rebrand; the Sigma 85mm Art Series (Which we reviewed a couple of months ago, and it’s fantastic), and the Sigma 24-70mm f/2.8 Art Series Lens. And finally, the latter is here; but does it hold up?

Sigma 24-70mm Art Series Review

Size Comparison Against Canon 50mm f/1.2L

Sigma 24-70mm Art Series Review

Size Comparison (Extended) Against Canon 50mm f/1.2L

Before getting into the nitty gritty of this review, it’s important to address that I’m not much for zoom lenses. Speaking with Roger on the regular, I’ve developed an obsession with sharpness, and the reality is that you get more potential sharpness from prime lenses. So over the course of the last few years, I’ve traded in all of my zoom lenses for prime lenses and opted for the ‘Just carry a few lenses with you’ approach as a result. So when I was handed the new Sigma 24-70mm f/2.8 Art Series Lens and asked to review it, my natural excitement was met with apprehension, as zooms generally aren’t my thing.

Build Quality

When picking up the Sigma 24-70mm Art Series lens, you’ll be reminded quickly of the build quality that has come with a traditional Sigma Art lens. The lens for one, is beefy; weighing in at 36oz (2.25lbs), the Sigma 24-70mm f/2.8 Art Series is best in class when it comes to weight, superseding the Canon by over 20%. However, the lens also sports a somewhat reasonable 82mm filter size, an issue I’ve had with past lenses in the Art series (The Sigma 85mm f/1.4 Art Series has an obscurely large 86mm filter size, for example). The weight is dense in the lens, as the lens itself is actually a wee bit shorter than its Canon competition in the Canon 24-70mm f/2.8L II, and quite a bit shorter than the massive in comparison Nikon 24-70mm f/2.8E ED. When handling the Sigma 24-70mm f/2.8 Art Series, there are no doubts that it is of professional caliber, and can manage the abuse that professionals tend to lend to their equipment.

Sigma 24-70mm Art Series Examples

Sigma 24-70mm f/2.8 Art Series
1/320s a sec, f/3.2, ISO 400

Features

The first thing you might notice, aside from the sleek Art Series matte black branding, is that this lens also has Image Stabilization built into the lens – a feature left out of its Canon competition (unless opting for the Canon 24-70mm f/4L IS version). With my initial testings, the Sigma 24-70mm f/2.8 Art Series’ optical stabilization works well, offering three stops of stabilization; which by my accounts, seems to be accurate. Additionally, the autofocus is accurate, and reasonably fast, though you won’t find this lens seeking for focus, as you might find with a Nikon or Canon. Seemingly, this lens tries, and if fails, gives up quickly, shutting down the Hyper Sonic Motor entirely until the next focus press and shot. I noticed this first, when half pressing the shutter with the lens cap on, and the lens made no attempts to focus at all, whereas every other lens always put in a half-hearted try, seeking back and forth until failing to focus on the blackness of the lens cap. This felt unnatural to me and seems to be a glaring problem for a lens that prides itself on being fast, and with built-in stabilization. That said, I’m nitpicking, as the lens handled low light very well, and this is more of a weird quirk than a glaring problem.

 

Sigma 24-70mm Art Series Review

Shot Using Canon 5d Mark III & Sigma 24-70mm Art at 1/160th a sec, f/3.2 ISO 250

Sigma 24-70mm f/2.8 Art Series Review

100% Crop of Sharpness/ DOF

I also wanted to take a moment and address chromatic aberration and the Sigma 24-70mm f/2.8 Art Series – mostly because it’s non-existent. For those unaware, chromatic aberration is when a lens produces a purple or green edge along really contrasty edges and is caused when the glass in your lens isn’t able to bring all of the color wavelengths onto the same focal plane. Some lenses are more prone to chromatic aberration than others, and a million other variables can affect the occurrence of chromatic aberration. Partially because I’m used to shooting with wide apertures, and partially because my personal lenses are all old and in need of servicing, I’m used to fixing chromatic aberration in my images as the first step. Much to my surprise, the Sigma 24-70mm Art Series looks clean out of the camera, with no need for lens correction. I felt the needed to address this, as with how I often shoot, chromatic aberration generally occurs in all my work, and it just doesn’t with the Sigma.

Sigma 24-70mm f/2.8 Art Series Review

Canon 5d Mark III & Sigma 24-70mm f/2.8 Art Series. 1/160th a sec, f/3.2, ISO 320

Sharpness

Sadly, where it matters most, is where the Sigma 24-70mm f/2.8 Art Series falls short. As Roger alluded to with is MTF charts, the Sigma just doesn’t match the sharpness in the Canon and Nikon competition. And as I mentioned earlier, as a prime lens shooter, the lack of sharpness in the details becomes really apparent with the Sigma 24-70mm f/2.8 Art Series lens. At 24mm, this lens was a real under performer for me, especially wide open. At 50mm-70mm, it was good, but nothing to write home about. For more information on the technicals, read Roger’s MTF and comparisons of the Sigma 24-70mm Art Series.

Sigma 24-70mm Art Series Review

Sigma 24-70mm f/2.8 Art Series. f/3.2, 1/2500th a sec, ISO 250

 

Olaf Optical Testing, 2017

Olaf Optical Testing, 2017

Olaf Optical Testing, 2017

Price

However, here is where the Sigma shines once again, offering itself at a $1,300 price tag, whereas the Canon 24-70mm f/2.8L II sits at $1,750, and the Nikon 24-70mm f/2.8E at $2,400. The Sigma provides a lot for significantly less than the competition.

What I Liked –

  • Great Price Point
  • Excellent Build Quality
  • Stabilization Works Well

What Could Be Improved –

  • Not As Sharp as Competition

Conclusion

Much to my surprise, I fell in love when using this lens. However, that love I felt was for the focal range itself and not the lens. In short, 24-70mm is a fantastic focal length and makes for an exceptional all-around lens to use on the go. And by all accounts, Sigma does a good job showing off this focal length. However, Canon and Nikon both show it off better, and so when I’m looking for a 24-70mm lens to use as my next all around lens, I’m opting for the Canon 24-70mm f/2.8L II over the Sigma 24-70mm f/2.8 Art Series.

Sigma 24-70mm f/2.8 Art Series

Sigma 24-70mm Art Series
1/500s a sec, f/2.8 ISO 400

That said, the Sigma 24-70mm Art Series does a lot of things great. Keeping the form factor small, while adding the functionality of stabilization is impressive in its own right, and the price point is incredible when compared to what it’s up against. No doubt, if this is the first pro-grade 24-70mm lens you’ve used, you’ll be really impressed with the quality. For those who aren’t in a rush to update their 24-70mm lens, it might be best to wait and see what Tamron has in their newly announced Tamron 24-70mm f/2.8 Di VC USD G2.

 

Author: Zach Sutton

I’m Zach and I’m the editor and a frequent writer here at Lensrentals.com. I’m also an editorial and portrait photographer in Los Angeles, CA, and offer educational workshops on photography and lighting all over North America.

Posted in Equipment
  • Compared, size wise to the Canon 50mm f/1.2L because it’s a pretty standard lens, where most people know the size of it….and as mentioned beforehand, I don’t own zoom lenses, so that was the most common, well established lens to compare it to.

    And thanks, the model was great.

  • Carleton Foxx

    You forget that new professionals are entering the field every day. And sometimes professionals drop their 24-70 lenses 5 feet onto concrete and need to buy new 24-70 lenses.

  • Stereo Reverb

    Zach, was curious- you stated that it wasn’t as sharp, but did you try microfocus adjustments on the lens to correct the lack of sharpness issue? I have a feeling that would have fixed it. Also, with 3 full stops of stabilization, it would have been really nice to have seen samples of slow exposures, at different speeds i.e. 70mm @ 1/50 sec, etc, to see how well it performed. Your samples don’t test that feature at all. Thanks for the review! I almost bought this a month back but am waiting to see reviews of Tamron’s version, which claims 5 stops of stabilization.

  • AceFlibble

    Holy comma abuse, Batman.

  • corvid

    What ??? This is a review of a Sigma Art lens for Canon or Nikon mounts.

  • Shandilla Shenamere

    I’ve already got the Nikon, so what would be the attraction for an inferior lens? A missed opportunity by Sigma cuz by now, most pros will have either a Canon or Nikon version of this zoom range. What does the Sigma offer that the others don’t? In short, give me a reason to buy it? Stepless aperature, motorized zoom, macro feature?

  • MattS

    There are a number of key aspects to review when looking at a new lens and IMO there is a definite priority. At the top of my list is sharpness. A miss with this aspect is a deal killer. To bad, I was hoping for this Art version to be up with Canon’s and with the added stabilization it was going to find a way onto by 5DIII. The search continues…..

  • Make Stuff

    Zach – All the lens tests of the new Sigma I have seen so far have only been comparing it to the latest 24-70mm lens versions from Canon and Nikon. But for someone shooting with an older lens it would be nice to know if the optics of the Sigma are an improvement or not. I am shooting with an older Mark 1 Canon 24-70mm L F/2.8 and I would like to know if I could increase sharpness on my 5D Mark IV if I stepped up to this Sigma? A question I think many people would like answered if they haven’t yet bought the latest Mark II version of Canon’s 24-70 L F/2.8

  • fanboy fagz

    as all the rest of the sigma 28/24-70 2.8 they made, this is another to add to another meh lens theyve made. certainly not worthy of the art badge. none of their 28/24-70 were ever sharp with contrast from open aperture. all of them were bad. all of them needed at least a full stop to get acceptable. they always lack contrast and micro sharpness. you can clearly see it with the 100% crop image shown.

    @ZSuttonPhoto:disqus if you would consider converting weights to grams or inches to cm would be greatly appreciated when doing a review, many are intl readers. 🙂

  • Scott Kennelly

    I agree. As far as I am aware, the Tamron has a better warranty too. I think Sigma hopes people will just buy it, because it’s an Art lens. I’m not so sure they’re going to be happy with the sales of this lens. They need to do better. I think they should have made a better lens, which out-performs the Canon and Nikon lenses handily, even if they had to make it cost more than those lenses. I think it was a mistake to release this lens as it is. They should have called it a C lens, rather than n Art lens, and they should have priced it under the Tamron. THEN people would have really been talking . . . but maybe Sigma wouldn’t have made any money on it.

  • Scott Kennelly

    Why compare it with the Canon 50mm f1.2 L? You didn’t have a Canon 24-70mm f2.8 L?

  • Steve Solomon

    Hi Zach. Interesting review of the Sigma zoom. As a Fujifilm X-System photographer, I use mainly the superb Fujinon XF lenses, as they mate perfectly with the X-Series cameras, and are known for their high sharpness, build and image quality. In fact, I used to share a similar opinion about zooms in general, and being into sharpness and image detail, would always choose a prime lens over a zoom. However, the awesome Fujinon XF16-55 f/2.8 LM R WR Zoom has changed my thinking entirely! Unless you’re pixel peeping at 200%, the images it renders are virtually equivalent to primes. Not to mention fast AF and weather sealing. I believe in terms of image quality, it would give the Canon and Nikon versions a run for their money. Thanks again!

  • Michael – Visual Pursuit

    The absence of chromatic aberrations especially wide open is what makes the ART series so great. This, plus image stabilization outweighs test stand sharpness hands down – in my opinion. YMMV.

  • Stanislaw Zolczynski

    Maybe Sigma could save face by making like Canon and Nikon a 24-70/4 ART Reporter lens of half of weight but much better then 2.8 closed to f:4

  • The new Tamron is optically the same. Coatings are different so it may have less flare or color cast but there won’t be MTF differences. I will test it to see if there is less sample variation but not because I think it might be optically better.

  • Claudia Muster

    According to Roger, a proper drop test should comprise at least 10 specimen.

  • DrJon

    Maybe in a lens review you should link full-res images? Most aberrations look good if the resolution is low enough? Hard to tell anything here.

  • TinusVerdino

    Tamron’s MTF charts for the new and the old lens are exactly the same.

  • Thank you for the review. The charts are great, but pictures are better 🙂 For the price it’s no doubt a great lens.

  • Brandon Dube

    Thanks for putting our charts in order by focal length.

  • Images were processed in Capture One and Photoshop. However some of them were converted in Adobe RAW, and got the same results as C1 in terms of sharpness.

  • I know that Roger tested this against the Tamron 24-70mm a week or so ago, and found that the Tamron to be better than the Sigma at 24mm, with the Sigma beating it out on longer focal ranges. We’ll have to see what the Tamron G2 does when it’s released.

    I didn’t compare it to the Tokina, as I’ve never used the Tokina before, but the MTF charts and reviews I’ve read, it seems like it’s pretty comparable to the Tamron lens.

  • In regards to the Tamron 24-70mm, the Sigma is better than the Tamron at both 50mm and 70mm, according to Rogers testing —
    https://www.lensrentals.com/blog/2017/07/sigma-24-70mm-f2-8-dg-os-hsm-art-sharpness-tests/

    We’re eagerly waiting for the Tamron G2 to see what it’s capable of.

  • hazy leftie

    The first generation of the Tamron 27-70 f2.8 VC received a great review on DPR. Maybe that and the G2 are better than this Sigma, with an equally low price.

  • Eddiepopper

    Interesting article, which Raw converter or editing app did you use and do you think that would play into the final image quality of the lens?

  • TinusVerdino

    All that matters is how it stacks up against the Tamron (old or new I don’t think it matters IQ wise). If it isn’t better then all the people who already have the Tammy have no reason to switch. Tokina wasn’t even mentioned by the way.

  • It’s not just the weight that is a contributing factor, but a series of reasons. The lens itself seems well constructed, and has a good variance (As Roger pointed out in his testings). Those all contribute to the decision that it is designed for professional use.

    The higher ups at Lensrentals aren’t too keen on me giving their products a proper drop test, but we annually post our repair data, and the Sigma Art series doesn’t seem to be repaired any more often than the other lenses in the lot.

  • Thanks Connor!

  • J L Williams

    Not buying the notion that heavy weight automatically equals “professional caliber” and abuse tolerance…

  • Connor Siedow

    Great review, Zach!

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