NOTE: this is for crop sensor (DX) Alpha cameras only.
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 degrees produces striking, extremely wide angle images with exaggerated perspective. It has a minimum focusing distance of 24cm throughout the entire zoom range, and an inner focusing system.
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 that this lens was just a remake of the old Sigma 12-24 for full frame cameras, but there’s more to it than that (although the big bulging front element will certainly remind you of i)t. 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 especially 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. It’s not quite as sharp at the longer end, and, at any focal length, the corners and even the edges are a little mushy. Chromatic aberration is pretty well controlled.
So, I’m surprised: I expected to say it was a useful lens, if you really want the widest you can get, but otherwise 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 10 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, many people will never shoot this wide, but if you think that 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 (that way you can better choose the one that’s best for you.)
- The Sigma 8-16mm 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 Sigma 10-20mm f/3.5 has a bit more distortion than the others but delivers very nice images. It has a great build quality, and does pretty much everything well.
- The Tokina 11-16mm f/2.8 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/3.5 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 at times. Overall it may be the best image quality of the group.
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
- Sony Alpha
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