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Sigma 24-70mm F2.8 EX DG Macro Lens Review (for Nikon)

Sigma 24-70mm F2.8 EX DG Macro lens  


December 2011
(tested with Nikon D7000)

The Sigma 24-70mm F2.8 EX DG Macro lens was announced in September 2004. It was discontinued in 2008 when the HSM version was released. The lens was available in five different mounts, Nikon, Canon, Sony, Pentax, and Sigma. This review is based on the original Nikon version which has an aperture ring. This is a full frame lens that will also work with Nikon DX cameras with a field of view of 36-105mm. It doesn't have a built in motor so it won't autofocus with Nikon's lower end DSLRs (D40, D60, D3000, D5000, D3100, D5100). It's an EX lens so it has a superior build and optical quality over Sigma's standard lenses. (For all of Sigma's letter designations see here).

The lens is made mostly of plastic. The exterior and extending barrel of the lens are made of plastic. The zoom and focus rings are rubber coated. The lens mount is metal. The aperture ring and switch are also plastic. The lens has a clutch mechanism to switch between auto and manual focus, achieved by pulling the focus ring back and forth. The lens also has a distance scale. The front element doesn't rotate so using filters is no problem. Autofocus on my D7000 was fast enough to capture most action. Both the zoom and focus rings were a bit stiff but turned smoothly.

Sharpness in the center of the lens is excellent throughout the zoom range wide open and gets better stopped down. Wide open the borders and corners are very good, but a little soft at 70mm. Stopped down to f/5.6 and they sharpen up a bit. I found the sweet spot of the lens to be mid range in the zoom at f/5.6.

Distortion is not a problem with this lens. There is some barrel distortion at 24mm and very slight pincushion distortion at 70mm, all of which is easily correctable. The mid range of the zoom shows none of either. There was little vignetting present, with the most being visible at 70mm and f/2.8. I would image it to be a bit more noticable with a full frame camera. Chromatic aberration is well controlled and not a problem. There is some visible at the shorter end of the zoom, but it's easily correctable. Flare was a bit of an issue when photographing directly into the sun. Using the lens hood alleviated the problem somewhat. The bokeh was just average.

I bought a well priced copy of the Sigma 24-70mm F2.8 EX DG Macro lens to see how it compared with my Sigma 17-70mm F2.8-4 DC Macro OS HSM lens. Although the 24-70mm was sharper and features a constant f/2.8, I still prefer the 17-70mm because of the extra 7mm on the wide end and the image stabilization. Several reviews I've read of the current HSM version indicate that it's optically equal to the older version. If you're in the market for a 24-70mm lens then the Sigma may be a better option than the more costly Nikon and Canon offerings.


Focal length 24-70mm
Maximum aperture f/2.8
Minimum aperture f/32
Lens Construction 14 elements in 13 groups
Angle of view 84.1o - 34.3o
Closest focusing distance 40cm (15.7 in)
Maximum reproduction ratio 1:3.8
Number of diaphragm blades 9
Auto focus type AF
Filter diameter 82 mm
Macro Yes
Dimensions 88.6 mm (3.5 in) x 115.5 mm (4.5 in)(Diameter x Length)
Weight 700g (24.7 oz)

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