Lens Test: Sigma 70-200 f/2.8 EX DG OS

New flagship glass for Sigma is pro ready.

sigma70to200

sigma70to200

The Sigma 70-200 f/2.8 EX DG OS cost about $1700 new.

Favored by pros, full-frame 70–200mm f/2.8 zooms get more than their share of great photos. This $1,700 (street) Sigma is the company’s first stabilized version. It boasts two elements of Sigma’s new FLD and three of conventional SLD low-dispersion glass, plus a sophisticated HSM focusing motor. It scales up to 105–300mm or more on APS-C-sized sensors.

Slightly heavy for the class, it has an attractive matte-black finish with gold accents. More striking: dual depth-of-field scales (one for wide-angle, one for tele) and an APS lenshood adapter for extra flare protection with the narrower field of view of APS-sensored DSLRs.

Except for the lack of a weather-resistant O-ring at the lensmount, it seems extremely well constructed. Focus and zoom rings turn with a velvety draw. While not the fastest, the HSM motor is unusually smooth and silent, and the lens focuses and zooms internally for a stationary barrel.

In our Test Lab, it produced Excellent-range SQF results at 70 and 135mm, indicating exemplary sharpness and contrast. At 200mm, however, it dipped to Very Good—surprising for a lens this expensive and with so many low-dispersion elements. Light falloff, stabilization, and distortion control were about average—the latter in the Slight range at all focal lengths.

More disappointing was magnifying power, which topped out at just 1:6.57 at 200mm. Macro fans should consider the comparable Tamron (1:2.85), non-OS Sigma (1:3.3), or even Canon (1:4.3).

This lens is easier to love in person than on paper. Beautifully handling, with several unique features, it stands out less for its optical characteristics.

SPECIFICATIONS:
70–200MM (70.01–200.08mm tested), f/2.8 (f/2.76 tested), 22 elements in 17 groups. Focus ring turns 110°. Zoom ring turns 80°. Focal lengths marked at 70-, 85-, 100-, 135-, and 200mm.
DIAGONAL VIEW ANGLE: 34–12 degrees.
WEIGHT: 3.3 lb.
FILTER SIZE: 77mm.
MOUNTS: Canon, Nikon, Pentax, Sigma, Sony.
INCLUDED: Lenshood, lenshood adapter, soft case, tripod collar.
STREET PRICE: $1,700.

TEST RESULTS:
DISTORTION: At 70mm, 0.21% (Slight) barrel. At 135mm, 0.15% (Slight) pincushion. At 200mm, 0.26% (Slight) pincushion.
LIGHT FALLOFF: At 70mm, gone by f/3.5. At 135mm, by f/3.5. At 200mm by f/4.
CLOSE-FOCUSING DISTANCE: 48.74 inches.
MAXIMUM MAGNIFICATION RATIO: At 70mm, 1:13.9. At 135mm, 1:10.05. At 200mm, 1:6.57.
IMAGE STABILIZATION: 2 stops

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