Sunday, October 27, 2013

Sigma AF 15-30mm f/3.5-4.5 EX DG Review With PHOTOS!

There is a time in every ones Photographic career that they need to get a wider wide angle lens. That simple 18-55mm kit lens that came with there camera did its job but now you have out grown it and needing to get a lens that fits your needs. I was in the same spot but if you are like me, money is a issue and spending $1,000 on a used wide angle that will fit a full frame camera or a $600 for a Crop sensor lens either is still kinda high. I was able to find a deal on Ebay for $200.00. After look around a bit more its right around $200-$300 price for a used lens.

       This was Sigma's first ultra-wide zoom with the EX (EX stands for PRO level). It is a Full frame lens that can be used on a APS-C (crop body) camera so the reviews on this can be mixed seeing how there is fall off(less sharp on the edges) on the full frame camera that you dont get on the APS-C camera. Here are some specs so we can get them out of the way.

-17 elements
-13 groups
-8 aperture blades
-2 aspherical elements.
-Large lens at 87mm(3.5 inchs) x 132mm(5.2 inchs)
-Weight of 620g(1.36lbs).... the D7000 is 780g(1.7lbs)
-Minimal focus distance is 0.30m (1 foot)

Now since we have all that out of the way, now lets get down to the meat and potatoes of this lens. There is a few things on this lens i love and i hate. First off is that its build like a tank. its large, made of durable items and gives a feeling of power. its not like the little kit lens that i came from and it has some weight to it that adds to the feeling of "well built". The lens is sharp and i mean SHARP! when you team this up with a tripod and some post editing software the results are just amazing. The Low light shooting for the stars and milky way is not that bad either but a fast lens is always better for that but there is a sample showing that it can be done as well with the F3.5. The sharpest this lens i have found is right in the F7.1-F13 range. I normally shoot at F8 so this is just fine for me. Here is a sample of it below.

Now for the bad stuff. The lens has a conventional micro motor which means its kinda of loud. Its speed is not that bad but not as sharp as a prime lens however since its a wide angle it does not really mater if its blazing fast. The next thing is size and the fact that its almost as big as some camera bodies. With that size comes the front lens size. At 82mm the front element will be hard press to find any kind of glass to cover it but the upside to this is that it has a built in lens hood so a extra item to loose is now built in to the lens. The last item that i think was the killer of this lens but is really something that i say is not that bad is the lens flare. you do have to watch out for it cause it will show up and say hi when you don't see it. even at night time you might get some lens flare on a image even if the light source was to the side of you or even the moon on a moonlit night. However if you have any skill at Lightroom or Photoshop you can easily remove it in post.
           The bottom line is that if you are looking for a Wide angle lens that you can use on your APS-C camera body and then use on a Full Frame camera when you make that move. this is the lens for you if you are not wanting to spend a ton of money. It delivers everything that the high priced, High end lens do but at a fraction of the price.