Sigma 70-200mm F2.8 EX DG Macro HSM II review
The 70-200mm F2.8 EX DG Macro HSM II is one of Sigma's latest lenses, which was first announced in December 2007 for Canon, Nikon and Sigma, with a slew of follow-on releases adding compatibility for the remaining SLR mounts (i.e. Four Thirds, Sony and Pentax; however none of these versions are yet shipping). It's a successor to the 70-200mm F2.8 EX DG Macro HSM of February 2006, with a refined optical layout offering improved optical performance, and becomes the fourth iteration of the same basic EX design first unveiled in 1999 (which was itself preceded by a well-respected 70-210mm F2.8 for 35mm). The HyperSonic Motor (HSM) focusing system promises fast, silent and accurate autofocus for users of all brands of DSLR, although Pentax users should be aware that this lens is effectively of 'KAF-3' mount specification, and therefore won't focus on bodies which don't support SDM lenses. Aside from that specific incompatibility, this is a design which will work on almost every DSLR ever made, and is therefore of unusually broad buyer appeal.
Sigma are fond of using a plethora of letters in their lens names (presumably on the principle that when faced with a choice, potential buyers will purchase the one with the most initials) and the 70-200mm declares its credentials accordingly. 'EX' stands for 'Excellence' and designates Sigma's premium lens line, with superior build and optical quality, while 'DG' means that the lens coatings are optimized for use on digital SLRs, and the image circle covers the full-frame 35mm format. Finally 'Macro' is a pointer towards the closer-than-usual minimum focusing distance of just 1m, which compares favorably to the 1.5m more typical of lenses of this class, although it has recently been trumped by the 0.95m of Tamron's SP AF 70-200mm F2.8 Di LD (IF) Macro.
Of course as one of Sigma's flagship lenses, the 70-200mm F2.8 boasts a suitably complex optical design, featuring 18 elements in 15 groups, two of which are Extraordinary Low Dispersion (ELD) glass and two Special Low Dispersion (SLD) glass for correction of chromatic aberrations. Other attractions include internal focusing and zooming mechanisms, and a quick-release tripod mount collar which can be removed from the lens in seconds. On paper at least, this is a lens which might interest a huge number of photographers across a range of abilities; so is it worthy of that interest?
Sigma 70-200mm F2.8 EX design history
- 70-200mm F2.8 EX APO - Original version, minimum focus distance 1.8m (1999)
- 70-200mm F2.8 EX DG - Adds 'digitally optimized' lens coatings to reduce flare (2005)
- 70-200mm F2.8 EX DG Macro (HSM) - Minimum focus distance reduced to 1m (2006)
- 70-200mm F2.8 EX DG Macro HSM II - Improved optical performance (2007)
- 70-200mm focal length range; fast F2.8 constant maximum aperture
- HSM (ultrasonic type) autofocus with full-time manual override
- To be available in Canon, Nikon, Four Thirds, Pentax, Sigma and Sony/Minolta mounts
Angle of view
The pictures below illustrate the focal length range from wide to telephoto, on FX (35mm full-frame) and DX (1.5x crop) camera bodies:
|70mm (FX)||200mm (FX)|
|70mm (DX; 105mm equivalent)||200mm (DX; 300mm equivalent)|
Sigma 70-200mm F2.8 EX DG Macro HSM II specifications
|Date introduced||December 2007|
|Maximum format size||35mm full frame|
|35mm equivalent focal length (APS-C)||105-300mm (1.5x)
|Diagonal Angle of view (FF)||34º - 12º|
|Diagonal Angle of view (APS-C)||23º - 8º|
|Lens Construction||• 18 elements/15 groups
• 2 ELD elements
• 2 SLD elements
|Number of diaphragm blades||9|
|Maximum magnification||0.28x at 200mm|
|AF motor type||• Ring-type ultrasonic
• Full-time manual focus
|Image stabilization||• None|
|Filter thread||• 77mm
• Does not rotate on focus
|Supplied accessories||• Front and rear caps
• Lens Hood
• Soft Case
|Optional accessories||Compatible with Sigma 1.4x and 2.0x EX APO teleconverters|
|Weight||1390g (49.0 oz)|
|Dimensions||86.6mm diameter x 184mm length
(3.4 x 7.2 in)
|Lens Mount||Canon, Nikon, Four Thirds, Pentax, Sigma, Sony|
* Supplied accessories may differ in each country or area
Foreword / notes
If you're new to digital photography you may wish to read some of our Digital Photography Glossary before diving into this article (it may help you understand some of the terms used).
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Dpreview use calibrated monitors at the PC normal gamma 2.2, this means that on our monitors we can make out the difference between all of the grayscale blocks below. We recommend to make the most of this review you should be able to see the difference (at least) between X,Y and Z and ideally also A, B and C.