Review: Sigma 55-200mm DC F4-5.6 lens

Started Apr 30, 2005 | Discussions thread
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Rayzor28 Junior Member • Posts: 29
Review: Sigma 55-200mm DC F4-5.6 lens

Hi Guys,

I recently purchased the Sigma 55-200mm DC F4-5.6 lens and during my research into a zoom lens for my D70, I noticed that there wasn't many good reviews of the lens on the net. I thought I'd write one for anyone who's considering getting this lens. This is a stricly amateur review, based on my 3 weeks spent with the lens thus far.

Although there are a number of other users from dpreview forums that have used this lens and have liked it's performance, few in the D70 forum seem to have it. I decided to go with this lens (instead of the Sigma 70-300mm APO II) mainly because of it's portability and price.

Here we go...

Body: composed of a black satin finish. Focusing and zoom rings are all rubber ribbed and nicely placed. Some have complained of it being "stiff" but I do not find that to be the case. It also has full manual focusing & all metal mounting.

Focusing: speeds are somewhat slower than the kit lens, but still hardly noticable to an amateur like me. As with the kit lens, if your subject is low contrast, then the focusing might go searching for a bit. I do notice that the focusing does affect my shooting if I'm trying to photograph my dog running full speed towards me (see samples). For fast lateral action, it focuses just fine in the AF-c mode. As you turn the focus ring, the front of the lens also turns, thus possibly making it tricky to work with certain filters.

Sounds: because it does not have a silent motor, it is somewhat louder when focusing compared to the kit lens. Still, it's quieter than my old Canon S30 lens.

Weight: 310g/10.9oz and feels lighter when on the body compared to the kit lens. This is great for someone like me, who tends to travel with both camera and lenses and does not want to carry a large camera bag.

Image quality: I tried to do some direct comparisons with the kit lens (tripod mounted, delayed shutter, ISO 200, etc), and I found that the image sharpness, color saturations were comparable. (see samples) Ideally I'd be able to compare this lens head-to-head with the Sigma 70-300mm APO II, but I can't find a local store to get my hands on one. Handheld shots even up to 200mm were quite good in sharpness, although adequate lighting and reasonable f/stop does help.

Lens comes with a hood and full instructions, and here in Canada we get a 3 year warranty.

In summary, here's what I think of the lens:


  • very good budget zoom lens

  • very compact and light (designed specifically for the smaller digital sensor)

  • decent focusing speed & sharpness (especially around f/8 and smaller)

  • metal mounting

  • no chromatic aberration noted


  • no macro feature

  • lacks APO glass

  • only goes to 200mm (can't do those moon photos I love)

  • focusing speed can be noticable if shooting high speed action

  • front of lens turns with focus ring (may affect filters)

Here's a link to my full gallery of test shots thus far (I'll be adding more along the way):

You'll see a series of photos taken of a plant and a watering jug. It's a test of the sharpness levels at different apertures (RAW format converted to JPG in Nikon Capture, tripod & 2 sec timer delay, ISO 200mm, Aperture priority, Fotogenic Point & Shoot color curve, sharpness = none, saturation = 0)

NOTE: I did notice that a lot of my shots taken in jpg format (esp. dog shots) showed colors that were much less vibrant than shot in RAW, so don't judge some of the flat color renditions as a fault of the lens.

There's also a shot of a 1/2 page review from Popular Photography's May '05 magazine on the same link. Plus I took a shot of the lens mounted on the D70 a both focal length ranges.

Below are a few other users on dpreview forums who have used the same lens:

Some more photos with the lens (may not be taken with the D70 though)

Hope everyone finds this review useful, and if anyone wants any specific test shots, please let me know and I'll try to accomodate.

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