Sigma 10-20 to Sigma 8-16.... Would you, Could you, Should you?

Started Aug 7, 2010 | Discussions thread
kymarto Contributing Member • Posts: 640
Re: Sigma 10-20 to Sigma 8-16.... Would you, Could you, Should you?

I'm your man. I used the Sigma 10-20 4-5.6 for several years, but was finally unsatisfied with the optical performance when doing HDRs. Must have been some decentering causing the right side to go soft in some situations. So finally I switched to the Tokina 11-16, which was a step up in quality in most ways. Three months later Sigma introduced the 8-16, and I bit the bullet and bought that lens. I have not regretted buying the 8-16. It is the best lens of the lot, and definitely a cut above the 10-20, especially as regards edge sharpness and resistance to flare, and also slightly better in contrast.

Make no mistake, those two millimeters make a big difference at the wide end. I sold the old Sigma, but was doing some comparisons at 11 mm between the Sigma 8-16 and the Tokina. Since you are not considering the Tokina I won't post that shot, but here is the Sigma @ 11 and 8mm. These are not carefully focused, only a test of lens flare. Note how good that is compared to the 10-20, and also the quite vast difference in angle between 11 and 8 mm:

Just for comparison, first here are a couple of older shots with the 10-20. The first is non-HDR. Sharpness is pretty good, except for the edges:

Now here is an HDR shot. Note how soft everything gets on the right side of the frame (ignore the grain, which is an HDR processing artifact):

Now here are a couple of HDRs shot at 8mm with the new lens (again ignore the processing artifacts in the room shot--this was just a test):

Finally, here are some other test shots with the Sigma 8-16.

One thing that is quite noteworthy is how well this lens performs wide open. The shot inside the Japanese train station is an example.

The lens has its problems. Quite a curved field, which gives funny focusing issues sometimes, and some vignetting and red CA fringing, especially when defocused; but it is an extremely good lens. Build quality is excellent, as good as or perhaps even a bit better than the 10-20. Same quick HSM focusing. I've noted some small sharpness issues not in the extreme corners, but at the sides of the frame in the middle. But overall it beats the 10-20 with one hand tied behind its back.

One caveat: I tried two of these lenses, and while the performance overall was similar, one had significantly better corner sharpness than the other. Check this out. Unfortunately I didn't have both lenses in the same place at the same time, but compare the sharpness of the road surface between the top and bottom rows here.


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