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Thread: Exhausting (not a typo!) set of Sigma 24-70 HSM images

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    Exhausting (not a typo!) set of Sigma 24-70 HSM images

    Three new sets of images from the 24-70 hsm on pbase. Each gallery has two images per shot. One overexposed to make the corners visible and a second closer to normal to allow one to see the overall performance.

    All images taken on a Sony A900 full frame camera and manually focused using a 2x magnifier.

    The lens ia parfocal. Once focused it remains so throughout the zoom range.

    First gallery: http://www.pbase.com/masimo/car is a set of images taken with the focus on the blue car about 100 yards distant.

    Second gallery: http://www.pbase.com/masimo/fence is a set of images with focus on the fence across the road about 300 yards away. While not at infinity its about the best I could do without autofocus.

    Third gallery: http://www.pbase.com/masimo/corners is a set of images with the focus placed on the two leaves in the center of the picture at the bottom. The idea was to keep the corners in focus to eliminate oof from being the cause of poor corner performance.

    disclaimer. This is one sample of the lens. You can't necessarily assume that another will perform the same. I've had lots of comments about how bad and how great the lens is, about how much better this or that copy is, about how bad or good the bokeh is etc. I wanted to know if this lens would come close to the Sony-Zeiss 24-70 f2.8 that costs 2x as much. I originally ordered both lenses with the intent of keeping one or the other. Unfortunately the zeiss is back ordered so I couldn't do the comparison. I doubt I will keep this one though as much because I can't use autofocus right now as because I don't really think it is any better than my converted 28-85 f3.3-4 contax vario sonnar. Manual focus is not an issue for me at these focal lengths and there is no choice with a converted contax lens.

    I will still do a series or two of bokeh shots and maybe some portraits.

    Mike

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    Subscriber Member Jorgen Udvang's Avatar
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    Re: Exhausting (not a typo!) set of Sigma 24-70 HSM images

    I don't think a comparison with the Zeiss would be very interesting. The Sigma, or at least your copy of it, is simply not usable at wider angles. Even at 24mm f/8.0, where there is truckloads of DOF, the corners turn to mush. It's tempting to give Sigma the benefit of doubt here, and say it must be a faulty copy, but if their QC is that bad, I don't think I would like to try.

    Interestingly, I tried a Sigma 12-24 a few weeks ago on a D700, and that lens seemed to be acceptably sharp across the frame, even wide open at 12mm. Unfortunately, the photos are not available to me, as the camera, the lens and the motives were all borrowed. What it does indicate though, and this of course we already knew, is that Sigma can make good lenses. They just seem to be slightly inconsistent.

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    Re: Exhausting (not a typo!) set of Sigma 24-70 HSM images

    Quote Originally Posted by Jorgen Udvang View Post
    I don't think a comparison with the Zeiss would be very interesting. The Sigma, or at least your copy of it, is simply not usable at wider angles. Even at 24mm f/8.0, where there is truckloads of DOF, the corners turn to mush. It's tempting to give Sigma the benefit of doubt here, and say it must be a faulty copy, but if their QC is that bad, I don't think I would like to try.

    Interestingly, I tried a Sigma 12-24 a few weeks ago on a D700, and that lens seemed to be acceptably sharp across the frame, even wide open at 12mm. Unfortunately, the photos are not available to me, as the camera, the lens and the motives were all borrowed. What it does indicate though, and this of course we already knew, is that Sigma can make good lenses. They just seem to be slightly inconsistent.
    Hi Jorgen
    Last autumn I spent a happy afternoon in a big (and friendly) UK dealer trying to perform magic. I was trying to find a small, cheap, light, sensible zoom for my A900.

    I had a laptop, and I tried lots and lots of these lenses, and they were all rubbish . . . . actually the Sigma 12-24 is an exception, but it's still only 'OK;. The only assumption I could come to is that the average shooter really doesn't care about the corners . . . some of them were breathtakingly awful, but none of them were okay.

    Let's face it, if it costs £1200 to get a decent 3x zoom, it's unreasonable to expect that you can get a good 6x zoom for £350 . . . . or a 20x zoom for £450!

    We all like fairytales, but with lenses it don't happen . . mind you, and having said all that, the Sigma 12-24 is the exception . . . but then, it is only a 2xzoom

    Just this guy you know

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    Re: Exhausting (not a typo!) set of Sigma 24-70 HSM images

    Yep,

    this sample was a dog. there haven't been many samples or reviews posted and lots of folks were hoping for something usable myself included but it's not to be at least not with this particular sample.

    If it really is only a sample issue then Sigma should implement a real QA department asap. Lot's of people rate Sigma low because of sample variation and you can only buy and return so many lenses from a single mfgr before you just give up. They seem to have similar problems with some of their cameras.

    One of the problems with being a family owned private company is that there are no stockholders there to let you know when you're in trouble.

    I'm back to the 28-85 f3.3-4 Contax vario sonnar which still outperforms what I've seen thus far from the Zeiss 24-70 in some areas. Maybe a second generation Zeiss will take care of those nasty corners and make it the lens it should be when it carries the Zeiss name. It wouldn't be bad if the corners straightened out at f5.6 or so but they really don't seem to do so.

    My next lens will be the 200mm minolta apo. Hopefully it will shine with the 1.4 and 2x teleconverters as well. For wides I'll still stitch.

    Mike

    Quote Originally Posted by Jorgen Udvang View Post
    I don't think a comparison with the Zeiss would be very interesting. The Sigma, or at least your copy of it, is simply not usable at wider angles. Even at 24mm f/8.0, where there is truckloads of DOF, the corners turn to mush. It's tempting to give Sigma the benefit of doubt here, and say it must be a faulty copy, but if their QC is that bad, I don't think I would like to try.

    Interestingly, I tried a Sigma 12-24 a few weeks ago on a D700, and that lens seemed to be acceptably sharp across the frame, even wide open at 12mm. Unfortunately, the photos are not available to me, as the camera, the lens and the motives were all borrowed. What it does indicate though, and this of course we already knew, is that Sigma can make good lenses. They just seem to be slightly inconsistent.

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    Re: Exhausting (not a typo!) set of Sigma 24-70 HSM images

    The only exception vis-a-vis price is to step up to some of the f4 lenses where one can sometimes get good quality even wide open for considerably less than f2.8 competitors and they are much easier to carry around as well.

    Mike

    Quote Originally Posted by Jorgen Udvang View Post
    I don't think a comparison with the Zeiss would be very interesting. The Sigma, or at least your copy of it, is simply not usable at wider angles. Even at 24mm f/8.0, where there is truckloads of DOF, the corners turn to mush. It's tempting to give Sigma the benefit of doubt here, and say it must be a faulty copy, but if their QC is that bad, I don't think I would like to try.

    Interestingly, I tried a Sigma 12-24 a few weeks ago on a D700, and that lens seemed to be acceptably sharp across the frame, even wide open at 12mm. Unfortunately, the photos are not available to me, as the camera, the lens and the motives were all borrowed. What it does indicate though, and this of course we already knew, is that Sigma can make good lenses. They just seem to be slightly inconsistent.
    Quote Originally Posted by jonoslack View Post
    Hi Jorgen
    Last autumn I spent a happy afternoon in a big (and friendly) UK dealer trying to perform magic. I was trying to find a small, cheap, light, sensible zoom for my A900.

    I had a laptop, and I tried lots and lots of these lenses, and they were all rubbish . . . . actually the Sigma 12-24 is an exception, but it's still only 'OK;. The only assumption I could come to is that the average shooter really doesn't care about the corners . . . some of them were breathtakingly awful, but none of them were okay.

    Let's face it, if it costs £1200 to get a decent 3x zoom, it's unreasonable to expect that you can get a good 6x zoom for £350 . . . . or a 20x zoom for £450!

    We all like fairytales, but with lenses it don't happen . . mind you, and having said all that, the Sigma 12-24 is the exception . . . but then, it is only a 2xzoom

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    Subscriber Member Jorgen Udvang's Avatar
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    Re: Exhausting (not a typo!) set of Sigma 24-70 HSM images

    Quote Originally Posted by jonoslack View Post
    We all like fairytales, but with lenses it don't happen . . mind you, and having said all that, the Sigma 12-24 is the exception . . . but then, it is only a 2xzoom
    Here's a wish for more "conservative" zooms. The Zuiko 11-22 f/2.8-3.5 and the Tokina 11-16 f/2.8 are also examples of excellent zoom lenses that are moderately priced, and again, the Zuiko is only 2x while the Tokina isn't even 1.5x.

    How about a portrait zoom? 80-120mm f/2.0 for full frame or 55-115mm f/2.0 for DX?

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    Re: Exhausting (not a typo!) set of Sigma 24-70 HSM images

    HI There
    Mike - I think that Canon do some good f4 zooms, but I'm not familiar with them.
    As far as Sigma variation is concerned, it's legendary, but in my experience Nikon aren't much better!

    It seems to me that the only company making consistently good mid priced zooms (and even cheap ones) are Olympus - they're not frightened of a variable maximum aperture, and they seem to agree with me that sharp corners are a must!

    The f2.8 / f3.5 /f4 zooms for 4:3:

    11-22
    14-54
    12-60
    50-200
    are all reasonably priced excellent performers, and not too heavy.

    I'd really love to have a lens the size and range of the 12-60 (24-120) for my A900, which was such a good performer.

    One Day Maybe!

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    Re: Exhausting (not a typo!) set of Sigma 24-70 HSM images

    Quote Originally Posted by jonoslack View Post
    Hi Jorgen
    I had a laptop, and I tried lots and lots of these lenses, and they were all rubbish . . . . actually the Sigma 12-24 is an exception, but it's still only 'OK;. The only assumption I could come to is that the average shooter really doesn't care about the corners . . . some of them were breathtakingly awful, but none of them were okay.
    Hi Jono, When did the average user ever care or understand anything, wether its audio, photography, computers, cars, art, etc., etc., etc., they're happy to see a positive review or have some colleague wow their purchase. Or now days, have some dpreview stranger approve it.

    There could be another reason too, we've been using DX sensors for years allowing some manufacturers to get lazy and since FX sensors are still the domain of higher end bodies, they figure why bother with that higher end customer who most likely isn't going to be interested in their less expensive, products when they can afford Zeiss, Contax, Leica or pro grade Canon, Nikon, Olympus glass. And they still have to compete with consumer level products from those manufacturers too, so something has to give.

    Quote Originally Posted by jonoslack View Post
    Let's face it, if it costs £1200 to get a decent 3x zoom, it's unreasonable to expect that you can get a good 6x zoom for £350 . . . . or a 20x zoom for £450!
    What I found with zoom lenses is that spending £1200 or more on them doesn't guarantee much either. I'm going by my own experience that I never liked a Nikon zoom that I owned and a couple like the 17-35/2.8 or the 17-55/2.8 I even hate and find totally horrible.

    I care about sharpness but since I shoot people for the most part rendering of a lens is the most important thing to me, to that end I find zoom lenses falling behind primes and specially some medium format lenses are magical in that respect. There are still a couple of zooms that I use once in a while but they tend to be older Angenieuxs which aren't the sharpest but have beautiful qualities or some older manual Zeiss Jenas which are very inexpensive but are very compact have quite decent quality with some Zeiss magic infused, great for traveling.


    Quote Originally Posted by jonoslack View Post
    We all like fairytales, but with lenses it don't happen . . mind you, and having said all that, the Sigma 12-24 is the exception . . . but then, it is only a 2xzoom
    I would add the Tamron 28-75 to this very short list too.

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    Re: Exhausting (not a typo!) set of Sigma 24-70 HSM images

    Quote Originally Posted by ddk View Post
    I would add the Tamron 28-75 to this very short list too.
    I agree with this sentiment... it had become my go-to portrait lens in the last month or so of being a canon user. Never "went out of calibration" and was sharp regardless of aperture/focal length/focus distance. Produced a generally pleasing rendering as well.

    Now all that canon stuff is gone...

    (not that some of it wasn't really nice)

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    Re: Exhausting (not a typo!) set of Sigma 24-70 HSM images

    I use zooms, but prefer fast-ish primes - but not many are made and few are new designs.

    The Zeiss 24-70mm F2.8 is an super lens, but even it is built down to a price. I remember once owning a Carl Zeiss T* 35-135mm on a contax body years ago. Talk about a work of engineering. It cost over £2k even then (closer to £3k or more today), no autofocus, but prime lens sharpness to the edges. The point is Zeiss / Sony could make their 24-70mm F2.8 even better, but it would cost double and most people don't need the extra 5% performance. At the budget end, even more compromises are made. the only budget superzoom exception I can remember was the Nikon 28-200mm which was sharp but had quite a lot of distortion. Brilliant lens, though - but it's been discontinued.

    I agree with Jono about the Sigma 12-24mm. It is almost the exception that proves the rule. I'd happily pay double what the Sigma costs for a hand-tuned "Super-EX" version, but the market plainly is not there. As it is, it a very good lens - good enough to stop me buying the 16-35mm Zeiss.

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    Re: Exhausting (not a typo!) set of Sigma 24-70 HSM images

    Quote Originally Posted by ddk View Post
    I would add the Tamron 28-75 to this very short list too.
    I forgot that one too, even if the 17-50 is on one of my cameras always. I'll probably add it as a portrait lens. Perfect focal range for portraits on DX.

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    Re: Exhausting (not a typo!) set of Sigma 24-70 HSM images

    Quote Originally Posted by ddk View Post


    I would add the Tamron 28-75 to this very short list too.
    HI David
    Sad to be so cynical and so young

    I'm worse than you though - I tried a couple of the Tamrons on the A900, and they were awful . . . I even bought one, but returned it. Of course, that might have been two bad examples, or it might be that if you're using it for people pics you don't mind about the edges and corners.

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    Re: Exhausting (not a typo!) set of Sigma 24-70 HSM images

    My personal advice to the guys using alternative glass on the A900 is that Sony has some wonderful Zeiss and G lenses out there and the sample variation has proven to be minimal so far, much lower than that of other brands. You are missing on the opportunity to use some very exceptional full of character glass
    M262 ZM 25/2.8 35/1.4 50/2 85/2

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    Re: Exhausting (not a typo!) set of Sigma 24-70 HSM images

    Quote Originally Posted by edwardkaraa View Post
    My personal advice to the guys using alternative glass on the A900 is that Sony has some wonderful Zeiss and G lenses out there and the sample variation has proven to be minimal so far, much lower than that of other brands. You are missing on the opportunity to use some very exceptional full of character glass
    I hear you, Edward, and I guess it really depends on how far down the rabbit hole one wants to jump in regards to optics and testing. I made the mistake of asking Iliah Borg a lot of questions about lens selection and A900 use in general, since he is shooting a couple of A900s over the last six months (and D3x and D3 and MFDB, etc,) and his rather rigorous testing has made an impression. Granted, this is from a guy who doesn't even use zoom lenses at all, because of extra flare caused by all of the elements, so one has to decide how picky they really are. He has concluded that only two Sony lenses he has tested are worth his trouble, the ZA 85 and 135, and the rest of the lenses that he uses are m42 or adapted Hasselblad. He sees this as an advantage over Nikon, because Nikon can't use the m42 lenses, and he finds all of the Nikon primes unacceptable. Now, for me, the m42 and Hassleblad lenses I use are a matter of economy just as much as performance, but it's good to know that many of these old lenses outperform the new ones. Economics don't seem to be much of the issue for Iliah, just performance.

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    Re: Exhausting (not a typo!) set of Sigma 24-70 HSM images

    Quote Originally Posted by jonoslack View Post
    HI David
    Sad to be so cynical and so young
    Call me Criticus Cynicus!

    Quote Originally Posted by jonoslack View Post
    I'm worse than you though - I tried a couple of the Tamrons on the A900, and they were awful . . . I even bought one, but returned it. Of course, that might have been two bad examples, or it might be that if you're using it for people pics you don't mind about the edges and corners.
    Can't say that I blame you, I remember your ski trip images. Certainly for shooting people edges and corners become less of an issue for me, in fact I end up blurring and darkening the edges more often than not.
    Last edited by ddk; 25th April 2009 at 10:54.

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    Re: Exhausting (not a typo!) set of Sigma 24-70 HSM images

    Douglas, I would agree with Iliah conclusions, and prefer to use primes. Still waiting for more Zeiss primes from Sony. In the meanwhile, the 24-70 turned out to be sharper than my old Contax 28/2.8, 35/1.4 and 35-70 (equal or better than any equivalent Zeiss prime). I am very happy with the 24-70 and 16-35, but once more primes are released, the zooms will not see much action. Also, by alternative glass, in no way did I commit the blasphemy of including your Zeiss/Hassleblad glass I meant the Sigma/Tamron stuff which not only is not as good as the glass from Sony, but at the end of the day, will be more expensive as well for the quality provided (price/performance ratio) and the trips to the local dealer to exchange lens copies I was contemplating for a while getting the Zeiss ZS 50, 35 and 25, but I really hate focusing Nikon/Pentax style and am also worried about adapter issues. Btw, Nikon users are lucky to have a full line of ZF lenses, I wish Sony would offer a similar line.
    M262 ZM 25/2.8 35/1.4 50/2 85/2

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    Re: Exhausting (not a typo!) set of Sigma 24-70 HSM images

    Quote Originally Posted by edwardkaraa View Post
    Douglas, I would agree with Iliah conclusions, and prefer to use primes. Still waiting for more Zeiss primes from Sony. In the meanwhile, the 24-70 turned out to be sharper than my old Contax 28/2.8, 35/1.4 and 35-70 (equal or better than any equivalent Zeiss prime). I am very happy with the 24-70 and 16-35, but once more primes are released, the zooms will not see much action. Also, by alternative glass, in no way did I commit the blasphemy of including your Zeiss/Hassleblad glass I meant the Sigma/Tamron stuff which not only is not as good as the glass from Sony, but at the end of the day, will be more expensive as well for the quality provided (price/performance ratio) and the trips to the local dealer to exchange lens copies I was contemplating for a while getting the Zeiss ZS 50, 35 and 25, but I really hate focusing Nikon/Pentax style and am also worried about adapter issues. Btw, Nikon users are lucky to have a full line of ZF lenses, I wish Sony would offer a similar line.
    Ah, got you, I forgot what thread I was on. As far as adapter issues, I've really been enjoying the James Lao m42 chipped adapter. Works well. What I am really afraid of is the guy doing the Leica R conversions. Then economics will be out the window for me!

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    Re: Exhausting (not a typo!) set of Sigma 24-70 HSM images

    Douglas, when one talks of using adapted Hasselblad lenses on the Sony, do you have any information as to which series of Hasselblad lenses work and which to stay away from?.
    A7II, FE 35, 55 C/Y 18, 28, 85, 100, 28-85

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    Re: Exhausting (not a typo!) set of Sigma 24-70 HSM images

    I've never been much of a zoom user until recently. Mostly primes.

    In my Canon days it was 35/1.4L, 50/1.2L, 85/1.2L-II and the 135/2L. Had the the 24/1.4L, but it was weak. Canon managed to turn me off to W/A zooms completely. So, I adapted Contax manual focus zooms, my favorite being the 35-135/3.5. But that never really worked out for shooting weddings ... missed to many shots in low light. So, it wouldn't matter if Leica R glass were made available, I'm not interested in manual focus lenses for this camera unless I already own them and don't have to alter them. (like the Hasselblad V lenses). Been there, done that with Canon. Won't do it again.

    Exception: my last "Canon" zoom was a Conrus converted AF Contax N 24-85/3.5-4 which was quite acceptable ... wouldn't mind that lens for the A900 as an all-around, light weight zoom. I liked the stout design with a generous filter size of that lens, and think it would look nice on this camera ... and because the elements weren't that heavy, it actually AF pretty quickly. Other than that, I'm not all that interested in 3rd party zooms.

    So, with the A900 ... the AF Zeiss 85/1.4 and 135/1.8 were the main draw, and the in-camera IS made it even more attractive compared to Canon. What is missing for me is a really good Zeiss AF 35/1.4, or AF 28/2. A Zeiss AF 50/1.2 wouldn't break my heart either. The legendary Contax MF 21/2.8 in an AF A mount would be an instant purchase at almost any price for me.

    The 24-70/2.8 is a fine lens for my purposes, which is mostly used for weddings where versatility is important during some portions of the shoot. I'm not that critical about the lens or the price since it's comparable to the Nikon and Canon versions, but delivers that Zeiss color and contrast to make it superior to them for wedding work.

    Now, I say this with caution because I haven't done any controlled tests yet ... but after the two Zeiss longer primes, my most prized A900 lens is the new Zeiss 16-35/2.8. It may be my specific copy, but this lens is the best W/A zoom I've used yet ... and that included the Contax N17-35/2.8 ... which was better than Canon's 16-35/2.8, and most certainly better than Nikon's 17-35/2.8 (which shocked me how bad it was).

    -Marc

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    Re: Exhausting (not a typo!) set of Sigma 24-70 HSM images

    Quote Originally Posted by Eoin View Post
    Douglas, when one talks of using adapted Hasselblad lenses on the Sony, do you have any information as to which series of Hasselblad lenses work and which to stay away from?.
    If I remember correctly, Iliah Borg has success with the 80, 120 and a couple of others. I have the 80 and the 150CF, and, although the 150 isn't known as the sharpest of Hassie teles, it works well. The problem is that my little Zeiss Jena 135 m42 is light, has a chipped adapter for AF confirmation, and it is very sharp. So, I don't use the 150 all that much yet.

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    Re: Exhausting (not a typo!) set of Sigma 24-70 HSM images

    Quote Originally Posted by Eoin View Post
    Douglas, when one talks of using adapted Hasselblad lenses on the Sony, do you have any information as to which series of Hasselblad lenses work and which to stay away from?.
    Sorry, I'm not Douglas ... but use all of the Hasselblad lenses on various cameras including the A900 ... they all work and are very good.

    The best of the bunch from the 500 series leaf shutter lenses are the 40/4IF, 60/3.5, 100/3.5, 180/4 and 240SA and 350SA. You set them to the F setting on the shutter ring to disable the leaf shutter (That is what the F in CF stands for ... C for Central shutter and F for Focal plane.)

    But older C type also work, as do CF, CFi and CFE versions. Best to stick with at least CF versions with their updated T* coatings. CFE versions have electronic data bus connections for use on some electronic Hasselblad cameras such as the 200 series and H cameras using the CF adapter ... they are usually more expensive and are a waste on the A900 using a dumb, non-e contact adapter.

    All of the F series Zeiss focal plane shutter lenses also work. They do not have a leaf shutter in them and are strictly Focal Plane shutter lenses with relatively fast apertures for MF lenses. This series features a 50/2.8, 80/2.8, 110/2, 150/2.8, 250/4 and 350/4 ... these can be F or FE versions for use on an A900. F stands for Focal Plane and E stands for the Electronic data bus connections when used on Hasselblad 200 series cameras.

    The Zeiss 120/4 Macro is not like 35mm macros that focus 1 to 1. You have to use extension tubes or a bellows to get true macro. Macro in this case means it is optimized for close focusing and flatness of field ... it is less used at infinity for this reason.

  22. #22
    Shelby Lewis
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    Re: Exhausting (not a typo!) set of Sigma 24-70 HSM images

    http://review.fengniao.com/113/1134071.html

    It seems that if you get a good copy, it gives the ZA a run for it's money...

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