Constant f2.8 is $200 more - is it worth it?

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Apertureman

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I have a question:

I am about to buy a Sigma 28-70mm lens with aperture varying between f2.8 and f4.0 between the short and the long end of the focal length. The cost is an amazingly cheap $139.

I was getting ready to buy it and saw another lens by Sigma, just like it, except it has a constant aperture of f2.8, but it's an additional $200.

Should I wait and get a faster lens? Is the 1-stop advantage really worth it?

Thanks!
 

PeteZ8

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Sometimes it isn't the 1 stop advantage, as much as it is the better build and image quality of the more expensive lens. Do you need the extra stop of light for your type of photography? Or will you be shooting at f/5.6-f/8 all the time anyway? Even the cheaper zooms are usually pretty good by f/8.

One thing I have learned about Sigma lenses; test them out on your camera before you buy if you can. Their QC is hit and miss. Some samples are very sharp, others not so much. If you send it in to Sigma I understand they are pretty good about fixing it, but the turnaround time can be quite long.
 

jphendren

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"Should I wait and get a faster lens? Is the 1-stop advantage really worth it?"

It depends on the type of photography that you do. I for instance am a landscape photographer. I never shoot any wider than f/5.6, so for me, the extra stop would be a waste of weight (to carry) and money. If you like to shoot indoors, or in low light situations hand held, then yes, the extra stop may allow you to go home with shots that you otherwise may not get.

Jared
 

Nicholas Lindan

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I have the Sigma 2.8 28->70 and it's a pretty horrid lens until you stop it down quite a bit - so there goes any f2.8 advantage.

I would rather have the lens with variable aperture - in this case it would be an f2.0 @ 28mm -> f2.8 @ 70mm
 
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Apertureman

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"Should I wait and get a faster lens? Is the 1-stop advantage really worth it?"

It depends on the type of photography that you do. I for instance am a landscape photographer. I never shoot any wider than f/5.6, so for me, the extra stop would be a waste of weight (to carry) and money. If you like to shoot indoors, or in low light situations hand held, then yes, the extra stop may allow you to go home with shots that you otherwise may not get.

Jared

I do more of indoor and low light photography, and I rarely do landscapes. So, if I can get a 1/125 shutter speed with a faster lens, rather than 1/60, it would definitely help. I am not worried about shallow DOF.

I have the Sigma 2.8 28->70 and it's a pretty horrid lens until you stop it down quite a bit - so there goes any f2.8 advantage.

I would rather have the lens with variable aperture - in this case it would be an f2.0 @ 28mm -> f2.8 @ 70mm

I didn't know that. I never actually used Sigma lenses, so I don't know first hand. I have a gut feeling that I should stick to a dedicated Nikon lens, so maybe it's better to wait and get the good glass. As a matter of fact, I am not even 'married' to zooms, Nikon offers a wide range of fixed focal length lenses that can open up as wide as f1.4 and cost a bargain (at least the normal lenses do).
 

epatsellis

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in that f.l. range, I'd look at the Tamron 28-75 2.8, it's a far better lens (I have one, a friend has several he uses in his portrait/even shooting business).
 

Ian Grant

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Have to second the Tamron SP1 f2.8 28-75mm, it's a superb lens and one I've used heavily in low light levels shooting Rock bands, very sharp and I need the f2.8 at the 75mm end where lens speed is important so I can use a fast enough shutter speed. Yes it costs a little more but it the difference between getting the a high quality image or mediocrity.

Ian
 

Barry06GT

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I used to own that same 2.8 Sigma lens, and it is every bit as good as the Nikon glass. It is not an inexpensive lens, and has great build quality. Sigma denotes build quality with either a red stripe (pro-sumer) or a gold stripe (pro quality) around the lens.

Size wise, the lens is a monster. If I remember right mine had a 72mm filter size. Balance wise, it was perfect on my F100, and the focus was very fast and super quiet.

The advantage is the ability to zoom the range without the aperature changing. When using studio flash this is critical.

Rest assured, this is a good lens. If I had the need, I would buy another one.
.
 

Nicholas Lindan

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Nikon offers a wide range of fixed focal length lenses that can open up as wide as f1.4 and cost a bargain (at least the normal lenses do).

Ah, if you do available light, and are interested in bargains, then I think you will be much happier with a used 50mm f1.4 (or even f2.0, a better bargain) Nikkor. You don't mention your camera, but if you are looking for manual focus real bargains can be had in AI'ed and AI rather than AIS lenses; the 'S' is only needed for shutter priority automation. The older lenses are better built, too. You can probably find a set of older 28/50/85mm primes for about the same price as the Sigma zoom.

Real bargains can be had by buying engraved lenses - where some anal-retentive has etched his name on the barrel. The upside is that anal retentives tend to otherwise take very good care of their equipment (assuming they use it all) and the engraving can often take 2/3 off the price.
 

Nicholas Lindan

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Sigma denotes build quality with either a red stripe (pro-sumer) or a gold stripe (pro quality) around the lens.

The one I have (can't bring myself to sell such a turkey) has no stripe - I guess that indicates it has no quality, which it doesn't. Wish I had known...
 
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Apertureman

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I used to own that same 2.8 Sigma lens, and it is every bit as good as the Nikon glass. It is not an inexpensive lens, and has great build quality. Sigma denotes build quality with either a red stripe (pro-sumer) or a gold stripe (pro quality) around the lens.

Here's the one I am contemplating about:

352405.jpg


What do you think?
 
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Apertureman

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Ah, if you do available light, and are interested in bargains, then I think you will be much happier with a used 50mm f1.4 (or even f2.0, a better bargain) Nikkor. You don't mention your camera, but if you are looking for manual focus real bargains can be had in AI'ed and AI rather than AIS lenses; the 'S' is only needed for shutter priority automation. The older lenses are better built, too. You can probably find a set of older 28/50/85mm primes for about the same price as the Sigma zoom.

Real bargains can be had by buying engraved lenses - where some anal-retentive has etched his name on the barrel. The upside is that anal retentives tend to otherwise take very good care of their equipment (assuming they use it all) and the engraving can often take 2/3 off the price.

That's a good idea. Although, I am aiming at buying a lens/lenses that would work for both 35mm Film and Digital SLR's. I don't have a DSLR but would not like to get a whole new set of lenses once I add one to my arsenal. I am not sure older lenses would be compatible with dig's.

I do love the wide aperture of those lenses, though.
 

Barry06GT

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One thing hard to tell from the picture is the great feel of the nicely textured surface treatment. It is a black splatter paint over a solid plastic barrel. The wide rubber focus and zoom ring are nicely dampend. I never used the focus ring (the thin one up front) as the F100 took care of that chore.

Mine had some creep if you pointed it stright down (model laying on the grass, I was standing over her photographing a close up of her face). You just keep one finger on the zoom ring. It is a big lens.
.
 
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Apertureman

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This is the one I wanted to buy first ($139) but now changed my mind:

397595.jpg
 

Barry06GT

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The one I have (can't bring myself to sell such a turkey) has no stripe - I guess that indicates it has no quality, which it doesn't. Wish I had known...

I had two of them myself. My first "modern" camera was a N80 that the, um, folks at Wolf bundled with a two lens Sigma set of the same (lack) of no stripe quality.

To be fair, at the time I was as cheap as the lenses, lol.
.
 
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Apertureman

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One thing hard to tell from the picture is the great feel of the nicely textured surface treatment. It is a black splatter paint over a solid plastic barrel. The wide rubber focus and zoom ring are nicely dampend. I never used the focus ring (the thin one up front) as the F100 took care of that chore.

Mine had some creep if you pointed it stright down (model laying on the grass, I was standing over her photographing a close up of her face). You just keep one finger on the zoom ring. It is a big lens.
.

Thanks for the input pal!

The bulk and weight don't scare me a bit. It's the quality and clarity I'm after. The reason it's so big, my guess, is because it has to allow a lot more light to pass through it, so ultimately all the optic elements are bigger.
 

Barry06GT

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This is the one I wanted to buy first ($139) but now changed my mind:

397595.jpg
.

The down side is that the lens is f/2.8 at 28mm only, then it goes to f/4 rather quickly, about at 35mm. On a "modern" cameras we call this "dark glass" or "slow glass".

Once you get a digital (most people do) you will want the faster glass, unless weight is an issue (if you are a hiker). Check the weight and size specs, they are quite different.

The $200 dollars you save will be wasted when you upgrade.
.
 

Barry06GT

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One VERY important thing to consider. Many of the new Sigma lenses DO NOT have adjustable f stops. The aperature is controlled by the camera electronically.

If you have an older manual camera, you cannot use a lens that you cannot change the aperature on, well you can, but you have to shoot wide open (I think).

Check this CAREFULLY.
.
 

Marco B

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Here's the one I am contemplating about:

352405.jpg


What do you think?

It is at least a DG version, which means full frame (versus DC which can only be used on APS-C digital camera's), and in turn means it can be used on an analog camera.

The EX denotion stands for the topline lenses of Sigma. Most tests I have seen of the EX lenses, generally give them high notes... I have no problems with my Sigma F2.8 28-70 EX, which was actually from the first EX series lenses Sigma produced. I must admit I don't regularly shoot at wide open, so in terms of sharpness at wide open, I can't really give advice. Anything upwards of F5.6 is good, at least when shot from tripod!... (the effect of which many people underestimate)

One thing you should take note of the extra stop under low light, which may not be as important in terms of shutter speeds, but more in terms of comfort while composing... At F4.0 and especially higher, your camera's viewfinder can become very dark under low light conditions, making manual focusing impossible.
 
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Apertureman

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One VERY important thing to consider. Many of the new Sigma lenses DO NOT have adjustable f stops. The aperature is controlled by the camera electronically.

If you have an older manual camera, you cannot use a lens that you cannot change the aperature on, well you can, but you have to shoot wide open (I think).

Check this CAREFULLY.
.

You mean they don't have a manually adjustable aperture ring? I have a Nikon FM10, which is an all manual camera, so I guess I may run into problems. I am shopping around for a more automated SLR, though, like F100 or F80, so it's not a deterrent.
 

benjiboy

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I have always avoided zoom lenses that were not constant aperture because you don't know at what point in the focal length of the lens it changes apertures, which can be very important if you're using it with flash ( strobe) or a separate hand held meter.
 
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