Sigma 10-20mm f/4-5.6 EX DC

Sigma 10-20mm f/4-5.6 EX DC

Writing my article about Kista World Music Festival 2013, I realized I haven't reviewed my favorite lens of all. So here goes: The Sigma 10-20mm!

10-20mm f/4-5.6 EX DC HSM

10-20mm f/4-5.6 EX DC HSM
Ultra-wide zoom lens

  • Specifications
    OS Image stabilization
    Phase Detect Only
    Focus motor (AF-S)
  • Focal length
    10-20 mm
    35 mm equiv on DX
    15-30 mm
  • Aperture

Fun beyond words and produces images that thrusts you into the situation or envelops you in the landscape. The greatest lens I own. (5/5)

1. Ultra-Wide

What is this thing?

An ultra wide lens is a lens with a very short focal length and therefore a very wide field of view. While the tele lens is so you can stay far away from your subject, an ultra wide is for placing the viewer right in the middle of the scene. With such a wide angle, there is often no reason to not go closer. Ultra wides allows you to exaggerate perspective. Ultra wides grab the viewer and pulls them into the scene. Ultra wides are for majestic landscapes that engulf the viewer. Ultra wides are for shoving the viewer's face into the subject, or the subject into the viewer's face.

They are a lot of fun. If a telephoto is a satellite, watching from afar, the ultra wide is up close and staring the subject right in the eyes. Did I mention they were fun? They also produce amazing images. A majority of my favorites are shot with the lens being reviewed. So let's have a look at this particular lens. The whole reason I bought a DSLR instead of a compact was so I could use it.

2. The Lens

This is the Sigma 10-20mm f/4-5.6 EX DC for Nikon, which means that it comes with "HSM" or HyperSonic Motor[a] to enable auto-focus on Nikon bodies without a focus motor.

The autofocus does not work in Live View. The front grip band is for focus, the rear for zoom. As you can see, the zoom ring is in much better shape, thanks to being replaced about a year ago. The focus ring is original, from 2008.

If there is anything I'd change on this lens it would be to get rid of the zoom and make it a 10mm prime. Really, you don't buy this one to zoom in on anything - that would be defeating the whole purpose of the lens. That can be done much better and far cheaper with Nikon's excellent 18-55 f/3.5-5.6 kit lens[b] that you probably got with the camera.

3. Performance

I have many photos with this lens which I think show off its capabilities, but just from the last six months or so:

I've found that sharpness on a Nikon D3200 is best at about f/7.1. Your numbers may vary, but I recommend doing a check with your system to you know what settings to use in the field.

4. Summary

Fun beyond words and produces images that thrusts you into the situation or envelops you in the landscape. The greatest lens I own.

5. Addendum: Sigma 10-20mm f/3.5 EX DC

There is also a newer version of the lens, with a fixed 3.5 aperture throughout the zoom range called Sigma 10-20mm f/3.5 EX DC HSM[c]. Most reviews I've seen rate its image quality lower than the older version, so I haven't bothered investigating it.