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I've owned the sigma 10-20 lens for a year now and have to say I love it! My main area of interest is landscape for which this lens is perfect. The ultra wide angle view is perfect for crop sensor cameras (it's not designed for full frame) and I've used this for around 80% of my landscape shots.
At f4, its not the fastest of lenses in low light although I have used this for night time photography with good results. Its also not as sharp at the extremes of focal length with a fair amount of light fall off at its widest. That said, its a versatile lens that is great value compared to Canon and Nikon wide angle lenses.
One other thing to note, the filter thread is 77mm which is rather big compared to similar lenses, not an issue in itself but if you want to use filters they can become expensive at that size.
I bought this lens thinking I'd be super cool and spend my days wandering around shooting from the hip. It didn't make me cool. And shooting from the hip made my photos look like a small child had stolen my camera. But the lens is fantastic in about as many ways as it can be.
The build quality is great, it's got a nice weight to it and it really does feel like it'd be fine after using it to hammer together some IKEA furniture, although I wouldn't recommend it. The finish is a really nice matte black with an almost velvet like texture, it oozes cool and looks like it should cost way more than it does. The lens hood isn't remotely flimsy despite having to be super narrow in order to not show up in photos taken at 10mm. The zoom and focus rings both turn smoothly but have enough resistance that they don't feel loose.
The picture quality is something that really surprised me, to get sharp photos that are almost free of chromatic aberration with a lens this wide just seems insane to me. Even with the aperture wide open the images are fantastic (I say wide loosely; the maximum aperture is f/4 at 10mm). The saturation is astonishing. While I usually need to boost the saturation a bit in post, with this lens I've found I usually needn't touch it, and sometimes even need to tone it down. There is distortion at the edges, but that's physics, not a flaw in the design of the lens.
The maximum aperture is not particularly restrictive as I would imagine this lens will largely be used for landscape and street photography, situations where there is usually a good amount of light available. Another situation where this lens may be useful would be parties or nightclubs, and you'll definitely want a flash for that. Of course, with a higher f-number comes more depth of field, but with a lens this wide there would never be a particularly noticeable foreground/background separation even with a couple more available stops. Generally speaking, this lens can be left at f/8 and it'll do just fine (and you'll squeeze and extra bit of sharpness from it).
The autofocus speed is so fast that it may as well be instant, but the elements really don't have very far to travel even when going from 1m to infinity so if it was slow I'd be asking some questions.
I haven't gotten nearly as much use out of this as I anticipated I would, and that's because 99% of the time 18mm is wide enough and my general purpose lens covers that. This is a fantastic lens but you should really think about how often you'd use it before buying, that money could buy a really nice fast prime lens...
I have been making use of this lens for 3 or 4 months now and all in all I'm pretty happy with it. This lens solves the problem of trying to get decent wide angle shots on an APS-C DSLR. Although I don't use a wide angle to huge levels I use it for location photography for indie short films as well as doing a bit of arty wide angle work with it. The results are pretty good and I was expecting much worse performance from the lens. There isn't much to speak of in terms of lens issues like chromatic abberation and the lens doesn't hamper camera performance in any way. I most recently shot at night with it and although there was an awful lot of noise I don't think the lens is to blame even though I shot at iso 100. It has good colour rendition and the elements do not ruin the picture quality in any way. I'm not personally a fan of the zoom and focus rings on Sigma lenses but they do the job fine. I would personally recommend this lens to any amateur/gifted amateur as a worthwhile purchase. It makes landscape photography that little bit cheaper.
Being an avid photographer one of the first lenses I wanted in my kit bag was a wide-angle lens. For a while I simply used the stock 17-55m canon that came with my 400d but not only did I want a better lens but I wanted to get the maximum wide-angle I could while sticking to a budget.
After reading many reviews and taking the opinions of several photographers that I know in some magazines, I decided to purchase the Sigma 10-20m EX DC HSM lens.
I bought the lens from amazon.com and I believe I paid around £400 for it at the time.
THE LENS ITSELF
The lens as it says is manufactured by SIGMA who have a very good track record for making compatable lenses for the canon and other model cameras like nikon. It fits on both DSLR and 35mm SLR cameras as well
so you could still use it on film cameras as well as newer digital ones. The lens has an aperture of f/4.0-5.6 with automatic or manual focus. It uses filters at a size of 77mm and it weighs 470grams and its length is 8.1 cm.
All I can say is WOW. ! what a difference this lens has made to my photography. The build quality just stands out and with it not being that big it fits really well in a kit bag and its easy to carry about either in a bag or attached to your camera. Going to 10mm really does make a difference with landscape and street photography and I've also used it in the house and you can almost get the whole room in view at that range.
Obviously using my 400D and now upgraded 7D I still have the 1.6 crop factor so my 10mm-20mm equates to 16mm - 32mm in use.
The colours in my images was just fantastic, you can tell the lens glass is top quality to match and the HyperSonic Motor (HSM) makes the lens really quite while focusing. To be honest I'm surprised this lens isnt classed as an L-series lens because it really is that good and the output of the lens is comparrable to other equivalent L-series lenses of the same focal range, but with those lenses being at least twice the price or more.
I've had many hours of use so far out of the lens and could rate it more highly.
Some people mention when I was buying it that at its widest setting (10mm) that you may get some viginetting occur in your images and while I'm sure they are correct I personally havent noticed it in my images captured.
If you after a wide-angle lens and you have a canon or nikon then I would certainly recommend this lens.
I've never had an issue with it and the quality is really there. Well worth the £400 outlay and matches lenses far more expensive.
I have been 'into' photography for a good year or two now, and picked up a Nikon D40 with standard 18-55mm kit lens around 18 months ago.
However, my photography is primarily based around derelict / abandoned structures, the internals of which can be quite large and difficult to capture with a 'standard' lens....
So, an investment into a Sigma 10-20mm EX DC HSM lens was made with some joy, after seeing results from a friend I was intent on purchasing this. I am very pleased and it hasn't unmounted from my camera since purchase over 6 months ago. It's optics are carefully crafted meaning there is little detraction of quality / vignetting of the edges.
Also very sharp at around f8 and good quality throughout zoom and aperture.
It's incredibly wide and can be used for very dramatic and sometimes surreal shots but isn't anything like a fish-eye or SUWA lens. It's great for getting it all in without having to run into another county just to shoot the outside of that abandoned Asylum or Mill.
Well rated, get one.