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Keywords: Sigma Contemporary Canon Nikon Wide Mid Tele Zoom Macro DC HSM APS-C OS Stabilized tested


Registered: June 2008
Posts: 8
Sigma 17-70mm f/2.8-4 DC Macro OS HSM "C" review by sflorio
Review Date: 2/8/2014 Would you recommend the product? Yes | Total Spent: $449.00| Rating: 10 

Pros: Nice range, brighter than most zooms, sharp, compact
Cons: none

I am on my second Canon APS-C camera, a 60D, and have been using the earlier non-STM version of the EF-S 18-135mm lens. I thought that this camera and lens combo did a pretty good job, and in most bright outdoor travel photo situations compared pretty well against my "better" camera, the 24 MP Sony A77 with the 16-50mm f/2.8. I have had my eye on the Sigma 17-70 for several years, and with this third iteration (the Contemporary or "C" version) when the price dropped to $449 I decided it was time to jump on it. I'm really glad I made the investment because now with this lens I feel like I'm seeing for the first time what an excellent camera the 60D is, especially in conditions of reduced available light.

Compared to the Canon 18-135, the additional wide view provided by the 17mm Sigma versus Canon's 18mm is noticeable and much appreciated. It's a lot more compact and has only a little lens creep, unlike the Canon, which has terrible lens creep. Every time I tip the Canon lens down to look at the LCD display on the camera, the lens telescopes out almost to the full length, and I have to recompose the shot. I will not miss the additional zoom the Canon affords because I'm not much interested in photographing sports or birds, and there is no lens I know of that possesses a long zoom range that also has brightness and sharpness. Nearly all of my favorite photos fall into this lens's range of focal lengths.

The tests suggested that this lens is in some ways better than the much more expensive Canon 15-85mm, especially at the longer (zoom) end. It is certainly a brighter lens. The tests suggest for example that the Canon lens has to be stopped down to f/5.6 to be equal to the Sigma at f/4.0. In additon, a helpful byproduct of having a larger maximum aperture is that the viewfinder is also a tiny bit brighter.

At f/4.0 and 17mm, I see no evidence of the edge softness that some have reported. I suppose that's one of my motivations for writing this review; I bought it in spite of what dpreview said about its characteristics at 17mm, but I've been very pleasantly surprised to see that they were dead wrong. Maybe they've improved the lens since its release over a year ago and didn't tell anyone, or maybe it works better on the 60D than on any of the cameras they tested it on, I don't know. I've looked closely at 100% views on my large high-res monitor and I don't see what they're talking about. In one photo I can read (barely) a tiny sign in the far left side of the frame at 17mm. Does that sound like "soft" edges? I see branches in the tops of trees razor sharp against the sky. But as with other lenses you must stop it down for best results. It's pretty clear that for maximum sharpness you shouldn't use this lens at any setting below f/4.0. Some commentors have complained that their pictures aren't that great when shot at widest aperture, and of course this is true because for the great majority of zoom lenses, especially those under $1000, that's just reality folks! Two exceptions to this are the new Sigma 18-35 f/1.8 and Sigma 24-105 f/4, both of which according to tests are tack sharp even at their widest aperture, but these lenses cost twice as much as this lens, and the latter is really designed for full frame cameras. (One of these lenses will probably be my next purchase, but for now the camera buying spree has to stop. My current cameras and lenses are good enough!)

The optical stabilizer works great but it does make some odd noises; whirring sounds and the occasional click. For this reason it probably wouldn't make a good video lens. I don't do video so I don't care, but if I want to make videos I already own what is probably the best DSLR for video, the Sony A77 with the 16-50mm f/2.8 kit lens.

In conclusion, I think this is the best lens I've ever owned for my Canon APS-C cameras. I'm very happy with it and I can't wait to take some more pictures with it. I've owned all of the earlier Canon kit lenses, the 18-135, the 18-55, and the 55-250, as well as a couple of Sigma lenses, but wish I had saved my money and just bought this one, but of course this lens design is quite new and its previous versions weren't quite as good, so I'm glad I waited until they got it right!

Registered: December 2012
Posts: 2
Sigma 17-70mm f/2.8-4 DC Macro OS HSM "C" review by mononoke_
Review Date: 10/17/2013 Would you recommend the product? Yes | Total Spent: None indicated| Rating: 9 

Pros: well built, versatile, sharp at all focals/apertures, nice bokeh, spot-on focusing, price
Cons: no full time manual focus override, field curvature @ wide angle

Bought it for our holiday. Having previously owned an original 17-70mm, I can safely say that this one is much better in every category plus a bit brighter at the long end and the OS is a bonus. Build is surprisingly good for a price - definitely head and shoulders above the original 17-70. Focusing was spot on without needing to tweak (bar that corner case, see below). This I can tell now after pixel-peeping thousands of photos - very solid performance.
In response to a bad press on the internets re: 'soft corners @ wide angle', my observation is that it's only partially true. Yes, some wide landscape shots have soft corners even @ f8, but some others have tack sharp corners even @ 17mm f4 (which was never the case with my old 17-70). I reckon this is due to field curvature: AF picks up sharpness at the centre and leaves corners beyond the field. Will try to adjust AF to focus a bit past near the infinity with USB dock to compensate. Have a look at few samples below - corners are very sharp mid range but a bit soft at the infinity.

Will update after I get my hands on USB dock.

My biggest gripe is a missing full-time manual focus override and a constatt f2.8 would be nice, but hey, it's already a lot of bang for your buck as it is:)
Overall, I'm very pleased - super versatile and solid performer! A nice addition to my kit that contains a few fast primes.

Registered: September 2013
Posts: 9
Sigma 17-70mm f/2.8-4 DC Macro OS HSM "C" review by rrwilliams64
Review Date: 9/30/2013 Would you recommend the product? Yes | Total Spent: $400.00| Rating: 8 

Pros: bokeh, color rendition, well built
Cons: wide end borders and corners

I was excited at the prospect of getting this lens, I purchased a copy.....renders colors beautifully, the bokeh is very nice, the OS is as advertised, but.....(and, the "but" is what I feared from the reviews I'd read) the wide end, regardless of being stopped down, the borders and corners are unacceptable (IMO). If you're simply expecting a portrait lens and as such willing to accept optical compromises in the corners, this lens may yet suffice. But for my purposes (and, mind you, I'm not a screen enlarging pixel peeper) I found the center excellent but the rest of the image just TOO lacking.

Registered: October 2005
Posts: 4
Sigma 17-70mm f/2.8-4 DC Macro OS HSM "C" review by sjms
Review Date: 6/9/2013 Would you recommend the product? Yes | Total Spent: $469.00| Rating: 9 

Pros: excellent "standard" walk around lens. quite a versatile piece of optics
Cons: hood and lens cap have weak points in their designs.

this lens replaces my previous 17-70/2.8-4. it is lighter, smaller and gives better overall results.

optically and mechanically improved over the previous version which was pretty darn good to begin with.

very nice in close up

it is a more modern approach in its design and feel. no longer (at this point) needs the lens zoom lock due to heavier dampening of the mechanism.

the 2 mechanical weakness in it are the hood and lens cap. the hood is a is a good design but when slotted into the camera it has a rather weak connection so one can be concerned about it staying one in relatively rough use. the lens cap works well when placed properly. the inset that drops onto the lip of the lens is difficult to put back on properly with the hood in place unless reversed. both issues are resolvable.


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