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Keywords: Sigma Canon Nikon Minolta Pentax Wide Zoom 35mm DG


ajdooley

Registered: August 2011
Posts: 1
Sigma 15-30mm f/3.5-4.5 EX DG Aspherical review by ajdooley
Review Date: 8/20/2011 Would you recommend the product? Yes | Total Spent: $430.00| Rating: 9 

 
Pros: FX-coverage, price, image quality
Cons: Flare, filters

I've had this lens since my Nikon F5 days. It went on the shelf when I went to the D100-D200, as I had the Nikon 12-24mm. But when I went to the D700 I retrieved it, and considering it cost even today, 1/4 of the cost of the Nikon 14-24mm, it is a winner. I can live with the loss of 1mm on the wide end for the price. Image quality is very good to excellent, but you do have to watch for flare from the sun or bright lights, although that can also sometime be an element of the image. I wish I could protect the front element with a filter, but to date I have been able to keep the lens undamaged by exercising care. All in all, it is an excellent substitute for the Nikon 14-24mm, especially at the cost point.
Ashley_Pomeroy

Registered: July 2009
Posts: 6
Sigma 15-30mm f/3.5-4.5 EX DG Aspherical review by Ashley_Pomeroy
Review Date: 9/17/2009 Would you recommend the product? Yes | Total Spent: $250.00| Rating: 6 

 
Pros: Very, very wide. Looks awesome. Very sharp in the centre when stopped down.
Cons: Not great on full-frame. 15mm setting gets old quickly. Doesn't stand out at narrower focal lengths.

I bought one of these to go on a Kodak DCS 460 (which has a 1.3x sensor crop), but I've also used it on a Nikon D1x, which has a 1.5x sensor crop, and a full-frame Canon 5D, with a Nikon-EOS adapter.


On a physical level it is very impressive. It looks wonderfully imposing and the front element resembles a glistening glowing robot eye. The build quality seems very good, and although it is bulky the lens is not heavy or a pain to carry. The matte finish attracts dings and scrapes.


On a full-frame body I tended to use it at f/8 and f/11, in which case it is very sharp in the centre of the frame, but stretched and blurry around the edges and in the corners. With clever framing and a little bit of cropping this isn't so bad, and the extreme wide angle effect is striking. It has a large "wow" factor that impresses people, although it is not the kind of lens you would use for a client who demands images that are sharp from corner to corner. The 15mm setting is tricky to compose for , and if you point the lens up or down even a little bit, the perspective effect goes beyond striking into the realm of the grotesque. I very rarely used the lens at focal lengths other than 15mm (I have other lenses for that - lenses that have filter threads). Geometric distortion was surprisingly well-controlled. My copy seemed to be blurrier towards the right of the image than it was towards the left. The aperture ring was a bit of a pain to use, because it's small and tucked away in between the camera body and the zoom ring.


On a full frame body there is no way to use a polarising filter unless the filter is a foot in diameter, and it would be extremely hard to use a graduated neutral density filter. There is a filter slot at the rear of the lens, and I experimented by putting coloured bits of plastic in this, but I was always worried that the filter would fall out and ruin the shutter curtains, so I gave up on it. On an APS-C D1x I had some success holding a neutral density filter against the lens hood, although I had to angle it slightly to prevent it reflecting the things that were behind me. Even if you had a foot-wide polarising filter you would run into problems with reflections on the glass.


The lens has a reputation for "Sigma yellow", and I can attest to this. That images that I took with this lens tended to have a mild yellow cast; my fingers became yellow, skies tended to look a bit duskier. It's not awful and you can correct it.


On a D1x or DCS 460 the lens makes more sense, because the offending corners and edges are cropped out. The problem is that, since the 15-30mm was released, there has been a wave of designed-for-digital APS-C ultrawide lenses that are much smaller and allow for the easy use of a front filter. On a D1x the supplied filter holder produced vignetting at 15mm, and although this went away when I zoomed in, I didn't buy a lens with a 15mm wide angle setting so that I could use it at 20mm. I bought it so that I could use it at 15mm.


Flare control is very poor. If you point it towards or just away from the moon or the sun or a street light you will either have a big blob of flare, or the image contrast will vanish.


If you're in a situation where you need a wide angle lens to fit on both a full-frame and a cropped sensor camera (e.g. perhaps you have a digital SLR, but you also like to shoot film with your Nikon N90 every so often), this is one of a very few choices. Indeed it is one of a very few full frame lenses that goes wider than 16mm. In my opinion, if you have an APS-C camera, you would be better off with a dedicated APS-C wide lens; if you have a full frame camera there isn't anything that will go this wide for less than £900 short of using a fisheye lens and software correction. For the novelty alone it intrigues you.


As far as I know it was discontinued by Sigma in favour of the newer 12-24mm, which is the widest full-frame zoom lens ever made, and one of the widest lenses of any kind ever made. Based on the samples I have seen the 12-24mm is less sharp than the 15-30mm in the centre of the frame, and it has all of the 15-30mm's practical problems, but its geometric correction is excellent and it is unique.
Rover

Registered: July 2008
Posts: 13
Sigma 15-30mm f/3.5-4.5 EX DG Aspherical review by Rover
Review Date: 7/28/2008 Would you recommend the product? Yes | Total Spent: $450.00| Rating: 7 

 
Pros: versatile wide angle, alright IQ, great build
Cons: awkward filter system, no HSM

I had this lens on a Sony / Minolta system I was using awhile ago. While not stellar, it was a very good wide angle lens. It required stopping down to /5.6 and beyond to get a reasonably sharp image but was otherwise quite fine for the price.


The only real drawback was the awkward filter system - a 82mm glass could be mounted on a front cap adapter, and this caused vignetting on a KonicaMinolta D7D (1.5x FOV crop). It wasn't a HSM lens - not even the Canon / Nikon versions of this Sigma have this - so the AF was a bit slow at times. But again, I got what I paid for.
alberto

Registered: January 2007
Posts: 9
Sigma 15-30mm f/3.5-4.5 EX DG Aspherical review by alberto
Review Date: 1/15/2007 Would you recommend the product? Yes | Total Spent: $250.00| Rating: 7 

 
Pros: Wide angle on aps sensor, sharp
Cons: Flare and ghoting, distortion

This lens works fine on a digital body.


Sharpness is overall good, but is better to stop down a little(at least 1 stop).


Distortion is visible in most situations, but easy correctable with software.


The major drawback is flare and ghosting with evrery light source.
John H Maw

Registered: November 2006
Posts: 15
Sigma 15-30mm f/3.5-4.5 EX DG Aspherical review by John H Maw
Review Date: 1/14/2007 Would you recommend the product? Yes | Total Spent: None indicated| Rating: 7 

 
Pros: Reasonable image quality, and useful range
Cons: Quite big and a bit heavy

Not a bad lens. Not the sharpest, but not bad even on full frame. About an inch longer than the 12-24 so a bit bulky. I would be careful to only use it stopped down two to three stops. Better to increase the ISO (within reason) than use it wide open.
rupa13

Registered: December 2006
Posts: 8
Sigma 15-30mm f/3.5-4.5 EX DG Aspherical review by rupa13
Review Date: 12/31/2006 Would you recommend the product? Yes | Total Spent: $500.00| Rating: 7 

 
Pros: good build quality. Quite sharp. Not very expensive for its range. Works on a full frame SLR
Cons: Distortion at 15 mm. Best sharpness when over f.8

Good wideangle zoom, one of the few suitable both for full frame and digital SLR. You could find it not so sharp wide open, but super wide zooms are a tricky affair for lens makers, and you cannot expect from them the same results you get from good tele zoom or fixed focals...If you want something more, go to the Sigma 12-24, that is certainly a better performer.
Matthew Saville

Registered: December 2006
Posts: 21
Sigma 15-30mm f/3.5-4.5 EX DG Aspherical review by Matthew Saville
Review Date: 12/29/2006 Would you recommend the product? Yes | Total Spent: None indicated| Rating: 9 

 
Pros: Build quality, image quality, affordability
Cons: no front threads

This lens is a good performer on both 35mm film and digital SLR's, as well as APS-C DSLR's. Image quality isn't the best if you're looking for a landscape lens to print 20x30" prints with and inspect the corners with a magnifying glass, (you get the point) ...but for what it was designed for, (journalism, events etc.) it does it's job amazingly well and at a decent price.


One tip is, there exists (I forget which make) a slip-on lens hood that converts this scalloped hood so that it has 82mm front threads, which you can use on an APS-C DSLR but not FF. So your'e not completely out of luck if you have a 30D or a D200 and want to use a circular polarizer- You just have to buy the expensive 82mm ones, and hunt down that adapter... Good luck!


-Matt-
anabasis

Registered: December 2006
Posts: 9
Sigma 15-30mm f/3.5-4.5 EX DG Aspherical review by anabasis
Review Date: 12/10/2006 Would you recommend the product? Yes | Total Spent: $550.00| Rating: 8 

 
Pros: angle of view, FF
Cons: size, slow

The Sigma 15-30 is one of my favorite lenses for wide angle work. The lens is a bit big, but not heavy at all, and offers sweeping rectilinear views that are beautiful for both film and DSLR users.


On a film camera the lens acts as an ultra-wide to moderate wide angle lens. The lens is a bit on the slow side, but images are sharp, and distortion is minimal. The lens can be used in manual focus or auto focus, with the focus ring being disengaged manually for the latter. The focusing is internal, but not all that speedy. Fortunately it hits infinity at less then 10 feet, and with its large DOF, the slow focusing speed is not all that important in general photography work. The zoom ring is smooth and the front element sides back and forth in the integral pedal-shaped lens hood. Flare can be a problem is if the lens is zoomed way out and the sun is in the frame.


The front element is a hemisphere and precludes the use of front-mounted filters. There is a small holder in the back of the lens that small gel filters can be slid into, but the use of standard polarizers is precluded.


The lens cap of the Sigma is in two parts, the first is a ring that fits over the pedals, and the second is an 88mm standard cap. When using the lens on a standard camera (35mm sensor/film plane) both parts of the cap must be removed to avoid light fall off. If the camera is used on a 1.5x or more DSLR, then the ring can remain on the lens without any problem. The lens has an angle of view with a 1.5x factor of about 22 to 45mm which isn’t too bad for most applications.


The large diameter of the lens does have its drawback with my D100. The built in flash is shaded at all but the longest focal lengths, requiring a shoe or external flash mounting to shoot at wider angles.


As to be expected with a lens with this focal range, the depth of field is considerable, and keeping foreground and background elements in sharp focus is relatively simple, even when the lens isn’t stopped down too much.


Included with the lens are a padded case with shoulder strap (very nice case), as well as front and rear lens caps, and a small template for cutting filters (easily lost).


A great lens for wide angle work, especially for DSLR’s, and while more expensive then a lot of other more standard lenses, is very competitive for its class.
gadgetguy

Registered: May 2006
Posts: 62
Sigma 15-30mm f/3.5-4.5 EX DG Aspherical review by gadgetguy
Review Date: 11/30/2006 Would you recommend the product? Yes | Total Spent: None indicated| Rating: 9 

 
Pros: build quality, wide zoom range, great color
Cons: heavy, slow AF

This is a great lens that puts out punchy color and contrast. It is, however, heavy (for its relatively slow apertures) and AF is slow. It is also kind clumsy to switch from AF to MF (on the Canon model) since it requires two steps.
colourperfect_co_uk

Registered: November 2006
Posts: 18
Sigma 15-30mm f/3.5-4.5 EX DG Aspherical review by colourperfect_co_uk
Review Date: 11/21/2006 Would you recommend the product? Yes | Total Spent: $600.00| Rating: 6 

 
Pros: build quality
Cons: flare at the slightest hint of the sun, very large

Bought mine to go with a D100 before the 12-24 and 10-20's were available.


To be honest I should have waited !


Image qulaity was OK, but it flared at the slightest hint of the sun.


It is very large with its integral hood and quirky cap.


Wasn't all that keen on the push pull AF/MF selector which needs too much effort for camera to the eye changes.


The bulbous front element is an optical curiosity and no doubt the cause of the flare problems.


Did feel like it was built to last.


Traded mine in for the Nikon 12-24 !


colourperfect
louisjaffe

Registered: April 2006
Posts: 6
Sigma 15-30mm f/3.5-4.5 EX DG Aspherical review by louisjaffe
Review Date: 4/8/2006 Would you recommend the product? No | Total Spent: $550.00| Rating: 4 

 
Pros: superwide non-fisheye
Cons: poor edges on full-frame

I got this to go wide on a Canon 20d. It does a pretty nice job on that camera.


After upgrading to a Canon 5d, when I saw the edges that the 20d had been cropping out, I concluded this lens is not good enough for full-frame use. Chromatic aberration toward the edges is severe. Too many expensive 5d pixels would go to waste.
macpurity

Registered: October 2005
Posts: 4
Sigma 15-30mm f/3.5-4.5 EX DG Aspherical review by macpurity
Review Date: 10/29/2005 Would you recommend the product? Yes | Total Spent: $550.00| Rating: 9 

 
Pros: Light weight, optically sharp, useful for both digital and film bodies
Cons: flares, vignetting with filters, big (physically)

The latest rage in ultra wide-angle zooms is currently for the DX-type of lenses, i.e., those specific for digital SLRs, especially in the 12-24mm range.


When I bought this lens, at the end of October 2002, DX wide-angles hadn't saturated the market (note too that the Street price of this lens is now around $500). But I haven't regretted buying this lens at all, mainly because it is very usable on both my digital and film cameras. In fact, I think it really shines on the 35mm film camera. The wide angle at 15mm is mighty wide with only a tinge of corner fall-off. One has to make sure that the tripod legs aren't in the photo!


I couldn't quite go with e "10" rating on this lens because it is just shy of the level of "perfection" I've experienced with some other lenses. The optics are, for the most part, very fine, but they are susceptible to lens flares, especially when pointed in the direction of sun, even with the sun outside the image. The front element on this lens bulges out a fair bit (about 3/8 inch) and the internal optics are such that they are quick to produce flares.


There are three rings on this lens. From camera body outward, these are: aperture ring, zoom ring and focus ring, I don't use the aperture ring much since I set the aperture through the camera. The zoom ring is a little more than 1/2 inch wide, and requires about 45 degrees of turn to zoom from 15 to 30mm. Smooth in operation, and, as it's operated, the front element retracts into the built-in hood. The focus ring is about 7/8 inch wide, with smooth operation as well, and features internal focusing elements. The focus ring slides fore and aft, setting it for manual mode or AF mode.


I gave the build quality an 8 because it lacks a rock-solid feel. Its a tight lens, faithful and predictable, but the all-metal casing just feels light and not very substantial. But on the positive side, although about the same physical size (length and diameter) as a Nikon 28-70 f/2.8, it is considerably lighter. This lens is easy to carry to the edge of a canyon, in order to capture that sweeping view in one shot.


The lens cap is made of two pieces: a ring that fits snugly around the diameter of the petal hood (providing 82mm filter threads) and a "pinch-cover" typical of many of Sigma's lneses. Since I do not own any 82mm filters, I usually just take the who two-piece combo off when shooting. On other web sites, you'll sometimes hear the complaint that the filters cause some vignetting at 15mm folcal lengths. In my experience, I can't verify that assertion.


Given the going price, and the optical features of this lens (f/3.5-f/4.5), it is a terrific buy. The 12-24's run $710 and $900 for the Sigma and Nikons versions, respectively. Are those bottom-end 3mm really worth $210-400 more? For some it might. For those on a budget, don't overlook this lens—its certainly worthy of consideration.


 






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