Hello once again and welcome to this installment of, “The Blog”. Yea, I say that and I hope you hear Jeremy Clarkson’s voice reading it but it’s likely you will not. I was hoping to have another educational post like my water Polo one between this blog and the last Sigma review, but alas it didn’t work that way due to my schedule. That’s ok though because the NEW Sigma 24-70F2.8OS Art is what I’m writing about today and it happens to be a lens I’ve been eagerly awaiting for some time now. Why am I excited about this? I’m glad you asked. For me (like many) The 24-70F2.8 is a workhorse lens. A lens that no matter what I am doing, 99% of the time this lens goes with. Currently I own the Nikon 24-70F2.8N that was released in 2007. It’s my GO TO lens as I mentioned. I opted to NOT upgrade from this lens to the newest Nikon 24-70F2.8VR ; when it came out in 2015. Why might you ask? Because I put it in my hands and I felt like it was a $2400 problem I didn’t have. It’s easy to convince yourself you need something and it’s easy to just buy gear because you want it for any numbers of reasons as opposed to actually need it. When I picked up the newest Nikon 24-70F2.8VR was I impressed? Yes of course I was the thing is fantastic; but to me it was not fantastic enough to spend $2400 to replace the one I had which was perfectly good. The VR (Vibration Reduction) on the newest Nikon was tempting of course and believe it or not the newest Canon 24-70F2.8L USM 2 doesn’t have a stabilizer (IS) at all…. and it’s still $1750.
So there she is. The NEW Sigma 24-70F2.8OS Art. I would first like to mention that I am not getting paid for this review. I have done some teaching work for Sigma in the past, and in fact I am taking a group of folks out to he Redbull Air Race here in Indianapolis on October 14th 2017 with both Sigma (who is bringing a bunch of loaner gear) and Robert’s Camera , but that’s all different. This review is my opinion and my opinion alone. Sigma is not paying me, and Roberts Camera is not paying me either; although as usual Robert’s rental department stepped up to loan me a Canon 1Dx for this review since I am a Nikon shooter at heart. Need to rent something? Call Robert’s and ask for JJ, he’ll set you up.
(Canon 1Dx, 5000ISO, NEW Sigma 24-70F2.8OS@70mm. 1/125th@F2.8)
It should also be worth noting here that this is NOT the first Sigma 24-70F2.8 that I have encountered. About 12 years ago I used to own a Sigma 24-70F2.8. I think I paid $350 for it on eBay way back when and it wasn’t exactly the greatest lens on the planet. In fact it might have been quite a few lenses from the top of that list but it was what I could afford at the time. I used it proudly until I could upgrade to the AF-S Nikon 28-70F2.8 and then the Nikon 24-70F2.8N that I have now. There is no shame in buying what you can afford, in fact it’s highly recommended as opposed to going into debt for photography. Lots of folks say they wish they could afford a lot of the lenses that I own, and I like to point out that not all my lenses are the latest versions of their focal length. It takes years to get yourself a nice collection of lens, even as a full time shooter. That’s why a lens like the 24-70 being ultra expensive is so difficult for so many, including full time shooters. This is especially since full time shooters are required to keep up with upgrading or repairing their gear as necessary. That said, this NEW Sigma 24-70F2.8OS Art is set to cost $1299. At that price no matter who you are; you should take notice.
(Canon 1Dx, 400ISO, NEW Sigma 24-70F2.8OS@40mm. 1/100th@F5)
I had the Sigma 24-70F2.8OS Art for 11 days. In those 11 days I took the thing everywhere. I shot everything I could with it. As a workhorse lens (and admittedly to me one of the most important lenses Sigma has offered in their ART line so far) this lens needed to ROCK. This needed to be the Mecca of all the lenses that sigma has released so far because as far as I’m concerned people can live and survive without a 85F1.4, or 135F1.8 in their bags, but as a full time shooter I’d be lost without my 24-70. Also, a lot of people I know have had doubts about Sigma’s ability to produce a quality zoom lens. Lets face it, Sigma’s primes have not only knocked the ball out of the park, but the bat was on fire after they hit the ball. The Zooms have been exceptionally innovative, but none have been a “drop everything and go buy this” situation in my opinion. Personally however, I feel as though the 24-70 changes this. After a few initial troubles (which were obscure and immediately solved by an update to the Camera’s firmware) this lens performed flawlessly in every way. Tracking moving objects? No trouble. Low light? Even more no trouble. Not only was the thing accurate in the focus department, but the thing’s OS (optical Stabilizer) was super effective as well.
(Canon 1Dx, 2500ISO, NEW Sigma 24-70F2.8OS@70mm. 1/6th@F7.1)
The NEW Sigma 24-70F2.8OS Art is about 1.5″ shorter than the Nikon one that I have with the hood. A welcome change to be honest as I’m used to lenses getting bigger and bigger and having to re-pack the bag to match. This one being a little smaller is a breath of fresh air. One annoying thing is that again the filter thread on this lens is 82mm instead of the much more common 77mm. (More common on that until recently most Pro lenses were 77mm filter thread). This is really only an issue as it comes to specialty filters though honestly. Things like my 77mm 10 Stop ND filter that, shall we say, was not cheap. That said such an optically excellent lens at this price means you have plenty of money left over to replace one or two of your go to filters in the 82mm size. (It’s also worth noting the Nikon 24-70F2.8VR ALSO has a 82mm Filter).
The lens is built like a tank, as you would expect/hope for a lens aimed at Pros. I felt as though I would have no issue pulling it in and out of my bag on a day to day basis. The fit and finish was also equal to that of the other lenses in Sigma’s Art line all the way down to the little rubber ring on the mount to help seal the connection between lens and camera. If you shoot Nikon the zoom ring with be backwards with what you are used to, but you’ll get used to it. The Zoom ring and Focus ring are also now like Nikon’s newest 70-200. The Zoom ring is closest to the business end of the lens (the glass end) and the focus ring is closer to the body. It’s a bit odd at first, but like I learned with my 70-200, this placement is better as you get a better body triangle to hold your lens at low shutter speeds.
(Canon 1Dx, 100ISO, NEW Sigma 24-70F2.8OS@26mm. 30 seconds@F22 with the camera supported on a Manfrotto 190GO tripod with micro adjust head. LT5 Engine lit up from multiple angles for different time periods over the course of the 30 seconds by myself with a 2500 lumen LED Spotlight).
For the car buffs out there that engine is a Corvette LT5 . This particular Corvette LT5 is from 1990 Corvette ZR-1 (making it an antique), but this was the ONLY time Chevrolet put a Dual Overhead Cam engine inside a Corvette (at the time of this writing). In fact, I was told that this is the ONLY corvette engine not on display at Chevrolet’s headquarters because it was designed by Lotus, and then built by Mercury Marine (The boat people) instead of being all GM, but I don’t know if that’s true and I digress. This engine is from back when vehicle manufacturers didn’t hide their engines underneath plastic pieces and the engines themselves looked the part. It’s such an incredible looking engine in my opinion (probably one of if not the coolest I’ve ever seen honestly) and I am so thrilled I was able to use the New Sigma to light paint/photograph it. Even with the quickest flick of the flashlight the Sigma was able to grab focus and at F22 Diffraction was very limited to non existent in the copy that I had. I can see this lens being used in it’s entire range of F-Stops without any hesitation, which is marvelous. As a full time pro, when I go to shoot something I need my gear to show up. The Sigma 24-70 not only showed up, but it showed me who was boss.
(Canon 1Dx, 200ISO, NEW Sigma 24-70F2.8OS@40mm. 1/6400th@F2.8. Single Phottix Indra500 15′ to camera left with a 40 Degree Grid on a 7′ Kupo Stacker Stand set to TTL, Single Phottix Indra500 10′ to camera right on a 13′ Manfrotto Stand with a 40 degree grid also set to TTL, Single Indra500 with a Phottix 27″ Luna Folding beauty dish on a 13′ Manfrotto stand behind to the right of the camera, directly in front of Shannon raised to 13′ set to TTL-1.0. All lights triggered via a Phottix ODIN 1 for Canon transmitter on my camera Hot Shoe.)
That’s my lovely wife Shannon. Shannon (as I have mentioned before)
knows POI, or firedancing. Recently however we needed her to demonstrate this without the fire, so we made these super bright orange silky things you see here. When I asked her if we could do it again for me to shoot some photos with the new Sigma she asked about doing fire, but I said no; I love the vibrance of the orange especially mixed with the sky in the background. As you saw if you click the link above we have done it with fire, but fire also requires it to be almost dark when you shoot. The “firey orange things ” allowed us to shoot at any time. During this shoot Shannon’s hands and the “Fiery orange things” moved between her face and the lens several times. The Sigma never got confused, and while I do have the occasional mis-focused image it had to do with my timing, not anything that was wrong with the Sigma. If the Sigma shifted Focus, it only took me a fraction of a second to re-acquire and I was good to go. As you can see from the contact sheet, I shot quite a bit at varying angles, F Stops, Shutterspeeds, etc. (Hats off to my wife, who is a trooper kept going even after I knew she was tired).
I’ll be honest here. I was wondering if Sigma’s new offering would be enough to entice me from my Nikon 24-70F2.8N over to the Sigma line for my primary zoom. I’ll admit I wasn’t sure that the Sigma would be as good as it needed to be as the last Sigma 24-70 I owned year ago could not compete. With those things said, I’ll also be honest in saying that as soon as I can find one of these for Nikon in stock, I’m going to own it. This lens has far and beyond exceeded my expectations in every way. That’s in speed, tracking, sharpness, color contrast and all the rest and it’s for less than half of what the newest Nikon costs (and 2/3 of what the Canon without IS costs). That’s right I said it. Keep in mind too I am NOT a Sigma Ambassador or sales person at Roberts either. I am a Full time Pro shooter who now owns a *mostly* Nikon kit that was asked to give my opinion on this lens; which is that I think Sigma nailed this one. I never thought I’d go back to Sigma for my 24-70 workhorse, but it looks like I am. The quality and speed of this lens all for a $1299 price tag? That’s insane and I Love it. If you don’t have a 24-70F2.8 or if you own an outdated 24-70F2.8 you should upgrade to this one without hesitation. If you have a 24-70F2.8VR, I don’t know that you NEED to buy this one, but you could probably trade the expensive one in, buy this one, and have money left over; which is kinda awesome amirite? Remember if you are in the market or want to ask questions about the NEW Sigma 24-70F2.8OS Art, please visit Roberts Camera’s website or give them a call. Good people, I buy 95% of my gear there. They will do you right. More Soon.