Sigma 17-50 mm 2.8 EX DC OS HSM & Nikon D3200 (N APS-C)
The Sigma 17-50 mm, fully named Sigma 17-50 mm 2.8 EX DC OS HSM, is a fast, constant f/2.8 standard zoom lens, which was introduced in 2010. This Sigma lens is designed exclusively for camera’s with a DX / APS-C sensor. It’s not only a fast lens, it also offers built-in image stabilization, which – according to Sigma – delivers an extra 4 stops. The image stabilization is not available for a Sony or Nikon mount. This is a light and very versatile lens; ideal for travel photography. Together with the Tamron 17-50 mm, takes its own position on the market. It is remarkable that Nikon offers no real counterpart with integrated image stabilization.
Construction and autofocus
The Sigma 17-50mm house is of a high quality plastic and during focusing, the filter does not rotate. The zoom ring has just the right friction and runs smoothly over the entire process. The focus ring has, in manual mode, a very short stroke. Manual focusing is therefore not easy.
The drive of the autofocus is done with an HSM drive and is almost silent. Manually overruling the autofocus is possible whenever you wish to. The minimum focusing distance is 28 cm over the entire zoom range, Focusing is fast with a Nikon D7000 and accurately even in low light; from 15 meters to 1.5 meters in 0.22 seconds.
Sigma OS Image stabilization
The image stabilization, abbreviated OS, does its job almost inaudibly and the OS effectiveness is measured using a Nikon D7000 at a focal length of 50 mm. The gain is about 3 stops, which is a little less as claimed by Sigma. That’s nothing special; other manufacturers seem to be one stop more optimistic about their IS-effectiveness in comparison with our measurements as well.
Vignetting Sigma 17-50
The vignetting of the Sigma 17-50mm, expressed in stops, is low. The remnant, at f/2.8, can be corrected with the right software.
Distortion Sigma 17-50
The distortion shown by the Sigma 17-50 mm, expressed as a percentage, is substantial at 17 mm and visible up to 26 mm, but remarkably low in other focal lengths. Distortion can be corrected easily afterwards with software.
Sigma 17-50 mm Bokeh
The Sigma 17-50 mm provides for a lens on a camera with an APS-C sensor, a nice round bokeh. However, a ring structure becomes visible in the individual bokeh circles.
The high brightness of this specifically for cameras with APS-C sensor designed Sigma 17-50 lens provides furthermore the ability to play with depth of field. The depth of field for an f/2.8 lens on a camera with an APS-C sensor corresponds approximately to an f/4 lens on a camera with a full frame sensor.
At strong backlight, the lens is troubled by both flare and ghosting. In practice, you should take this into account. Compliments for the free hood which is included by Sigma.
Resolution Sigma 17-50
Earlier we tested the resolution of the Sigma 17-50mm lens using a Nikon D7000 camera. This review shows that this lens performs even better using a 24 megapixel Nikon D3200 camera. The resolution, expressed in LW/PH, reaches very high values at almost all focal lengths and apertures in the center; stopping down is hardly necessary. The resolution in the corners lags clearly behind, however, in particular at 17 and 28 mm.
Chromatic aberration Sigma 17-50
According to Sigma, two “F” Low Dispersion glass elements, with the same optical properties as fluorite glass, correct color aberrations. At all focal length / aperture combinations, this Sigma 17-50 mm jpg files showed very low chromatic aberration. This very good performance is also because of in-camera correction of remaining chromatic aberration by the Nikon D3200 . In the image below you can see that chromatic aberration in the uncorrected RAW files will be visible at large magnifications. This can be corrected easily in Photoshop or Lightroom.
Conclusion Sigma 17-50 mm 2.8 EX DC OS HSM review
- High resolution at the center
- Fast, constant f/2.8
- Limited vignetting
- Low chromatic aberration
- Feels solid
- Low resolution in the corners at 17 mm and 28 mm
- Sensitive to backlight
- Limited zoom range
- Steep purchase price
The Sigma 17-50 mm 2.8 EX DC OS HSM feels solid and is an alternative to the standard kit lens of Nikon. The zoom range of the Sigma is limited but the luminosity is much higher than of the kit lens. Using this lens on a 24 megapixel Nikon D3200 camera improved the resolution significantly in comparison with the Nikon D7000. The resolution in the center is high but is somewhat disappointing in the corners at 17 mm and 28 mm. The lens is fairly insensitive to chromatic aberration and vignetting is kept well within boundaries.