“I need a walkabout lens that won’t break the bank, but gives me usable images”.
This is a requirement of many people that start taking photography a little more seriously than grandma shooting happy holiday memories on her old 3mp digital point and shoot. The Sigma 17-70mm easily fulfills that requirement and delivers a little more.
This won’t be a review filled with technical mumbo jumbo. It will be for you, the person looking to buy this lens but not sure if it’s worth it. In short, it is. If you want to know a little more about why I say that, read on. I receive no financial compensation for this review. I am however a Sigma Ambassador and have been using Sigma lenses for a long time now.
Let’s get into it.
– Build and appearance –
As part of the Sigma Contemporary range, this lens is designed as an all-rounder and delivers really good images.
This lens is well built and has a metal mount.
The lens is easily distinguished from its predecessor by the silver “C” on the left side of the lens.
Also on the left and easily falling to hand are two switches for focus and stabilization. The zoom ring is nice and wide and has a great feel to it. Zooming out to 70mm does almost double the length of the lens. The front element does not rotate when focus either which makes it nice to use if you have screw-in filters.
Focusing is quiet and relatively quick. I had no problems locking onto my subject even in low light.
The filter size is 72mm. The lens is also designed for crop sensor cameras and I used mine on a Canon 7d MKII.
– FOCUSING AND STABILIZATION –
As mentioned I didn’t have any issues focusing on my subject even in low light. Although not lightning fast it was quick enough for what this lens was designed for. The stabilization, in my opinion, is where this lens is a must-have for a camera bag.
The image in the viewfinder is stable and smooth. It does give a bit of a floating impression when the image is stabilized, but this didn’t bother me at all.
Below are two images I captured last night minutes before sunset. I did no retouching except for contrast and saved it for web use. These were shot handheld, no flash with just the ambient light.
Below is a 100% crop of the above image. Again I have done no retouching for sharpness or noise.
– MACRO –
Right from the start keep in mind that this is not a dedicated 1:1 macro lens. For that, you will want the superbly sharp Sigma 105mm macro lens.
This lens does a pretty good job of shooting the details. It has a minimum focusing distance of 22cm. That will be close enough for you to cast a shadow on your subject. Below are two images I captured at the minimum focusing distance. The first at 17mm and the second at 70mm.
I was messing around in the garden last week and wanted to see how much I could push the magnification. By using a 12mm extension tube mounted onto a 2x converter, I got some decent results. External flash was used as well. Below is the result with a 100% crop to show the detail.
These images are all unsharpened.
– SUMMARY –
This is easily one of my favourite lenses as a walkabout lens. I have the 17-50EX f2.8 as well, but I like the extra focal length of this lens. Add to that a very real lack of chromatic aberration and you have a pretty solid and decent lens. Very, very good value for money.
I have said this before and will again. Sigma has stepped up there game and are here to stay. This lens is brilliant value for money. At R6300 brand new you will be hard-pressed to find better value for money.
If you are looking for a good allrounder you can’t go wrong with the Sigma 17-70mm.
This lens can also be docked with the Sigma USB dock to make adjustments should you want to customize it or update firmware.
What I would have liked is for the lens to have a fixed f2.8 aperture. Occasionally I had varying sharpness results but now I am nitpicking and looking for a problem. This would have made this lens a standout lens and a must-have for many photographers.
Below are some more images taken with this lens.
Thanks for reading.