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Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Lens Showdown: Sigma 10-20mm f/4-5.6DC EX HSM versus Nikkor AF-S DX 10-24mm f/3.5-4.5G ED

This review will touch on the differences in the output between the Sigma 10-20mm f/4-5.6DC EX HSM and Nikkor AF-S DX 10-24mm f/3.5-4.5G ED. I have shot at f/8, the usual sweetspot for lenses of this type (superwide).

The Sigma 10-20mm f/4-5.6DC EX HSM ($599.99 at Broadway Camera) is a very nice lens. At your standard 16% screen definition at an f/stop of f/8, the lens worked remarkably clearly and produced a nice image. It was only when we went up to 200% pixel peeping that we could start seeing the noise in the image there was quite a bit of chromatic aberration with different colored pixels and it was most apparent at the demarcation between different shades especially between dark and light images as shown on the 200% pixel-peeped image there. The unusual point in this lens is that there was a little color-fringing on the edges of the subjects in the image where it demarcated between light colors and dark. This is crucial if you are thinking of buying a lens for taking images that are going to be sold for stock (they only take the highest quality images, so the less noise that you have in your image, the more likelihood of your image being accepted).


Sigma 10-20mm f/4-5.6DC EX HSM at 200%

The Nikkor AF-S DX 10-24 mm f/3.5-4.5G ED ($849.99 at Broadway Camera) has very little noise when I pixel-peeped the image at 200%. My standard is the black backdrop in the corner where the passport images are taken. If there is noise in the image, that's where it will show up. Again as with the Sigma, there was some green color-fringing on the edges of the subject. The black backdrop had absolutely no noise on the image and that is where the Nikon 10-24 comes in ahead of the Sigma at f/8. There is some noise in the lighter sections of the image.


Nikkor AF-S DX 10-24mm f/3.5-4.5G ED at 200%

VERDICT: All in all it is a trade-off with these two lenses. If you have cash in your pocket and don't mind spending a little more for Nikon quality, then go with the Nikon 10-24, otherwise you can save a bit (if you're doing some recreational hobby shooting) by going with the Sigma.

As most of you know, I don't go into the nitty-gritty of what makes up the lenses because unless you're a tech-geek and want to know how many concave and convex lenses make up each of the lenses, you don't really need that to shoot images. What you want is the performance of each lens. My eye is on the 10-24mm f/3.5-4.5 and I'll do a more extensive review of that lens if and when I put one in my camera bag.

A big thanks goes to Sasha at Broadway Camera in Surrey for letting me play with those lenses for a while.

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