July 22, 2014, 03:23:48 AM

Author Topic: Sigma AF 12-24mm f/4.5-5.6 EX DG HSM  (Read 2575 times)

ErikNZ

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Sigma AF 12-24mm f/4.5-5.6 EX DG HSM
« on: April 11, 2014, 04:34:28 AM »
I could not find a topic for this lens so here goes. The Sigma 12-24mm is one of the widest non-fisheye lens available for full frame (if not the widest of them all?). I have the original version of this lens, Sigma has also released a newer version of the same lens.

Wide open, the lens is rather soft and really needs to be stepped down to f/8~f/11 to achieve its sweet spot, which is fairly decent when it comes to sharpness. Not unexpected, the IQ fall off in the corners is noticeable. In the range from 14-24mm it cannot compete with the Canon 17-40mm f/4L, the 16-35mm f/2.8L and the Canon 14mm f/2.8L.

However, when using this lens on 12mm as a pseudo prime, it has literally no equal if you discount the Canon 8-15mm f/4L as that is a fisheye.  When I use this lens on my Canon 1D MkIII (1.3x crop), I use it firmly at 12mm and I only use it in tight places where any other lens could not frame the entire scene in one shot. Use this lens on a full frame body and you will need to be acutely aware of the position of your feet or they will end up in the shot.








« Last Edit: April 11, 2014, 04:36:01 AM by ErikNZ »
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Sigma AF 12-24mm f/4.5-5.6 EX DG HSM
« on: April 11, 2014, 04:34:28 AM »

candyman

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Re: Sigma AF 12-24mm f/4.5-5.6 EX DG HSM
« Reply #1 on: April 11, 2014, 04:53:12 AM »
I just asked you in another thread about the lens and only now I saw you created a special thread for the sigma. Ver fine results. Did you post processing? If so, what?
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ErikNZ

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Re: Sigma AF 12-24mm f/4.5-5.6 EX DG HSM
« Reply #2 on: April 11, 2014, 05:20:37 AM »
I just asked you in another thread about the lens and only now I saw you created a special thread for the sigma. Ver fine results. Did you post processing? If so, what?

The images were shot in RAW and using a 580EX (-2/3 and -1/3) for fill light. Post processing was done in Lightroom 5, with a touch of exposure adjustment, a little bit of shadow and highlight work, curve adjustment and a pinch of sharpening.

The most challenging aspect was the balance of light between the dark inside of the aircraft and the bright outside area. The post processing work was mainly to adjust for this rather than any lens deficiencies.  It may not be the sharpest tool in the shed, but you can sure cut your fingers on it :)

The top shot was used as article opening spread in one of the magazines I shoot for - the image was sharp enough that you could read all the dials and gauges on the glossy paper. Having said that, print is much more forgiving than pixel peeping on your monitor but I wouldn't use the 12-24mm for very large reproductions.
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candyman

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Re: Sigma AF 12-24mm f/4.5-5.6 EX DG HSM
« Reply #3 on: April 11, 2014, 06:20:29 AM »
I just asked you in another thread about the lens and only now I saw you created a special thread for the sigma. Ver fine results. Did you post processing? If so, what?

The images were shot in RAW and using a 580EX (-2/3 and -1/3) for fill light. Post processing was done in Lightroom 5, with a touch of exposure adjustment, a little bit of shadow and highlight work, curve adjustment and a pinch of sharpening.

The most challenging aspect was the balance of light between the dark inside of the aircraft and the bright outside area. The post processing work was mainly to adjust for this rather than any lens deficiencies.  It may not be the sharpest tool in the shed, but you can sure cut your fingers on it :)

The top shot was used as article opening spread in one of the magazines I shoot for - the image was sharp enough that you could read all the dials and gauges on the glossy paper. Having said that, print is much more forgiving than pixel peeping on your monitor but I wouldn't use the 12-24mm for very large reproductions.

I just start to discover Lightroom 5. I usually use DxO Optics Elite.
I guess you are right about the pixel peeping. You see it more on the monitor rather than on paper. But I am not a pro. I envy you for such adventures so keep them posting.
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Tiosabas

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Re: Sigma AF 12-24mm f/4.5-5.6 EX DG HSM
« Reply #4 on: April 11, 2014, 09:31:11 AM »
Is this the ver I or ver II? I had ver I and altough I liked it, it had a large soft spot in the centre of the frame even at small apertures and softness on the left hand side. I found the lens too wide for landscapes but great for travel and tight spaces as you describe which is the best use for this lens.Size and weight balnce great on the 5D MKII. For landscape the 17-40 would be better since it takes filters easier but this lens is the king of tight spaces.
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GMCPhotographics

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Re: Sigma AF 12-24mm f/4.5-5.6 EX DG HSM
« Reply #5 on: April 11, 2014, 04:45:47 PM »
Is this the ver I or ver II? I had ver I and altough I liked it, it had a large soft spot in the centre of the frame even at small apertures and softness on the left hand side. I found the lens too wide for landscapes but great for travel and tight spaces as you describe which is the best use for this lens.Size and weight balnce great on the 5D MKII. For landscape the 17-40 would be better since it takes filters easier but this lens is the king of tight spaces.

Yep, it's a stunning lens. Utterly unique even after all these years (it was one of the original ultra wides in the dawn of the digital age). It's still a marvel, it's so rectilinear corrected, it still offers a very unique view on the world which is more than the sum of it's focal length. On a full frame it's a gob-smacking 12mm and that's really quite an amazing feat. It's really an f11-f16 lens due to it's softness, and unfortunatly it was designed and made during Sigma's worst years of quality control. I cherry picked my copy out of a batch of 6 in the shop...and some of them were shockingly bad. Mine was the best of the bunch.

ErikNZ

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Re: Sigma AF 12-24mm f/4.5-5.6 EX DG HSM
« Reply #6 on: April 11, 2014, 06:23:00 PM »
Is this the ver I or ver II? I had ver I and altough I liked it, it had a large soft spot in the centre of the frame even at small apertures and softness on the left hand side. I found the lens too wide for landscapes but great for travel and tight spaces as you describe which is the best use for this lens.Size and weight balnce great on the 5D MKII. For landscape the 17-40 would be better since it takes filters easier but this lens is the king of tight spaces.

It's the original version of the lens, so that would be a version I. Center sharpness is okay at f/8, gets better at f/11 - and I usually don't have the light to go all the way down to f/16. There is some softness on the left hand side if you look for it at 100% but so far, I have only been able to spot this while pixel peeping. When looking at the printed results, I don't notice any lack of sharpness.

Because the lens is for such specific use cases only (for me anyway), I took the gamble and bought it used for a good price - and the IQ, while not mind boggling at any stretch, didn't disappoint me too much as I expected to get a dog of a lens anyway :)

If you get it new, I definitely recommend hand picking one from multiple  lenses. With Sigma suddenly coming on strong with their new 35mm, 50mm and 24-105mm lenses which all seem to have great quality - I hope that they'll do a version III of this lens and apply their now-hopefully-consistent-quality-control as well. Or just make it a 12mm f/4 prime, more than happy to pay for that. I never quite understood why they didn't just make this into a prime rather than a zoom range that no one really needs. (like I said, at anything over 16mm, the respective Canon lenses will have it for lunch and even the equally old Sigma 15-30mm will do better than this lens. And at such short distance, if you need to zoom in - just lean forward!)
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Re: Sigma AF 12-24mm f/4.5-5.6 EX DG HSM
« Reply #6 on: April 11, 2014, 06:23:00 PM »

VitC

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Re: Sigma AF 12-24mm f/4.5-5.6 EX DG HSM
« Reply #7 on: April 11, 2014, 10:58:29 PM »
Great Images!  I had the first version of the Sigma 12-24, and with care to avoid flare, it was really useful.  I did send it back to Sigma originally to adjust the centering which improved the evenness of sharpness across the right and left field.  Then I added a Canon 14 II, which I also sent back to Canon to even out the field.  Then Sigma came out with 12-24 II, which I bought to figure out which one would be best to keep. 
I turned out the Sigma 12-24 II was a bit sharper overall, and controlled flare better.  At the setting of 14mm, the Sigma beat my Canon 14 II, all at an optimum setting of f8-11.  F 16 causes diffraction to degrade image quality in all these lenses. 
So I sold the Sigma 12-24 version 1 and the Canon 14 II.  All tests done on 5D II, RAW and Lightroom processing, esp. for color fringing control. 
In the end, it's the photographer and his/her technique, angle selection and lighting that counts, and the client has to be happy.

antonioleandro

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Re: Sigma AF 12-24mm f/4.5-5.6 EX DG HSM
« Reply #8 on: April 12, 2014, 10:17:27 AM »
Great post, Erik.  Do you have some images of building took with this lens (interiors and exteriors)?  Could you share some of these images with us?  I am planning to buy this lens for architectural shots and I am looking for architectural shots made with this lens to decide.

Thanks.

ErikNZ

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Re: Sigma AF 12-24mm f/4.5-5.6 EX DG HSM
« Reply #9 on: April 13, 2014, 04:37:13 AM »
Thanks Antonio -  I've had a look in my photo library but I have really only used the 12-24mm for aircraft interior shots so I'm afraid I can't help you there. For dedicated architectural work, a Canon 17mm TS lens might yield better results I'd imagine but TS lenses are very pricey indeed!
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moerka

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Re: Sigma AF 12-24mm f/4.5-5.6 EX DG HSM
« Reply #10 on: April 13, 2014, 06:10:18 AM »
Hi there!

I use this lens since two Years and I like it very much. It's a great lens particularly for architectural shots.
I add some images made with my Sigma 12-24 II on an Canon EOS5D Mark III (all Images shot in Germany):




dcm

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Re: Sigma AF 12-24mm f/4.5-5.6 EX DG HSM
« Reply #11 on: April 13, 2014, 11:24:30 AM »
Hi there!

I use this lens since two Years and I like it very much. It's a great lens particularly for architectural shots.
I add some images made with my Sigma 12-24 II on an Canon EOS5D Mark III (all Images shot in Germany):

The last one seems a bit Escher-eque.
6Ds, M, zooms and primes

antonioleandro

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Re: Sigma AF 12-24mm f/4.5-5.6 EX DG HSM
« Reply #12 on: April 13, 2014, 08:58:15 PM »
Moerka,

Thank you very much for your pictures. They are very beautiful and well composed.  Congratulations.

Yours sincerely,
Antonio

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Re: Sigma AF 12-24mm f/4.5-5.6 EX DG HSM
« Reply #12 on: April 13, 2014, 08:58:15 PM »

Jim Saunders

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Re: Sigma AF 12-24mm f/4.5-5.6 EX DG HSM
« Reply #13 on: April 13, 2014, 09:07:12 PM »
Moerka,

Thank you very much for your pictures. They are very beautiful and well composed.  Congratulations.

Yours sincerely,
Antonio

Indeed!  Welcome, and thank you for sharing them!

Jim
I'd probably do better to invest more time and less money.

pwp

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Re: Sigma AF 12-24mm f/4.5-5.6 EX DG HSM
« Reply #14 on: April 13, 2014, 09:58:28 PM »
I also have the early series Sigma 12-24 which is complete mush wide open, but moves to quite acceptable at f/11. It's certainly not an every-day lens, but half a dozen times a year it has really saved my bacon when 16mm (16-35 f/2.8II) just isn't enough. I was stunned to walk into a client's office and there above the reception desk is a framed 36 inch print of their new building which I shot a few years ago on a 5D classic and the Sigma 12-24, complete with fairly brutal perspective correction in post. And it looked GOOD! I was amazed. My little 12-24 is a keeper, but always with the need to stay fully aware of its limitations and stated client needs. If Sigma did a 12mm prime, I'd buy it in a heartbeat.

However, if the need arises from architectural and infrastructure clients, the 17 TS-E will be the weapon of choice. This lens is King....

-pw

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Re: Sigma AF 12-24mm f/4.5-5.6 EX DG HSM
« Reply #14 on: April 13, 2014, 09:58:28 PM »