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  1. #1

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    Constant f2.8 is $200 more - is it worth it?

    I have a question:

    I am about to buy a Sigma 28-70mm lens with aperture varying between f2.8 and f4.0 between the short and the long end of the focal length. The cost is an amazingly cheap $139.

    I was getting ready to buy it and saw another lens by Sigma, just like it, except it has a constant aperture of f2.8, but it's an additional $200.

    Should I wait and get a faster lens? Is the 1-stop advantage really worth it?

    Thanks!

  2. #2

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    Sometimes it isn't the 1 stop advantage, as much as it is the better build and image quality of the more expensive lens. Do you need the extra stop of light for your type of photography? Or will you be shooting at f/5.6-f/8 all the time anyway? Even the cheaper zooms are usually pretty good by f/8.

    One thing I have learned about Sigma lenses; test them out on your camera before you buy if you can. Their QC is hit and miss. Some samples are very sharp, others not so much. If you send it in to Sigma I understand they are pretty good about fixing it, but the turnaround time can be quite long.

  3. #3

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    "Should I wait and get a faster lens? Is the 1-stop advantage really worth it?"

    It depends on the type of photography that you do. I for instance am a landscape photographer. I never shoot any wider than f/5.6, so for me, the extra stop would be a waste of weight (to carry) and money. If you like to shoot indoors, or in low light situations hand held, then yes, the extra stop may allow you to go home with shots that you otherwise may not get.

    Jared

  4. #4
    Nicholas Lindan's Avatar
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    I have the Sigma 2.8 28->70 and it's a pretty horrid lens until you stop it down quite a bit - so there goes any f2.8 advantage.

    I would rather have the lens with variable aperture - in this case it would be an f2.0 @ 28mm -> f2.8 @ 70mm
    DARKROOM AUTOMATION
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  5. #5

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    Quote Originally Posted by jphendren View Post
    "Should I wait and get a faster lens? Is the 1-stop advantage really worth it?"

    It depends on the type of photography that you do. I for instance am a landscape photographer. I never shoot any wider than f/5.6, so for me, the extra stop would be a waste of weight (to carry) and money. If you like to shoot indoors, or in low light situations hand held, then yes, the extra stop may allow you to go home with shots that you otherwise may not get.

    Jared
    I do more of indoor and low light photography, and I rarely do landscapes. So, if I can get a 1/125 shutter speed with a faster lens, rather than 1/60, it would definitely help. I am not worried about shallow DOF.

    Quote Originally Posted by Nicholas Lindan View Post
    I have the Sigma 2.8 28->70 and it's a pretty horrid lens until you stop it down quite a bit - so there goes any f2.8 advantage.

    I would rather have the lens with variable aperture - in this case it would be an f2.0 @ 28mm -> f2.8 @ 70mm
    I didn't know that. I never actually used Sigma lenses, so I don't know first hand. I have a gut feeling that I should stick to a dedicated Nikon lens, so maybe it's better to wait and get the good glass. As a matter of fact, I am not even 'married' to zooms, Nikon offers a wide range of fixed focal length lenses that can open up as wide as f1.4 and cost a bargain (at least the normal lenses do).

  6. #6

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    in that f.l. range, I'd look at the Tamron 28-75 2.8, it's a far better lens (I have one, a friend has several he uses in his portrait/even shooting business).

  7. #7
    Ian Grant's Avatar
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    Have to second the Tamron SP1 f2.8 28-75mm, it's a superb lens and one I've used heavily in low light levels shooting Rock bands, very sharp and I need the f2.8 at the 75mm end where lens speed is important so I can use a fast enough shutter speed. Yes it costs a little more but it the difference between getting the a high quality image or mediocrity.

    Ian

  8. #8
    Barry06GT's Avatar
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    I used to own that same 2.8 Sigma lens, and it is every bit as good as the Nikon glass. It is not an inexpensive lens, and has great build quality. Sigma denotes build quality with either a red stripe (pro-sumer) or a gold stripe (pro quality) around the lens.

    Size wise, the lens is a monster. If I remember right mine had a 72mm filter size. Balance wise, it was perfect on my F100, and the focus was very fast and super quiet.

    The advantage is the ability to zoom the range without the aperature changing. When using studio flash this is critical.

    Rest assured, this is a good lens. If I had the need, I would buy another one.
    .

  9. #9
    Nicholas Lindan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Apertureman View Post
    Nikon offers a wide range of fixed focal length lenses that can open up as wide as f1.4 and cost a bargain (at least the normal lenses do).
    Ah, if you do available light, and are interested in bargains, then I think you will be much happier with a used 50mm f1.4 (or even f2.0, a better bargain) Nikkor. You don't mention your camera, but if you are looking for manual focus real bargains can be had in AI'ed and AI rather than AIS lenses; the 'S' is only needed for shutter priority automation. The older lenses are better built, too. You can probably find a set of older 28/50/85mm primes for about the same price as the Sigma zoom.

    Real bargains can be had by buying engraved lenses - where some anal-retentive has etched his name on the barrel. The upside is that anal retentives tend to otherwise take very good care of their equipment (assuming they use it all) and the engraving can often take 2/3 off the price.
    DARKROOM AUTOMATION
    f-Stop Timers - Enlarging Meters
    http://www.darkroomautomation.com/da-main.htm

  10. #10
    Nicholas Lindan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Barry06GT View Post
    Sigma denotes build quality with either a red stripe (pro-sumer) or a gold stripe (pro quality) around the lens.
    The one I have (can't bring myself to sell such a turkey) has no stripe - I guess that indicates it has no quality, which it doesn't. Wish I had known...
    DARKROOM AUTOMATION
    f-Stop Timers - Enlarging Meters
    http://www.darkroomautomation.com/da-main.htm

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