Though out of the Pro League – Sigma 8-16mm f/4.5-5.6 DC HSM Lens delivers very good image quality, has solid build quality, has fast and quiet HSM AF and has a reasonable price. But perhaps the most exceptional Sigma 8-16 feature is the ultra wide angle range of focal length range available – including the widest focal length available.
This Sigma 8-16mm lens has super-sharp optics, but its mechanics and auto focus lag a bit behind Nikon and Canon.
This is a great lens for realtors shooting their own listings because it makes interiors seem far larger and more spacious than with any other lens, and no software fiddling is required to show huge angles. An ideal lens for shooting indoors and architectural photography.
The first attraction to any ultra-wide zoom lens is in fact the ultra-wide focal length range, so let’s review what this range looks like. Being a Sigma (Digital Camera) lens, the Sigma 8-16 has a smaller-than-full-frame image circle designed to work only on APS-C/1.6x/1.5x FOVCF DSLRs. The Sigma 8-16mm f/4.5-5.6 DC HSM Lens review is the first in a series of non-Canon ultra-wide angle lens reviews I have planned and the rest of the lenses directly compared in this review are the same in regards to this smaller image circle. Thus, the focal lengths shown for all of the lenses below are similar to 1.6x longer focal lengths on a full frame SLR or DSLR – 12.8-25.6mm for the Sigma 8-16.
The Sigma 8-16mm f/4.5-5.6 DC HSM Lens’s nicely-sized manual focus ring is smooth with no play and plenty of travel. A nice amount of rotation is provided for accurate manual focus acquisition.
The rear-positioned (where I like it) zoom ring is also smooth with no play or wobble with a relatively short rotation. Zoom ring rotation is in the opposite direction of Canon lenses (but like Nikon lenses). Zooming out to 8mm from 16mm extends the very-convex front lens element, but the extension remains inside the integrated and protective petal-style hood, so the extension is not very noticeable. The zoom and focus rings are nicely integrated into a smooth lens barrel design that is very nice to hold.