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4.6 out of 5 stars49
4.6 out of 5 stars
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on 28 March 2013
I wanted a zoom lens to replace the 18-55 kit lens on my Nikon D5100. I also have the Nikon 35mm 1.8g, but in practice I tended to use the zoom lens more despite the lower image quality. I was looking for great image quality and sharpness with effective stabilisation. The wide constant aperture was a bonus rather than a necessity.
This lens was recommended to me by a wedding photographer who chose it instead of a mega-expensive Nikon.
I chewed over this for ages - I considered Tamron equivalent both without VC (cheap) and with (not as cheap but not as good?), also the bargain Nikon 50mm 1.8 for image quality. The Sigma is very expensive in absolute terms for an enthusiast like me, but in the end the reviews swayed me. I had some reservations about what I had heard regarding variations between samples, but I decided that I would test the lens extensively on arrival. If there were any shortcomings I would simply use Amazon's excellent return system until I found a good one. After the 30 day mark there would be Sigma's 3 year guarantee to fall back on. I am pleased to report that this has not been necessary - it's a good 'un.
The lens arrived in great condition - it is solid and heavy and feels like a professional item should. In use the weight helps dampen vibrations and is a positive thing. It resembles my Sigma 10-20 EX in looks and feel.
It takes good images! I have compared it in "blind" tests with my other 2 lenses at 35mm on a tripod. As expected the Sigma wins with the 35mm close behind. In particular the Sigma is much better than the 35mm at controlling CA. Although worthy, the kit lens is beaten hands down, especially towards the edges of the frame. The AF works very well, I tested this and found it was bang on - more accurate than my manual focussing skills.
I would give this lens 5 stars if it was less expensive, but I guess you get what you pay for. This lens ticks all the boxes - great build and image quality so far, with stabilisation and useful zoom. I think however that if you can adapt to framing without zoom and have steady hands that a couple of Nikon prime lenses could do some of the job, possibly for less money.
The Sigma gives good results at the 17mm end, which I find useful.
I am very happy with this lens and would buy it again.
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on 18 June 2012
I ordered this lens from Amazon, and was very disappointed to receive a grey import copy, which meant it wasn't covered by the 3 year UK warranty. But I was about to go on holiday so decided to keep it.

It is very compact, and though fairly heavy at 565g feels lighter, sitting unobtrusively on my Nikon D7000. It seems very well made, and the zoom ring feels just right. It auto-focuses quickly and silently, and is spot on, the most accurate lens I've used. However, the focus ring turns when using AF, which is very poor for a lens in this class.

The lens takes very beautiful images, full of colour, detail and impact, and it's very sharp. At F2.8 the image is sharp from top to bottom of the frame at all focal lengths, but soft at the sides. I don't see this as a problem, as at F2.8 you'll be trying to isolate your subject from the background. Closing down to F4 sharpens everything up, but corners remain soft at all apertures. Though there's visible distortion at 17mm, the images are still lovely.

It focuses down to a little closer than a foot, and it retains all its sharpness. At 50mm and F8 it takes the most beautiful, colourful, detailed close-up images of any lens I've used (though note I've never used a macro).

Wide open, there's visible vignetting at 17mm, but also surprisingly at 50mm. Although still very usable, I feel that this is the biggest weakness of this lens. Stepping down resolves the problem.

You need to use the hood to avoid flare, but it's well controlled when fitted.

Optical stabilisation seems to work well, though I don't think it's necessary for a 50mm F2.8 lens. And it really does drain the battery, much more so than other OS lenses I've used.

--------------------------

However, while on holiday after owning the lens for less than 5 months, I noticed that auto-focus sometimes failed to engage. Flipping the AF button to manual and back would resolve it. When I got back home, I found that all the pictures, particularly at 17mm, were soft. The lens had suddenly started front focusing. Setting in-camera micro-adjust to +17 (max of 20) improved it, but the lens just wasn't as good any more. I Emailed Sigma UK to get it fixed, who advised me to return it to Amazon as it was a grey import (Bad Amazon). I contacted Amazon, and they said they'd give me full refund if I returned it (Good Amazon).

3 stars might seem a bit generous for a lens that lasted for less than 5 months, but it did take lovely pictures. And I am thinking about buying another as it still seems like the best all-round 17-50, though not a grey import this time.
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on 24 April 2016
While I haven't owned many lenses, I can say that this one is definitely worth buying. I shoot with the D3100 which i'm updating soon for the D7100 or similar, and I'd been using the kit lens to shoot landscape. I own the 55-300mm too but don't use it much because I like shooting wide a lot more.

I needed an upgrade from the starter lens because it just wasn't sharp or fast enough; this lens solved those problems! The f2.8 constant aperture helps when shooting in low light and the bokeh is relatively smooth when shooting in lighter conditions.

What I mainly bought it for was the fairly wide minimum focal length. Long exposure photography is my preferred style and getting out at the optimal lighting times is usually really relaxing (unless you're shooting rough seas, then it's a bit of a challenge!).

I've included a few photos i've taken over the five years i've had my D3100, all of which were taken using the Zomei ND1000 filter (not the best, I know).

Overall a brilliant buy for all-round landscape shooting, and a lovely, sharp walk around lens.
review image review image review image
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on 17 January 2012
After much deliberation I took the plunge and purchased the Sigma 17-50mm OS lens just before Christmas.

For my first chance to put it through its paces I took it and my Tamron 28-75mm F2.8 to the recent Autosport show in Birmingham. As far as image quality is concerned the Sigma was at least as good as the Tamron and it would take some severe pixel peeping to tell them apart. Where the Sigma wins hands down however is by having optical stabilisation, I was able to take many sharp images at 1/10th - 1/15th of a second shutter speeds at sensible ISO's without having to resort to using flash. There is no way I could do this with the un-stabilised Tamron I am just not good enough.

So far I am more than happy with my purchase, it is my best zoom lens for indoor/low light situations and I am sure that I will be using it a lot over the coming months.
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on 24 September 2013
Lens is much better than I expected, I initially wanted the nikon version to use at weddings, however I couldn't justify the cost and was a little disappointed that I had to go for this version.
After reading so many reviews and doing so much research into this lens the nikon 17-55 and the Tamron version I ended up choosing this one out of the 3.

I am so glad that I did, the build quality for this lens is much better than I expected the zoom ring feels very tight and solid and the front element looks very nice.
The only thing missing ergonomics wise is the old EX texture to the lens that sigma used to coat there lenses with which I was a fan of, this however doesn't impact the performance of the optics which are simply brilliant even wide open right across the focal range, its certainly an upgrade to any kit lens.

I read a couple of reviews stating that is soft wide open, granted all lenses will be softer wide open however this isn't really noticeable and I certainly don't notice the difference if I'm not looking at Exif data.

I would like to point out that this was based on centre sharpness.
Border sharpness is slightly lower than the centre which is not an issue if you stop down, this isn't really as big a deal as some reviews/people make it out to be as in practice I only shoot portrait wide open and the boarder is usually out of focus anyway (due to depth of field effect) You would naturally stop down for landscape shots anyway thus bringing the entire frame into sharp focus including the boarders.

I haven't really taken this off my D90 since buying it as the OS, coupled with the F2.8 constant aperture is very good for shallow Depth of field and low light portraits, so much so that I don't bother with my 50mm prime any more and I have sold it as a result.

My only niggle is that Nikons Silent Wave autofocus system has full time manual override whereas this version of HSM doesn't as the focus ring moves on autofocus.

All in all thought, this is a surprisingly very good lens which is incredibly sharp, useful low light and an excellent portrait lens I am unable to understand why the Nikon is so expensive when this is as good as it is for the cost (even comparing nikons non VR to cannons IS version threes almost 50% cost difference)
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on 17 April 2016
I've had many lenses in my life but this one is a cracker, if you're looking for image quality and fast maximum aperture this is the one to get.
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on 14 April 2016
So far so good, the price of this lens is amazing for what it offers, I loved the built quality, it's weight (careful this is lens is heavier than it looks) If you are looking for a standard zoom lens with fixed aperture and a good price you can't go wrong with this lens! I had a 18-105mm from Nikon and the loss of the 105mm is worth the fixed f/2.8.

Positive:
+ Fixed Aperture
+ Built Quality
+ Focus Close Distance
+ Image Stabilization
+ Image Quality
+ Price

Negative
- You can't change focus manually when you are with AF

Sigma 17-50mm f2.8 EX DC HSM Optical Stabilised lens for Nikon Digital SLR Cameras with APS-C Sensors
review image review image
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on 26 April 2014
The Sigma 17-50 f/2.8 is a stunning piece of glassware and it performs beautifully under low and subtle light. It's not lightning fast (for that, you'd need to cough up £1150 for the Nikkor equivalent) but it does what it says on the tin. Lovely buttery bokeh at f2.8 which is extremely pleasing in portraiture when used at the longer range. A nice versatile lens which sits nicely on any APS-C Nikon you choose, whether that's a 3, 5 or 7 series. I've used mine on my 5 and 7 series bodies and it gives corking results. Well worth it if you don't have (or want) to splash the dough on Nikon's counterpart. Just loses a star as it's not as fast as you might expect.
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on 24 April 2016
Arrived very quickly and well packaged. The lens is good quality and performs well. Not had a chance to test it out fully but it is a definite improvement on the Nikon kit lens. Everything works smoothly and just I had expected having tried the lens out at the photography show.
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on 24 February 2016
This is a great 'holiday lense.' It focusses quickly and quietly. Yes fully open (as most will be) its a little softer than a fixed prime lense, but for the convenience its worth it. After all if you are really focussed (excuse the pun) on maximum quality you'd be carrying primes anyway. There's always a compromise and for the money this is a great lense to carry. This and my 70-210 2.8 cover all the bases i need when travelling to exotic locations
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