Sigma 70–200mm f/2.8 DG OS HSM Sports: Keeping Up with the Times

 

Eight years after the launch of the 70–200mm f/2.8 EX DG APO OS HSM, Sigma has finally released its replacement, with the introduction of the 70–200mm f/2.8 DG OS HSM Sports. Nilofer Khan reports.

Last year, Sigma unveiled its most-awaited lens in their Global Vision line—the 70–200mm f/2.8 DG OS HSM Sports, a wide aperture telephoto zoom lens. It is the latest iteration in the company’s 70–200 f/2.8 series, the last one being launched in 2010. Along with the 14–24mm f/2.8 DG HSM Art and the 24–70mm f/2.8 DG OS HSM Art lenses, the addition of the 70–200 f/2.8 DG OS HSM Sports completes the lineup of three f/2.8 large-aperture zoom lenses capable of covering focal lengths from 14mm to 200mm.

Features
The lens has a non-retractable design, which means it does not extend at all when zoomed out from 70mm to 200mm. It features 24 elements in 22 groups, including nine F (fluorite) Low Dispersion glass elements and one Special Low Dispersion glass element. It has a minimum focusing distance of 120cm and a maximum magnification ratio is 0.208x. Macro photographers cannot expect much from the lens because of the ratio. The filter size is 82mm, and it has an 11-blade rounded diaphragm. It also incorporates the Hyper Sonic Motor, water and oil-repellent coating for the front and rear elements, and a Super Multi-Layer Coating to reduce flare and ghosting. It also completely weather-sealed.

The magnesium body features four switches at the side—the Intelligent OS switch, the Focus Limiter switch, the Manual Override switch, and the programmable Custom mode switch. Moreover, it has three unmarked AF Function buttons on the lens barrel, which are designed to easily access a focus preset. You have to use Sigma’s USB Dock to set the Custom mode and the AF Function buttons presets. There is a non-detachable tripod socket, which can only be moved out of the way by using the lock knob to rotate it (can be rotated to 90º only). With the APS-C models, the 70–200mm f/2.8 provides a 112-320mm equivalent focal length range. Moreover, it is also compatible with the optional Sigma 1.4x and 2x teleconverters.

Handling
When compared to the other lenses such as Tamron 70–200 G2 or Canon 70–200 III, the Sigma 70–200mm f/2.8 features more glass elements, making it heavier than the rest (weighing 1.8kg). As for the construction of the lens, the buttons and switches have been placed well ergonomically, making it easier to switch between the modes. The large zoom ring is positioned towards the front of the barrel, whereas the thin focusing ring is towards the back. There is a large degree of rotation between the minimum focusing distance and infinity, an advantage for videographers. The supplied lens hood features a lock to prevent it from falling off.

 

This is a cropped version of the image. I really like the way the lens is able to smoothly blur out the out of focus parts, and the areas that are in focus, are extremely sharp. Moreover, the colour rendition is quite accurate, and the autofocus is quick to react. Exposure: 1/2656 sec at f/2.8 (ISO 125). Photograph/Nilofer Khan

Performance
I was quite impressed with the autofocus capability of the lens. Even in difficult low light situations, the focus was quick to respond. There is no noise while focusing. Moreover, the front element of the lens does not rotate while autofocusing. The Image Stabilisation function is quite incredible, delivering sharp images at 1/20sec at 200mm. Users with a steady hand will be able to shoot at 1/15sec too.

The lens has excellent control over various kinds of flares, as well as delivers exceptional sharpness, accurate colours and tonal renditions. This helps to enhance the overall image quality, especially for smooth transitions and blurs. The images are sharp at f/2.8, and it improves a lot with each stop, with f/8 being the sharpest from the centre to the edges. The blurring of the foreground and the background is amazing.

The 70–200 f/2.8 Sports has visible, but slight vignetting at the widest aperture. It disappears by f/5.6. There is no visible distortion. Chromatic aberrations and coma are well controlled too.

Conclusion
At MRP of Rs. 1,31,000, the Sigma  70–200mm f/2.8 DG OS HSM Sports is an excellent choice for those who wish to have the best quality and optical performance. It has fast autofocus, sharp image quality at wide aperture, controlled distortions, great image stabilisation, and is relatively more affordable than the Canon and Nikon lenses, making it a great option to opt for.

Though the only issue is the weight of the lens, however, that can be compromised considering the impressive quality it delivers. Moreover, the focal length can be used for various events, making it an ideal choice for those who work across several genres.

This article originally appeared in the April 2019 issue of Better Photography.

FINAL RATINGS
Features
Image stabilisation, Focus Limiter, Custom mode, and non-detachable tripod socket
18/20
Performance
Sharpness at f/2.8, quick autofocus
32/35
Build Quality
Weathersealed, heavy
23/25
Ergonomics
Large zoom ring, mode switches are placed well, and Arca swiss ready tripod collar
14/15
Warranty & Support
Limited service network, 2 year warranty
3/5
MRP Rs. 1,31,000
OVERALL 90%
VALUE FOR MONEY 4/5
Who should buy it? It is a multipurpose lens. Fashion, wildlife, wedding, sports, events, and photojournalists can opt for it.
Why? Excellent build quality, bokeh, image stabilisation, and pro-grade weather sealing.

 

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