9 out of 10 points and recommended
the size and weight feel nicely balanced on the 30D, not too front heavy and its got a nice focus ring for MF.reviewed November 25th, 2007 (purchased for $430)
The AF is very fast and pretty much always accurate. maybe some slight troubles in VERY dark places.
while its not amazing, its still acceptable and i havent had any problems with it in the ~6 months ive had mine.
as expected, its not amazing at 1.4, though for mine, at 1.6 its acceptable and ideal for street and portraits. stopped down further it can be too sharp for some detailed b/w images. other times its what you want, and it delivers. mine is definitley not as bad as slrgears test copy though.
highly reccomended and a great walk around lens and as an upgrade from the 50mm 1.8's
8 out of 10 points and recommendednice size on a 30D, decently fast aperture, nice fast AF, the only "reasonably" wide prime for cropnot as fast as im used too(1.4) not REALLY sharp till at least f/9.0, ok from about f/4.5, vignetting is very bad at 2.8 even on crop!
i brought this lens as i definitely prefer primes over zooms and i needed something "wide" for my 30D and going by the reviews and the size of the sigma 20mm i was a tad put off.reviewed April 16th, 2008 (purchased for $340)
now compared to my other two primes(50 1.4 and 30 1.4) this lens is comparably on the slow side(2.8) which is something ill need to get used too :( at least its about the same size as the 30mm, just a little bit longer and about the same width, though im happy its a bit lighter :)
AF is really nice! its very fast, very accurate and of course silent ;) its definitely faster than the HSM of the sigma and the micro-USM of the 50mm. it also helps that it has a fairly short focus travel to help out the speed.
of course now to the all important image quality...
at 2.8 the image isnt the sharpest obviously, but i wouldnt hesitate to print a4's from it, maybe even bigger? of course the corners are semi soft, but the center is actually quite reasonable for a lens wide open.
as you stop down to between 3.5 and 5 the image gets a lot better, and the corners come into the same league as the center at around 5.6 but they are definitely acceptable from 4.5 onwards.
Of course the further you stop down the better it gets.
between f 9 and 11 is its "sweet" spot, with both the corners and centre about the same very good res making it ideal as a landscape or architecture lens.
i tried a few shots today of my g/f and i would definitely say; do NOT use it as a portrait ;) what they say about making things bigger is true, it is not flattering for people, especially girls ;D
so if you can handle having to stop down a little bit, which is required for DOF anyway, and not using it indoors without a tripod or for where very high res is required i would reccomend it.
if you need something to use wide open all the time and still require high levels of detail, i honestly couldnt reccomend this lens.
the main reason i got it was personally i prefer primes(even this one ;) ) and also, i got it at a GREAT price 2nd hand so i couldnt resist (430NZD/340USD 2nd hand compared to over 800NZD new! :O )
if your looking for a good wide angle with good res, id suggest the tamron 17-50 as it goes wider, is the same aperture, roughly same size/weight and has probably a higher detail res from wide open... of course its not FF compatible if thats your niche.
oh well, i guess thats the price you pay for what is essentially a super wide for the 35mm it was designed for all the way back in 92 so until someone releases a sharper wide angle prime at a similar price point, guess i wont be getting rid of this one, especially not considering it may be used FF within a year and i lok forward to the super wide FOV! :D
on a side note, it makes a great compliment as a prime kit to the aforemention 30 and 50 and soon to be 85... :D