4 out of 10 points and not recommendedGood quality build, great colours / contrast, low distortion even at 10mmHorribly soft rendering it unusable
I waited for this lens and finally entered the world of 10mm wide angle. I instantly fell in love and started using this lens as a walk-around lens. It's range of 10-20mm is much more useful than the Tokina 11-16 and the 3.5 is only marginally slower than the Tokina at 2.8, so I was pretty excited.reviewed October 11th, 2009 (purchased for $740)
I got one of the first ones I saw in Canada. Most of my landscape photos turned out great, but there was a nagging concern as many of my 'closer focus' photos were all out of focus or horribly soft. I blamed it on user error, until I got a Nikon 10-24 to try side-by-side and did some basic brick wall and ruler tests. At 33%, I loved the look of the Sigma images: much warmer than the Nikon, and slightly less distortion at 10mm. But then when I zoomed in at 100%, it became abundantly clear that, even on the brick wall, whether it be 10mm, 12mm, 15mm or 20mm, and whether F3.5, 4.5, 5.6, 8, 11, 13, or 16 the center sharpness was clearly inferior to the Nikon. In fact, it was unusable wide-open as the center was so soft.
Let's face it, colour and distortion can be fixed in post-processing, but nothing can correct poor focus or lack of sharpness. (I'm using a D80 by the way)
Despite the Nikon costing quite a bit more, I will definitely be returning the Sigma for the Nikon. I'm very disappointed as I had heard concerns over Sigma's quality control and clearly I got a very bad example, but I'm not willing to take another chance with them on a lens that costs +$800 CDN.
One other minor complaint is that the hood doesn't "lock" into place like the Nikon does, meaning that I had a few photos with strong vignetting from the lens hood not being perfectly in place. Just a warning to others.
8 out of 10 points and recommendedVery sharp imagesColour could be better, strong distortion at 10mm
I had heard mixed reviews about this lens, so I tried the more affordable Sigma 10-20 3.5 first. I did some basic brick wall tests and indoor shots and time after time, the colour and contrast on the Sigma proved quite superior to the Nikon, but where the Nikon excelled was in overall sharpness. Center sharpness is very strong even at 10mm and wide open at F3.5. The same can definitely not be said of the Sigma, which proved soft throughout the range (yes it improved as you got to F8, but it was still inferior to the Nikon).reviewed October 11th, 2009 (purchased for $900)
As a result, I returned the Sigma and paid the premium to get the Nikon, which has an MSRP in Canada of close to $1,100 (!!). Thankfully, I got it on sale.
I wish this was a constant 3.5 throughout the range, but I know I will use this as a walkaround lens considering its strong zoom range and creative potential.