In the Field: Sigma 70-200mm f/2.8 DG OS HSM Sports Zoom

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Wide-angle, mid-range, and telephoto zoom lenses that max out at f/2.8 throughout the zoom range are some of the most popular lenses among pros and enthusiasts alike. Not to short-change fixed focal length primes—the good Lord knows we love 'em, but there's good reason why camera and lens manufacturers make a point of showcasing their fast, fixed-aperture, full-frame f/2.8 zooms.

When Sigma first introduced its premium Global Vision Sports, Art, and Contemporary lens systems, the Holy Trinity of fast f/2.8 zooms was already on the roadmap. Now, Sigma's 70-200mm f/2.8 DG OS HSM Sports lens joins Sigma's previously released 14-24mm f/2.8 DG HSM Art lens and 24-70mm f/2.8 DG OS HSM Art lens to complete the triad.

Photographs © 2018 Allan Weitz

Sigma's new 70-200mm f/2.8 zoom features a weather-sealed, magnesium-alloy construction with a brass lens mount, a minimum focus of 47.2" (1:4.8x), 9 FLD and 1 SLD aberration-reducing lens elements, flare and ghost-reducing Super Multi-Layer Coatings, and water- and smudge-resistant coatings on the front and rear elements.

Other features include multiple Focus Hold buttons, a Hyper Sonic AF Motor (HSM) with full-time manual-focus override, and a 4-stop Intelligent OS image stabilization system. The filter size is 82mm, and the diaphragm features 11 rounded blades that enable natural-looking out-of-focus specular highlights, i.e., pleasing bokeh.

Sigma 70-200mm f/2.8 DG OS HSM, Canon EOS 6D
Sigma 70-200mm f/2.8 DG OS HSM, Sony Alpha A7r II

Sigma's 70-200mm f/2.8 Sports zoom is a hefty lens. Though nearly identical in size to competitive 70-200mm f/2.8 zooms, Sigma's version weighs between an ounce and a half to just shy of a pound more than the competition. Sigma's 70-200mm zoom contains also contains more lens elements (24) in more groups (22) than competitive 70-200mm zooms, which may or may not account for the heft. Regardless, this lens is otherwise a rock-solid performer.

Sigma 70-200mm f/2.8 DG OS HSM, Sony Alpha A7r II

The Sigma 70-200mm f/2.8 Sports zoom is available in Canon EF, Nikon F, and Sigma SA lens mounts. The lens used for this field test had a Canon mount. The accompanying images were captured using two cameras: a Canon EOS 6D and a Sony Alpha a7R II, which required the use of a Sigma MC-11 Canon EF to Sony E Mount Converter (sold separately).

The Nikon version of the lens features an electromagnetic diaphragm mechanism, which will provide ultimate performance with the latest Nikon camera models.

Sigma 70-200mm f/2.8 DG OS HSM, Sony Alpha A7r II

To optimize speed, security, and utility when shooting on a tripod, the Sigma 70-200mm f/2.8 zoom sports a rotatable tripod collar with a removable Arca-compatible quick-release base. When shooting handheld, the tripod collar can be easily rotated out of the way, making it easier to palm the lens comfortably.

For maintaining optimal performance levels, the Sigma 70-200mm DG OS HSM is compatible with Sigma's optional USB Dock, and for times you need farther reach, the new zoom is compatible with Sigma's 1.4x and 2x teleconverters. A dedicated, carbon-fiber-reinforced lens shade with a click-release button is included.

Sigma 70-200mm f/2.8 DG OS HSM, Canon EOS 6D

I found the speed and accuracy of the lenses autofocus system to be quite good when shooting with the lens mounted directly on the Canon 6D. However, the degree of focus speed and accuracy seemed to suffer slightly when using the same lens on the Sony a7R II with an MC-11 lens adapter. It should be noted that I cannot say for sure whether the performance differences I experienced were unique to my test gear or true in general. Regardless, as the accompanying photographs illustrate, the lens captured sharp, robust image files with both camera systems.

Sigma's old reputation as a "second-tier" lens manufacturer was demolished when the company introduced its Global Vision lens initiative. Sigma's Art-, Contemporary-, and Sports-series lenses are finding their ways into a growing number of camera bags, including the bags of several co-workers, and we tend to be a picky bunch, to say the least.

Sigma 70-200mm f/2.8 DG OS HSM, Sony Alpha A7r II
Sigma 70-200mm f/2.8 DG OS HSM, Sony Alpha A7r II

So how does Sigma's new 70-200mm f/2.8 DG OS HSM stand up to its well-established competition? Having shot with many (but not all) comparable 70-200mm zooms from competing manufacturers, I would say: quite well. The construction, design functionality and—equally important—the image quality of the lens, are first class. And then there's the cost factor: Sigma's 70-200mm f/2.8 DG OS HSM Sports zoom costs hundreds of dollars less than competitive lenses, with zero sacrifices. Long story short: this lens is a keeper.

Sigma 70-200mm f/2.8 DG OS HSM

Do you have any experiences with Sigma Global vision lenses? If so, we'd love to hear your thoughts about them.

2 Comments

I agree Kevin! I'm looking for a fast sport lens and they show samples of fire hydrants and building? I think the marketing staff blew this one up. Too bad. The Nikon 70-200mm f/2.8 has always been a performer so I think I'll put my trust and money on the solid performer.

I'm confused. This lens is marketed as a "sport" lens. All sample images are beautiful, but static. Where are the sample images of action shots in various lighting levels?  I'm looking here for a SPORT lens, not landscape or architecture!

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