Lenses come and lenses go… a lot like love. Also, like love, when you've found a lens that gives you that hard-to-define feeling of joy, comfort, and satisfaction, you should shout it to the world. For me, that lens is the Sigma 24-70mm f/2.8 DG OS HSM Art Lens. It's not that the Sigma is better than other available lenses, it's just the right lens for me.
I'm a Nikon DSLR shooter, and have been for some time. I'm also a working photographer and, by that, I mean I need equipment that will serve its required purpose, perform consistently, and not break down when bounced around a bit; I don't worry too much about the specific specs, the number of elements or the "buttery bokeh." As a news and event photographer, a 24-70mm focal length zoom is almost a must-have, and I've had several over the years, including Nikon's bests, and others from Sigma and Tokina. I've also used Canon's versions, as well, but after my most recent Nikon 24-70mm f/2.8 was dropped and damaged beyond repair, I needed to replace it quickly. Kismet called and Sigma was having a limited price deal on most of its Art-series lenses, so I jumped on the 24-70 f/2.8 and have not one regret.
While it's true that the appeal of Sigma brand lenses has traditionally been the price point compared to its Canon and Nikon counterparts, since the introduction of the Art series, the price difference is not as drastic, primarily because the current Sigma lenses are much better than previous iterations, and the 24-70mm f/2.8 is a great example of this. What I've grown to appreciate about this lens is its size, handling, and precise autofocus. Compared to the Nikon version, it is more than 2" shorter when at the 24mm focal length, and its zoom ring is comfortable and smooth. It weighs a bit less than the Nikon and, while the Nikon tapers toward the base, the Sigma and Nikon have the same maximum diameter. It really is the smaller form factor and ease of handling that makes a difference for me. I would say that the Nikon's autofocus is a bit faster, but the Sigma HSM (Hyper Sonic Motor) is smooth and quiet and precise—I have had no problems with hunting to find focus. This was a problem with my previous Sigma lens, but I'm very pleased that with this Art series zoom, it is not the case.
The lens also offers an Optical Stabilizer to minimize the blurring effects of camera shake and its "super multi-layer" lens coatings have a noticeable effect on lens flare and maintaining contrast within the image. The lens also looks good, with a sleek black finish made from TSC (Thermally Stable Composite) material, and minimal control buttons. Size, shape, performance, price = lens love… at least, for now.
The "Things We Love" series articles are written by B&H Photo Video Pro Audio staff to talk about products and items that we love. Opinions expressed in the articles are those of the writers and do not represent product endorsements from B&H Photo Video Pro Audio.