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4.5 out of 5 stars
Sigma 8-16mm f/4.5-5.6 DC HSM FLD AF Ultra Wide Zoom Lens for APS-C sized Canon Digital DSLR Camera
Style Name: Canon Digital DSLR CameraChange
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148 of 158 people found the following review helpful
on June 15, 2010
Style Name: Nikon Digital DSLR CameraVerified Purchase
I am going to give my opinion comparing the Sigma 8 - 16mm to the Sigma 10 - 20mm lens and not to other manufactures WA lenes.

I take around 200,000 pictures a year with the Sigma 10 - 20mm lens. The lens has held up well, feels solid and in my opinion works well with little chromatic aberrations. My only real issue with the 10 - 20 was when taking photos of dark home interiors (which is what I do) and there is a very bright window in the image then sometimes a blue flare appears just off center in the image. This can be reduced by, say 90% in Photoshop. It does not happen every time but when it does even moving to a slightly different shooting position often does not eliminate the problem. The blue flare seems to be not the same problem one might expect to see outdoors shooting in bright sunlight where flare spots can run diagonally through the picture, but then maybe it is the same type of flare. Also by even adding a "thin" filter it can cause some vignetting. The filter issue is forgivable on such a wide angle lens. One last point, there is some slight curvature noticable on verticals close to the sides of the frame.

So to the Sigma 8 - 16mm. I think it's very well made and feels good and solid right out of the box. I was thinking "20% wider" but forgot also 20% taller in image coverage. It is noticable different in angle of view from the 10 - 20mm. Because of the bulbus front element forget about ever adding a filter. Some WA lenes (fisheyes) allow fitting a filter in the rear of the lens. Forgive me but I have not looked to see if this lens allows that. The front of the lens has a fixed petal lens shade that allows the lens cap to slide/push over it and creating a nice tight fit. The lens cap is in two parts for reasons someone else will have to explain.

The lens has a maximium f4.5 - f5.6 aperture, a little slow but of no importance for most users of a lens this wide and for 99% of the uses it will be put to.

I have taken about 2,000 pictures with my 8 - 16mm and think it is probably slightly better in all aspects than the 10 - 20mm lens, but read the guys who put this lens through lab tests, my tests are in the field and based on what my eyes can see rather than what instruments can measure.

It is a harder lens to use than the Sigma 10 - 20mm. Tilting just slightly will cause verticuls to tilt (thank you Photoshop). I have noticed the blue flare less with this lens than the 10 - 20mm. I think it may be there but spread over a bigger area and less strong and maybe less common. Some flare is to be expected with all super wides. Curviture at the frame edges seems about the same as the 10 - 20mm - which I consider good - again for a super wide.

So which is the better choice. That is a difficult question to answer - it depends. The 8 - 16mm is about $200 more - but is noticable wider. It you need to squeese every inch from a picture then the 8 - 16 is your choice. If price is a concern or landscape is your interest I am sure the 10 - 20 would suffice. However if money is no object then get the 8 - 16mm and then go out and learn to use it. Believe me there is a learning process.

Update Dec 2012

After more than 150,000 pics with this lens (yes the D300 burnt out its mirror and shutter once again - about $400 if you're wondering) I really do like this lens more than ever. I use it for interiors and set it now to manual, at f11 with the focus set at the start of the infinity mark. Saves the lens "hunting" on room interiors - just speeds things up and with HDR don't want different focal points. Everything seems to be in focus from a foot to infinity at those settings but not the setting Sigma suggested to me over the phone. Flare is quite well managed outside with the sun directly in the picture, or if it is just outside the frame I then hold my hand a foot or two above the lens. Of course you can't use a filter to protect the bulbus front element but I have never damaged a lens in 35 years of pro or semi pro photography and never used a filter just for protection. They do increase the chances of flare. I DO always replace the lens cap after use and avoid cleaning as much as possible - other than a blower. I still keep my 10 - 20mm Sigma with a 10X ND filter attached to allow for slow 3 minute exposures - can't do that with the 8 - 16. Now just ordered the Sigma 4.5mm fisheye to add to the Nikkor 10.5 fisheye. As you might guess I'm hooked on "wide".
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57 of 61 people found the following review helpful
Style Name: Pentax Digital DSLR Camera
Overall the Sigma 8-16mm f/4.5-f/5.6 is an excellent lens, but not being able to accept filters will be a turn off for some people. However, the advent of HDR and exposure fusion, external filters are less necessary. I find I get better results using bracketed exposures, but this is more work in post processing that not everyone is going to want to do.

Strengths
- Ultra wide field of view
- Architecture (14-16mm)
- Landscapes/Cityscapes
- Build Quality
- Quiet and Smooth Focus

Weaknesses
- No lens filters
- Architecture (8-12mm without correction)
- Extreme corners are soft
- Focal lengths less than 10mm aren't recognized by camera (Pentax specific)
- Slow focus in Live View (Pentax specific)

This lens offers a superbly corrected 13-16mm f/5.6, or an extremely wide field of view at focal lengths wider than that, but will start showing barrel distortion and corner softness. It is definitely a good wide angle lens, offering and extremely wide field of view. Nearly every shot I took in my walk was at 8mm. I imagine after some of the newness wears off I would use the other focal lengths more, as 8mm is bordering on too wide for a rectilinear lens. I honestly would not see a point in going wider than that, as at 8mm perspective distortion can become extremely distracting for some subjects near the edge of the frame (especially people). CA is well controlled at all focal lengths and apertures, but is sometimes visible at extreme corners and at certain apertures (worst is about 1.5 pixels on my 14.6 MP camera) The Sigma 10-20mm f/4-5.6 remains an affordable alternative, and can still use filters.

I do recommend this lens if you are looking for an ultra wide. It offers a lot over the alternatives, even the camera manufacturers own wide angles.
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35 of 43 people found the following review helpful
on June 15, 2010
Style Name: Canon Digital DSLR Camera
I am going to give my opinion comparing the Sigma 8 - 16mm to the Sigma 10 - 20mm lens and not to other manufactures WA lenes.

I take around 200,000 pictures a year with the Sigma 10 - 20mm lens. The lens has held up well, feels solid and in my opinion works well with little chromatic aberrations. My only real issue with the 10 - 20 was when taking photos of dark home interiors (which is what I do) and there is a very bright window in the image then sometimes a blue flare appears just off center in the image. This can be reduced by, say 90% in Photoshop. It does not happen every time but when it does even moving to a slightly different shooting position often does not eliminate the problem. The blue flare seems to be not the same problem one might expect to see outdoors shooting in bright sunlight where flare spots can run diagonally through the picture, but then maybe it is the same type of flare. Also by even adding a "thin" filter it can cause some vignetting. The filter issue is forgivable on such a wide angle lens. One last point, there is some slight curvature noticable on verticals close to the sides of the frame.

So to the Sigma 8 - 16mm. I think it's very well made and feels good and solid right out of the box. I was thinking "20% wider" but forgot also 20% taller in image coverage. It is noticable different in angle of view from the 10 - 20mm. Because of the bulbus front element forget about ever adding a filter. Some WA lenes (fisheyes) allow fitting a filter in the rear of the lens. Forgive me but I have not looked to see if this lens allows that. The front of the lens has a fixed petal lens shade that allows the lens cap to slide/push over it and creating a nice tight fit. The lens cap is in two parts for reasons someone else will have to explain.

The lens has a maximium f4.5 - f5.6 aperture, a little slow but of no importance for most users of a lens this wide and for 99% of the uses it will be put to.

I have taken about 2,000 pictures with my 8 - 16mm and think it is probably slightly better in all aspects than the 10 - 20mm lens, but read the guys who put this lens through lab tests, my tests are in the field and based on what my eyes can see rather than what instruments can measure.

It is a harder lens to use than the Sigma 10 - 20mm. Tilting just slightly will cause verticuls to tilt (thank you Photoshop). I have noticed the blue flare less with this lens than the 10 - 20mm. I think it may be there but spread over a bigger area and less strong and maybe less common. Some flare is to be expected with all super wides. Curviture at the frame edges seems about the same as the 10 - 20mm - which I consider good - again for a super wide.

So which is the better choice. That is a difficult question to answer - it depends. The 8 - 16mm is about $200 more - but is noticable wider. It you need to squeese every inch from a picture then the 8 - 16 is your choice. If price is a concern or landscape is your interest I am sure the 10 - 20 would suffice. However if money is no object then get the 8 - 16mm and then go out and learn to use it. Believe me there is a learning process.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
on October 14, 2011
Style Name: Sony Digital DSLR CameraVerified Purchase
If you are looking for a very wide angle zoom lens to shoot landscapes and similar types of photography, it's hard to imagine that you can do much better than this lens. It's very sharp for a zoom lens (see detailed map of sharpness at various focal lengths and apertures at imaging resource.com). It is particularly sharp when it is used wide open (8mm focal length and 4.5 f-stop), but it maintains pretty decent sharpness as long as you stay under f-11 throughout its zoom range. Not cheap, and not light and perhaps not as fast as some super high-end wide-angle zooms, and you cannot use filters because of the protruding globe of the last lens element. Otherwise, nearly perfect, except for the steep price.

Pros:

1) tack sharp, esp. for a zoom lens
2) fairly well controlled distortion (but some barrel distortion in corners)
3) good control of CA

Cons:

1) can't use filters (unless someone comes up with ridiculously wide bonnet attachment)
2) limited zoom range - can't really be used for people pictures - wish it went to 24mm in that regard
3) not cheap
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
on January 30, 2011
Style Name: Canon Digital DSLR CameraVerified Purchase
Recently I assembled a slideshow of pictures I had taken on a trip to Spain. I was surprised to see how many shots were at 18mm with my Canon EF-S 18-200mm lens on my Canon 40d. I was also surprised to see how many of those shots had significant barrel distortion. Those revelations led to the purchase of this lens. While I do still see some barrel distortion on this lens between 8mm and 11mm, images above that level appear normal. As one can imagine, there's a good bit of perspective distortion between 8mm -10mm for objects close to the lens, especially around the perimeter of the frame. Thus I can get the cityscape images I wanted and some creative shots as well. The lens comes with what Sigma calls a "front cap adapter". This is really a removable hollow tube which extends to protect the convex (bulb-like) lens. It's not visible in the image above around 12mm. Below that the tube starts cutting into the corners until the image becomes almost circular at 8mm, providing an interesting perspective. The one drawback of the convex lens is the inability to attach filters to this lens. One should be a bit more careful with this lens to avoid scratches and other damage that would normally be absorbed by a UV filter. Transporting the lens, however, is not an issue with the front lens adapter.

I won't speak to the technical merits of the lens as there are plenty of other reviews on the web that can address issues such as bokeh and CA. This lens feels solid, as one would expect from this price range.

While this lens will never be the only one I take on a trip, it will certainly be in my bag most of the time as it can deliver images that no other lens can.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
on September 28, 2011
Style Name: Canon Digital DSLR Camera
If you love to shoot landscape photography and own an APS-C camera, then you must purchase this lens! I own a Canon 7D and have used my EF-S 17-55mm 2.8 lens for landscape shots for about a year. That combo works very well, but I often found myself wanting to encompass more of the scene in front of me, to totally immerse the viewer in the photo. This lens fixed that problem. Along with being super sharp, especially in the center of the frame, the color and contrast are excellent, and the lens flare is suppressed very well, even with the sun in the frame. There is a some flare, but that's what Photoshop is for, right?
The build quality is very good, with the zoom ring and focus ring very smooth and sturdy feeling. I would say it beats the 17-55 in build quality.
I just returned from a trip to the southwest, and uploaded a couple photos to this page. Amazing wide angle capability. I simply cannot say enough good things about this lens.
If you consider the price along with the unique 8mm full-rectangular photos from your APS-C camera, along with the optical quality, then this may be the best value for your dollar in any lens!
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
on September 20, 2011
Style Name: Canon Digital DSLR CameraVerified Purchase
I just unloaded all my full frame Canon gear and went over to APS-c (7d) bodies and lenses. I was looking for a wide angle to give me something near the image quality I got out of full frame sensor cameras and Canon L series lenses. This lens does it. It's easily sharper than the Canon 17-40 L, and as sharp as most fixed focal length wides - full or cropped sensor. It would be a great lens if it didn't have typical Sigma mechanical problems. I've owned a variety of Sigma lenses over the years and their macros are truly exceptional. However, every Sigma lens I've owned, including this one, has had some sort of mechanical/electrical failure. In this case, the autofocus copped out within weeks of my receiving the lens. It's not too big a deal, because I mostly manual focus anyway, but it's an annoyance. I haven't had time to send the lens in for warranty work yet,but will shortly. Still, the lens is wicked-sharp edge to edge, amazingly flare resistant given the bulbous front element, and the pictures from it just pop. It won't take filters, and the front cap looks/works like it was designed by Red Green. Take Ken Rockwell's advice and buy an extra small Lens Coat hoodie ($13) to use for a front cap, it works great. Vist Rockwell's website for an interesting, albeit ranting, review of this lens, and while you're at it, head over to Photozone and check out their test results - both rate the lens's optics very highly. Despite the autofocus problem, I'd buy the lens again - there's nothing else out there that really competes except for maybe the Tokina 11-16, which is mechanically superior, but not quite as good optically, and has a narrower zoom range. Optically, Sigma has a winner here. Now, if they could only built their lenses as solidly as Tokina...
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on March 21, 2011
Style Name: Nikon Digital DSLR CameraVerified Purchase
This is my 2nd ultra-wide lens purchase. I use a D90 and previously returned a Nikon 10-24mm.

Pros:
- Great resolution + contrast over most the frame, less so toward the corners
- Good construction-feels good in hands
- Some barrel distortion, but OK for an extreme wide angle. My 18-105 has more distortion at 18mm than this lens at 8mm.

Cons:
- AF often not accurate-I have to manually focus using the distance scale for best sharpness.
- Slightly underexposes compared to my Nikon lenses
- Slow f/4.5 maximum aperture and not usable with built in camera flash

My ultra-wide angle lenses often do not auto-focus accurately on my D90. I most commonly use ultra-wide lenses at the widest zoom setting and wide open aperture. After auto-focusing on a subject, I can see the distance on the distance scale is wrong. Upon close inspection, the pictures are sometimes slightly out of focus. To make the problem worse, this lens can focus way past infinity (to allow for temperature extremes per the manufacture). So that means when I focus on a subject across the room, sometimes the lens will auto-focus past infinity. Or to 3 feet.

These focus errors are usually covered by the huge depth of field. But when viewing images at large sizes, it is noticeable.

I do not think this problem is unique to my lenses or camera. AF modules operate similar to a MF split image viewfinder, and there just is not enough movement to nail focus 100%. For best sharpness, manually focus using the distance scale (or live view?). Many people would not notice, but I am fussy.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on August 4, 2013
Style Name: Nikon Digital DSLR Camera
This lens is ideal for certain situations, primarily if you want to take a close-up of an object such as a car. At a classic car show instead of either taking a picture of part of the car or backing up so far that people will not notice you and hence walk in front of you, the 8-16mm lens gets the entire car from a convenient shooting position. It also works superbly for landscapes that give a nearly panoramic view. Mountains, the sky, fields, all are captured in the range of this lens. Because of the curvature of the lens you can point your camera skyward and still have your subject in sight. This works well for streetscapes. I will warn people that the other reviewers are correct about the lens distorting at the edges, but that is almost to be expected with such a wide field of view.

I did a great deal of research before I decided to buy this lens. I found it at an excellent price and the reviews were far more positive than negative. The mating surface is metal and the entire lens is well constructed. Sigma's lens cap is a bit odd as they make a two part cover which I'm told is actually part cap and part hood. The hood portion of the assembly will accept a filter, but many people more knowledgeable than I recommended against using this portion of the cover for a filter. Vignetting will be a serious problem if you try to use a filter. OK, so one of my lenses is not filtered. I'm OK with that. So use the cap and hood as a glorified cover and you will do just fine. After all, the nature of this lens means that you will only use it for specific situations so there isn't really much to fret about.

The lens is also rather heavy, which indicates how well built it is, but that can become a burden after a while. I recommend using the camera on a tripod whenever possible which will help with the weight issue. The lens will take a bit of getting used to and will also require many "practice" shots before you will realize its fullest capabilities (and its liabilities), but that is part of the fun with digital photography.

This lens is likely to be my only third party lens, and some resources out there claim that some of Sigma's lenses are not high quality. But even these critics speak highly of the 8-16mm lens. This is my only Sigma lens so I cannot speak to the criticisms of Sigma's manufacturing practices. I like it and think it is a superb lens. My recommendation is to do your research. Check Amazon reviews. Watch online videos. Read up on this lens. But in the end, you will not be disappointed with the decision to make the purchase. It is a solid, well built lens and is available for most major camera makes. Once you have it, experiment. The field of view is awesome and the capabilities outweigh the liabilities. Know that it will distort, but not like a fisheye lens. If you use a product like Lightroom, you can capitalize on the distortions with the vignette feature. This is a quality lens and I recommend it to you.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
on October 15, 2011
Style Name: Canon Digital DSLR CameraVerified Purchase
I initially wanted to get the new Canon Fisheye 8-15 mm f/4L, but was slightly put off by its price tag, and by the fact that it would give me unattractive partial circular images at the wide end on my crop format Canon 50D.
Then I found out about this (relatively new) Sigma lens. The US price (much lower than in Europe) convinced me to go for it while on a recent business trip to the States. After a few shots I already loved this lens! I was already pleasantly surprised at how much I could fit into the field of view at 16mm... then I zoomed back to 8mm and was simply speechless.
I was lucky enough to make my first experiences with this lens in New York, and there's nothing quite like getting the ENTIRE Chrysler building into a single shot from just across the road!
No doubt I will have a lot more fun with this lens as time goes on. It will certainly take some practice before I can really get great shots - the distortions that go with extreme wide angle shots take some getting used to.
I am not a pixel peeper, but based on my first shots, sharpness and colour are good across the whole image.
Highly recommended!
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