Lens review

Sigma 8-16 mm f/4.5-5.6 DC HSM

Sigma 8-16 mm f/4.5-5.6 DC HSM
25 May 2010
Arkadiusz Olech

1. Introduction

Originally posted 2010-05-24 on Optyczne.pl

When the market was swamped by digital reflex cameras with sensors smaller than a 35 mm film frame for the first time, all the manufacturers faced the lack of ultra wide angle lenses. 16(17)–35(40) mm lenses, used so far for that purpose on small sensors, became just kit lenses substitutes – there were simply no wider zooms available. Small wonder such devices as a Canon 10-22 mm, a Nikkor 12-24 mm, an Olympus 7–14 mm, a Pentax 12–24 mm, a Sigma 10–20 mm f/4.0–5.6, a Tamron 11–18 mm or a Tokina 12–24 mm appeared soon afterwards.

The second wave of this class lenses was launched in 2008-2009. Then we saw a Nikkor 10-24 mm, an Olympus 9-18 mm, a Sigma 10-20 mm f/3.5 a Tamron 10-24 mm or a Tokina 11-16 mm. During all these years nobody suggested a device which would give really extreme angles of view on small sensors – something like fixed-focal 14 mm class lenses, which, on full frame, have angles of view of almost 114 degrees or like a Sigma 12-24 mm, which also on full frame gives over 120 degrees of field. The widest lenses offered so far which weren’t fisheyes, had a 10 mm focal length and gave the field of view of 109.6 degrees on a sensor with 1.5x multiplier. The only exception was the Olympus 7-14 mm, already mentioned above, which, on a small 4/3 sensor, could reach over 114 degrees.

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The Sigma company decided to overcome that limit and, as the first producer, they offered even a wider zoom, with 8–16 mm focal lengths range. In its catalogues and Internet websites Sigma states that the lens can give us an impressing range of angles – from 114.5 to 75.7 degrees. You must remember, though, that these values are true for a small Foveon, in which case the focal length multiplier amounts to 1.7x. For a DX class sensor (1.5 multiplier) this range of angles increases to 121.1-83.1 degrees and for an APS-C class sensor (1.6x multiplier) – to 119.1-80.7 degrees. We deal here, then, with an equivalent of a unique full frame Sigma 12-24 mm.

We like such interesting, inventive constructions very much indeed. They constitute a real treat for a tester and for a photographer as well. Small wonder the lens had been ordered for testing purposes long before it was launched on the Polish market. When it finally arrived, the K-Consult company, the distributor of Sigma products in Poland, immediately lent it to us.

Information about our review method can be read in our article “How do we test lenses?"

Sigma 8-16 mm f/4.5-5.6 DC HSM - Introduction