First Impressions: Sigma 24-105mm F4 DG HSM OS (Canon EF)

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Sigma 24-105mm f4 first impressions (7 of 7)ISO 32001-80 sec at f - 2.5

When Sigma announced their 24-105mm f4 DG HSM OS, we believe that the world was taken a bit by surprise. No one saw it coming at all. And so we were pleasantly surprised to play with the lens at Photo Plus Expo 2013. It’s amongst one the newest additions to the company’s line of Art lenses and is meant to be a strong competitor to Canon’s 24-105mm f4 L; though we’re not sure it will be able to hold its own to Nikon’s 24-120mm f4 offering.

However, during our short time with the lens at Photo Plus, we began to think that this optic was created to be something inspired by Zeiss.

Tech Specs

Lens Construction 19 elements in 14 groups
Minimum aperture F22
Filter size 82㎜
Angle of view (35mm equivalent) 84.1°-23.3°
Minimum focusing distance 45cm / 17.7in
Dimensions (Diameter x Length) φ88.6mm x 109.4mm / 3.5in x 4.3in
Number of diaphragm blades 9 (rounded diaphragm)
Maximum magnification ratio 1:4.6
Weight 885g / 31.2oz

Ergonomics

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Sigma 24-105mm f4 first impressions (1 of 7)ISO 32001-50 sec at f - 2.5

 

When you first look at Sigma’s 24-105mm f4 lens, you’ll notice things that really seem to characterize their pro zooms. For example, there is a massive zoom ring and a small manual focus ring in the back. In fact, the manual focusing ring feels like an aperture ring more than anything. However, it doesn’t control aperture.

The lens has a metal exterior overall with rubber rings and a focusing scale that for the most part is really useless unless you’re using the lens to shoot video.

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Sigma 24-105mm f4 first impressions (4 of 7)ISO 32001-80 sec at f - 2.5

 

The lens has a pretty big front element that is protected by the lens hood. This front element doesn’t seem to move when focusing either–which is a great thing.

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Sigma 24-105mm f4 first impressions (3 of 7)ISO 32001-80 sec at f - 2.5

 

Sigma’s 24-105mm f4 has external zooming and the version that we played with experienced a bit of lens creep. However, we handled a pre-production model and we really hope that the final version doesn’t suffer from the same issue.

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Sigma 24-105mm f4 first impressions (6 of 7)ISO 32001-80 sec at f - 2.5

 

On the side of the lens are two very typical controls: one for manual or autofocusing and the other is for optical stabilization control. Keep these two in mind if you’re using a tripod or shooting handheld.

Build Quality

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Sigma 24-105mm f4 first impressions (2 of 7)ISO 32001-80 sec at f - 2.5

 

If Zeiss created a zoom lens with autofocus abilities, it would be this lens. The zoom and focusing rings both feel incredibly smooth to the touch and you almost want to turn them just to feel the smoothness. Perhaps Sigma thought about the video crowd when creating this lens.

Additionally, the lens overall just feels solid in the hand. Everything about it feels significantly more high end than what Canon’s offering is. However, Canon’s lens has weather sealing.

Ease of Use

Point, shoot, and be in awe. That’s really all there is to this lens. Oh, and that dulce de leche smooth focusing and zooming…which we can’t get enough of. It’s almost like giving an ice cream addict little spoonfuls at a time.

Autofocus

We handled the lens on a Canon 60D and feel that the focusing was pretty darn fast–just as fast as any of Canon’s offerings.

Image Quality

We weren’t allowed to stick a card in the camera because the unit that we handled was a pre-production unit, however we were quite impressed with the image quality overall. The bokeh seems smooth, the lens seems sharp, and there even seems to be a bit of microcontrast to the images.

We didn’t notice very much vignetting and we also couldn’t accurately judge the colors. However, this lens is also quite contrasty.

First Impressions

Sigma’s 24-105mm f4 lens is one that may hopefully restore the faith of many shooters who were fed up with the one that Canon produces. My older copy of the Canon lens needed to be recalibrated quite often until I sold it out of frustration. Hopefully Sigma’s unit won’t have the same issues. And the only way to really tell that would be to do a long term lens review. We will be asking Sigma for a long term loan on the unit to fully test this issue.

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