Review: Sigma 24-70mm f2.8 DG OS HSM Art Lens (Canon EF Mount)

The Sigma 24-70mm f2.8 DG OS HSM Art Lens is fantastic; will you trade up for it?

One of the best pieces of news professional working photographers have heard in the lens world could be about the Sigma 24-70mm f2.8 DG OS HSM Art Lens. Unlike many first party options out there, it has optical stabilization built in which helps a lot at weddings, events, for portraits, etc. Those types of photographers will greatly appreciate this addition on top of the already fantastic optics. Speaking of those optics, Sigma has consistently hit the ball out of the park in our reviews, and I’m happy to say they’re pretty much going to do this same thing in this review. But I should warn you that Sigma’s zoom lenses, while good, aren’t their primes. Sigma’s prime lenses are better. So if you want the best of every focal length offered here, you probably won’t be satisfied until you go for their f1.4 primes instead. And like many of those other lenses, you can take the Sigma 24-70mm f2.8 DG OS HSM Art out into the rain due its weather resistance.

Pros and Cons

Pros

  • Sharp for a zoom lens
  • Optical stabilization
  • Weather sealing
  • Nice build quality
  • The old reliability of a 24-70mm f2.8 lens is always really nice

Cons

  • Nothing really

Gear Used

The Sigma 24-70mm f2.8 DG OS HSM Art was used with the Canon 6D, Canon 6D Mk II and various lights.

Tech Specs

Tech specs for the Sigma 24-70mm f2.8 DG OS HSM Art taken from the Sigma website 

SPECIFICATIONS

Lens Construction 19 elements in 14 groups
Angle of View (35mm) 84.1°­ – 34.3°
Number of Diaphragm Blades 9 (Rounded diaphragm)
Mininum Aperture F22
Minimum Focusing Distance 37cm / 15in.
Filter Size (mm) φ82㎜
Maximum Magnifications 1:4.3
Dimensions
(Diameter x Length)
φ88㎜ × 107.6㎜ / 3.5in. x 4.2in.
Weight 1,020g / 35.9oz.
Corresponding Mounts
Sigma HSM
DG
Nikon HSM
DG
Canon HSM
DG
HSM -Hyper-Sonic Motor
DG – DG for Digital Full Frame and APS-C
* The appearance, specifications, and the like of the product are subject to change for improvement without notice.

Ergonomics

The Sigma 24-70mm f2.8 DG OS HSM Art is a solid lens designed for the professional photographer and it shows in every way. What’s defining most of the exterior are these rubber rings with the carbon-like material made by Sigma. There is otherwise very little texture on the lens.

Turn the lens slightly to the side and you’ll spot the A logo for the Art lineup. Most of Sigma’s lenses are from their Art lineup.

Even further on the side of the Sigma 24-70mm f2.8 DG OS HSM Art are the two main switches for focusing type and optical stabilization.

When extended out fully, the Sigma 24-70mm f2.8 DG OS HSM Art doesn’t get a whole lot larger than when the lens is retracted. It also gets to its longest when zoomed in to 70mm unlike a few of the more traditional offerings on the market.

The front of the Sigma 24-70mm f2.8 DG OS HSM Art has an 82mm filter thread for, well, filters!

Build Quality

The Sigma 24-70mm f2.8 DG OS HSM Art has a rubber ring towards the mount that completes any sort of weather sealing your weather sealed camera would offer. On the inside, Sigma also has some gaskets. When you look at the Sigma 24-70mm f2.8 DG OS HSM Art and observe the overall build, it’s comparable to every other manufacturer’s offerings but sleeker in its own ways. It starts with the finish and the bigger rubber focusing and zoom rings to balance the look with the gripping ability.

Ease Of Use

Put the Sigma 24-70mm f2.8 DG OS HSM Art onto a camera, let it autofocus, and then shoot. That’s really all you need to do here. Well, that and ensure the optical stabilization is activated. If it isn’t, then you’re not taking the fullest advantage of the lens when shooting handheld.

Autofocus

Now, here’s where things may break your heart just a bit. On the Canon 6D, the Sigma 24-70mm f2.8 DG OS HSM Art is truly best with the center focusing point. With the outer points, the camera and lens sometimes missed the subjects. Sad, especially because I saw this happen in good lighting and when focusing on a contrasty spot. To ensure it wasn’t the contacts, I cleaned the lens contacts shortly after. But with the Canon 6D Mk II, the autofocus isn’t really any sort of a problem at all. With that said, spring for a newer DSLR of some sort if you’re going to use the Sigma 24-70mm f2.8 DG OS HSM Art unless you plan on using the center point and recomposing.

Even in challenging light though, the Sigma 24-70mm f2.8 DG OS HSM Art can capture candid moments with ease.

Image Quality

The Sigma 24-70mm f2.8 DG OS HSM Art is fantastic when it comes to image quality. What you should know is Sigma tends to be a bit more on the contrasty and saturated side of things. It’s almost easy to pinpoint an image shot with their lenses right out of the camera. But everything about it is solid. The sharpness is great and obviously best showcased using a flash. Then there’s a nice bokeh, the colors, etc.

Bokeh

When you look at the bokeh from the Sigma 24-70mm f2.8 DG OS HSM Art, you should really be observing it from the more telephoto end. In this photo you can see how creamy it is. I really like it. Is it the same bokeh Sigma’s prime lenses can do? No, but it’s still very nice to look at.

Chromatic Aberration

Lucky for Sigma, I didn’t really find any sort of major aberration from the Sigma 24-70mm f2.8 DG OS HSM Art lens with images straight out of the camera. Capture One doesn’t have a profile for it yet either, but you should know there is little to worry about here. Sigma has purposely been making their lenses bigger to make the image quality better. I’m sure the imaging circle is larger than what’s needed for full frame coverage.

Color Rendition

The Sigma 24-70mm f2.8 DG OS HSM Art delivers really saturated colors right out of the camera. So if you like those really wet, vivid colors, then you’ll enjoy this. However, you should know it happens with skin tones too. Here are a few examples.

This first one may look pretty neutral, but her red undertones are incredibly visible to me, and that’s not normal of many other lenses except with editing. It’s like shooting portraits with Velvia instead of Portra.

Sharpness

The sharpness from the Sigma 24-70mm f2.8 DG OS HSM Art is best exhibited when it’s shot with a flash. It’s gorgeous and very sharp overall. But it is still bordering on that area of being slightly too sharp for portraits as some of Sigma’s lenses have been doing. If you enjoy less post-production the way I do, then consider this fact.

Extra Image Samples

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Conclusions

Likes

  • Sharp image quality
  • Good focusing
  • Nice colors for most instances
  • Beautiful bokeh
  • Fairly compact and lightweight
  • Weather sealing

Dislikes

  • Honestly, not a whole lot. But I wish Sigma’s exterior were more textured than smooth.

The Sigma 24-70mm f2.8 DG OS HSM Art earns very high marks in our book. It’s got beautiful image quality, pretty good focusing abilities, weather sealing, keeps the overall size to a fairly compact package, and works reliably. For professional photographers, the question isn’t about whether or not the lens can perform, but more about Sigma’s professional service options. I mean, if your lens breaks after a wedding and you’ve got another wedding in a few days, knowing that you can get it swapped out is very nice.

But let’s get back to the issues about the lens specifically. Sigma continues to offer and create lenses that are incredibly sharp, and in my opinion they’re too sharp for portraits, even on a DSLR that doesn’t have the highest megapixels. The colors are a bit too saturated for my liking too. However, most other photographers will embrace this and my personal tastes have changed as I’ve shot more film. The bokeh is fantastic and you know you’ll have high reliability with the weather resistance. Do I like the Sigma 24-70mm f2.8 DG OS HSM Art? You bet.

The Sigma 24-70mm f2.8 DG OS HSM Art receives five out of five stars. Want one? Amazon has some of the best prices. And this lens isn’t terribly priced at all.