Review: Sigma 70-200mm F2.8 DG OS HSM Sports Lens (Those Colors!)

The Sigma 70-200mm f2.8 DG OS HSM Sports lens is great for what it is, but it wouldn’t be my first choice.

2019 was the year I hoped that DSLR lenses like the Sigma 70-200mm f2.8 DG OS HSM Sports would be replaced by smaller and lighter Mirrorless lenses. (This piece was written in 2019 and published in 2020.) And quite honestly, if the Sigma 70-200mm f2.8 DG OS Sports lens is any indication, then I’m excited to see what Sigma produces for Mirrorless cameras. This lens focuses quickly, accurately, and maintains focus when adapted to a Canon EOS R. But no matter what you’re using it on, you should know that this is a big lens. However, you should also know that this is a Sigma lens. And to that end, it’s one of the best on the market.

Pros and Cons

Pros

  • Fast autofocus even when adapted to the Canon EOS R
  • Weather sealed
  • Sharp image quality
  • Nice bokeh
  • Price point

Cons

  • It’s big
  • It’s heavy
  • Honestly, I wouldn’t want to carry it around. But I shoot mostly prime lenses.

Gear Used

We tested the Sigma 70-200mm f2.8 DG OS Sports lens with the:

  • Canon EOS R
  • Canon EF to RF adapter
  • WANDRD PRVKE 31
  • Profoto B10

Tech Specs

Specs taken from the Adorama listing:

  • Combining all of the features required by professional photographers
  • Rugged lightweight structure
  • Equipped with a focus limiter
  • Tripod socket with high usability
  • 10 exclusive low-dispersion glass elements
  • Manual Override (MO) capable of switching two full-time manual modes
  • Customization is possible to improve versatility
  • Compatible with Canon Lens Aberration Correction
  • Lens Mount: Canon EOS
  • Zoom Focal Length: 70-200mm Lens
  • Lens Format: Full Frame
  • Maximum Aperture: f/2.8
  • Lens Type: Standard to Telephoto Zoom SLR Lens
  • Image Stabilization Type: Yes (OS)
  • Lens Series: Sigma DG Series

Ergonomics

The Sigma 70-200mm f2.8 DG OS HSM Sports is a big lens. By and large, I wouldn’t really want to carry around with me even if I still shot DSLRs. It’s characterized by the zoom ring and the focusing ring. In addition to that, there are function buttons and the little distance scale on the Sigma 70-200mm f2.8 DG OS HSM Sports.

On the side of the Sigma 70-200mm f2.8 DG OS HSM Sports are switches that give you a lot of control. We’ll return to those in a second. Take a quick look below the lens. There is a tripod collar, which works well when mounted to a tripod. But if you try to let the lens stand on its own, it will tip towards the front.

Here’s a closer look at those switches. There is a custom setting, OS control, focus limiter, and AF/MF switch.

Here’s the front element of the Sigma 70-200mm f2.8 DG OS HSM Sports. You’re going to need a pretty big filter for it.

Build Quality

The Sigma 70-200mm f2.8 DG OS HSM Sports is really, really big. I mean, look at these product images. When you attach it to a Canon EOS R and then place it on top of a PRVKE 31 backpack, it will take up the entire thing. Of course, you can’t attach this lens to the camera and bring it with you in this bag, at least not with ease because of the divider system. But it’s possible.

This lens has weather sealing and you can feel the solid build quality throughout the body. Indeed, it also took some bumps during our test. You should note that it’s a very front-heavy lens. You can tell this when you try to make it stand on its own using the tripod collar.

Ease of Use

When using the Sigma 70-200mm f2.8 DG OS HSM Sports, you’re pretty much mounting it and shooting with it. There is a focus limiter and a few switches. If you’re going for this lens, then we’re assuming you’re experienced. With that said, you’ll find your way around the Sigma 70-200mm f2.8 DG OS HSM Sports fairly quickly.

Autofocus

During our testing of the Sigma 70-200mm f2.8 DG OS HSM Sports, we found the autofocus to be surprisingly accurate and fast. To be fair, we needed to calibrate the Canon EOS R to do this, but once we did it was pretty much as fast as anything Sony has made. We shot these during the Veterans Day parade and tracked the people in the frame. It managed to keep them in focus. What this translates into is people at events and other photojournalistic situations being perfectly in focus. We’re very impressed.

The only time we found it difficult to use the Sigma 70-200mm f2.8 DG OS HSM Sports was when it came to face detection. Otherwise, it worked perfectly.

Image Quality

So here is the part you probably care about the most. If you’re a portrait photographer, you’re going to really like the Sigma 70-200mm f2.8 DG OS HSM Sports. The results are very sharp and gorgeous. But you’ll also like the bokeh, the saturated colors, etc. To be honest, there isn’t a single bad thing to say about the Sigma 70-200mm f2.8 DG OS HSM Sports. In fact, I’d say the image quality is on par with it being an Art lens.

Bokeh

Of course, the Sigma 70-200mm f2.8 DG OS HSM Sports can give you really attractive bokeh. If you’re used to using prime lenses this isn’t anything special. However, for events, the bokeh is creamy enough to give the results you need. Making the subject stand out is simple with the Sigma 70-200mm f2.8 DG OS HSM Sports.

Color Rendition

The Sigma 70-200mm f2.8 DG OS HSM Sports renders color more vividly than Canon’s own lenses. So, if you like vivid, saturated, punchy colors then the Sigma is your choice. You’ll experience this across the board: events, portraits, products, etc. It makes the sensor from the Canon EOS R look awesome. In addition to that, it means this lens could be great for landscape photography.

Chromatic Aberration

In our tests, we found no major issue with distortions, aberrations, fringing, etc. It’s a thing of the past mostly, so let’s move on.

Sharpness

The Sigma 70-200mm f2.8 DG OS HSM Sports is absolutely fantastic when it comes to sharpness. If anything, you don’t need to worry about sharpness at all. In my opinion, this is one of the sharpest 70-200mm lenses we’ve tested for DSLRs. It’s only topped by Tamron’s. But, in terms of Mirrorless options, Canon’s own RF version is taking the cake here.

Extra Image Samples

Conclusions

Likes

  • Image Quality
  • Weather sealing
  • Build Quality
  • This is perhaps the fastest focusing lens from Sigma that I’ve used on the Canon EOS R.

Dislikes

  • I hope Sigma makes a lens this good for Mirrorless soon.

Let’s be honest here, the Sigma 70-200mm f2.8 DG OS HSM Sports is a fantastic lens. You’re not going to take a bad photo with it. Will it lose focus at times? Yes. It also doesn’t focus as close as I’d like, but it’s a wonderful lens. The photographers who will reach for it are bound to love it. With weather sealing, solid build quality, and colors that make Canon’s older sensors sing to the mountains, the Sigma 70-200mm f2.8 DG OS HSM Sports is almost a class-leading lens.

This review is being published in 2020, but was written in 2019. And seriously, I just wish Sigma made something like this for Mirrorless.

The Sigma 70-200mm f2.8 DG OS HSM Sports gets four out of five stars. Want one? Check out Amazon for the latest prices.