Check out the video review here – https://youtu.be/9xCVylgYvhw
The Canon 70-200 F2.8 IS has been a staple lens in photographers and videographers bags for years now. With awesome image quality, solid stabilisation, a great focal range and snappy autofocus all at a great price it’s obvious why. So when Sigma announced their 70-200mm F2.8 DG OS HSM Sport I was extremely interested to see how it stacked up against it’s Canon competition given it’s attractive price point of £950 ex vat which is nearly half of its Canon counterpart.
When it comes to specs the Sigma looks very promising. It is weather sealed and built extremely well. It is a tad on the heavy side weighing in at 1.8kg, which is a decent amount heavier than the Canon 70-200mm F2.8 IS III which weighs in at almost 1.5kg. The lens is constructed of 24 elements in 22 groups with 9 FLD elements and 1 SLD element, so no wonder the lens is so heavy!The lens has an 11 bladed iris, a front filter thread size of 82mm and is available in Canon EF & Nikon F mount.
It also has 3 AF lock buttons on the lens, and a toggle switch for enabling the selection of two af modes with priority given to either automatic or manual-override focusing and full manual focus. The lens has a close focus of 1.2 meters but you can set limiters on the lens to change that to 3m or even a custom amount using Sigmas handy dandy USB dock.
This dock will allow you to update firmware and adjust your cameras back focus at 4 different focal lengths. On the lens you have C1 & C2. These are two different custom setting modes. Within each custom setting you can change three different parameters the first being AF customisation. In this you can change between three different modes, one for Speed, one for smooth performance designed for more natural looking autofocus for video & one standard profile in between both.
You can also limit your focus range, so if you are shooting a subject where you know you will be a certain distance from your subject you can restrict the close focus down so the lens doesn’t hunt for subjects in the closer distances. This is a great feature if you are doing obs doc work or sports. Lastly you have three different OS settings. Dynamic view mode, which is designed for fast image acquisition, moderate view mode which is the mode designed for video as it has a little bit of camera shake and is less jittery and more fluid and standard which is a hybrid of the two.
We shot our tests on our RED Monstro in full 8K.
When it comes to Bokeh both lenses suffer from lemon shaped bokeh when wide open. However the Sigma is a little better controlled. When stopped down to F4 this effect is much better and the bokeh is rounder. Both lenses have extremely clean bokeh with only very minimal edge definition and green fringing. The Sigmas bokeh has a bit more character to it with less defined edges & slight texture whereas the Canons is a bit smoother. Overall both lenses render bokeh very well.
With flare we shot wide open and stopped down to F4. The main characters you can see changing between the two different apertures are the amount of veiling glare as well as the size of the optical aberrations on the right of frame. When comparing the two lenses you can see that the Canon has a little bit more veiling glare but does have a much nicer flare. It’s a lot softer without as many optical aberrations going on giving it a more pleasing look in my opinion.
Both lenses handle distortion very well with only very minor bowing.
As you would expect from these tele zooms breathing is not their strong point. Both lenses suffer from extreme breathing at every focal length. But to be honest this is to be expected with stills lenses.
Vignetting // Coverage
Both lenses are designed for full frame sensors but the Sigma showcases a bit more light loss towards the edges of frame. The Canon controls it a little bit better with less light loss. As soon as you stop down both lenses control it much better.
Both lenses render extremely well. On projector both lenses render 200 linepairs in the center wide open across their focal ranges and hold that sharpness out to the corners decently well. I would say the Canon is a touch sharper but only slightly. One thing I did notice was the Canon was also a lot more parfocal than the Sigma. Overall both lenses render detail very very well.
Wide open both lenses have very minor CA but you can notice some. The Sigma’s aberrations shift a little more purple where as the Canon’s are more green. I would also say in the center the Canon is just a touch cleaner but this will only be noticed by pixel peeping. When stopped down to F/4 the aberrations are much more controlled on both lenses and I would say the Sigma is cleaner once you are at F4. But overall both lenses handle aberrations very well.
Another thing I noticed was the colour difference between the two lenses. Straight out of camera the Sigma shifts a little purple and the Canon shifts a little green. When you are scrubbing between clips this is extremely noticeable.
Video AF Comparison
We also did a speed comparison between the two lenses. We shot these tests using a 1DXII. I think the Sigma is a little faster than the Canon but both are extremely fast!
Overall, for the price the Sigma 70-200 is an incredibly compelling option for people wanting excellent image quality, great IS & excellent customisation features. Let us know which lens you prefer in the comments below and make sure you’re subscribed.