The Sigma Corporation is a Japanese company that manufactures cameras, lenses, and other photographic accessories. The company began working in 1961 under founder Michihiro Yamaki. Even though Sigma produces several DSLR cameras, they’re better known for making incredible high-quality lenses. These are compatible with cameras produced by other companies and are very popular among photographers of all skill levels.
One such example is the Sigma 17-50mm f/2.8 EX for Nikon, a high-end wide-angle zoom camera that was groundbreaking upon release. It’s easily one of the best wedding photography lenses for Nikon D5600.
The lens is capable of performing on a quality standard both for stills and for videos. Thanks to the fixed maximum aperture, the low light performance of the camera is excellent as well. It’s simple to use, which makes it an excellent choice for a first secondary lens.
The lens was announced in February 2010 and provided third-party competition in the short zoom lens category. It’s the first zoom lens Sigma produced in this range that provides a fixed maximum aperture and optical image stabilization. This lens is immensely popular in the photography community; it’s rare to find a Nikon user that hasn’t tried this lens. It offers high-level performance at a price point that’s much more affordable than the competitors.
- EF-Mount Lens/APS-C Format
- Aperture Range: f/2.8 to f/22
- Hyper Sonic Motor AF System
- OS Image Stabilization
- Super Multi-layer Coating
- Hyper Sonic Motor AF System
Rounded 7-Blade Diaphragm
Performance And Functionality
The Sigma 17-50mm is an EF-Mount Lens that supports the APS-C format for the relevant camera bodies. With the lens, you get an active field of view of 27-80mm (Canon) or 26-75mm (Nikon and other bodies).
Thanks to the robust design, the image quality is sharp through the zoom range, with differing corner softness degrees. At the widest angle, the 17mm, f/2.8 performs at its worst when it comes to corner sharpness. However, even here, it isn’t that bad, and the central area is very sharp. As the lens stops down, the corner softness moves away gradually. At f/5.6, the image sharpness is at the highest quality. In the values above, diffraction limiting seems to become an issue.
Corner softness performance under different focal lengths also tends to vary. However, interestingly the corner performance when zoomed in at 35mm is the same as 17mm.The sharpest point of the lens is 50mm at f/8, where the frame’s performance is most consistent.
Vignetting doesn’t become an issue with the Sigma 17-55mm. The most significant vignetting case occurs when the lens is at 17mm, with an aperture value f/2.8. In comparison, other aperture values do not showcase any signs of corner shading.
Vignetting can be ideal when it comes to taking solo portraits of the bride and groom because it draws attention to the subject of the photograph.
If you’re going to buy a wide-angle zoom lens, you’re going to contend with a fair amount of distortion. The lens suffers from barrel distortion when it’s zoomed to the full wide-angle, and in the middle, there’s no distortion. At the telephoto end, there’s pincushion distortion. At the absolute worst point, the distortion equals 0.75% at 17mm. It approaches the zero-distortion point at 24mm and then moves towards pincushion distortion in the corners.
Sigma’s 17-50mm f/2.8 makes use of a hypersonic motor. Thanks to the lens’ short focus throw, the focusing is quite quick. It takes around one second to focus from close focus to infinity. This is excellent for event photography, such as wedding photography, because it allows you to capture facial expressions really well. Another plus point is that the motor of the lens makes very little noise in the process. Any attached 77mm filter will not rotate when focusing.
The Sigma 17-50mm f/2.8 produces ca of the magenta and green variety when it comes to chromatic aberration. The aberration becomes visible in areas that feature the high contrast, which becomes predominantly apparent in the extreme corners. When you’re using the lens with the zoom wide open, that’s when ca becomes most evident. Although zooming in will limit the presence.
Holding a maximum length of 92mm, the lens is super compact to support a constant maximum aperture of f/2.8. It’s lightweight as well, weighing only 595g. Despite the lightweight nature, the lens feels good in the hands.
Thanks to Sigma’s Optical Stabilization system, the lens can take sharp shots at shutter speeds up to four stops slower without the system. While using the lens, it’s easy to shoot sharp images at speeds as low as 1/10sec at 50mm. It’s quite a useful feature, especially when you’re shooting in conditions with less than optimal lighting.
If you want to engage in proper macro photography, you will need to invest in a specialist lens. However, the macro performance of the Sigma 17-50mm is decent as well. It offers; 0.2x magnification, at a minimum close-focusing distance of 28cm, which matches out to just under a foot.
When you’re going to engage in wedding photography, the chances are high that you will have to record videos to a certain extent. Recording these videos becomes a piece of cake thanks to the Sigma 17-50mm lens. The constant maximum aperture and the combination of optical image stability are the perfect foil for excellent and stable video recording.
If you want to make a significant impact with your videos, then there are better lenses on the market. However, in the simple case of recording a few videos here and then, the Sigma lens will perform at a decent standard. The videos will be stable and always in focus, thanks to the image stabilization.
Performance Compared To Competitors
Sigma vs. Nikon:
When it comes to distortion and transmission, the Sigma performs identically to the Nikkor 17-55mm f/2.8. It completely outclasses the lens, though, thanks to the superior sharpness across the focal length.
Sigma vs. Canon:
There’s also a Canon version of the Sigma lens. When it comes to distortion, the canon performs slightly better. However, once again, when it comes to the lens’s sharpness, the Sigma outperforms the canon by a significant margin.
Sigma vs. Tamron:
Tamron is another company that’s known for creating third party lenses that are compatible with other companies. When it comes to the Canon mount, there’s no competition. Sigma’s canon mounts 17-50mm completely outclasses Tamron’s offering. However, the game is much stiffer in between the Nikon mounts. They manage to perform on a completely equal standing with one another.
While the Sigma 17-50mm is a fantastic lens for wedding photography, it doesn’t perform on the level of premium wide-angle lenses. The distortion needs to be lower, and camera softness in the corners isn’t an issue with more modern wide-angle lenses. Even though it’s been around for nearly a decade now, it still doesn’t feel out of date.
Thanks to the popularity of the lens, there’s a vast crowd of familiar people with the Sigma 17-50mm. There’s a breadth of research on the lens, and readers are free to check out other independent reviews to get an idea about the lens’s performance.
User Interface And Control System
When it comes to user interface and control, the camera excels and performs in an accessible manner for all users. Thanks to how mechanically well put together the lens is there are no creaks or wobbles.
The zoom mechanism is smooth and doesn’t tighten at any single point. On top of the zoom, the ring is a notched rubber coating that helps with grip and allows you to rest your hand on the camera’s base.
As mentioned before, focusing is done through the hypersonic motor. Users can switch between the AF and full manual focus from the switch of a button on the lens side.
However, during the focusing process, the focus ring does move back and forth. As it moves back and forth, you’ll catch your fingers on the lens. It also becomes annoying to use when you’re manually focusing the lens.
Aside from that, the lens performs in a trustworthy manner when it comes to the control system. You can also easily fit 77mm filters on the top of the lens, there’s no issue with this at all, and the filters will snap in place effortlessly.
Another brilliant control feature is image stabilization, which works for both still images and videos as well. With image stabilization, you can get rid of any blur caused by unsteady hands.
During a wedding it’s difficult to drag around a tripod everywhere and you’re better off taking handheld pictures. This is where the image stabilization comes in handy.
Users can efficiently and effectively switch between having image stabilization on or off on the go. There’s a switch present on the lens that one must simply flick to pick their desired setting.
Build Quality And Design
The Sigma 17-50mm f/2.8 features all-black construction and is made almost entirely out of plastic. Certain parts of the lens feature Sigma’s rubberized coating that helps make sure that the camera’s traction is decent. It will never accidentally slip from your hands and cause shaky pictures.
Additionally, even though the lens features all-plastic construction, it doesn’t feel cheap in the hands. There’s a premium feel that you get with holding the lens, but it’s not the same as other high-quality lenses. Both the Canon and Nikon lenses feel much more premium in comparison.
The lens also features a distance scale, but there’s no depth-of-field scale to offer support alongside. The mount is made out of metal and will fit on the compatible cameras without any issue whatsoever.
On top of the lens is the Super Multi-Layer Coating. The coating helps reduce any potential lens flare and ghosting. That’s not the only function the layer performs; it also helps keep the image sharpness consistent throughout the zoom range.
Its aperture is made up of seven curved diaphragm blades. Thanks to the curved diaphragm blades, the lens excels at providing buttery smooth bokeh backgrounds.
The lens’s focus ring is present at the end of the lens. It’s 3/8-inch wide and is made up of raised rubber ribs. When it comes to the focusing range, there isn’t much room to work around as it’s only 45 degrees and focusing manually can become a bit tedious. The ring also has very little dampening, which means that there’s no resistance when it turns. Its front element doesn’t rotate at all while focusing.
In comparison, the zoom ring is significantly larger. It’s ¾-inch wide and is made of large raised rubber ribs. The zoom range follows the same 45 degrees of rotations, and it’s more than enough to work within this instance.
Additionally, the ring has just the right amount of dampening to ensure that there’s some resistance. Using the zoom ring proves to be a treat thanks to this, and it feels utterly perfect. It isn’t too tight, and it isn’t too loose. There’s no occurrence of zoom creep either.
However, Sigma is on top of the problem, and there’s a zoom lock that fixes the lens in place at 17mm.
The lens hood of the Sigma 17-50mm follows the petal-shaped design, and the product code is LH825-03583. Thanks to the petal-shaped design, it adds a further 1 ½ inches to the overall length of the Sigma 17-50mm.
On the hood’s interior, there’s a ribbed design that helps reduce the impact of stray light entering from the front. Users can quickly reverse the hood on the lens for storage.
Thanks to the consistent performance of the Sigma 17-50mm, it’s a lens that should be in the kit for every budding photographer. Even if you’re not going to use the lens as your primary, it should fit as a secondary part. The portrait shots you’re going to get at the maximum aperture settings are brilliant and of high quality.
It’ll perform adequately for video recording as well, which is why it’s one of the best wedding photography lenses for Nikon D5600. Its performance in low quality is up to the standard too.
There are specific issues with the lens that holds it back from being one of the market’s best lenses. However, it’s great for photographers looking to make their first jump into wide-angle lenses, and is a perfect lens for wedding photography!