The Sigma 8-16mm lens is a very exciting lens to review. Sigma made this lens for Sigma, Nikon, Canon, Sony and Pentax DSLR camera.

So, why did I say this is an exciting lens to test? Just look at the focal length. It is 8mm and it is not a fisheye!

Lens Score (APS-C Sensor)
Optical Quality: (4 / 5)
Build Quality: (4 / 5)
Value for Money: (5 / 5)

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Which means that this lens is currently the widest angle lens in the cropped DSLR market!

This is one of Sigma’s newest lens and they have been considered a solid wide angle lens producer with their previous release of the Sigma 10-20 and Sigma 10-20 3.5 lens.

Since I am a wide angle lens junkie, I was quick to get this lens for testing.

The primary use of this lens is for landscape and indoor photography (with enough light).

It is not for architecture photography due to the distortion.

The 8mm focal length will give a field of view close to a fisheye lens and this is truly a lens that will challenge your creativity.

Now, I will start the review below, but I will be a bit lenient because Sigma took the risk of becoming the first company to manufacture such lens.

On to the Sigma 8-16mm review.

Technical Specs

Official Name:
Sigma 8-16mm f/4.5-5.6 DC HSM

Focal Length Markings:
8, 10, 12, 14, 16mm

Features:
DC – Digital Crop – Sigma lenses with this geek word can only be used for cropped sensor DSLR camera. Don’t ever use this lens with a full frame DSLR or film SLR otherwise you’ll get the ugly vignetting effect.

HSM – HyperSonic Motor – Sigma’s smooth and fast autofocusing technology. Very similar to Canon’s USM. Lens with this designation can autofocus with Nikon’s entry level DSLR such as D40, D40x, D5000, D3000 and D3100.

Full Technical Specs (from Sigma’s website):

Technical Specifications
Groups / Elements 11 / 15
Angle of View 114.5 – 75.7
Number of Blade Diaphragm 7
Minimum Aperture f/22
Minimum Focusing Distance 9.4in. (0.24m)
Filter Thread N/A
Weight 19.6oz. (555g)
Dimension (Diameter x Length) 3.0 x 4.2in. (75 x 105.7mm)
Macro Magnification Ratio 1:7.8

Optical Performance

Sharpness

This lens is very sharp on the borders and on the corners. This holds true for any aperture and focal lengths.

The optimal aperture on this lens is at f/5.6.

See the full sharpness test table below to see the complete results.

Sharpness Scale (from Best to Worst):
(5) Excellent
(4) Great
(3) Good
(2) Fair
(1) Poor

Center Sharpness

Focal Length / Aperture f/4.5 f/5.6 f/8 f/11
8mm Excellent Excellent Excellent Great
12mm n/a Excellent Excellent Great
16mm n/a Excellent Excellent Great

Border Sharpness

Focal Length / Aperture f/4.5 f/5.6 f/8 f/11
8mm Great Great Great Great
12mm n/a Great Great Great
16mm n/a Great Great Great

Distortion

Because this is a wide angle zoom lens, distortion is apparent at any focal length.

At 8mm you will see significant barrel distortion. At the middle focal length of 12mm, distortion is reduced greatly and almost invisible.

At 16mm, the distortion changes to a slight pincushion, although not a major one.

See the distortion test result for this lens below.

Distortion Test at 08mm

Distortion Test at 08mm

Distortion Test at 12mm

Distortion Test at 12mm

Distortion Test at 16mm

Distortion Test at 16mm

Vignetting

Being a wide angle DC lens, vignetting is visible at any aperture and focal length with 8mm being the most visible.

At the other focal length, the vignetting is greatly reduced, although not by much.

See the vignetting test results below.

Vignetting Test at 08mm

Vignetting Test at 08mm

Vignetting Test at 12mm

Vignetting Test at 12mm

Vignetting Test at 16mm

Vignetting Test at 16mm

Chromatic Aberration

I was afraid that this lens will get uncontrollable amount of chromatic aberration due to the nature of the glass, but I was wrong.

Chromatic aberration control is excellent for an ultra wide angle lens like this. It can be considered very low at any aperture and focal lengths.

You can see the full result below.

Chromatic Aberration Scale (from Best to Worst):
(5) Negligible
(4) Very Low
(3) Low
(2) High
(1) Very High

Chromatic Aberration

Focal Length / Aperture f/4.5 f/5.6 f/8 f/11
8mm Low Low Very Low Very Low
12mm n/a Very Low Very Low Very Low
16mm n/a Very Low Very Low Very Low

Build Quality

Materials

Although not an EX lens, the build quality of this Sigma lens is very good. It is made of high quality plastics with metal parts.

Zoom Ring

The zoom ring is very smooth to operate. There is no zoom creep.

The inner tube moves slightly during zooming.

Focusing

Focusing ring is also smooth, similar to the zoom ring. The autofocus is fast, accurate and silent thanks to the HSM motor.

Because this Sigma lens has an HSM motor, it will autofocus when used with entry level Nikon DSLR such as Nikon D40, D40x, D60, D5000, D5100, D3000 and D3100.

This lens has no filter thread so you cannot mount any filter on it.

Image Stabilization

There is no Optical Stabilization built into the lens.

Compatibility

Being a DC lens, this lens is compatible with cropped sensor or APS-C DSLR camera. It is not compatible with full frame or 35mm film SLR camera.

Sample Image

The following are some images taken with this lens. Click any of them to enlarge the image.

Sample Image 1

Sample Image 1

Sample Image 2

Sample Image 2

Sample Image 3

Sample Image 3

Sample Image 4

Sample Image 4

Sample Image 5

Sample Image 5

Conclusion

Here are the conclusions for this Sigma 8-16mm review.

Because this is the widest lens in the cropped sensor DSLR arena, I will be a bit lenient when giving the final score on this lens.

The sharpness of this lens is excellent, both on the center and on the borders at any focal length and at any aperture.

The optical characteristics is a bit mixed. Since this is a wide angle lens, there will be a distortion, otherwise it will be a bit weird :D

Chromatic aberration is very well controlled for such lens.

Vignetting is a bit weak on this lens. It is visible at any aperture and focal length. You can correct this easily in post processing though.

In terms of build quality, even though it is not an EX lens, this lens is very good. The HSM focus is fast and silent as well.

I consider myself a wide angle lens junkie and since this is the widest lens available for the cropped sensor format, I had a lot of fun shooting with this lens as it challenges my creativity further.

If you want to play around with the widest angle lens without getting all the fisheye distortion, then you might consider this lens.

Drawbacks

  • Vignetting is visible at any focal length and aperture

Positives

  • Very sharp on the center and on the border
  • Chromatic aberration is very low at any aperture and focal length
  • Good build
  • Currently the widest lens for cropped sensor DSLR camera
  • Fast and silent HSM autofocus
  • Good value for money

Good For

  • Landscape photography
  • Indoor photography (with enough light)
  • Any wide angle lovers who want to challenge their creativity further

Not So Good For

  • Architecture photography due to distortion
  • Low light photography

What Others Are Saying…

by “Chris Newman”

I take around 200,000 pictures a year with the Sigma 10 – 20mm lens. The lens has held up well, feels solid and in my opinion works well with little chromatic aberrations. My…
Click here to see the full review

by “E.J”

Overall the Sigma 8-16mm f/4.5-f/5.6 is an excellent lens, but not being able to accept filters will be a turn off for some people. However, the advent of HDR and exposure fusion, external filters…
Click here to see the full review

Where to Buy

Lens Score (APS-C Sensor)
Optical Quality: (4 / 5)
Build Quality: (4 / 5)
Value for Money: (5 / 5)

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Use the links below to get the best price online from trusted sources. I have listed the link based on the camera mount:

For Nikon DSLR

For Canon DSLR

For Sony DSLR

For Pentax DSLR

For Sigma DSLR

Hope you’ve enjoyed my Sigma 8-16mm lens review and I will catch you in the next one!