Sigma 17-70mm f/2.8-4 DC Macro OS HSM C Lens

8/5/2013 9:07:58 AM

The 4.1x zoom lens is designed for the outstanding APS-C-formatted camera with variable max lens aperture of f/2.8-4, silent focus, optical stabilization and the nearest focus distance of 22cm throughout zoom range. Zoom range is equivalent to a 25.5-105mm lens used on a 35mm camera. It’s suitable for Canon, Nikon and Sigma camera and has the price of about 525$.

Sigma 17-70mm f/2.8-4 DC Macro OS HSM C

Sigma 17-70mm f/2.8-4 DC Macro OS HSM C

Features and processing manipulations

This lens weights about 465g, pretty lightweight. Though it’s not heavy, the design quality is good, and the lens mount is made from copper. As a result, the lens can keep itself on the balance position well with Canon EOS 600D used to test. The lens is covered by a matte black finish with a piece of rubber pad to control zoom.

The silent HSM focusing motor powers the focusing structure, help making the focusing process of the camera quick and accurate. Though this lens has one silent focusing motor, it doesn’t allow hand-held focus adjustment to be applied anytime. Focusing ring rotates during focusing time and sits next to the zoom ring with the processing being smoothly grinded to stop it from cutting into your finger while using.

The closest focus is 22cm from the sensor plane at any focal length, that’s good for shooting in stuffy environment, or for the frame sitting close to the end of the zoom range with max magnification of 1:2.8.

With optical stabilization activated, the sharp hand-made shots can be taken with about a half of the time at low speed of 1/5 seconds.

Product images

Product images


At 17mm, the sharpness is excellent at the center of the frame and excellent toward the edges of the frame at mat aperture. High sharpness all over the frame is maintained when the lens lowering to around f/8.

Magnifying the lens to 35mm creates a result with the same high performance as on the center of the frame, but there’s a significant drop in sharpness toward the edges of the frame. At max aperture, sharpness toward the edges of the frame only reaches the fair level. This improves when lowering the lens aperture, reaching the peak between f/8 and f/11 where the clarity toward the edges falls only behind the excellent level a little bit.

Finally, zooming the lens to 70mm creates a decrease in overall sharpness. At max aperture, sharpness still reaches an incredibly good level in the center of the frame, but it only reaches the fair level when reaching toward the edges. Lowering to between f/8 and f/11 creates the best harmonious result in the center and toward the edges of the frame.

Rating image chromatic aberration

Rating image chromatic aberration

How to read our diagrams

The blue column represents the readings from the center of the frame at different lens aperture and the green is from the edges. Take the average of the 2 readings above, we will have a column in red number.

The conventional column on the left represents the practical image resolution. The higher the column is, the better the quality of the camera lens.

In this article, the lens tested on the Canon EOS 600D camera uses Imatest.

Chromatic aberration is well controlled, only exceeding the width of 0.75 pixel toward the edges of the frame at aperture of 17mm and max, though this level drops because the lens is lowered, or because the lens is zoomed in. this low level sets up some problem, even in the images with high contrast edges sitting near the edges of the frame.

Rating image sharpness

Rating image sharpness

How to read our diagrams

Chromatic aberration indicates the inability to focus on a sensor or soften all the visible color of light at the same point. High chromatic aberration delivers a noticeable fringing or some halo effects around the sharp edges around the images. It can be removed thanks to the software.

Apochromatic lens has special lens (aspheric, low dispersion…) to reduce the problems above, so they normally have higher price.

In this review, the lens is tested on Canon EOS 600D camera using Imatest.

Falloff illuminating toward the corners of the frame is also controlled for a zoom lens with such aperture and focal length. At 17mm, the corners of the frame are 1.15 stops darker than the center of the image and visually uniform illumination is performed when the aperture lowers to f/5.6 or father. At the 70mm corners only 0.747 stops is darker than the center of the image and f/5.6 also affects the result during the visually uniform illumination process.

Quite strong Barrel-shaped distorted images can be seen in taken shots at 17mm. Imatest discovers 3.71% of barrel distortion at 17mm and 0.791% pillow-shaped distortion at 70mm. throughout the zoom range, the model distorts uniformly on the frame, which makes the fixing process fairly easy to apply in the image editing software later then.

A petal-shaped hood comes with the lens, fulfilling an amazing job which is shadowing the lens from the unrelated light which may affect the contrast and light dazzle. Contrast remains good when shooting in the light.

Testing image

Sample image of the product

Sample image of the product


With a starting price of about 525$, this lens creates good-enough image quality that is worth for each coin you spend. Despite of that, those who are looking to buy this lens can save a few coins by choosing the older versions, which have the same technical specs, but can be sold with the price of 405$ due to being sold out.

The closest equivalent model from Canon is the 17-85mm f/3.5-5.6 IS USM lens, offering a slightly wider zoom range, but having slightly slow max aperture and being unable to focus as close as this Sigma lens. Anyhow, it has the price of 345$.

The closest equivalent product of Nikon made for this DX-format camera is 16-85mm f/3.5-5.6G Nikon lens, in which provides a slightly larger zoom range, the increased cost is the explanation for the fast max lens aperture, and the possibly close focusing distance of the lens. This lens is available at 660$, which price is a little more expensive.

The Sony camera has Carl Zeiss lens with the 16-80mm ZA VS DT brand as an alternative. This lens also has slightly slower max aperture than Sigma in zoom range and can’t focus as close. It’s a little more expensive at 840$.

Pentax users have 17-70mm f/4 AL SDM as a suitable alternative for this Sigma lens. Pentax lens is proud to have unchanged  f/4 aperture and silent focusing, but it can focus as close as the Sigma lens. It has the same price of 525$.


Those who look for a high-quality multi-functional zoom lens for the DSLR APS-C-format camera may have done a bad thing when not choosing this lens from Sigma. As well as highlighting with very useful zoom level, having max lens aperture that is slightly faster than normal will help the shooting process in lowlight, as well as optical stabilization, work extremely well.

Sharpness at the center of the frame is very good throughout the zoom range, and the focusing capability is very good for the process of shooting the close objects. That’s not a perfect lens, but it creates good quality and useful features at a suitable price.


·         Sharpness is good at the center

·         Well design quality

·         Close focus

·         Optical stabilization


·         Reduction in sharpness toward the edges due to zoomed lens can be a concern of some people.

·         Distorted image at 17mm

Technical specs


·         Focal length: 17mm - 70mm

·         Viewing angle: 22.9° - 79.7°

·         Max lens aperture: f/2.8 - f/4

·         Min lens aperture: f/22

·         Filter size: 72mm

·         35mm equivalent: 25.5mm - 105mm

·         External focusing point: yes

Converging process

·         Min Focus: 22cm

·         Stabilized: yes


·         Blades: 7

·         Elements: 16

·         Groups: 14

Coming with the box:

·         Front and rear caps

·         Lens hood


·         Weight: 470g

·         Height: 79mm


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