The Blog: See what
Sigma is saying.


There are two must-have-with-me-at-all-times lenses in my kit. Sigma’s outstanding 70mm to 200mm f/2.8 optically stabilized (OS) is one of them. (Bowing to your curiosity, the other one is their 24-70mm f/2.8.) This optic is beyond question one of the most versatile available for full frame or cropped sensor cameras. Let’s go exploring…

I use 70mm for full length photographs of people… (ok she’s a model.)

The wide side of the 70-200 lets me explore the shapes as she moves through poses.

Then I can move the view closer by spinning the zoom ring that’s placed at the front of the lens.

Sigma’s designers have exchanged positions of the focusing and zoom controls. Having my left hand cradling the lens as far away from the mount as possible makes hand holding more stable than when it’s the first ring. I place a focus point on my subject’s eye, press the focus button then I re-frame the composition.

The 70 millimeter focal length is a slightly long portrait lens on a cropped sensor format and a little short for full frame. This in-the-middle-ness makes it wonderfully different for making portraits in this case a three quarter shot from above.

I use every focal length the lens offers in my work with people. I don’t have a focal length formula. For this portrait of musician Jeff Paige, the lens is set at 200mm. The narrower angle of view allows the lights to be closer to the subject.

Most great landscapes seem to favor the wide angle lens. 70mm can make sense for landscapes too. I shot this panorama in Nevada’s Valley of Fire a couple of autumns ago. Here the emphasis is on the foreground. The mountains recede in the distance even when shot with a short telephoto.

Why not address it with a focal length that would feature the sun striking the mountains? Why not indeed! Zooming to 200mm (a 4x magnification on a full frame sensor) helps minimize the foreground and features the late afternoon golden sunlight causing them to almost burn with fiery reds and oranges.

Consider this lonely winter’s scene near Simpson, Kansas rendered at 178mm.

Here’s another at 200mm from my deck after a snowfall.

The 70-200 is great for showing patterns. Here the pattern is a seemingly unending field of tombstones in Atlanta’s famed Oakland cemetery at 70mm…

And at 165mm…

To focus my creativity (pun intended) I often wander neighborhoods with the 70-200mm f/2.8 without my otherwise ever present tripod. Sigma’s OS (optical stabilization) allows me to work with slower shutter speeds even hand holding the bracketed exposures required for HDR. Here is an urban landscape made on the west side of New York City.

And a 200mm detail of one of Atlanta’s myriad of trees in late day sun.

Working with Sigma’s brand new SD1 Merrill (the 46 megapixel Foveon three layer sensor in the cropped format) I made a series of photographs of a model wearing jewelry. The pictures were used in a tradeshow booth as 30 by 40 inch and 40 by 60 inch backlit transparencies. When the Sigma 70-200 mm f/2.8 OS lens was introduced a couple of years ago, the highest resolution of any cropped sensor was around 18 megapixels. And of course the lens performs amazingly. I pulled a 337 megabyte file or almost three times the amount of any other cropped camera through the lens. The amount of detail is astonishing! Check out the full view at 157mm…

And in this cropped section you can count her eyelashes!

The shoot took a full day with set and clothing changes. Through it all the versatile 70 to 200mm f/2.8 OS provided incredible detail and color.

Cropped view

These are a few examples and reasons why the Sigma 70-200mm f/2.8 DG HSM OS is either on my camera or within easy reach to help me realize my client’s vision or when something wonderful draws my eye and imagination.

APO 70-200mm F2.8 EX DG OS HSM


Lens Construction 22 Elements in 17 Groups
Angle of View 34.3-12.3degrees
Number of Diaphragm Blades 9
Minimum Aperture f22
Minimum Focusing Distance 140 cm / 55.1 in
Maximum Magnifications 1:8
(Diameter x Length)
86.4×197.6 mm/3.4×7.8 in
Weight 1430g / 50.4oz..
Corresponding Mounts
Sigma OS, HSM, EX, DG
Nikon OS, HSM, EX, DG
Canon OS, HSM, EX, DG
Sony/Minolta OS, HSM, EX, DG
Pentax OS, HSM, EX, DG
OS- Optical Stabilizer Function, HSM – Hyper-Sonic Motor, DG- DG for digital, EX – EX Lens
*The Pentax mount Tele Converter cannot be used with this particular lens.

*Nikon and Pentax mounts do not have an aperture ring. Some functions may not work depending on the camera model.

*For Nikon and Canon mounts, Optical Stabilizer (OS) function will not work with film SLR cameras except Nikon F6 and Canon EOS-1V.

*For Pentax and Sony mounts, it is not possible to use the AF and the built-in OS function of this lens when attaching it to film SLR cameras as well as Pentax *ist series and K100D.

*When using the OS function of a lens with a camera which incorporates a stabilizer unit, please turn the camera’s stabilizer unit off.

* The appearance, specifications, and the like of the product are subject to change for improvement without notice.





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  1. Kevin, I am seriously looking at buying this lens and I love the images you have posted. My Camera Body is a Nikon D300 and whilst I am aware of the crop factor, can you please tell me what Camera Body you used to make the above images. Were they all taken with the SD1 Merrill.

  2. been using the older version, 70-200/2.8 DG ii Macro with 2x TC APO as a match for my D700. satisfied with those combos, and thinking of upgrading into this lens soon :)

  3. Need help. I`m left a little confused about the built in stablizer & using it with a Pentax K5 that has the stablizer built into the body due to other sites & forums criss crossing explainations…

    I don`t know were to ask this question on the site and hope a tech can chime in.

    Does the stablizer also function on a Pentax K5 or is it just left in the lens and not used?

  4. So we are on the same page I guess I should have mentioned I was talking about the
    70-200mm F2.8 EX DG OS HSM.

    Thanks for your time and have a great day!