Sigma Super Wide II: the Sharp ‘Lil Shooter
When my Sigma 30mm f/1.4 DC HSM bit the dust, I was lucky enough to come across a cache of old manual focus Sigma lenses from the late 90s and early 00s, specifically, the Sigma Super Wide II 24mm f/2.8 lens. Here’s a review.
Hands on with the Sigma Super Wide II
Let me start by saying that this is a review for the Nikon Mount version, which will definitely work with any Nikon F Mount. It will work with Nikon film cameras, my Nikon D2Xs, or even Little Timmy’s plastic fantastic D3200 (though it probably won’t meter for jack). It’s also available with a Canon FD Mount, and is compatible with EOS cameras through the use of an FD to EOS adapter. The lens itself costs $170 new in box, and the adapter runs about $30.
The lens is of metal and plastic construction and feels pretty solid. Matte black with white lettering, it looks smart and works smoothly. On the barreling of the lens, just about the focus ring, is the word Macro. This can be a little deceiving, because it won’t give you a macro image in-camera, though if you were to crop or enlarge the image before making a print, it would give you a macro shot.
On the plus size, the lens is very close focusing for a wide-angle, and its possible to focus on something two or three inches from the lens.
Shot handheld at 1/13th of a second, with f/2.8 and 800 ISO. To see the image at its original size, just click on it.
I was specifically looking for a wide angle to replace my old Sigma for street photography and environmental portraits, and this lens holds up superbly. Here are some samples, all shot at night and in black and white (’cause that’s how I roll).
Shot handheld at 1/5th of a second, with f/2.8 and 800 ISO.
Shot handheld at 1/6th of a second, with f/2.8 and 800 ISO.
Shot handheld at 1/25th of a second, with f/2.8 and 800 ISO.
This lens performs well even in the dimmest of lighting situations, and if you have a camera that will shoot above 800 ISO without too much grain, you’re going to absolutely love this lens. Though you can’t tell from these shots, this lens will also shoot color photographs!
It may not be for everyone, but if you’re into manual focus and fast, wide primes (but don’t want to shell out tons of money), the Sigma Super Wide II is the pony to bet on.
Sigma also made a 28mm f/2.8 manual focus lens (the Mini Wide II) that works just as well for as a wide angle alternative, and even better than the Super for macro shots.
If you’re looking to pick up one of these lenses, my local camera store has a couple in stock. You won’t find it on their website, but if you call the store, they can hook you up with the Sigma Super Wide II for Nikon or Canon, and the Mini Wide (28mm f/2.8) for Canon only. They also have an FD-EOS adapter for Canon users. The 24mm f/2.8 is $180, and the 28mm f/2.8 is $100. A Canon FD to EOS adapter will cost $30 at the same shop. The adapter is made by Bower; I worked with it for a short while so I could mention it in the review. It’s pretty decent for the cost involved, with a glass element inside for infinity focusing.
You can probably find a cheaper, secondhand specimen on ebay or Amazon, and as a cheap alternative to expensive wide angle primes, it has a considerable following. You can see a Flickr group dedicated to this lens here.