Sigma 21-35mm f3.5 – 4.2 first impressions, with sample images

Bought an early 80s Sigma 21-35mm f3.5 – 4.2 from a vintage lens shop for the princely sum of just £39 + postage. On top of this I needed to get an OM to EOS adapter so I could use it on my 1100D (apologies to film camera users).

This particular lens was priced so low because it was described as having a sticky zoom and focus. But as the optics seemed OK (on the images) I went for it. So when it arrived, the first thing I noticed was the build quality. Compared to my stock EOS 18-55mm stock lens, the sigma felt and looked in a different league. It felt so solid, and weighty for such a compact lens. But I saw this as a good thing. From an optics sellers myself, I never say heavy. I say well built.

Visually, the optics were externally and internally free of dust and fungus. This from a 40ish year old lens. Boy that front lens element looks impressive. Will need to get a 77mm UV filter at some point. When when out on walks and cycle rides, the lens cap goes on in between all photos. The lens hood remains permanently in place.

This is one of those rare wide angle zooms with a push pull zoom action. So the description said the zoom action and focus is stiff. I found the focus fine, and smooth with no tight points. But yes, the zoom action is VERY stiff. But no problem, as there is no rush with landscape photography while you slowly get to the desired focal length.

So what about image quality. At first I found focus quite tricky getting right. First photos, despite looking through the camera where anything but sharp. But then it all fell into place when I went out and about to do some landscapes. I quickly realized that using at 21mm f8 , you simply turn the focus to infinity until it turns no more. Then take the photo, to find the incredible depth of field makes every thing pin sharp from around 6ft to infinity. Problem solved. As I will be taking most images at 21mm f8, there is no need to worry about focus. Simply point and shoot. BTW when I say move the focus to infinity, I mean I am guessing its infinity, because the focus and DOF scales have worn out. I personally found minus one stop exposure compensation is needed for correct exposure.

On the subject of aperture. From 3.5- 4.2 there is 3 clicks, with then half stops from there on in up to f22 . The aperture adjustment, just like the zoom is a little stiff to use with this example. But I`m in no hurry, so its not a problem So am impressed with my little Sigma. 100% yes . Below is the lens itself, together with a couple of images. The landscape is set on infinity 21mm f8 , where the astro image was around f5.6 for 15 seconds. Just a little coma smearing in the corners, but not obvious unless you zoom in. Once I have had this lens a while longer, I may give a more long term review, and no doubt share any tips , plus and minus points I have picked up along the way.

Sigma 21-35mm f3.5 – 4.2
21mm f8 400 ISO . Check that depth of field
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