Skip to main content

Sigma 8-16mm f/4.5-5.6 DC HSM review

A bit like an optical black hole, this Sigma lens sucks everything into the frame

(Image: © Future)

Digital Camera World Verdict

Leave nothing unseen. The Sigma 8-16mm f/4.5-5.6 DC HSM allows you to really capture practically everything around you, with a massive 121-degree viewing angle that really has to be seen to be believed. The best part is that it’s a well-made lens in all other respects, too, with a durable construction (though weather-sealing might have been nice) and great optical quality. If extreme wide-angle is your thing, this is the way to do it – with style and sophistication.

Pros

  • +

    Extreme viewing angle

  • +

    Excellent optical quality

  • +

    Solid build

Cons

  • -

    No weather seals

The reduction of every single millimetre in focal length makes a noticeable difference in wide-angle coverage. The Sigma 8-16mm f/4.5-5.6 DC HSM lens shaves 2mm off the shortest zoom length of competing zoom lenses, boosting the viewing angle from around 108 degrees to a monstrous 121 degrees (measured on the diagonal). The difference is obvious and eye-popping as you look through the viewfinder.

While short in focal length, the Sigma isn’t short in build, and is a third longer than Canon’s 10-18mm lens. It’s twice as heavy as well, but the construction feels solid and sturdy. There are no weather-seals but the mounting plate is metal, not plastic. A conventional ring-type ultrasonic system delivers fast and quiet autofocus complete with full-time mechanical override, and a focus distance scale.

In terms of optics, the lens contains four top-quality FLD (Fluorite-grade Low Dispersion) elements and Sigma’s usual Super Multi-Layer Coatings to guard against ghosting and flare. As with most full-frame compatible lenses of comparable focal length, the lens hood is built-in to protect the bulbous front element, so there’s no attachment thread for filters. However, one thing to note is that the two-part cap enables 72mm filters to be used at long zoom lengths.

(Image credit: Future)

Performance

Even when using the widest available aperture at the shortest end of the zoom range, sharpness remains impressive across the entire image frame, which is no mean feat considering the ultra-wide viewing angle. Colour fringing and distortions are well controlled, making this lens the ideal choice if you want to maximize your viewing angle without compromising on the quality of your images.

The 8-16mm f/4.5-5.6 DC HSM handles nicely, with its focus ring mounted towards the front and a focus distance scale nested between the focus and zoom rings. The attention to detail and quality on the inside and out of the lens is reassuring, especially given how extreme the viewing angle is. It could have been a novelty gimmick lens, but Sigma took the time and effort to ensure this is a premium optic for producing memorable images of faultless quality.

Read more:

Best wide-angle lenses for Canon (opens in new tab)

The best Canon telephoto lenses (opens in new tab)

The best camera for beginners (opens in new tab)

Thank you for reading 5 articles this month* Join now for unlimited access

Enjoy your first month for just £1 / $1 / €1

*Read 5 free articles per month without a subscription

Join now for unlimited access

Try first month for just £1 / $1 / €1

Matthew Richards is a photographer and journalist who has spent years using and reviewing all manner of photo gear. He is Digital Camera World's principal lens reviewer – and has tested more primes and zooms than most people have had hot dinners! 


His expertise with equipment doesn’t end there, though. He is also an encyclopedia  when it comes to all manner of cameras, camera holsters and bags, flashguns, tripods and heads, printers, papers and inks, and just about anything imaging-related. 


In an earlier life he was a broadcast engineer at the BBC, as well as a former editor of PC Guide.