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admin 02-26-2009 10:26 PM

Best third-party 70-200 lens for Canon?
from e-mail...

What's the second best lens to the Canon 70-200, because I can't justify the expense of the Canon L glass? I don't shoot professionally, but I do want really nice advanced amateur photos.
To get almost-as-perfect images, in that optics range (70-200, with an f/2.8), consider the Sigma 70-200mm f/2.8 DG HSM II. This is what Sigma considers to be its "professional line" of lenses. While Sigma has had a love/hate relationship with photographers in years past, these newer digital-age "EX" lenses are very impressive, and for about half the price of the name-brand competition. Unless you're shooting images that get hyper-scrutinized in a professional setting, this lens should work quite nicely for you.

We're not currently impressed by the Tokina or Tamron equivalents in this range. Tokina opted for a system based on 18-50, 50-150, instead of the more mainstream 12-24,24-70,70-200. Tamron just can't see to get their anti-glare coatings as good as their competitors, leaving you with soft and fuzzy images wide open at f/2.8.

You can get the best deal on the Sigma at, for $704 shipped (buy from Amazon, not a third-party vendor):
I would also highly suggest a Hoya HMC (good) or S-HMC (better) UV filter for this (77mm thread size):

Good luck on all your photo-taking. :)

admin 02-27-2009 12:41 PM

Although does not say "EX" specifically, it's the same lens. See the Sigma site:

Camera manufacturers have become addicted to letters in recent years. This lens alone has all of the designations:
  • EX = professional-series
  • DG = digital coatings
  • II = second lens, version II, with better digital optical coatings
  • HSM = silent focus motor
  • IF = internal focus
  • ELD = low dispersion glass
  • SLD = low dispersion glass
These are further explained on the Sigma site at

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