Test: Sigma 10-20 vs Sigma 12-24 (updated)


Yesterday Linn decided that we should go out and pick some food in the forest (mushroom food). So I decided that that was boring and that I could take some photos instead of the picking part.

Right now I happen to have three wide angle lenses, (10-20, 12-24 and 15-30) And I wanted to know how they compared. The 15-30 is out with a friend so it was a fight between the cheap 10-20 (made for cropped cameras) and the full frame 12-24. In my case I have both DG versions. (I recently upgraded my 12-24 to DG) – The day was cloudy and rainy. Again I had this red plastic bag wrapped around my camera and with a milky-white sky I set out into the wilderness of sweden.

12-24 - full scene, click for full version
12-24 (above) – 10-20 (below)
10-20 - full scene, click for full version

Same settings, 1/10s F14 @ 12mm, (10-20 can go wider than what above image shows) Developed using Lightroom 1,1. A note: 12-24 looks a tad darker, don’t ask me why, but I get the same feeling when looking thru the lens compared to the 10-20.

And as some already noted picture is better with the 12-24, there is a reason for the price. Question is how much and does it matter?! A second note. I used F14 to eliminate focus differences but I will take some other shots wide open a bit later. The older 12-24 (none DG) was quite soft and got sharper around F11. Question is if the new DG has improved?!

closeups: (12-24mm always above)



The 12-24 seems to be a real quality lens and it beats the 10-20 especially when it comes to color. (look at the green color up close) Sharpness at F14 is really good on the 12-24 too but I have a feeling that 10-20 is sharper wide open. Both lenses handles CA very very well. No correction done.

10-20 at 10mm.

Full scene: (1/5s, f10 @ 10mm – click for full version)
Download full version

10-20 - close up lens center

As you see the 10-20 isn’t at all bad, it’s actually really good especially around center where it’s very very sharp.

In the forest, no full size this time. (2s, f10 @ 10mm)

And finally a 25s night-shot:
(25s, F4 @ 10mm) – here I’m not sure about white balance, I past the place in daylight and it’s kind of redish color but I lost the green in the process. Will get back to night exposures more later, and get better at finding sweet colors. It WAS very very dark, I hardly saw where i was walking. Image is brighter than reality.
10-20 by night

About Carl Rytterfalk

Welcome to my blog! I'm Carl Rytterfalk, a swedish photographer who loves everything that is interesting in the world of photography. In 2002 I fell in love with the three layered Foveon sensor and has since then been an addicted user of Sigma cameras. Though I use Canon and Nikon as well. :)
This entry was posted in 10-20, 12-24, All, Full size, Review, Sigma SD14. Bookmark the permalink.

28 Responses to Test: Sigma 10-20 vs Sigma 12-24 (updated)

  1. artis says:

    from the samples provided, 12-24 wins – better, colour, contrast.. IMO

  2. Scott Greiff says:

    I have to agree the 12-24mm is better… But the 10-20mm goes wider… Oh, decisions, decisions…

  3. thieu says:

    Seems like you have a little dust on your sensor (upper left corner) (sorry for my english i’m french … :p )

    12-24 gives better color and seems to be crisppy

  4. Mike says:

    Does anyone bother correcting lens distortion shown by the 10 20 at wide angle? Not talking about this scene but just in general (for architecture shots etc)

  5. Thieu, :) there might be something in there, hmm (didn’t see that before grrr). Agree about color. The 12-24 is really good. But also double the price. Question is if it’s worth it?!

  6. I will have to shoot a brick wall (or something) in order to know exactly how much distortion there is, after that I might consider if needed. Right now I’m a bit lazy using Lightroom, there isn’t a tool yet built in. :( it’s a bit cumbersome, same goes for Sigmas 30mm.

  7. spalbird says:

    Both lenses are too slow :( The 12-24 is definitively worth the money on a 1.3 crop or FF sensor. Owning the 10-20mm all I can say WA rocks! The contrast is very good but concerning resolution I am not sure. Colors are cool. The 10-20 with the color of the 12-24 and a constant aperture of f2.8 would be the photographer’s heaven :)

  8. Spalbird! Amen. Agree. I want F1.4 – I wonder how big it had to be. I would suggest sigma to make another prime wide angle such as the 14mm 2.8 but something better this time (that one wasn’t bad) a prime like 10mm 1.4 DC :D -

  9. adri says:

    I have the 15-30, which is very sharp, but not wide enough (around 25.5mm equivalent). The 10-20mm, which I have used (a friend of mine has one) hasn’t totally impressed me: some people get sharp images, like Laurence, but others get fuzzy images (operator error?), and I agree, a single focal length lens, around 12mm (ca. 21mm equiv.), which is 2.8 and affordable, would be my dream come true.

    Thanks for the test: I will take a closer look.

  10. rafael says:

    hi, just wanted to congratulate for the great sharp, colorful and joyful pictures that you take. i´m realy impressed not just with the camera, but also with the beautiful landscapes. congratulations! ;)

  11. Michael Pfau says:

    I bought an Sd14 and a few lenses thanks to your enlightened and enthusiastic introduction to Sigma.Thanks. M Pfau mdavidpfau@msn.com

  12. Gian Paolo says:

    Dear Carl thanks for your contribution, here on dpreview forum…
    I sold my 12-24 non DG for the 15-30: less wide but sharper from center to corner and a bit faster. I love this old lense

  13. Gian Paolo: Yes, the 15-30 is very sharp. You might need to use a software like Lightroom in order to get rid of the yellow cast that the 15-30 has.

    Good luck!

  14. Michael Pfau: :D Great! I hope you enjoy it as I do. If you need info or help, just keep me posted.

  15. Michael Pfau says:

    Dear Carl please check out my work with the SD14 and 10-20 mm. lens at: http://www.pbase.com/mdavidp Thanks, M Pfau, mdavidpfau@msn.com

  16. Michael! You have some great stuff! I’ve seen some of them before (not sure when or why) but I think I commented back on dpreview. I like the mood you show and the treatment you give your pictures! Great stuff. Only thing I think about sometimes is leveling, you are sometimes a couple degree off. A bit more could make it work or totally leveled. Not very easy if you don’t see the horizon clearly.

    But again. Great stuff. I will put your site as “friend” site. :)

  17. Michael Pfau says:

    Thanks Carl! M Pfau

  18. Tnx a lot dear Carl for this great comparison,it’s very hard to decide between 10-20 and 12-24,i have Nikon D80,what ‘s your idea a bout my choice? and how you upgraded your 12-24 to DG.

  19. Richi says:

    After reading loads of negative reviews about the 12-24, you have swayed my decision to go for it. I am thinking of upgrading to FF in the next year or two and future proof lenses are a must for me.
    I think I’ll have to take the chance. Thank you.

  20. Hi Richi – Been talking to some using it FF and they’re often more satisfied then people running cropped. So you probably did the right thing. :)

  21. brewster says:

    Carl, Considering the color saturation/contrast difference between these lenses could it only be that the 10-20 overexposes. How would the pictures compare if you correct the exposure down 0,5 step for the 10-20?

  22. Pete says:

    Nah, the 10 – 20 is just as sharp as the 12 – 24 and the contrast is what makes the color appear more rich…

    Well, I can tell you this, most Great Photographers start out with RAW and try to flatten the image out as much as possible because the contrast can always be added back later and with much better control.

    Also, th 10 – 20 has a great 3D look, at 10mm, that the 12 – 24 falls just short of because of the extra 2mm.

  23. Brewster, not sure and those RAW are well hidden somewhere on another hard drive. You can download the full version and try do the compensation using photoshop. I used the same exposure for both lenses and the 10-20 is a little bit brighter.

    Pete, I use the 10-20 much more than I use the 12-24 for some reason. It feels sharper wide open – the 12-24 feels really good when stopped down a bit, like around F11.

  24. How long do you spend a day coming up with stuff like this?

  25. Behrad says:

    Thanks a lot :-)

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  27. julie says:

    thanks!! v helpful with the image comparisons

  28. Willene Imme says:

    where can I find out how to trade on betfair?…

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