Nikon AF-P DX NIKKOR 10-20mm F4.5-5.6G VR vs. Sigma 10-20mm F3.5 EX DC HSM: An Unraveling Comparison for Capturing the World Through a Wider Lens

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Embark on an exciting journey as we delve into the captivating world of wide-angle photography and compare two remarkable lenses: the Nikon AF-P DX NIKKOR 10-20mm F4.5-5.6G VR and the Sigma 10-20mm F3.5 EX DC HSM Nikon F (DX).

As photography enthusiasts, we know that selecting the perfect lens for our creative pursuits is crucial, especially when it comes to capturing stunning landscapes, mesmerizing architecture, or immersive interior scenes. These two lenses, designed specifically for wide-angle photography, have been praised by photographers worldwide for their unique capabilities and performance.

In this comprehensive comparison, we’ll examine the strengths and weaknesses of each lens across various aspects, including build quality, optical performance, and value for money.

So, whether you’re a seasoned professional or an aspiring hobbyist, join us as we uncover the nuances of these two fantastic lenses and help you make an informed decision for your next wide-angle photography adventure.


Nikon AF-P DX NIKKOR 10-20mm F4.5-5.6G VRSigma 10-20mm F3.5 EX DC HSM Nikon F (DX)
Max ApertureF4.5-5.6F3.5
Aperture TypeVariableFixed
Focal Range (mm)10-2010-20
Mount TypeNikon F (DX)Nikon F (DX)
Zoom Ratio (X)22

The Nikon AF-P DX NIKKOR 10-20mm F4.5-5.6G VR and the Sigma 10-20mm F3.5 EX DC HSM Nikon F (DX) are both wide-angle lenses designed for Nikon DX-format cameras, but they have some notable differences.

The Nikon DX 10-20mm f/4.5-5.6 has a variable aperture, meaning the maximum aperture changes from f/4.5 to f/5.6 as you zoom from 10mm to 20mm. This lens is more affordable and lightweight, making it attractive for hobbyist photographers. However, it might struggle in low light situations due to its smaller maximum aperture, and the image quality might be slightly compromised compared to fixed aperture lenses.

On the other hand, the Sigma 10-20mm f/3.5 has a fixed aperture, which means it maintains a maximum aperture of f/3.5 throughout the entire focal range. This lens is designed for better low light performance, allowing for faster shutter speeds or lower ISO settings, resulting in cleaner and sharper images. Additionally, fixed aperture lenses typically have higher optical quality. However, these benefits come at a higher price compared to variable aperture lenses.

Design and Ease of Use

Nikon AF-P DX NIKKOR 10-20mm F4.5-5.6G VRSigma 10-20mm F3.5 EX DC HSM Nikon F (DX)
Diameter x Length (mm)⌀77×73mm⌀87×88mm
Weight (gr)230520
Filter Thread (mm)7282
Weather SealingNoNo
Zoom MethodRotary (extending)Rotary (extending)
Distance ScaleNoYes
DoF ScaleNoNo
Hood SuppliedYesYes

The Nikon DX 10-20mm f/4.5-5.6 and the Sigma 10-20mm f/3.5 are both wide-angle lenses with extending rotary zoom methods for Nikon DX-format cameras. However, they differ in terms of size and weight, which can impact their usability and performance in various shooting situations.

The Nikon lens is the smaller and lighter of the two lenses, with a diameter of 77mm, a length of 73mm, and a weight of 230 grams. This compact and lightweight design makes it more portable and easier to carry around during long shoots or while traveling. The reduced size and weight also contribute to a more balanced and comfortable camera setup, making it easier to handle.

On the other hand, the Sigma lens is a larger and heavier lens, with a diameter of 87mm, a length of 88mm, and a weight of 520 grams. While its size and weight might make it less convenient for extended periods of shooting or travel, it may provide better durability and build quality. The larger size and weight can also impact the balance of the camera setup, potentially making it more challenging to handle during longer shoots.

In conclusion, both lenses have their merits, but the Nikon lens stands out as the superior option for photographers who prioritize portability, ease of handling, and discreetness. The Sigma lens, while larger and heavier, may still be a suitable choice for those who prioritize build quality and durability, but it comes with trade-offs in terms of size and weight.

Lens Mount and Barrel

The Nikon DX 10-20mm f/4.5-5.6 and the Sigma 10-20mm f/3.5 differ in terms of their lens mounts and barrels, which can affect their durability, handling, and overall feel.

The Nikon lens features a plastic lens mount, which is lightweight and budget-friendly but may not be as durable as metal mounts. There is no rubber gasket around the mount, which can affect its sealing properties. The lens barrel is made of polycarbonate plastic, making it lightweight and portable but less durable than metal alternatives. Despite its entry-level design, the lens is well-built, ergonomic, and easy to operate with its wide zoom ring and thin manual focus ring.

On the other hand, the Sigma lens has a metal lens mount, which offers greater durability and a more premium feel. The lens barrel is a mix of metal and plastic with a smooth satin black finish, combining strength and portability while maintaining a professional appearance.

In conclusion, the Sigma 10-20mm f/3.5 lens mount and barrel are superior in terms of durability and build quality, providing a more premium feel and better resistance to wear and tear. However, the Nikon offers a lightweight and budget-friendly alternative that is still well-built and ergonomic.

Weather Sealing

The Nikon DX 10-20mm f/4.5-5.6 is a lens that lacks weather sealing, which means it’s not ideal for photographers venturing into extreme humid or wet environments. Its lack of gaskets and internal seals in crucial areas like the lens mount, rings, switches, and front of the barrel leaves it vulnerable to dust, moisture, and light water splashes.

On the other hand, the Sigma 10-20mm f/3.5 also doesn’t have weather sealing features. Just like the Nikon, it lacks a weather sealing gasket at the lens mount and internal seals at the rings, switches, and front of the barrel. This means that it’s not well-suited for shooting in challenging weather conditions either.

In conclusion, neither the Nikon nor the Sigma has superior weather sealing, as both lenses lack the necessary protective measures to guard against dust, moisture, and light water splashes. If weather sealing is crucial for your photography needs, it’s advisable to explore other lens options with proper weather sealing features.


The Nikon DX 10-20mm f/4.5-5.6 features a large zoom ring and a slim manual focus ring. The zoom ring, covered with a textured rubber grip and marked at different focal lengths, dominates most of the barrel, providing a comfortable grip and smooth rotation. However, the manual focus ring, situated just behind the front element, is quite narrow, making it a bit challenging to turn. The lens allows autofocus override by simply rotating the focus ring at any time, and the rings are rubberized and easy to operate.

On the other hand, the Sigma 10-20mm f/3.5 also has 2 rings: a zoom ring and a focus ring. The rubber zoom ring, located closer to the body mount, features deep ribbing and turns smoothly with the right amount of resistance. The focus ring, positioned near the front element, is thinner but also made of rubber with deep ribs. The lens has a distance scale under a clear window but lacks depth of field markings or an infrared index. Manual focus is convenient, and the lens will focus past infinity.

In conclusion, both lenses have their merits when it comes to ring design. The Nikon 10-20mm lens offers a more ergonomic zoom ring and easy autofocus override, while the Sigma 10-20mm lens provides a smoother zoom ring, a distance scale, and convenient manual focus. Depending on your preferences and shooting style, you might find one of these lenses better suited to your needs. However, overall, the Sigma lens offers superior ring design, providing better control and convenience for photographers.


The Nikon DX 10-20mm f/4.5-5.6 lens sports a minimalist design, lacking switches or buttons on the barrel itself. Changing focus modes requires using the switch on the camera, and there is no physical VR switch, meaning users must turn off VR through their camera’s menu. Although the lens lacks an AF/MF switch, manual override and fully manual focusing are accessible through an electronically coupled focus ring.

In contrast, the Sigma 10-20mm f/3.5 features an AF/MF switch on the left side, which allows users to enable or disable autofocus effortlessly. The switch is praised for its well-placed and crisp design, but there are no other switches on the lens.

In conclusion, the Sigma lens offers a superior experience when it comes to switches/buttons, thanks to its well-placed AF/MF switch. This design choice provides photographers with quick and easy access to focus mode adjustments, whereas the Nikon 10-20mm lens requires users to navigate their camera’s menu for similar changes.

Filter Thread

The Nikon DX 10-20mm f/4.5-5.6 features a 72mm filter thread at the front, crafted from metal. This size is easy to use with conventional filters and offers compatibility with polarizing or graduated filters, as the filter thread doesn’t rotate during autofocus—a standard feature in modern lenses.

On the other hand, the Sigma 10-20mm f/3.5 has a larger 82mm filter thread, which is made of plastic. While this size can accommodate filters with a thick rim and the filter ring doesn’t rotate, using slim polarizers on the front element can be challenging due to the near-inset nature of the front element into the rim of the lens hood. Additionally, the 82mm filter size is more expensive than the Nikon lens’s 72mm thread.

In conclusion, the Nikon lens offers a superior filter thread experience with its 72mm metal thread. It provides better compatibility with a range of filters and is more cost-effective compared to the larger, plastic filter thread found on the Sigma 10-20mm lens.

Lens Hood

The Nikon DX 10-20mm f/4.5-5.6 comes with a large petal-type lens hood made of high-quality plastic. This hood features a bayonet mount and can be reversed over the barrel for storage. Its ergonomic bevel design and smooth rotation allow for easy adjustment of the light direction, offering excellent control over potential flare and contrast.

On the other hand, the Sigma 10-20mm f/3.5. also includes a petal-shaped plastic lens hood. It attaches via a bayonet mount, with arrows labeled “IN” and “OUT” to guide users during installation. When mounted, the hood adds 1 1/2” to the overall length of the lens. However, some versions may not lock securely in place, potentially causing mechanical vignetting in images. This hood has received mixed reviews, with some users finding it less useful, while others appreciate its slight protection from bright light sources.

In conclusion, the Nikon lens hood emerges as the superior option. Its ergonomic design, smooth rotation, and secure locking mechanism offer better protection and control over flare and contrast compared to the Sigma lens hood, which may have potential mounting and vignetting issues.

Focusing and Optical Stabilization

Nikon AF-P DX NIKKOR 10-20mm F4.5-5.6G VRSigma 10-20mm F3.5 EX DC HSM Nikon F (DX)
AF MotorStepper motorHyper Sonic Motor
Rotating Front ElementDoes not rotate on focusingDoes not rotate on focusing
Min Focus Distance0.22m0.24m
Max Magnification (X)0.170.15
Full-Time Manual FocusYesYes
Focus MethodInternalInternal

Focusing Performance

The Nikon DX 10-20mm f/4.5-5.6 boasts a speedy and whisper-quiet autofocus performance, thanks to its AF-P stepper motor. This lens focuses accurately and offers a handy manual focus override ring for quick adjustments. It has an impressive autofocus acquisition speed and performs admirably in low-light situations. The manual focus action is precise and smooth, though it may produce a slight hum when focusing, which can be noticeable in quiet settings.

On the other hand, the Sigma 10-20mm f/3.5 also provides a fast and near-silent autofocus operation, owing to its HSM focusing motor. With the ability to override autofocus by turning the focus ring and a non-rotating front element, this lens ensures accurate and tenacious autofocus performance.

It also excels in low-light situations and has a Full-Time Manual Focus mode. The rubberized focus ring turns approximately 135 degrees, and the internally focusing design keeps the lens length constant. However, the focusing motor noise can be audible on videos recorded with the camera’s built-in microphone.

In conclusion, both lenses offer excellent focusing performance, with each having its strengths. The Nikon’s quiet autofocus and manual focus override ring give it an edge in video recording, while the Sigma stands out for its constant lens length and Full-Time Manual Focus mode.

Optical Stabilization

The Nikon DX 10-20mm f/4.5-5.6 sports built-in optical stabilization, allowing you to shoot at shutter speeds 3.5 stops slower than without it. This effectively reduces blurring caused by camera shake, making handheld shooting in low-light conditions more feasible compared to using a larger-aperture lens. The lens’s VR operates silently and enables shooting at shutter speeds around 1/10 or even 1/6 of a second, although results may vary at slower speeds.

Conversely, the Sigma 10-20mm f/3.5 does not come with optical stabilization. Users should exercise caution with shutter speeds when shooting handheld, particularly in low-light situations.

While optical stabilization is not as crucial for wide-angle lenses as it is for telephoto lenses, it can still be advantageous in specific scenarios like low-light photography, slower shutter speeds, or video recording. However, other factors like in-body image stabilization, tripod use, or fast lenses with larger apertures can help achieve stability and sharpness, making optical stabilization less of a priority for wide-angle lenses.

In conclusion, the Nikon’s optical stabilization provides a clear advantage over the Sigma, especially for handheld shooting in low-light conditions or when using slower shutter speeds. However, it is essential to consider your specific photography needs and whether other stabilization options are available to you before determining the superiority of one lens over the other.

Image Quality

Nikon AF-P DX NIKKOR 10-20mm F4.5-5.6G VRSigma 10-20mm F3.5 EX DC HSM Nikon F (DX)
Special Elements3 aspherical + Super Integrated Coating1 SLD glass element 2 ELD glass elements 2 glass mold aspherical elements 2 hybrid aspherical elements
Diaphragm Blades77


The Nikon DX 10-20mm f/4.5-5.6 exhibits noticeable chromatic aberration, particularly near the frame edges when shooting wide open at 10mm. However, camera JPEG engines can effectively remove most of it, and post-processing can also correct it. While there is no significant issue with coma, spherochromatism may cause colored fringes on out-of-focus highlights in certain situations, but it is not a major concern.

On the other hand, the Sigma 10-20mm f/3.5 displays varying levels of chromatic aberration depending on the focal length and aperture used. Chromatic aberration can be quite prominent along the edges of the image at wider apertures but can be corrected using CA sliders in post-processing. Coma is present in the image corners, especially at wider apertures, but can be minimized by stopping down the aperture.

In conclusion, both lenses exhibit some chromatic aberration. However, considering that chromatic aberration can be corrected in post-processing for both lenses, the difference in aberration performance is not significant.


The Nikon DX 10-20mm f/4.5-5.6 exhibits good to very good sharpness performance. At 10mm, it provides even sharpness from wide open up to f/14, peaking around f/8-f/11 at other focal lengths such as 12, 14, 16, and 18mm. While edge and corner sharpness can be somewhat disappointing and slightly poor at 20mm, the center sharpness remains very good even when shooting wide open throughout most of the zoom range. However, sharpness is affected by diffraction at f/11 and smaller apertures.

In contrast, the Sigma 10-20mm f/3.5 delivers impressively sharp images in the frame’s center, particularly at its widest angle and wide open at f/3.5. Mid-section sharpness improves at f/5.6, and corners are soft at wide apertures but sharpen up to acceptable levels around f/5.6-8, depending on the zoom length. Stopping down produces marginal gains, with the sharpest aperture being around f/8. However, corner sharpness can be a concern, especially at 10mm, where even stopping down doesn’t fully resolve the issue.

In conclusion, both lenses offer good sharpness performance, with the Nikon lens providing more consistent sharpness across the frame, while the Sigma lens excels in center sharpness. The choice between the two lenses depends on your priorities: if even sharpness throughout the frame is essential, the Nikon lens might be the better option. However, if center sharpness is a higher priority, the Sigma lens could be the superior choice.

Bokeh Quality

The Nikon DX 10-20mm f/4.5-5.6 produces a restrained and subjectively good bokeh, but since it is an ultrawide-to-wide zoom with a slow aperture, achieving substantial bokeh can be rare, and it might appear nervous at times. However, with careful subject selection, camera settings, and composition, the lens can deliver decent bokeh quality.

On the other hand, the Sigma 10-20mm f/3.5 offers a surprisingly nice bokeh at wide apertures. It may be difficult to achieve much background blur, especially at 10mm, unless focusing on something very close. The lens doesn’t produce an especially pleasing blur quality with its 7-aperture-blade design, and a slight ring and aperture shape might be visible when stopped down smaller than f/4.5.

Considering that bokeh quality is generally not the main concern for wide-angle lenses, both lenses offer acceptable bokeh performance. However, the Nikon lens provides a more restrained and decent bokeh, while the Sigma lens can produce a pleasing bokeh at wide apertures, but with some limitations. If bokeh quality is essential in your wide-angle photography, the Sigma lens may be the more suitable choice.


The Nikon DX 10-20mm f/4.5-5.6 showcases impressive flare and ghosting control, displaying very little tendency for reduced contrast or the creation of artifacts in images. When the sun is in the frame, it outperforms other lenses, including the fixed prime FX Nikkor 20mm AF-S f/1.8 lens. Side light striking the front glass is also not a significant issue.

In contrast, the Sigma 10-20mm f/3.5 is more prone to flare, particularly at night, and the flare is not visually appealing. Strong light sources may cause flare, and the lens hood offers minimal assistance in combating this. While ghosting control is generally good, it becomes more noticeable when stopped down to F/11-22. To address this issue, it’s recommended to use your hand to block bright light sources even if the hood is on, especially at the super wide end.

In conclusion, the Nikon lens boasts superior flare and ghosting control compared to the Sigma lens.


The Nikon DX 10-20mm f/4.5-5.6 lens showcases significant vignetting at the shorter 10mm focal length, particularly when the aperture is wide open. However, as the focal length increases to 15mm and 20mm, vignetting decreases. Keep in mind that while sample images may exaggerate the issue, real-life scenarios often render vignetting less problematic. Luckily, post-processing software can help correct this optical quirk.

On the other hand, the Sigma 10-20mm f/3.5 lens displays varying levels of vignetting depending on the focal length and aperture setting. It is more noticeable at wider angles and larger apertures but can be mitigated by stopping down the aperture or zooming in. Lens hoods or caps can also help minimize vignetting in certain situations. Users’ opinions may vary; some may find the vignetting acceptable, while others may deem it too distracting.

As a rule of thumb, vignetting is generally more pronounced at shorter focal lengths for wide-angle lenses, while telephoto lenses experience it more at longer focal lengths. Vignetting can be reduced by stopping down the aperture or using lens hoods, and if necessary, it can be corrected in post-processing.

After comparing the two lenses, it appears that the Sigma 10-20mm f/3.5 has less pronounced vignetting at shorter focal lengths than the Nikon DX 10-20mm f/4.5-5.6. Consequently, the Sigma lens offers superior performance in terms of vignetting control.


The Nikon DX 10-20mm f/4.5-5.6 lens displays barrel distortion, which is more prominent at the shorter 10mm focal length. However, as you zoom in, the distortion decreases and becomes nearly imperceptible at the longer end. At 10mm, the distortion measures 3.55%, which is an impressive result for a consumer lens in this category. In real-world situations, the distortion isn’t too severe and can be corrected in-camera for JPGs or with software like Lightroom Classic for RAW format. Though wide-angle lenses typically exhibit distortion, some correction might be necessary for optimal results straight out of the camera.

In contrast, the Sigma 10-20mm f/3.5 exhibits some distortion, particularly noticeable in architectural or interior photography when capturing straight lines near the edges of the image. At 10mm, there’s a “flat” section in the middle of the distortion curve, making it difficult to correct entirely in post-processing.

However, the distortion is almost flat at 14mm and has been significantly reduced compared to the previous version of the lens. There is also barrel distortion at 10mm and noticeable pincushion distortion at 20mm.

When comparing the two lenses, the Nikon lens appears to have better distortion control, particularly at longer focal lengths. The Sigma lens, though not perfect, still delivers remarkable performance for its price range. Ultimately, the Nikon lens emerges as the superior choice when considering distortion control, enabling you to capture your wide-angle shots with greater confidence and precision.

Final Verdict

In conclusion, the Nikon AF-P DX NIKKOR 10-20mm F4.5-5.6G VR and Sigma 10-20mm F3.5 EX DC HSM Nikon F (DX) lenses both have their respective strengths and weaknesses. The Nikon lens is more affordable, lightweight, and offers better distortion control and flare/ghosting resistance. It also has a superior filter thread and lens hood design. However, it struggles in low-light situations due to its smaller maximum aperture.

The Sigma lens has a fixed aperture for better low-light performance, a higher optical quality, better ring design, more convenient switches/buttons, and offers better bokeh and center sharpness. It is, however, heavier, larger, and almost twice the price of the Nikon lens.

Portability is another factor to consider, with the Nikon lens being significantly smaller and lighter than the Sigma lens. Considering the price, the Nikon lens offers an excellent value for hobbyist photographers who prioritize portability and affordability without sacrificing too much image quality.

In summary, if you are a hobbyist photographer looking for a budget-friendly, portable wide-angle lens with good overall performance, the Nikon lens is a great choice. However, if you are willing to invest more money for better low-light performance, build quality, and additional features, the Sigma lens may be the better option.

Meet the Author

Wei Mao

Wei was a cruise photographer who worked at Disney Cruise Line. He is a lucky traveler who has been to more than 20 countries with his camera while working on an around-the-world cruise. Photography has changed his view of the world forever. Now he wants more people to benefit from photography through his blog.

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