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Sigma 120-300mm F2.8 EX DG OS HSM  
User currently offlinelegoguy From United Kingdom, joined Jun 2006, 3311 posts, RR: 40
Posted (1 year 11 months 1 week 5 days 17 hours ago) and read 7319 times:

Well the new OS version of the Sigma 120-300mm F2.8 lens has been out now for close to two years, however there are still only a small handful of reviews out there on the web, and I only know of one A.net photographer using this lens, who seems to be getting decent results with his copy. I have even seen comments such as the lens being a 'Nikon 200-400mm F4 killer'.

I was just wondering if any one else had ever considered this lens and what is it that is holding people back from purchasing one. I myself have just sold my Canon 100-400mm in order to fund the purchase of the new lens. At $3100 and £2000, it's not a cheap lens however it is within the extreme ends of affordability in my opinion, especially when compared to the price of 300mm F2.8 primes on the market.

It appears to have a segment of the market to its self, the closet 'zoom' competitors seemingly being the Nikon 200-400mm F4 and the Canon 100-400mm. Whilst the new Sigma 120-300mm F2.8 OS weighs in at close to 3kg, the ability to shoot at 300mm F2.8 sounds fantastic. Likewise the specs boast an OS that gives up to 4 stops of stabilisation compared to the 2 stops of the IS of the Canon 100-400mm. offers

The lens can also accept both 1.4x and 2x extenders (without losing autofocus) to bring the max range up to 420mm and 600mm respectively. Whilst a 2x extender would be pushing it, I'd expect it to handle a 1.4x extender with ease and at least produce the same, if not better quality than the Canon 100-400mm at the longer end.

Any thoughts or opinions on this beast of a lens? For me, this lens seems like a good choice, especially with the rubbish light we get in the UK for the maority of the year.
Cheers,

Dave


Can you say 'Beer Can' without sounding like a Jamaican saying 'Bacon'?
6 replies: All unread, jump to last
 
User currently onlineJakTrax From United Kingdom, joined Jun 2005, 4936 posts, RR: 7
Reply 1, posted (1 year 11 months 1 week 5 days 16 hours ago) and read 7320 times:

I'm guessing the reason many 100-400 owners won't consider the Sigma is simply because they require the extra 100mm the Canon offers at the long end; plus a 120mm start isn't ideal. It costs more than the Canon, weighs more and is 100mm shorter, so I doubt it'll be worrying Canon just yet.

Another factor to bear in mind is that most 100-400 users are satisfied with its performance, so you can understand their reluctance to fork out more for something that's not 'tried and tested'.

It's possible that the Sigma is indeed a stronger lens but it'll take a lot to defeat the 100-400's reputation as the king of airshow telephotos. I have to be honest and say that I have a superb copy of the 100-400, and I really doubt any lens's ability to match it for overall versatility.

If it ain't broken, don't try and fix it.....

Karl


User currently offlinelegoguy From United Kingdom, joined Jun 2006, 3311 posts, RR: 40
Reply 2, posted (1 year 11 months 1 week 5 days 8 hours ago) and read 7266 times:

I'll have to admit that it'll take a lot to knock the Canon 100-400mm off its place as THE lens for most aviation photographers, my copy I just sold got me relatively sharp images to use at 400mm for 1600 pixel images. However it wasn't a perfect lens in low light conditions which I often find myself in, something at which the Sigma 120-300mm will excel in.

It wouldn't hurt Canon to update the 100-400mm a little, after all the lens has largely remained the same since it first came out around the millennium. Updated IS wouldn't hurt, increasing from 2 stops of stabilisation to 4 stops. There have been rumors of an updated 100-400mm for years but nothing ever materialises.

For the Sigma, at least a 1.4x extender will make a 168-420mm F4 which is a whole stop quicker than the Canon 100-400mm at 400mm F5.6. I can imagine it will come in handy for airshow photographers at least.

Karl, how did you find the difference when you jumped from a Sigma 100-300mm F4 to the Canon 100-400mm?



Can you say 'Beer Can' without sounding like a Jamaican saying 'Bacon'?
User currently offlinecpd From Australia, joined Jun 2008, 4879 posts, RR: 39
Reply 3, posted (1 year 11 months 1 week 5 days 7 hours ago) and read 7255 times:

I'm interested in this lens myself - mainly for the F/2.8 - but I'm wary of Sigma after a previous bad experience with the durability of the Sigma external finish (the crackle-black paint would peel and flake off).

It's pretty cheap here too - about $2200. The F/2.8 at night would make the world of difference for me. I get sharp photos of moving planes at night, but I use ISO8000 and 1/13th second for that (or even slower shutter speeds) - meaning some keeper shots and some blurry ones.

That's because I can only go to 400mm and F/4.0. If I use F/2.8, then I have two options, lower ISO (less noise) or more shutter speed (more shots will be pin-sharp).

If someone has used the Sigma for a long enough time - I'm interested in your opinions of it. The 120-300 does internal zooming and focus, doesn't it - so the physical dimensions don't change?


User currently offlinelegoguy From United Kingdom, joined Jun 2006, 3311 posts, RR: 40
Reply 4, posted (1 year 11 months 1 week 5 days 6 hours ago) and read 7254 times:

As far as I am aware, the new Sigma 120-300mm F2.8 OS has a new paint coating that doesn't flake like the coating of previous Sigma lenses and the focusing and zooming is all internal so the length remains the same, i.e. like the Canon 70-200mm series. This lens now also has weather proofing which the previous non stabilised lens did not have.


Can you say 'Beer Can' without sounding like a Jamaican saying 'Bacon'?
User currently offlinecpd From Australia, joined Jun 2008, 4879 posts, RR: 39
Reply 5, posted (1 year 11 months 1 week 5 days 5 hours ago) and read 7244 times:

Beautiful!   That means I can use it with the Wimberley tripod head.

I don't have the finances at the moment or the need for it just yet, but it might eventually replace the old 300mm F/4.0 prime lens I have.


User currently onlineJakTrax From United Kingdom, joined Jun 2005, 4936 posts, RR: 7
Reply 6, posted (1 year 11 months 1 week 4 days 19 hours ago) and read 7201 times:

I guess for low-light shooters the constant f/2.8 of the Sigma is very attractive, but like Chris I'm a little wary of Sigma (although due to their reverse engineering rather than dodgy finish).

When I bought the Sigma 100-300 f/4 Canon offered nothing like it, and the reviews claimed it was by far Sigma's best ever lens. I have to say that the 100-400 (or certainly my copy) is sharper at every focal length; and of course goes on for a further 100mm.

With so many below-par 100-400s out there I can see why people look for a viable alternative, but if you get a good copy of the Canon it really can't be beaten in my opinion.

I'd sooner buy long-range primes than seek out a 100-400 alternative.

Karl


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