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JakTrax
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Can't Decide - 100-400 L Or Sigma 100-300 F4 EX?

Sat Nov 28, 2009 3:07 pm

Hi all,

Looking for a longer-range lens than my current 70-200 F4 L (which I'll most certainly be keeping!) and I think I've narrowed it down to either the Canon EF100-400 F4.5-5.6 L IS or the Sigma 100-300 F4 EX.

Each have pros and cons but overall they seem fairly evenly matched. The clincher will be in the sharpness so my question is - does anyone have experience with the Sigma (I know plenty of users of the 100-400) and which is generally sharper? Which is sharper at 300mm? And at 100mm?

Finally, are there any other contenders anyone would like to throw into the ring?

Cheers,

Karl
 
ruudb
Posts: 144
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RE: Can't Decide - 100-400 L Or Sigma 100-300 F4 EX?

Sat Nov 28, 2009 3:29 pm

Never used it but reading the reviews I think the Sigma is the better lens.

Ruud.
 
dlowwa
Posts: 7168
Joined: Tue Apr 12, 2005 4:17 pm

RE: Can't Decide - 100-400 L Or Sigma 100-300 F4 EX?

Sat Nov 28, 2009 5:30 pm



Quoting JakTrax (Thread starter):

Karl,

You can put my vote in the Sigma camp... I'm not a Canon shooter, so I can't comment on the 100-400 from direct experience, but I've owned the Sigma 100-300 f/4 for a couple of years, and have nary a negative thing to say about it. It's sharp pretty much from wide open, which is not an exaggeration. At f/4 it's slightly softer than stopped down, but I regularly shoot at f/5, and it's just as sharp as f/8. Plus, that goes for the whole range of the lens - there is no difference in sharpness from 100 to 300mm. It is of course faster than the Canon through the whole range of the zoom, and like I said, you don't need to stop down much to find the sweet spot (I usually shoot with it at f/5.6 and only stop down to f/8-10 if I want a panning effect or prop blur or something)
I have not regretted its purchase one bit. As I mentioned in another thread, it does also pair nicely with the Sigma 1.4x converter, a combination I use for birding as well as the occasional aviation shooting. The drop in IQ with the teleconverter is almost negligible.

I guess the only negative I can think of is the fact that it's not weather-sealed, but I don't believe the Canon is either. The Canon does also have IS.

A majority of my images in the database were shot using the 100-300 f/4. If you want I can link to some of them, and I can post samples from other applications (the aforementioned birding). Let me know if you'd like me to do so.

Dana
 
chris78cpr
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RE: Can't Decide - 100-400 L Or Sigma 100-300 F4 EX?

Sat Nov 28, 2009 6:31 pm

I've always had a love hate relationship with my 100-400, liking it on my 1d2, hating it on my 10D and 5D2.

I took it out on my newly acquired 7D and i have to say im gonna love that combo. The light was awful today but the combo managed to produce some of the sharpest out of camera results I've seen from that lens. Add in the extra 100mm and IS over the sigma it's a no brainier for me to go for the Canon.

If you have a 70-200 on a crop body it acts like a 100-300 anyway.
 
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lgw340
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RE: Can't Decide - 100-400 L Or Sigma 100-300 F4 EX?

Sat Nov 28, 2009 7:24 pm

Another one to throw in.... The Sigma 120-400. I work in a camera shop and the other day I was testing the 120-400, Sigma 150-500 and the Tamron 200-500. In my opinion the 120-400 came out best in terms of sharpness. It is also cheaper than the 100-400 and the 100-300, worth looking up. Just a thought.
Chris
 
spencer
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RE: Can't Decide - 100-400 L Or Sigma 100-300 F4 EX?

Sat Nov 28, 2009 9:42 pm



Quoting Ruudb (Reply 1):
I think the Sigma is the better lens

Not at 400 it aint hahaha!! Seriously though, like a lot of things, if you get a good copy of the Canon 100-400 it will be quite hard to beat.
Spence.
 
RonS
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RE: Can't Decide - 100-400 L Or Sigma 100-300 F4 EX?

Sat Nov 28, 2009 10:43 pm

I don't own either, but I would not discount the IS on the Canon. Ask yourself if it would open up new possibilites to your shooting? Could you and would you do more prop plur? Low light shooting at dusk or dawn? Static low light shots where it's difficult to keep a telephoto steady? I think IS can open up some different avenues for you, and might compliment your non-IS 70-200 well.
 
Dehowie
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RE: Can't Decide - 100-400 L Or Sigma 100-300 F4 EX?

Sat Nov 28, 2009 11:03 pm

Not sure where all this stuff about the Sigma 120-400 being better than the 100-400 comes from.
There are several direct controlled tests floating around on the net.
To me this one is the best taken with the most demanding camera of them all the 1DsMK3 in a direct controlled test and it clearly shows up the weaknesses of all the lenses.
It also clearly shows particularly wide open how far better the Canon is.

http://www.juzaphoto.com/eng/article...0_sigma_120-400_150-500_50-500.htm

To me its pretty clear which to get from controlled tests on the web and through 7 years of using one..why buy a 100-300 when you can get a 100-400 thats optically better fitted with IS and has a proven track record..   
Take a look around at the people who use it and photos this lens has taken over the last ten years and i mean seriously unless money comes into it is there really a decision here other than where to get it at the best price?
Yes its more expensive but you get what you pay for..

[Edited 2009-11-28 15:05:17 by dehowie]
 
zbot69
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RE: Can't Decide - 100-400 L Or Sigma 100-300 F4 EX?

Sat Nov 28, 2009 11:04 pm


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Sigma 120-400.
 
dlowwa
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RE: Can't Decide - 100-400 L Or Sigma 100-300 F4 EX?

Sat Nov 28, 2009 11:13 pm



Quoting Dehowie (Reply 7):
Not sure where all this stuff about the Sigma 120-400 being better than the 100-400 comes from.

I don't think it was ever mentioned that the Sigma 120-400 was better than the Canon 100-400.

Quoting LGW340 (Reply 4):
Another one to throw in.... The Sigma 120-400. I work in a camera shop and the other day I was testing the 120-400, Sigma 150-500 and the Tamron 200-500.

He clearly says that it's the best (in his opinion) of those three lenses. The 100-400 is not mentioned, nor for that matter is the Sigma 100-300.

Quoting RonS (Reply 6):
I don't own either, but I would not discount the IS on the Canon.

True, but don't discount the speed of the f/4 vs. f/5.6 at the long end..
 
Dehowie
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RE: Can't Decide - 100-400 L Or Sigma 100-300 F4 EX?

Sat Nov 28, 2009 11:16 pm

Mmmm 100-400 stuff


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Now if you can find a lens better than the 100-400 that can shoot in more varied and demanding conditions i'd get it..
Oh and if you find one let me know cause ill grab one as well...  Smile
 
zbot69
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RE: Can't Decide - 100-400 L Or Sigma 100-300 F4 E

Sat Nov 28, 2009 11:50 pm



Quoting Dehowie (Reply 7):

To me its pretty clear which to get from controlled tests on the web

Apparently pretty clear to the photographer who took your control test as well:

Quote:
"In terms of value for money, the Sigma 150-500 and the 120-400 are the winner of the test; they are much cheaper than the Canon 100-400 and they offers good image quality. The 50-500 is a little shaper in the studio tests, but in the field I think that the image stabilization of the 150-500 and 120-400 will compensate for the slightly lower sharpness. At $800, the 150-500 it is the cheapest 500mm that I know, and it has both stabilization and ultrasonic autofocus! If you want a lot of reach and you have a tight budget I recommend this lens.

The 120-400 performance is very similar to the 150-500, and it is even cheaper. If you compare it to the Canon 100-400, it is almost 50% less expensive, and it offers the same reach! In terms of image quality, the Canon is slightly better, but if you have a limited budget the Sigma is a bargain at its price."

Thanks for the link!
 
Dehowie
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RE: Can't Decide - 100-400 L Or Sigma 100-300 F4 EX?

Sun Nov 29, 2009 12:20 am

I think the "in terms of image quality part" is the part as a photogrpaher im interested in.

I mean can you really compare the second shot to this...100-400


Both at 150mm? this is Sigma 120-400



Or at 300mm this 100-400


this Sigma 120-400


From where i sit there is a large difference in image quality when compared wide open..a large difference.
At F8 the Sigma draws closer and is almost as good if not about the same but you are paying the extra for the Canon knowing you can shoot wide open where with the Sigma its pretty much game over it terms of sharpness and image quality.
Do you really want to buy a lens(i mean ANY lens) that you can really only use at smaller apertures when you can buy one which works all over?
If money was an issue id be getting the 50-500...

[Edited 2009-11-28 16:22:42 by dehowie]
 
dlowwa
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RE: Can't Decide - 100-400 L Or Sigma 100-300 F4 EX?

Sun Nov 29, 2009 1:03 am



Quoting Dehowie (Reply 12):

Just so you know, in his original post, Karl never mentioned the 120-400. Other than the one person who mentioned it as being better than two other NON-Canon lenses he compared it to, no one has argued that it is any way better than the 100-400 but for price. I think your argument of the IQ quality of the 100-400 vs. the 120-400 is non-existent. There is no argument. The Canon is better.

If you care to post examples of the 100-400 vs. Sigma's 100-300 f/4 (the one Karl actually mentioned as considering), on the other hand, that would be more interesting (and relevant).
 
zbot69
Posts: 151
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RE: Can't Decide - 100-400 L Or Sigma 100-300 F4 E

Sun Nov 29, 2009 1:45 am

Quoting Dehowie (Reply 12):
If money was an issue...


It does tend to get in the way of things.

Good on ya Darren!!

[Edited 2009-11-28 17:50:52 by zbot69]
 
Dehowie
Posts: 1072
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RE: Can't Decide - 100-400 L Or Sigma 100-300 F4 EX?

Sun Nov 29, 2009 2:57 am



Quoting Zbot69 (Reply 14):
Good on ya Darren!!

lol..

Quoting Dlowwa (Reply 13):
If you care to post examples of the 100-400 vs. Sigma's 100-300 f/4 (the one Karl actually mentioned as considering), on the other hand, that would be more interesting (and relevant).

Actually i think the 120-400 is more direct comparison of lenses..
Maybe you should post some of your shots..
The 100-300F4 has no IS and is missing 100mm at the top which when compared directly a major difference in capability when going head to head.
From FM's the 100-400 av price is about 1600USD the 100-300 comes in at about 1150.
It has excellent reviews with a few poor ones thrown in vey simiar to the 100-400.
Again to me missing out on 33% extra zoom range and having IS is worth way more than the difference if you can afford it. Any extra speed at F4 is offset by the 100-400's IS and the Canon is lighter.
Most reviewers rate it the equal of the 100-400 who have used both.
Im sure it takes great pics and it should for over a 1000USD.
In terms of 300-400 thats missing sure you can put a 1.4 on it but it now becomes much poorer AF speed poorer sharpness and heavier again.
Pay your money and take your choice..cheaper and shorter same quality or pay the extra and get IS plus 33% more zoom range..decisions decisions..to me its a no brainer but then again it took me ages to save for the 100-400 when i was buying it..
 
JakTrax
Topic Author
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RE: Can't Decide - 100-400 L Or Sigma 100-300 F4 EX?

Sun Nov 29, 2009 3:10 am

Thanks for all the responses. Like I say, I've narrowed down the choices to the two I mentioned - I've done my homework on both the Sigmas (50-500, 150-500, 80-400 and 120-400; the last being the 'worst' choice for me judging by reviews) and the Canons and am tied between two.

Reviews I've seen for the Sigma 120-400 put it far below the others quality-wise, and with all due respect I doubt a lens could be fully tested in the confines of a camera shop. The 50-500 was attractive but as with the 120-400 price is usually a good give-away with regard to overall quality and both are cheaper (considerably) than the competition. Additionally the 50-500 has no IS, which bothers me with such a long end. I think I could get away with no IS at 300mm, although IS is always a bonus.

What attracted me most with the Sigma 100-300 is the constant F4 and the fact that many reviews state that it's actually slightly sharper than the 100-400 L. The latter is only GB£100 more and has IS so I'm assuming price reflects quality. Surely Sigma would be flogging a dead horse if they put an (almost) equally-expensive lens on the market that was inferior? If anything the 100-400 L would be cheaper if it hadn't got IS? Or the Sigma more expensive with IS?

I saw and agree with an earlier comment saying you get what you pay for - if so the Sigma must have some serious clout in competing with the Canon otherwise it would never sell. I know many here are very happy with their 100-400s but from what I gather everyone who owns the 100-300 is equally satisfied.

I find myself in a very tricky situation because they both seem to suit me very well. I guess the last part - the actual decision-making - is down to me and me alone. I'jm tempted to contact someone like Warehouse Express, explain my intentions and take both, with a view to getting a refund on one before the credit card bill arrives! I don't think it's unreasonable if I'm spending over a grand to try both and see which suits better.

Cheers,

Karl
 
Sharpshooter
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RE: Can't Decide - 100-400 L Or Sigma 100-300 F4 EX?

Sun Nov 29, 2009 4:50 am

Quality over quantity. In this case, go with Canon. Period.
 
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vishaljo
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RE: Can't Decide - 100-400 L Or Sigma 100-300 F4 EX?

Sun Nov 29, 2009 4:51 am

Karl, sorry for confusing you more but, since you're on a budget, have you checked this one out - Tokina AT-X 840 AF-II 80-400 mm f/4.5-5.6 ? - $500/-


FM - http://www.fredmiranda.com/reviews/showproduct.php?product=239
Photography Review - http://www.fredmiranda.com/reviews/showproduct.php?product=239

Dont gun me down with you long white telephotos Darren Big grin, Canon 100-400 is the best zoom in this range but we're discussing budget lenses.

While hunting for decent reviews, i came across this one which i quite like as its by a regular everyday guy, without the big smartass terminology & pixel peeping - http://photography-on-the.net/forum/showthread.php?t=206338

I read a bit on the first page, then the last page & just browsed backwards a page or 2.

Found this on Flickr, f8, 1/250, 360mm - 80-400 MK II


Whereas, there's a large Flickr pool of the MK I version - http://www.flickr.com/groups/[email protected]/

Happy Shopping  bigthumbsup 
 
dlowwa
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RE: Can't Decide - 100-400 L Or Sigma 100-300 F4 EX?

Sun Nov 29, 2009 6:07 am



Quoting JakTrax (Reply 16):

To be honest Karl, although I stated my support for the Sigma, I think you'd be equally happy with both. The lack of IS is a non-issue for me as I have in-body IS. As you are using a Canon body, that would certainly play more of a factor for you than for me.

Quoting Dehowie (Reply 15):
Maybe you should post some of your shots..

Sure...  Wink


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...and just because 1200pix isn't quite big enough, two 100% crops from the above selections to show some detail.

@240mm (a little bit of heat haze/distortion in this one because of the distance)
http://img686.imageshack.us/img686/9659/imgp18119.jpg

@150mm
http://img199.imageshack.us/img199/8245/imgp9589.jpg

I hope that gives you a bit of an idea of what to expect from the 100-300. Good luck with your selection Karl!
 
Dazed767
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RE: Can't Decide - 100-400 L Or Sigma 100-300 F4 EX?

Sun Nov 29, 2009 7:35 am

I was in the same boat earlier this year and after many sleepless nights went with the 100-400. Couldn't be happier!


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aviopic
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RE: Can't Decide - 100-400 L Or Sigma 100-300 F4 EX?

Sun Nov 29, 2009 10:53 am

In terms of speed and optical quality the Canon 100-400 isn't even fair competition compared to the Sigma 100-300/4, it was never intended to be either.
Whether it is used on a Canon or Nikon body doesn't seem to matter much.
http://www.photozone.de/canon-eos/32...po-lab-test-report--review?start=1
http://www.photozone.de/nikon--nikko...igma-af-100-300mm-f4-nikon?start=2
The Sigma is easily one of the best zoom's ever produced.
That doesn't mean it will be the best buy for ones needs.

I've used a Sigma 300/2.8 prime for a while, stunning.
Got my hands on a Canon 300/4 IS USM and found the Sigma to be a clear winner in every aspect both tested on a 50D and a 1Dmk3.
Still I kept the Canon in favor of the Sigma because I found it to be much more usable mainly because the Sigma weighs twice as much and thus the lack of IS became a problem(for me).

Would like to repeat the test now I've got myself another(extra) body in the form of a 5D because the 300/4 is very very sweet on that.
After testing yesterday it was like 2 worlds came finally together, brilliant.

Which brings us to the next thought.
A 100-400 might be nice on let's say a 20D but that does not necessarily mean it will be nice on a 7D as the 7D requires just a tad more resolution  Wink
I've found several sweet lenses on my old 20D not to be so sweet on the 50D.
Just compare the popular 24-104/4
8mp
http://www.photozone.de/canon-eos/18...is-lab-test-report--review?start=1
15mp
http://www.photozone.de/canon-eos/423-canon_24105_4_50d?start=1
Full Frame
http://www.photozone.de/canon_eos_ff/420-canon_24105_4_5d?start=1

Although a bit clinical it does show that flaws in vignetting, CA and resolution behavior are magnified on a high resolution body.
Which brings us to the next thought.

Semi high grade glass like the Canon 100-400 works best stopped down.
The best area of the 100-400 is between F8 and F11, where true high grade glass(regardless of brand) like the Sigma 100-300 is best used wide open with it's peak at F5.6.
High resolution bodies however don't like "stopped down" as the sensor with those very tiny elements requires only one thing, Light....... as much as possible which is best delivered through a wide open aperture.

Conclusion.
The Sigma's behavior will suit a high res body much better then the 100-400 ever will.
For all other bodies the 100-400 will be just fine as proven by many users.
If it's sharpness one is after, get a prime.

ps. those looking at a Sigma 120-400 have a look at a used 80-400.
The fact the a second hand 80-400 is more expensive then a new 120-400 says enough I guess eventhough the 80-400 lacks HSM.
 
JakTrax
Topic Author
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RE: Can't Decide - 100-400 L Or Sigma 100-300 F4 EX?

Sun Nov 29, 2009 12:09 pm



Quoting Vishaljo (Reply 18):
Karl, sorry for confusing you more but, since you're on a budget, have you checked this one out - Tokina AT-X 840 AF-II 80-400 mm f/4.5-5.6 ? - $500/-

Vishal, thanks for the response but budget isn't too much of an issue. The lens you make reference to looks okay but I'm looking for something of more quality than a $500 lens. I currently have L-series glass and so would not be looking at anything less than that.

So as I suspected (by looking at the Sigma's price with no IS) the Sigma actually has the better optics and is slightly sharper? I have a 30D so I don't think vignetting, CA, etc. will cause me too many problems. Seems like the 100-400 (like my other L) would be best used at F8-11 (which is where IS comes in handy) however I could use the Sigma pretty-much wide open (F4-5.6) to get the results I want. Probably puts them even with regard to lower light capability then - 100-400 perhaps at a slight advantage. If the extra 100mm and IS weren't at all an issue I reckon it'd be the Sigma hands-down, however I must now seriously consider the cons of not having that extra reach and stabilisation.

Thanks for all the invaluable replies.

Karl

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