A Tale of Two Lenses: Sigma or Canon?

Discussion in 'Photography Beginners' Forum' started by willia4, Oct 8, 2007.

  1. willia4

    willia4 TPF Noob!

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    I bought a Canon Digital Rebel XT about a year and a half ago and have been taking pictures ever since. I still suck, but I suck much less than I used to. With enough practice, I hope to one day be a "decent" photographer.

    I started with the kit lens (in my defense, I didn't know any better!) and recently purchased the Canon 50mm f/1.8: some of the best $80 I've ever spent.

    In November and December, I'm going to be taking some trips; and I want to get a telephoto lens so I can take pictures of things that I can't get very close to (at least, not as close as I would like!).

    My budget is about $200 and I'm looking at the "Canon EF 75-300mm f/4-5.6 III USM" or the "Sigma 70-300mm f/4-5.6 DG APO". I know that these aren't that great and my pictures won't be as sharp as they would with more expensive glass (not to mention the low-light issues...); I've made my peace with those limitations.

    Does anyone have an opinion about which is the least-worst lens? Or is there a third option I don't even know about?

    Thanks!
     
  2. xfloggingkylex

    xfloggingkylex TPF Noob!

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    I am very happy with the sigma lens that I have. I dont have a canon so I haven't used the canon lens, but I enjoy using the 70-300 sigma.

    It also has the added bonus of being able to do "macro" shooting (1:2)
     
  3. Sideburns

    Sideburns TPF Noob!

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    I've heard a few good things about the Sigma, but haven't heard much about the Canon.

    Either one seems a decent option for the budget minded.
     
  4. gnord

    gnord TPF Noob!

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    The USM sedignation on the canon lens simply means that it has an ultrasonic focusing motor. that means that it uses a high-frequency piezo-electric element to produce vibrations which push the motor armature round.

    The high frequency means the motor is silent (to humans anyhow), and because this type of motor generally has quite high torque (turning force) few gears are required, so focusing is very quiet.

    However, this is something of a 'leading edge' technology and I have seen several of these with failed motors. (Which are very expensive to replace.) I have rarley seen a conventional motor fail, so I am forced to conclude that USM technology can be less relaible than conventional motors.

    I am not saying the canon lens is bad, but I would not be comfortable with a lens that sacrificed relaibility for quiete operation. That might not be the case for a paparazzi or private investigator, but if it is not an important factor I would consider further investigation into the question of relaibilty of USM lenses.
     
  5. dalofsin

    dalofsin TPF Noob!

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    Hi,
    Just joined and noticed your post. I do have a suggestion you may not have thought of. My friend and I just started a busniess called www.rentphotostuff.com and you can try out all different lenses as opposed to buying. Figured you might like to check it out, and please, if you have suggestions for us, let me know.

    Good luck.

    Dave
     
  6. dalofsin

    dalofsin TPF Noob!

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    Also, sorry, we have Canon and Nikon stuff, and we love the Canon L series...I think they are the best lenses on the market.

    Peace

    Dave
     
  7. willia4

    willia4 TPF Noob!

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    Both of these lenses are so cheap that renting both of them together will be a significant percentage of the price of the lenses! Though, I didn't see either of them in your inventory so I'm not sure that it really matters.

    I've bookmarked your site, though, since you carry a lot of lenses I could never justify buying. Thanks for the suggestion!
     
  8. willia4

    willia4 TPF Noob!

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    It looks like the consensus is that people like the Sigma well enough and no one's heard anything about the Canon. That's pretty telling to me, so thanks so much for all of your input!!
     
  9. Hi gnord, welcome to the forum.

    I've never had problems with any of the USM lenses I've owned in the last 5+ years, nor have I heard of anyone else. I don't want to say that it is impossible, I can well imagine such a small piece of precision machinery having problems... but it does not seem to be frequent or wide-spread. I've never heard it mentioned here or other forums, and we're a complaining lot of people ;-)

    Also, the USM technology has been around for quite some time (by technology standards anyway, 10+ years) so I think it's a stretch to consider it "cutting edge."
     
  10. JIP

    JIP No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    I have to agree here Usm is not a new technology in fact, if yo ulook on Wiki http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ultrasonic_motor Canon started using it in the '80's so I think most of the bugs have been worked out. Comparing the 2 lenes you have posted when the specs (max. aperture) are the same you should always go with the Canon lens. Unless you need to save money you are always better off buying the branded glass or of course you want to buy faster glass for a cheaper price.
     
  11. willia4

    willia4 TPF Noob!

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    The specs aren't quite the same. The Sigma is an APO lens which, from their website, means it was "made using special low-dispersion glass and is designed to minimize color aberration." And, indeed, the Sigma is actually a little more expensive. I don't know how much of this is marketing, though.

    The reviews for the Canon seem to be more negative, but I can't tell if that's just because people have lower expectations for Sigma glass.

    So that's a vote for the Canon. And I have to admit, the gadget-head in me likes the sound of "ultra-sonic motors"...
     
  12. jamescell

    jamescell TPF Noob!

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    I just sold my 75-300 III usm for $120. It was an ok lens, not really usefull though. It is very soft at 200mm and evan softer at 300mm, bad enough I don't think I ever cept a photo taken with it. I have not used the sigma but I did find a side by side comparison of the two before I bought the canon. From what I remember the comparison had them at a draw. The canon excelled at quickness to focus, the sigma has macro. If I had to do it over again I would have never bought the canon 75-300 and started with the 70-200 f4L.
     

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