Sigma 300mm vs Nikon 300mm

Discussion in 'Photography Equipment & Products' started by Lipoly, Jun 27, 2010.

  1. Lipoly

    Lipoly TPF Noob!

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    Sigma: Amazon.com: Sigma 70-300mm f/4-5.6 DG APO Macro Motorized Telephoto Zoom Lens for Nikon SLR Cameras: Camera & Photo
    Nikon: Amazon.com: Nikon 70-300mm f/4.5-5.6G ED IF AF-S VR Zoom Nikkor Lens for Nikon Digital SLR Cameras: Electronics

    I wholeheartedly believe the Nikon would be the better of the two, but the price difference is so large I'm not sure if its "worth it." I normally wouldn't consider getting a 3rd party lens, but in this case its more than double the price for a Nikon.

    I realize the Sigma doesn't have image stabilization, which is obviously a knock against it. Lets say I'd pay $100 for VR, that still leaves me paying $210 more for the Nikon. My gut tells me it may not technically worth the extra money, but owning a Nikon would feel better and that counts for something.

    One thing of note is the Sigma has a macro mode which reduces minimum focus by almost two feet, which would come in handy from time to time.

    In my mind, the zoom capability is the dominating factor in getting "the shot" as opposed to the (usually minor?) differences in lens quality. I took some photos of my girls playing soccer w/my kit 18-55 and none were any good. Keep in mind I said dominating factor; I know other things are important as well.

    If anyone has either lenses (tried both would be great), let me know what you think.
     
    Last edited: Jun 27, 2010
  2. Derrel

    Derrel Mr. Rain Cloud

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    The Sigma 70-300 APO (Apochromatic) is known to be one of the better, maybe the best, of all the lower-priced 70-300 zoom lenses.

    The Nikon 70-300 VR is one of the best of the 70-300 lenses with image stabilization.

    70-300 zooms have come in many different price points over the last 10,15 years. Nikon has made the el-cheap-o 70-300G (the NON-AF-s, NON-VR model,important to note!), the 70-300 ED,and now the 70-300 AF-S G with VR. The APO variant of the Sigma has earned a pretty good reputation over several years now. I own a Nikon 70-300 G, and it's crap; the Sigma APO variant, from what I have seen, clearly beats the Nikkor 70-300 G that I own.

    If you want a lower-priced 70-300 zoom, the APO version of the Sigma is the one I'd buy.
     
  3. Lipoly

    Lipoly TPF Noob!

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    +Thank.

    As an aside, I looked at your profile..."50 Nikon lenses"...WHAT!!?!?!?
     
  4. Derrel

    Derrel Mr. Rain Cloud

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    Yeah, an embarrassing collection of stuff...I seldom get rid of anything...
    started with Nikon in 1982 as a journalism student in college...just kept buying the stuff over the years...next thing you know it's closing in on 30 years later and after having bought two or three lenses in a year a few times...and it's outta' control...plus, I buy used, and when I see a good deal, sometimes I'll bite...
     
  5. Petraio Prime

    Petraio Prime TPF Noob!

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    At $210 retail, I doubt whether the Sigma lens is that good.
     
  6. Derrel

    Derrel Mr. Rain Cloud

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    Well, these days $210 doesn't buy squat...I can drop that amount of money at the discount grocery store in less than an hour and the food will be gone in two weeks...the fact remains that the Sigma 70-300 APO DG is one of the best lower-priced lenses in its focal length range, at the price it sells at. It's not Canon-L glass, it's not a gold-ringed Nikkor, it's not a Zeiss, but then again, it's not $899 or $1100, or $1399 either...and it's surprising how good some of the newer, lower-priced lenses with one or two ED-glass elements can be...

    Sigma 70-300mm F/4-5.6 APO DG Macro Interchangeable Lens Review
     
  7. Petraio Prime

    Petraio Prime TPF Noob!

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    Not jut optically, but mechanically. It can't be good at that price. $200 buys a good filter.
     
  8. Overread

    Overread has a hat around here somewhere Staff Member Supporting Member

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    From what I gather with filters a lot of the price is markup because they are "accessories" and further the profit margins on camera bodies and lenses is very small - so shops (online and offline) upscale some products (like filters) to a higher price to make more profit per unit upon them.
    Furthermore with lenses (and filters) the majority of the production price is not construction or materials but optical glass - that is the real money sink that you are paying for.

    I have the older sigma 70-300mm and I have to agree for its price point its a neat 70-300mm that can do quite well (it is infact a very good 1:2 macro lens - flowers and such are great subjects and with a tripod it does very well). Mechanically its AF is nothing outstanding but its well build, solid over all construction - plastic is a part of it but it won't fall apart on you unless you abuse it.
     
  9. Petraio Prime

    Petraio Prime TPF Noob!

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    Leica or Nikon filters are not marked up unduly. This lens cannot be any good at that price.

    Your analysis of the costs of producing a fine lens is mistaken. There are design & overhead costs, raw materials, and labor (assembly, etc.) costs.
     
    Last edited: Jun 28, 2010
  10. Overread

    Overread has a hat around here somewhere Staff Member Supporting Member

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    Ok seriously I don't normally do this but why are you always on the offensive with your posts? Nearly every one is provocative whilst offering little info upfront until people respond and coax it out of you?

    As for costs aye there is more than just glass in the cost of lens, but of components the glass is the most costly singular part. Also there are many chases of cheap, yet optically high performing glass. A 50mm f1.8 from canon or nikon is under £100 and yet is optically up to standard with lenses many times their cost.
    Like said the 70-300mm sigma is not going to be a 300mm f2.8 prime lens, but for its price point its a good performer and in the right hands can deliver some good results
    IMG_0271 on Flickr - Photo Sharing!
    Random L 1000 - a set on Flickr

    The APO edition is a noticable improvement over that - especailly at the longer 200mm to 300mm area.
     
  11. Lipoly

    Lipoly TPF Noob!

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    That really was my initial reaction...figured it had to be crap. The reviews on Amazon are generally favorable however, and we've now seen two advocates of the lens here.

    The only real negative I've seen are the respective reviews on photozone:

    Nikon: Nikkor AF-S 70-300mm f/4.5-5.6 G IF-ED VR - Review / Lab Test Report
    Optical Quality: [​IMG]
    Mechanical Quality:[​IMG] Price/Performance:[​IMG]

    Sigma: Sigma AF 70-300mm f/4-5.6 APO DG macro - Review / Test Report
    Optical Quality: [​IMG]
    Mechanical Quality:[​IMG] Price/Performance:[​IMG]

    The Sigma has significantly lower resolution at longer focal lengths according to their review. And, whats surprising is that even at the low price, photozone gave the Sigma only two stars for price/performance?

    Overread: I like the photos! I noticed the one of the flower was taken at 1/15s shutter? Did you use a tripod? Just curious since the lens doesn't have any stabilization.
     
  12. Overread

    Overread has a hat around here somewhere Staff Member Supporting Member

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    Yes I used a tripod for that shot - a cheap £10 tripod that worked wonders with the lens*. Without IS/VR I do find that with a longer lens proper holding methods and also support make a massive difference to the quality of shot you can get. Infact the tripod was bolted to the camera during my time with the lens and really dispite being a cheap design worked well (though I'd never leave the setup freestanding out of arms reach!).

    I still can't say I can directly compare the lenses against each other as I don't know the nikon one at all. All I can say is that I feel that the photozone review is possibly a bit overharsh for what is, at the end of the day, a lens that is not made to compete with higher grade products. Yes there are higher grade lenses out there that will blow the 70-300mm out of the water - but they won't cost you $200 - and for some that is all they have to invest in gear.

    *for hte macro I also used a focusing rail - and I'd recomend a cheap hongkong focusing rail of ebay - or an Adorama focusing rail (its the same product). Don't get the manfrotto (its ok but not as good as the cheaper ebay!)
     

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