Sigma 50-500 or Canon 70-300 with 2x converter?

Discussion in 'Photography Equipment & Products' started by darwinsfinch, Dec 8, 2009.

  1. darwinsfinch

    darwinsfinch TPF Noob!

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    Hi,

    I'm new here, and relatively new to semi-serious amateur photography. I have a new (my first) dSLR, Canon Rebel SXi, and am so far very happy. I have only been using the kit lens, but I am now ready to buy another.

    I really enjoy wildlife and bird photography, so I have definitely felt the frustration of 18-55mm kit lens and have mostly kept using my old super zoom p&s for that purpose. Any lenses I buy would, at this point, be primarily for wildlife/bird photography.

    Right now I am struggling between buying the Sigma 50-500mm or the Canon 70-300mm with a 2x converter. It seems as though the Canon might be slightly better quality (which is saying something at this low-quality end of things) but I will surely loose quality using a telephoto zoom with a teleconverter as opposed to the single bigma. I am also concerned about the lack of IS in the bigma.

    Any advice would be greatly appreciated. Thank you!
     
  2. darwinsfinch

    darwinsfinch TPF Noob!

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    Sorry, forgot to include the Tamron 200-500. Or any other suggestions you might have. Thanks!
     
  3. icassell

    icassell TPF Noob!

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    What is your budget? I would say from the outset that, although 1.4X converters can work very well, my experience is less than ideal with 2X. I will say that 300mm is a good wildlife lens, but is at the minimum of focal length you want if you are a serious birder. I have a Sigma 100-300mm f/4 which I love but, even at 420mm with my 1.4X, I wish I had more reach. If I could have my dream lens right now, it would probably be the Canon 400mm f/5.6 or the Canon 100-400mm. The "Bigma" gets good reports and the 150-500mm is supposed to be a good lens and has image stabilization.

    Don't forget that TC's slow your lens ... a 1.4X slows it one stop and a 2X slows it 2 stops.
     
  4. MrLogic

    MrLogic TPF Noob!

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    Canon 100-400, Sigma 120-400, Sigma 150-500, Sigma 50-500mm comparison:

    Juza Nature Photography

    The difference in IQ between the Canon and the Sigmas is larger than stated by the writer, IMO. For example:

    "At 400mm, all the four teles show a loss of contrast; wide open the Canon 100-400 is still an hair sharper, while at f/8 all lenses show an improvement and it is very difficult to see a difference in the image quality."

    I see the difference in IQ at f/8 quite clearly.



    Sigma 50-500, Canon 100-400 & Canon 400mm f/5.6 comparison:

    Shootout - Bigma vs 100-400L IS vs 400 5.6L: Canon SLR Lens Talk Forum: Digital Photography Review
     
  5. pharmakon

    pharmakon TPF Noob!

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    Thanks for those links MrLogic... I have been really indecisive lately, originally wanted the 100-400L but the sigma 150-500 was so tempting with it's lower price and extra 100mm reach. But I think looking at it as an investment rather than just a purchase I will stick with the 100-400L. Probably the better choice for the long run. (now if only Canon would release that range in their F4 lineup...)
     
  6. Big Mike

    Big Mike I am Big, I am Mike Staff Member Supporting Member

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    Welcome to the forum.

    Remember that when you add a teleconverter, you loose some light. So a Canon 70-300 F4.5-5.6 with a 2X TC becomes F9-F11 (loss of two stops). Not to mention the loss in image quality.
    Also, you typically need about F5.6 as a max for the AF system to work. So if you take an already 'slow' lens like the 70-300mm and add a TC, you will most likely loose the ability to autofocus.

    I've used the 100-400mm L lens, and I must say that it's pretty darn good...but not cheap.
     
  7. itznfb

    itznfb TPF Noob!

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    Is the Canon 70-300mm compatible with the TC?
     
  8. darwinsfinch

    darwinsfinch TPF Noob!

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    Thanks for all of the advice and links. I do have a budget and am looking at $1000 but could possibly go up to $1300 if needed. I would love to get the 100-400mm L but that looks to be a few years down the road.

    The Sigma 150-500 is really attractive to me right now. Despite the fact that it is not top-quality (I agree with you, Mr. Logic; I do see the IQ difference much greater than the author of that site does), I am thinking it can get me the focal length and OS I need for both tripod and handheld wildlife/bird shots without the IQ, autofocus, or light loss of a teleconverter. Pretty versatile for a relative beginner without breaking the bank.

    Coming from a super zoom p&s, I still anticipate this to be an upgrade. Thanks for your advice. If you have any other thoughts on this lens selection process, I would love to hear them. I read forums and reviews, and I realize it is just as easy to fall into the trap of only buying the best as it is to not buy something of good quality, and that is where it's hard for me to sort out looking only at reviews and forums. Hopefully it will become easier as I gain more experience.
     
  9. Derrel

    Derrel Mr. Rain Cloud

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    I would definitely go with one of the Sigma zooms instead of a slowish 70-300 with a 2x converter....f/9 to f/11...ugh! It's almost a sure bet any one of the Sigmas would have better optical quality than a 70-300 with a 2x attached; using a 2x on a consumer-range zoom is usually a big producer of chromatic aberration...and once again, f/9 to f/11--absolutely terrible. F/11 makes a Sigma that's f/6.3 look positively fast at the 500mm focal length!

    What about the Sigma 80-400 OS? It's an f/4.5~5.6 zoom with stabilizer, and it is a bit smaller than the longer Sigmas.
     
  10. manicmike

    manicmike No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    +1 for the Sigma. I love that lens.
     
  11. JustAnEngineer

    JustAnEngineer TPF Noob!

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    It cannot be used with the Canon Extender EF 1.4x II, but it might work with one of the third-party extenders.

    How about the $1275 EF 300mm f/4L IS USM?
     
  12. Wolverinepwnes

    Wolverinepwnes TPF Noob!

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    get the Sigma 150-500, its a great lens, my friend has one and he's very happy with it!
     

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