Sigma zoom v. Canon zoom

Discussion in 'Photography Equipment & Products' started by quackal, Apr 21, 2010.

  1. quackal

    quackal TPF Noob!

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    For those who shoot with Canon...
    I am looking at the Sigma 100-300 mm f/4 vs. the Canon 100-400 mm f/4.5-5.6L (....I know, the f/2.8 is better but I can't afford that right now).

    I've heard the Sigma hunts a bit when focusing and I am shooting outdoor sports, so that would be an issue.

    Question #2: how much of a difference is there between f/4 and 4.5?....so how much do you gain with the Sigma as opposed to the Canon?

    Any feedback is appreciated.

    Thanks!
     
  2. Hardrock

    Hardrock TPF Noob!

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    Check this out. Juza Nature Photography
     
  3. Overread

    Overread has a hat around here somewhere Staff Member Supporting Member

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    Ohh I missed that article of his!
    As you are considering the 100-400mm L this review here might also be worth noting
    Juza Nature Photography

    Also the Sigma 50-500mm has recently be re-released with OS (now the 50-500mm OS) and at a price point similar to the 100-400mm is another lens to consider. Early reviews I have read paint the lens in very good light and Juza has a comparison review with this lens coming out "soon"
     
  4. Derrel

    Derrel Mr. Rain Cloud

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    I own the Sigma 100-300 f/4 EX HSM zoom and several other lenses that are similar, or which are used for similar things. Here's my impression of the Sigma 100-300. First, it is not as sure at focusing as a pro-level Canon or Nikon lens. Mine sometimes gets confused and goes on a focus hunt, for no apparent reason. It also does not seem 100R% parfocal, meaning that the focus shifts somewhat as the lens is zoomed. And it is not as sharp above 200mm as I would like it to be. it also has a decidely warm, almost yellowish color rendering; it is warmer in rendering that my Canon or Nikon glass. The Sigma 100-300 f/4 is a very handy size,weight, and focal length and aperture range,and is an acceptable compromise for situations where the f/4 aperture and internal zooming and affordable price and that nifty 100 to 300mm focal length range make it appeal to the person who wants just a bit more reach than he can get from a 70-200 f/2.8, and who wants a faster aperture lens than the f/5.6 max aperture from an 80-400 or 100-400 f/4.5~5.6 lens, or who doesn't like the long, dust-pumping,balance-shifting trombone style slide action of the Canon 100-400-L zoom,or who is not fond of the dog-slow autofocus from Nikon's 80-400 VR.

    If Sigma could address the problems my 100-300 EX lens suffers from they would REALLY, really have a killer product...the lens is handy...but it just misses on so many fronts...they need to work on the sharpness and contrast of the images,and get the focusing more up to snuff and make the lens 100 percent parfocal. It's just not a "reliable" lens in terms of focusing for action work, even though it has a great range of focal lengths for action work. If Canon or Nikon made a 100-300 f/4 of this same size and weight, it would be a huge success I think. It's a shame that this lens does not live up to the potential of the specifications...
     
  5. Overread

    Overread has a hat around here somewhere Staff Member Supporting Member

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    I think sigma do address the 100-300mm limitations - sadly its in their far more expensive 120-300mm f2.8 lens variation :(
     
  6. gsgary

    gsgary Been spending a lot of time on here!

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    The Canon 100-400 is not a good sports lens
     
  7. usayit

    usayit No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    if there's enough light outdoors, it works fine.

    Of course, there is the argument that sports requires those big expensive lenses... i totally agree from the perspective of someone who is shooting for a paycheck. But for someone who is an amateur, the 100-400L can be a good general use zoom, including sports. Once the light goes down, its going to be an issue... and it would be good to have a later camera capable of higher ISOs.

    IIRC, this was shot with the 100-400L on a 10D.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
     
  8. Overread

    Overread has a hat around here somewhere Staff Member Supporting Member

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    For the cost of the 100-400mm there really are not many other options that give a photographer much more aperture to play with - the 300mm f4 and 400mm f5.6 as well as the 50-500mm are all about the same with aperture values at their respective covered focal lengths.

    AF speed wise the 300mm and 400mm primes have the edge and they are overall sharper at their respective ranges - they are however primes only and so of course you lose a bit of versatility that you would otherwise get with the zooms.

    If one wants to go to the next level with current lenses things start to get a lot more expensive very quickly - even older film (manual focus only) glass options that are of high quality will not come that cheaply.
     
  9. Derrel

    Derrel Mr. Rain Cloud

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    "Sports" is a highly diverse subject. When somebody says a lens is not good for sports, there might be some exceptions where a specific lens is still passable, if not ideal. Some field sports, like usayit is showing with polo, are different than court sports, like tennis and basketball, and the distances are quite different too. Long-distance stuff where the action is shot at longer range and with the action tending to remain at a reasonably far distance, without much change in distance, is not that demanding on focusing speed. In some sports, like track and field, the subject to camera distances are relatively short much of the time, and there is a huge fluctuation in distance as the subject approaches, and then moves past the camera, sometimes pretty rapidly, as in long jump,pole vault, and running events.

    Like overread noted, the f/4 primes (Nikon 300 and Canon 300mm f/4) ARE sharper, and DO have a focusing speed advantage over the Sigma 100-300, but the loss of focal length flexibility can really be a deal-breaker in some sports like baseball, where you can't move around very much and are stuck in only a few possible camera positions.

    Honestly, I think if you need a lens for indoor sports, the 100-300 Sigma is out of the question, and a far,far better choice would be an 85mm 1.8 Canon USM--it focuses fast, it's light and easy to view and shoot with, and it's got the aperture speed needed to stop action on volleyball, basketball, and other indoor sports. With a modern camera, you can always shoot a bit looser and crop in somewhat, and "indoors" the 85mm lens on a 1.6x camera offers pretty good reach.
     
  10. Overread

    Overread has a hat around here somewhere Staff Member Supporting Member

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    It's also important to remember that many pros will cover a game with two or maybe more lenses and cameras on tripod/monopod so that they can shift from a long 500/400mm down to say a 300mm simply by swapping to the other setup - no time spend lens changing and little loss of speed compared to a zoom because they've got the camera all ready setup.
    Thus allowing them both versatlity and the high optical quality and AF speeds that primes offer.
     
  11. gryphonslair99

    gryphonslair99 Been spending a lot of time on here!

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    I understand what Usayit is talking about with expensive glass, however I would disagree to the extent that the cost is relative to each different photographer. I own some top line glass because I want it enough I was willing to give up other things. That is a personal choice.

    As for sport lenses, any lens is a good sports lens if the image quality is up to your standards, it gives you the aperture you want and the shutter speed you need.

    The problem comes in meeting all three of the criteria above. Indoors and under the lights is the challenge. For someone serious about sports shooting a good alternative is multiple bodies. This can make up for expensive zooms that will work in low light situations.
     
  12. Overread

    Overread has a hat around here somewhere Staff Member Supporting Member

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    True cost is reletive, but I also like to consider not just the final amount but the time spent achiving that amount. For most it requires a period of saving unless they go the route of getting a loan/credit card and that period of saving is important to consider. If its going to take you a few good years to scrimp and save for that stunning lens that is a few good years where you lack the cover for that focal range - it is then that I also support the idea of getting something "lesser" for the now. Sure in the end you end up taking a little longer and spending a little more to get to the end point; but I means you can shoot now with something capable of doing a good job.

    That shooting time is important as the shots you aquire are things you will have to keep and the skills will directly follow through to the big shiny lens when you are able to afford it.
     

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