Simga 140-400 or Canon 70-200 f4

Discussion in 'Photography Beginners' Forum' started by Tulsa, May 13, 2010.

  1. Tulsa

    Tulsa TPF Noob!

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    Here are my options.
    Sigma 120-400mm f/4.5-5.6 DG APO OS for $650


    or Canon 70-200 f4 IS L for $950.

    I know how great the 70-200 is for portraits, and thats one of the reasons I want this style lens, but I also want good zoom capabilities.

    What do yall think? I would love some input, I am going back and forth in my head, need some experienced photographers input.
     
  2. Dao

    Dao No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Flip the coin :D
     
  3. cfusionpm

    cfusionpm TPF Noob!

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    What do you plan on shooting? If you don't need longer than 200mm, it's a pretty clear choice to get the Canon L. It's also got a faster (and fixed) aperture in addition to better build quality and better optics.
     
  4. Derrel

    Derrel Mr. Rain Cloud

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    I thought that Sigma was one of the not-quite-so-good Sigma designs...

    Given the stellar image quality of the Canon 70-200 f/4 L-IS (it's REALLY a good lens), I do not think you could go too far wrong with the Canon zoom. Also, the f/5.6 limitation of the 120-400 at the longer end seems a bit troubling to me. As far as a portraiture lens, the 120-400 is too long for that, and you'd be working at ridiculously long distances like 35-60 feet on people with the longer zoom on full-length shots, where with a 70mm you could be 20 feet or so away and get a full length figure shot at 70mm on a 1.6x camera.

    If you want to shoot wildlife and long-ranger field sports like soccer or baseball, the 120-400 would be a better choice I think. For street shooting, the 70-200/4 would be less conspicuous and easier to handle.
     
  5. Tulsa

    Tulsa TPF Noob!

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    I would like to do some longer zooms, I have been wanting to just do some everyday people type shooting.
    BTW if I went with the Canon, I would use my Sigma 10-20mm as partial payment, I do not use it much though. But if I can get the same results with portraits with the Sigma I think I might go that way.

    Derrel, I was hoping you would be chiming in. I think you make a good point.
     
  6. Derrel

    Derrel Mr. Rain Cloud

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    Have you considered the Sigma 80-400 OS lens as another possible choice? I bought one used from B&H in the spring of 2008 for only $699,and it has been a pretty good lens for minor league baseball. My buddy Steve has used it for many,many games (he's an avid baseball photographer,and does very well with this lens.) and the results are good. Having that 80-119mm range available would make a the focal lengths more useful for closer-range shooting. The difference between 80 and 120mm is quite pronounced.

    The one thing I have noticed is that with an 80-400 (I have owned the Nikon 80-400 since 2002) is that the lens has a tremendously flexible focal length range for outdoor shooting. I shot the 80-400 VR a HUGE amount for about 2 years in a row. The stabilization is nice. The longer focal lengths are nice for narrowing the angle of view.
    The reach is good for when you are stuck on shore, or in the stadium seats, or above the 3rd base dugout,etc,etc. That's where the 80-400 type zoom is handiest, and the stabilizer is great for when you're in a boat (salmon fishing, whale watching,etc) or vehicle that is moving or when you want to do small-aperture work hand-held.

    But the thing with a professional-grade Canon or Nikon 70-200mm lens is that the lens is "slicker" than the Sigma 80-400 OS or the Nikon 80-400 VR, both of which feel and operate a bit more in the "clunky" and bazooka-like category. The Canons and Nikon 70-200's are internal focusing designs, so they always stay the same length, the controls operate smoother, and the lenses are just more polished-feeling,and more fluid,and more ergonomically close to perfect. With the internal focusing and shorter overall length, the 70-200's just handle "better"....sleeker....more-consistent in feeling and the balance never changes as you zoom, 'cause the barrel does not extend 50% longer,and you don't lose 2/3 of an f/stop (two shutter clicks) as you zoom out.

    The long zooms are designed for one thing--length with stabilization. Best from ONE,fixed shooting position,where focal length flexibility is the needed criteria, like boating,stadium, stuck-in-this-place-to-shoot. The 70-200 pro-grade lenses from Canon and Nikon are designed for TOP optical quality over a lesser range, and to be dependable,fast-handling,smooth operating workhorses. That's my experience with these two types of lenses based on using the older Canon 70-200 4 non-IS, and the Canon and Nikon 70-200 2.8 models, and the Nikon 800-400 VR and Sigma 80-400 OS and Sigma 100-300/4 EX HSM.

    The Sigma 100-300 f/4 HSM is another lens--it kind of splits the difference between these two categories.
     
  7. Tulsa

    Tulsa TPF Noob!

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    I think my best choice will be the Canon 70-200L. I have not used my 10-20mm in awhile, so I think the $500 out of my pocket for the Canon will be the best bet. I plan on going FF soon, so I will be able to get maximum use out of the zoom.
     

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