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ZEISS. Discover the fascinating world of birds, and win a birding trip to Columbia

Should i rent a Sigma 150-600 or Canon 1.4xiii (1 Viewer)

Pauhana

Well-known member
I will be heading up to North Dakota next month for a birding trip out on the prairie. Currently i have 7dii and 100-400ii. It would be nice to have a little more reach. Since i cannot afford to rent for 2 weeks or buy a Canon 600 was thinking maybe of renting the sigma or getting a Canon 1.4xiii to use with 100-400ii. For those that have used both would appreciate your thoughts. Contemporary or Sport? In the past i owned the old Sigma 150-600 (been a long time ago) and performance was ok, how does newer model stack up?
 

Owen Krout

Registered User
Supporter
Hi Pauhana, I also primarily use the 7dii and made over 60,000 shutter activations with the old Canon 100-400i before putting about 15,000 on a Sigma 150-600 Contemporary. I will say that I am about ready to go back to Canon though. The Sigma is a very good lens, but I have found that it tends towards having the same problem of not working exceptionally well in lower lighting situations as the Canon 100-400i did with the 1.4 extender. The main reason for purchasing the Sigma was that I got it used in excellent condition for only $500 and traded in the Canon for a net profit. The cost of a new mkii lens is the one factor still holding me back.

I don't have anymore experience with the Canon 100-400ii other than one quick outing when I borrowed my brother's lens, I did decide that the Canon 100-400 in any model, is preferable to the Sigma 150-600 in all ways even without the extender except for the purchase price. I found that it was much better at locking auto focus on and holding lock on birds in flight. Also, the Sigma is heavy. Especially if your going to be hand held, it will be a factor. Another factor that you may not have considered is that North Dakota will have a lot of wind to contend with and the Canon is smaller and hence pushed around a lot less than the Sigma. Also, the Canon will give you more reliable focus and sharper images at longer ranges and hence I have found that even at 400mm you can crop to an equivalent and often better image. I didn't try an extender when using the Canon mkii, but my brother said his experience was that it worked fine. This is often the better approach anyway as at 600mm your field of view becomes so narrow that it is often hard to find that bird in flight.

In summary, I would recommend going with Canon L glass, especially since you are renting. Also, you will get a lot of bright sun and vast flat open prairie, so take along the 1.4 extender as in that lighting, it should work for you. What routing are you planning, if you don't mind saying? Maybe I, or someone else, can make some suggestions for some quick birding along the way.
 

Pauhana

Well-known member
Thanks for the info, all things to consider. Will be around the Jamestown, carrington area and out toward horsehead lake. Are you familiar with kunkel school section prairie? First time in area.
 

Owen Krout

Registered User
Supporter
I drove truck for awhile and traversed ND frequently, but not much time spent enjoying nature. The wide open prairie has it's own sort of beauty. The sort of places where I once had a crop duster buzz me to warn me he was going to land on the highway in front of me. :) He had a tank truck on a side road that he taxied to where he could refill the tanks.

I was referring more to the drive to there from the Southeast. The National Wildlife Refuge system has some great birding areas that generally tend to have very low numbers of people present scattered over large areas. Find a Wildlife Refuge! North Dakota is loaded with them!
 

Pauhana

Well-known member
Yes have several wma marked to stop at on my way up to ND. Also plan to spen most of my time in several while in ND. Agree wma are great. On weekdays you pretty much have them to yourself
 

Roy C

Occasional bird snapper
I will be heading up to North Dakota next month for a birding trip out on the prairie. Currently i have 7dii and 100-400ii. It would be nice to have a little more reach. Since i cannot afford to rent for 2 weeks or buy a Canon 600 was thinking maybe of renting the sigma or getting a Canon 1.4xiii to use with 100-400ii. For those that have used both would appreciate your thoughts. Contemporary or Sport? In the past i owned the old Sigma 150-600 (been a long time ago) and performance was ok, how does newer model stack up?
I had both the Sigma 150-600 C and the Canon 100-400 MkII for a year so was able to directly compare them (with the 7d2). In the end I got rid of the Sigma has it was just not getting any use. IMHO the Canon is a far better lens (as it should be for the cost difference). The Sigma is a good(ish) lens if you are fairly near to the subject but for distance birds I found you could crop the 100-400 MkII images to the same FOV as the Sigma at 600mm and get better detail. The MFD of the Canon also make it a good pseudo macro lens for larger insects like dragonflies and butterflies.
Not knocking the Sigma as its good value for money but in the end you get what you pay for.
p.s I rarely use the 1.4x tc on the Canon although it will AF OK.
 
ZEISS. Discover the fascinating world of birds, and win a birding trip to Columbia
ZEISS. Discover the fascinating world of birds, and win a birding trip to Columbia
ZEISS. Discover the fascinating world of birds, and win a birding trip to Columbia

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