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Sigma 300mm f2.8 EX APO HSM (1 Viewer)


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Does anybody out there know how the Sigma 300mm f2.8 EX APO HSM compares to the Canon equivalent. Not sure if to carry on saving or purchase a Sigma !!
Cheers Jonesboy
Friend of mine has this lens for Nikon and the results he gets are superb. For 1/3 of the price of the Canon it is seriously tempting and I really am not sure if the Canon is 3 times as good.
I have the Sigma 300f2.8.

It is not as sharp as the Canon prime which is razor sharp.

It is about as sharp as the Canon 400f5.6 prime lens and possibly slightly sharper.

When you add a 1.4X converter it will still produce sharp images but will reveal more chromatic aberration (in some situations) with a Sigma converter than the Canon prime with a Canon converter. However the chromatic aberration can be managed with software.

When using a 2X converter the results can be a bit more hit and miss but you can still produce images suitable for publication. I have purchased the Canon 2X MkIII converter and the image IQ has improved over the Sigma converter and the chromatic aberration is less. Whether the Canon 1.4X will act similarly is something I cannot say but I imagine it will be improved.

The Sigma 300f2.8 does not have a focus distance limiter which can be a bit frustrating with flight shots. The Canon 300f2.8 does have a limiter. You can mitigate the lack of a focus limiter by simply pre-focusing on a nearby subject first before a bird comes close enough to start snapping. But a limiter switch is the better option.

The Sigma 300f2.8 is solidly built.

The Sigma 300f2.8 has reasonably responsive focus. The Canon is however marginally better ...but not much.

There is no image stabilisation on the Sigma whereas there is with the Canon.

Now here is a point to consider. Sigma are revamping their already new 120-300f2.8 OS lens. Their new lens will be out in 2013. They have improved the electronics of the 120- 300f2.8 OS which for some proved unreliable. Unlike the Sigma prime it will have optical stabilastion and a focus limiter switch. Furthermore you can, if my understanding is correct, adjust/customise the amount of disance limitation you wish to use and that being the case can be a very nice option...for me a dream come true! I do not think the optics have been improved but having said that the optics are pretty good and sharper than the the Sigma 300f2.8 prime. I requested a shop to to go out and take some images for me and send them full sized. I was very impressed, even with the use of a Canon 2X converter the images were sharp using a 7D. In the circumstances provided Sigma improve the reliability (and I think they will) the new 120-300f2.8 will be an excellent birding lens offering so much more in terms of composition with the zoom facility.

The above is based on my experience. Of course others may have a different view.
Either the Canon 300mm F2.8 L IS Mk1 or Mk2 are significantly better lenses than the Sigma 300- but they are more expensive so they should be! I am not trying to put down the Sigma - it is a very good lens for the money. However, from what I read, the Sigma 120-300 F2.8 OS seems to be very good at 300mm, has OS and can be bought for around 1600 pounds (grey import but from UK sources). I have not tried the lens myself but reports indicate that is VERY close to the Canons at the center of the image, the AF is one of Sigmas best and it takes the (Canon) extenders well.
It has got to be worth a look? Especially as it is cheaper new than a USED Canon 300mm F2.8 IS Mk1 as well as being cheaper than the Sigma 300mm F2.8.

Have a look here: http://photography-on-the.net/forum/showthread.php?t=1126261
Or here: http://www.bobatkins.com/photography/reviews/sigma_120-300os_review2.html
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Cheers all. Well what a dilemma lol !!!
Spending all that money on a hobby when I could buy things for the family and home is always hard to justify, but now she has given me the go ahead I Really want to make the right choice. If she heard me moan about a new lens I would be chicken feed before I could say Smile ... lol !!!
Earlier this year I was looking to get a 300 f2.8 and tried all of the available options. The Sigma 300 f2.8 is a decent lens as is the 120-300 OS but neither could match the Canon for focus speed, focus accuracy or image quality (in terms of sharpness, colour rendition and contrast). The Sigmas are good lenses for the money but if you can stretch to the Canon it is a better lens, however whether it is worth the extra only you can answer.
FWIW. I recently sold a Sony-fit Siggy 300f2.8 and currently have a Canon 300f2.8ISL V1.

The Siggy front focussed by a few millimetres on receipt by me and I sent it back to Sigma for calibration. It came back absolutely razor sharp. Some of the softness mentioned wrt this lens is, I am sure, due to FF issues.

To me, the benefit of the Canon is pretty much as described by postcardcv in that it will focus faster, helped by the focus limiter, and it is very well made. The improved AF speed is particularly important when using TCs, of course.

The Sigma prime is a fantastic deal second-hand of course. So bang-for-buck probably bette than the Canon. But in absolute terms the Canon is a much better lens for birding partcularly if you plan to use TCs.

The Canon 300ISL V2 is better still but that is another price bracket and story....
Newbie to BF. I would like to know what would be best to buy, the sigma 120-300mm 2.8 (probably without OS) or the 300mm 2.8 EX HSM....i would like to use them both with TC's. I gather that the 120-300 is more more versatile but does it perform better than the 300mm when attached to TC's.
Camera in use, a canon 1Ds mkii
As stated above I have the Sigma 300 f2.8. I once tried the Sigma 120-300 f2.8 (non OS) because it was allegedly sharper than the prime. I did not find that to be the case but that could have been due to a number of factors. The first being only a few sample shots taken and secondly the smallest micro adjust may have been needed. Sigma's MTF chart for the 120-300 indicated that the 120-300 f2.8 was or is sharper than the prime. I did not trade my prime in because any sharpness difference was inperceptible and I already had a 100-400 Canon.

The question now arises how will it perform with a 2X converter? Well for the 120-300f2.8 zoom I cannot tell you, I have never tried it. I have however used various converters on my 300f2.8 prime which does not have the benefit of IS or OS as the case may be.

Here are some sample images where I have used the Sigma 300 f2.8 and a non reporting 2X Kenko converter which is not as good as the Canon 2X MkIII converter.

The Bullfinch image is full frame Canon 7D ISO1000, 1/320 sec.
First Long-tailed Tit full frame Canon 7D ISO 800, 1/200 sec.
Second Long-tailed Tit is the next exposure taken but with a 50% crop.
Short -eared Owl, full frame Canon 40D ISO 200, 1/50th sec Click again on opened image to enlarge.
Juvenile Herring Gull 45% Crop Canon 7D ISO 800, 1/2500 Sec Canon MkIII 2X converter.

Web sharpening applied, USM Radius 0.4 Amount 120.


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I have this lens,checkout my last 2 woodpecker images in my gallery as both were taken using that lens.Very pleased btw.

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