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Thread: Sigma Telephoto Lenses

  1. #1
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    Default Sigma Telephoto Lenses

    Hi, I am contemplating getting either of the following, Sigma 135-400mm F4.5-5.6 or the Sigma 170-500mm F5-6.3 APO DG.
    My present set-up is Canon 20D and I have the 70-200mm F2.8L.
    Because of limited budget, I can't really afford the 100-400mm L or the 400mm L. I am basically starting out with nature photography (especially birds) and was toying with the idea of the 2 Sigma lenses (my budget is under 1.2k).
    Fellow senior Clubsnappers who have had experience with the above 2 lenses, could you share your experience and recommend which of the above.
    Thanks.
    Sky

  2. #2

    Default Re: Sigma Telephoto Lenses

    budget under $1200? get a 1.4x and a 2x teleconvertor

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    Default Re: Sigma Telephoto Lenses

    have u considered adding a canon 2x teleconverter to ur 70-200L f2.8 ?
    400mm and 500mm difference is "not" that big for birding, and much cheaper somemore..

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    Default Re: Sigma Telephoto Lenses

    Go for Sigma 50-500mm HSM..

  5. #5

    Default Re: Sigma Telephoto Lenses

    Quote Originally Posted by donchua
    Go for Sigma 50-500mm HSM..
    That is more then $1200 :P

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    Default Re: Sigma Telephoto Lenses

    Quote Originally Posted by blurblock
    That is more then $1200 :P
    Oops missed that, then got to look for used copy..
    At least it is a HSM, AF faster then the other 2.

  7. #7

    Default Re: Sigma Telephoto Lenses

    Go for Sigma 135-400mm F4.5-5.6. There is one of this lens in B & S sometime back,
    I was unable to find a buyer.

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    Default Re: Sigma Telephoto Lenses

    Thx for advising and recommending. I hv used the 1.4x but "not enough range" and I understand the 2x has its share of "negatives". The Sigma 135-400 is under 1K. and the 170-500 is ard 1.2K. Honestly, I love to go for the 400mm L or the 50-500mm HSM.
    Thx all for the reply.
    Cheers
    Sky

  9. #9
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    Default Re: Sigma Telephoto Lenses

    won't go wrong with the Bigma

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    Default Re: Sigma Telephoto Lenses

    OK...I am thinking of the 135-400mm....think I shd go for it? Most times, I am about 40 to 50 feet from the subject (birds)...??

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    Senior Member denniskee's Avatar
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    Default Re: Sigma Telephoto Lenses

    i dont understand, maybe the oldtimer bird shooter can advice me.

    before the digital age, what focal length were you guys using to shoot bird? 400mm, 500mm, 600mm?

    now with 1.6x crop, + 1.4x TC couple to 70-200mm, f2.8 = 450mm, f4.

    if 1.6x crop, + 2x TC couple to 70-200mm, f2.8 = 640mm, f5.6.

    some more can go back to crop on computer. why most people still find it is not long enough?
    photography makes one sees things from all angles.

  12. #12
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    Default Re: Sigma Telephoto Lenses

    Quote Originally Posted by denniskee
    i dont understand, maybe the oldtimer bird shooter can advice me.

    before the digital age, what focal length were you guys using to shoot bird? 400mm, 500mm, 600mm?

    now with 1.6x crop, + 1.4x TC couple to 70-200mm, f2.8 = 450mm, f4.

    if 1.6x crop, + 2x TC couple to 70-200mm, f2.8 = 640mm, f5.6.

    some more can go back to crop on computer. why most people still find it is not long enough?
    I guess the ideal birding lens is always 200mm longer than the one you have

  13. #13

    Default Re: Sigma Telephoto Lenses

    Quote Originally Posted by sharkspin
    OK...I am thinking of the 135-400mm....think I shd go for it? Most times, I am about 40 to 50 feet from the subject (birds)...??
    if i sell the 135-400 quickly, then i can lay my hand on that 400 f/5.6L currently in B&S!

  14. #14

    Default Re: Sigma Telephoto Lenses

    Quote Originally Posted by gooseberry
    I guess the ideal birding lens is always 200mm longer than the one you have
    Agree. 300mm lens just not enough.

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    Default Re: Sigma Telephoto Lenses

    Quote Originally Posted by denniskee
    i dont understand, maybe the oldtimer bird shooter can advice me.

    before the digital age, what focal length were you guys using to shoot bird? 400mm, 500mm, 600mm?

    now with 1.6x crop, + 1.4x TC couple to 70-200mm, f2.8 = 450mm, f4.

    if 1.6x crop, + 2x TC couple to 70-200mm, f2.8 = 640mm, f5.6.

    some more can go back to crop on computer. why most people still find it is not long enough?
    actually in birding..there is no such thing as "long enough"

    just a real life example: a kingfisher normally only allow u to stand up to ~8m away, any nearer it will fly away.. at that distance, a 400mm with 1.6x crop = 640mm is still not enough to make the bird fill the frame.
    only a 600mm lens + 1.6x crop = 960mm is just nice to fill the kingfisher nicely in the frame. (no need crop)
    and also in places like sungei buloh, all the birds are mostly > 20m away from u...and that 400mm with 1.6x crop is not enough at all..
    (what u see in the pic is just a small bird that fills < 20% of the frame, but 960mm could fill it at abt >50%)
    nonetheless..it will depend on the size of the bird too..

    that being said, of couse 2x teleconverter + 300mm f2.8 is the ideal one, and the sigma 50-500 is also pretty good, but because of the 1.2k budget so...
    For the other 2 sigma lens 135-400 and 170-500, there dun seem to be much ppl talking about it or using it, so i dunno abt it..

    however, i recommend him the 2x teleconverter to his 70-200mm is because i m not sure whether he will go full time into birding and in my opinion, 2x tele to 70-200 is still a "reasonable" distance..in fact the 70-200mm alone is fantastic for sunbirds and some other smaller birds, because it got a fast apeture and u can use fast shutter speed to handle this flicky sunbirds. also u can stand close to up to 2m from sunbirds with no problem. somemore ur lens is a L one..and a 2x tele would not do much injustice to the pics. For birds(size of the asian glossy starling) that are high up the in trees of ~2 to 3 stories high, u may need to do some cropping.

    hope what i said helps u in making ur decision.
    The below are links to some pics i took with a 300mm and a 2x teleconverter = effectively 600mm + 1.5x crop = 900mm
    http://forums.clubsnap.org/showthread.php?t=184690
    the kingfisher is about 8m away while the woodpecker is about 5m away. no cropping is done.. thus u can roughly gauge 640mm would show what size of birds with no cropping
    Last edited by kcuf2; 7th April 2006 at 11:35 AM.

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    Default Re: Sigma Telephoto Lenses

    Thx again for the advice and recommendations. I guess I will have to "bite the bullet" and get the Canon 400mm F5.6L which is just under 2k. Since I hv the 70-200 F2.8L, I guess this is a more logical move.
    Once again....Thx...fellow Clubsnappers..

  17. #17
    Senior Member denniskee's Avatar
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    Default Re: Sigma Telephoto Lenses

    Quote Originally Posted by kcuf2
    actually in birding..there is no such thing as "long enough"

    just a real life example: a kingfisher normally only allow u to stand up to ~8m away, any nearer it will fly away.. at that distance, a 400mm with 1.6x crop = 640mm is still not enough to make the bird fill the frame.
    only a 600mm lens + 1.6x crop = 960mm is just nice to fill the kingfisher nicely in the frame. (no need crop)
    and also in places like sungei buloh, all the birds are mostly > 20m away from u...and that 400mm with 1.6x crop is not enough at all..
    (what u see in the pic is just a small bird that fills < 20% of the frame, but 960mm could fill it at abt >50%)
    nonetheless..it will depend on the size of the bird too..

    that being said, of couse 2x teleconverter + 300mm f2.8 is the ideal one, and the sigma 50-500 is also pretty good, but because of the 1.2k budget so...
    For the other 2 sigma lens 135-400 and 170-500, there dun seem to be much ppl talking about it or using it, so i dunno abt it..

    however, i recommend him the 2x teleconverter to his 70-200mm is because i m not sure whether he will go full time into birding and in my opinion, 2x tele to 70-200 is still a "reasonable" distance..in fact the 70-200mm alone is fantastic for sunbirds and some other smaller birds, because it got a fast apeture and u can use fast shutter speed to handle this flicky sunbirds. also u can stand close to up to 2m from sunbirds with no problem. somemore ur lens is a L one..and a 2x tele would not do much injustice to the pics. For birds(size of the asian glossy starling) that are high up the in trees of ~2 to 3 stories high, u may need to do some cropping.

    hope what i said helps u in making ur decision.
    The below are links to some pics i took with a 300mm and a 2x teleconverter = effectively 600mm + 1.5x crop = 900mm
    http://forums.clubsnap.org/showthread.php?t=184690
    the kingfisher is about 8m away while the woodpecker is about 5m away. no cropping is done.. thus u can roughly gauge 640mm would show what size of birds with no cropping
    i agree on there is no such thing as long enough,

    but what is the normal focal length people use to shoot bird in the film base days, before the digital age? what is most commonly used, we need fact and figers to find out the focal length we need to start bird shooting, than work towards it.

    300mm
    400mm
    500mm
    600mm

    with 70-200mm f2.8 on 1.6x crop factor dslr + either 1.4x TC or 2x TC, we already get 450mm and 640mm.

    so what contribute to a good bird shot?? the bird must fill the frame? so does it means last time when there is no dslr with crop factor, they used focal length longer than 600mm?

    pls note i am not being offensive, just want to know fact and fig.
    photography makes one sees things from all angles.

  18. #18

    Default Re: Sigma Telephoto Lenses

    Quote Originally Posted by sharkspin
    Thx again for the advice and recommendations. I guess I will have to "bite the bullet" and get the Canon 400mm F5.6L which is just under 2k. Since I hv the 70-200 F2.8L, I guess this is a more logical move.
    Once again....Thx...fellow Clubsnappers..
    I'm using Sigma 400f5.6 + 1.4x for birding. personally I think it's good enuf for not-so-serious shooter... although most of the time I wish the lens is stabilised.
    Gallery | Facebook Page Spreading the Good photography.

  19. #19
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    Default Re: Sigma Telephoto Lenses

    Quote Originally Posted by denniskee
    so what contribute to a good bird shot?? the bird must fill the frame? so does it means last time when there is no dslr with crop factor, they used focal length longer than 600mm?

    pls note i am not being offensive, just want to know fact and fig.
    nono..u are not offensive..
    A bird that fills the frame and one that don't, the difference is in, you can see all the details of the feathers and other parts much clearly, like magazine shoots that kind.. but for those that dint fill the frame and u never zoom in, most of the time u can only see that the bird got blue and white feathers. u cant see clearly the layers of feathers or even the individual feathers in the wings.

    600mm + 1.5x crop ~ 8-10m

    300mm + 1.5x crop ~ 8-10m

    300mm + 1.5x crop ~ 12-14m


    so 400mm+1.6x crop, can roughly estimate as something in between.. cheers

    with some even better lens(mine is only 70-300 f4-5.6), this is what you could get http://forums.clubsnap.org/showthread.php?t=183634
    Last edited by kcuf2; 8th April 2006 at 08:39 AM.

  20. #20
    Senior Member denniskee's Avatar
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    Default Re: Sigma Telephoto Lenses

    may i know what is the normal lens setup they use, i mean those shooting birds with film camera, before the digital age?
    photography makes one sees things from all angles.

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