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Thread: Lens test - Sigma100-300F4

  1. #1
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    Default Lens test - Sigma100-300F4

    The full unabridged name is Sigma AF100-300F4 EX APO DG HSM.
    Those who are more or less familiar with Sigma would know their acronyms. The DG is the latest version, replacing the IF version. From what I know, the lens formula is basically the same, with a bit better coating on the rear elements. I have actually tested the earlier version and found the HSM having the microhunting problem. This new version locks focus effortless even in low light.

    Lens test might be a bit misleading - just to share some info, opinion and comments about the lens with fellow CSers. Maybe, it's better to call it User Report.

    Bought from AP about 2 months ago for $1680 w GST.

    Sample pix can be found here:
    http://forums.clubsnap.org/showthread.php?t=184630

    and here:
    http://forums.clubsnap.org/showthread.php?t=197744

    I will post some 100% crops w/o sharpening later for those keen in peeping at pixels and some other handling and performance aspects.
    Last edited by smallaperture; 8th June 2006 at 08:34 AM.
    I love big car, big house, big lenses, but small apertures.

  2. #2
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    Default Re: Lens test - Sigma100-300F4

    I want to get this lens, but a bit too expensive for me...

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    Default Re: Lens test - Sigma100-300F4

    Sigma100-300F4 ($1680) VS sigma 50-500 f4-6.3 ($1800)

    wat len ur guys will choose??

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    Default Re: Lens test - Sigma100-300F4

    Lens construction - Large focusing ring in front, zoom ring behind it. Being HSM, the focusing is lightning fast and accurate and you can over-ride it anytime by turning the focusing ring. And this is a constant length zoom - nothing moves or turn during AF or zooming - wonderful in that there is no exchange of air with the outside and so, very, very little dust gets in. BTW, not many zoom lens are of this constant length type. The appearance - simple elegant all black "European" styling.

    Filter - at 82 size, this is big. In digital, we hardly need any filter except for a protective UV or NC filter. So, for me, just one Hoya HMC filter for the peace of mind. I leave the hood at home becos it is far too big and cumbersome to make the lens really unwieldy. As this is not a common size, got to be ordered, and got mine from CP.

    Dimension and weight - it is practically the same length and weight as the Nk70-200VR. At first, it felt quite a bit bigger than the 80-200ED that I was using, but after a short while, got used to it already.

    Tripod collar - removeable type, the mounting foot is short, and the stem is short too to make it genuinely sturdy on a good tripod. This is unlike some other designs from Sigma where both the stem and foot are long - never a great idea for vibration damping, but doubles as a carrying handle. Simply that both functions are mutually exclusive.
    I love big car, big house, big lenses, but small apertures.

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    Default Re: Lens test - Sigma100-300F4

    Quote Originally Posted by joey91
    Sigma100-300F4 ($1680) VS sigma 50-500 f4-6.3 ($1800)

    wat len ur guys will choose??
    I was about to come to why I chose the 100-300. At 300, depending on the situation, I can still do handheld shots where the light is good and when I can use flash. Anything longer than that, it would be hard, real hard for me. When I need somemore reach, I would add on a Sigma1.4xTC for me to get to 420mmF5.6, still need a bit of cropping to get to 500. I will be getting the TC soon.

    Now, to go all the way to 500, you're already at F6.3, which means that you will have a bit of AF problem if the light ain't ideal, and got to lug along at least a monopod. The 50-500 is extremely versatile in the 10x zoom range.

    I know that the 50-500 is immensely popular everywhere as I could see fellow CSers using it and readily available in the shops. Well, I guess this is really depending on what you shoot and your preferance.
    I love big car, big house, big lenses, but small apertures.

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    Default Re: Lens test - Sigma100-300F4

    I should have bought this lens before the AA air show. Ideal for it, with the 1.4xTC even better.

    Now, I actually would love to shoot sea sports like wakeboarding, dragon boats, F1 Powerboats. And then, off to nature like zoo and JBP. But, the ultimate would be to go to the Kruger Nature Reserve in South Africa for the Safari shoot. Well, the zoo is but the starting point. These would be the real photos to live for.

    Those MSU pix and those Beachball pix are just for practice only, for testing, to hone my skills.
    I love big car, big house, big lenses, but small apertures.

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    Default Re: Lens test - Sigma100-300F4

    so will u goto join n shoot wakeboarding of 4 june??

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    Default Re: Lens test - Sigma100-300F4

    Quote Originally Posted by joey91
    so will u goto join n shoot wakeboarding of 4 june??
    Aiya, today not free la. If you go, please post some pix and let me see what I have missed.
    I love big car, big house, big lenses, but small apertures.

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    Default Re: Lens test - Sigma100-300F4

    So far, I have not mentioned the word "Sharpness" - to me, that word is taboo.

    As I do not do test charts, resolution table, MTF curve and so forth, that is why I do not wish to talk about how sharp the lens is. I know someone will come and ask - well, my opinion is this - This lens is sharp enough - for most purposes. Well, that is from my amateur point of view la. I guess pro photogs will do their thorough testing for themselves.

    Bokeh - this lens gives me surprisingly creamy smooth and pleasant bokeh. I will try to find an example and post it later.

    Distortion - not noticeable at all. In any case, a telezoom shouldn't have any noticeable distortion. Moreover, if you're on digital with a 1.5 factor, any small distortion is already cropped away. Anyway, distortion might only be a problem for wider angles and those with high zoom range like a 10x zoom.

    Flare - as I will be using the lens without the hood most of the time, got to check for flare. At about 11am at home, the sun was shinning onto the front element, I tested with and without hood. Hardly see any difference. So pretty safe to go without the hood.
    Last edited by smallaperture; 5th June 2006 at 08:48 AM.
    I love big car, big house, big lenses, but small apertures.

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    Default Re: Lens test - Sigma100-300F4

    Built quality - feels solid on my hands. The tripod collar feels smooth to rotate and firm on the tripod. The zoom ring turns smoothly as expected. This is what Sigma calls their premium lenses EX - supposed to mean excellence, but also meaning expensive for the consumer, so big fat profit margin to Sigma. I suppose Sigma sells their 70-300 lens with hardly any profit margin, whereas, they get some handsome profit from this lens that sells for like 5 times that of the 70-300.

    If you ask me, is it worth it? Well, I get 1 stop bigger aperture, superfast HSM, tripod collar, EX quality and constant length non rotating front element, 4 SLD glass - all these attributes are worth the 5x price tag. Let me capture some precious moments - priceless.

    Remember - a digital pic last forever and ever.
    Last edited by smallaperture; 8th June 2006 at 09:32 PM.
    I love big car, big house, big lenses, but small apertures.

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    Default Re: Lens test - Sigma100-300F4

    Availability - As mentioned earlier, got this lens from Alan Photo[Funan]. This lens is not readily available in the other stores like CP, MS Color, John, etc. In fact, when I asked, they all said that they have to order it from Sigma Marketing and I would have to place a deposit. That ain't a very customer friendly arrangement. Well, the good thing is that only Alan Photo carries the lens in their store. And then, only their Funan branch has got the NAF mount that I was looking for.

    I just cannot understand why there is a need for a deposit for the stores to get the lens from the agent. This is utterly bad customer service. I understand that in the US, you can even return the goods after trying it out for a couple of days! and no questions asked!

    Alan Photo may not be the biggest, or got the most comprehensive range of gear among the stores we frequent. But the amazing thing is that I found what I wanted.
    I love big car, big house, big lenses, but small apertures.

  12. #12
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    Default Re: Lens test - Sigma100-300F4

    Here is one pic taken during the Miss Singapore Universe contest, straight from the box, just downsize for posting. Taken handheld at J8.



    and here is the same pic 100% crop without any sharpening.


    Nikon D70 1/200s F4. Exif data intact in pic. I am amazed by the performance at max aperture F4.
    Last edited by smallaperture; 12th October 2006 at 03:53 PM.
    I love big car, big house, big lenses, but small apertures.

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    Default Re: Lens test - Sigma100-300F4

    okok...dont tempt me anymore....be my next lens..haha
    Canon EOS 70D + 40D

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    Default Re: Lens test - Sigma100-300F4

    thanks for sharing, images looks good to me

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    Default Re: Lens test - Sigma100-300F4

    Quote Originally Posted by donkuok
    okok...dont tempt me anymore....be my next lens..haha
    I tot Canon has got many great lenses in this range, like the 100-400 - I might have got that if I were a Canon user.
    I love big car, big house, big lenses, but small apertures.

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    Default Re: Lens test - Sigma100-300F4

    Quote Originally Posted by smallaperture
    I tot Canon has got many great lenses in this range, like the 100-400 - I might have got that if I were a Canon user.
    i think canon 100-400 is not as sharp as sigma 100-300. furthermore, it is more expensive and not constant f4L
    Last edited by donkuok; 14th June 2006 at 05:05 PM.
    Canon EOS 70D + 40D

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    Default Re: Lens test - Sigma100-300F4

    Quote Originally Posted by ortega
    thanks for sharing, images looks good to me
    You're welcomed.

    The user report continues:

    Vignetting - if you're using dSLR with a crop factor of 1.5, vignetting has already been cropped away and so it is never a concern.

    CA - here again, it only affects the corners and the edges so that for most dSLR with the crop factor, you would hardly see any CA. I have tried to look for it at 100% crop at the corner of the image, but couldn't see any. However, I am not sure if you start using a 1.4x or 2.0x TC. I am gonna to buy the Sigma 1.4xTC soon to go with this lens and see if CA starts appearing.
    I love big car, big house, big lenses, but small apertures.

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    Default Re: Lens test - Sigma100-300F4

    Quote Originally Posted by donkuok
    i think canon 100-400 is not as sharp as sigma 100-300. furthermore, it is more expensive and not constant f4L
    I think the Canon100-400 is a great lens in that it has got USM and IS. OOF and camera shake are the 2 biggest culprits that give you unsharp pix. For example, I used to own a Nk300F4 - that lens is very sharp as a prime. But, without USM nor IS, it is so much harder to get a sharp pix than the Cn100-400. So, for me, I look at a lens and ask how easy it is for me to get a good pix and not how sharp the lens is based on theoretical MTF chart or other lab measurement.
    I love big car, big house, big lenses, but small apertures.

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    Default Re: Lens test - Sigma100-300F4

    Quote Originally Posted by smallaperture
    I think the Canon100-400 is a great lens in that it has got USM and IS. OOF and camera shake are the 2 biggest culprits that give you unsharp pix. For example, I used to own a Nk300F4 - that lens is very sharp as a prime. But, without USM nor IS, it is so much harder to get a sharp pix than the Cn100-400. So, for me, I look at a lens and ask how easy it is for me to get a good pix and not how sharp the lens is based on theoretical MTF chart or other lab measurement.
    Well, i dont mind to have canon one if I got plenty of money....it cost another 1K bro...
    Canon EOS 70D + 40D

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    Default Re: Lens test - Sigma100-300F4

    Quote Originally Posted by donkuok
    Well, i dont mind to have canon one if I got plenty of money....it cost another 1K bro...
    Well, I have also considered the Nk80-400VR - this one has got the range, and VR, so should be able to get sharp pix without much problem, but it is without AF-S - so the AF could be rather slow at times, so that you might miss some shots becos of the slow AF. For me, fast AF is more important than VR. And of course, the Nikkor is quite a bit more expensive than what I got too.
    I love big car, big house, big lenses, but small apertures.

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