Nik 80-400 VR or Sigma 80-400 OS?


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Allan Teo

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Jun 3, 2004
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Hi

I am about to buy one of these lenses and I need some advice or
confirmation on some of the info I have heard. I am talking about
the 80-400 OS/VR from Sigma and Nikon.

I wish to use this on a Nik D70 SLR and my main purpose
is wildlife photo- big birds and other zoo animals.

So I have scoured the web for over a week and came up
with some info...

A) Major Difference between Sigma and Nikon

-SIgma has no auto panning detection - must be turned on
with Mode 2 switch
- Mode 2 on Nikon turns on VR only when shutter is pressed
- Mode 1 on Sigma turns on VR all the time

the con of the sigma is that you may ruin some shots if panning
is suddenly required - ie Lizard starts to run away across the FOV while
the nikon will save the day.

B) Sharpness:

Some say Nikon is 'soft' at 400 mm and sharp at 80 mm
Some say Sigma is very sharp at 400 mm and has some vignetting
at 80mm

Some say there is no problem at all

C) Slow AF:
I went to the store and tried the sigma, the focus was
a little tad slower than AF-S in a brightly lit sim lim square.
This does not seem to be a problem for me with the D-70.

Some say that with a D70 , the focus is very fast and
this translates to maximum focus speed on the Nik or Sigma lense.

Some say the Nikon lense is bad for taking photos of
birds in flight, some say there is no problem at all.


D) With a D70 the focus seems to be quite fast for the sigma, with
other analog camera bodies, the focus seems to be slower.

E) Not sure of fast focus speed with a D70 for the NIK 80-400VR
as I noticed with the sigma 80-400 OS.

Other issues

F) Sigma does not work properly with some other Nikon Bodies

G) Nikon branding will allow better resale value


Rumours

H)Sigma makes the Nikon 80-400vr under contract for Nikon.

Can some experienced people comment on the information
I have found and maybe help me on the decision?

I think I would need auto-panning as it is a very important
feature to shoot spotaneous wildlife without remembering
to switch quickly..

I found the following prices for the lenses

Sigma 80-400OS - $300 inc gst - warranty model
Nik 80-40VR - $2300 inc GSt - Grey market

So I read in the forums here that the sigma is also available
for $2100 - Parissilk or MS color? Warranty or Grey market?

Thanks in advance for any advice.


Allan
 

justarius

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Nov 9, 2003
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If I remember correctly, the nikon VR gives you 1-2 more stops than the sigma OS.

Sigma makes the 80-400 VR under contract from Nikon? Right. I saw a pig flew past just now :D
 

xdivider

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Mar 2, 2002
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justarius said:
If I remember correctly, the nikon VR gives you 1-2 more stops than the sigma OS.

Sigma makes the 80-400 VR under contract from Nikon? Right. I saw a pig flew past just now :D
Think abt 1/2 to 1 stop at most. Some pple in dpreview claim the OS works up to 1.5 to 2. A test at www.photosharp.com.tw says the sigma is sharper, focuses closer (1.8m vs 2.3m) and has full time manual even though this is non-hsm but its a lot heavier. link. If the OP is thinking grey or used, a used 80-400 VR on ebay should be roughly the same price as a grey sigma from deltainternational. I doubt the 80-400 is a subcontracted work but i guess the confusion could be due to the 2 having similar specs and design like the tamron and nikon 70-300......
 

CAMEDIA

Senior Member
Sep 29, 2003
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Tomato Town
waaa...u sure did a lot of homework. :thumbsup: Another alternative is to use a 70-200 VR + a 2x tele. Grey one should be more or less around 2300 +- 100. :D You will find this setup more versatile but strongly recommend a monopod at least if u gonna shot at 400mm --> 600mm. VR technology used is also newer and better on this lens but I still find it diff to achieve 100% sharpness handheld on 400mm. :think:

BUY BUY BUY!!! :devil:
 

xdivider

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Actually would rather Sigma or Nikon come out with a 300 F4 with VR/OS with 1:3 focussing weighing less than 1kg without a collar......
 

sriram

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Mar 10, 2002
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Allan Teo said:
I found the following prices for the lenses

Sigma 80-400OS - $300 inc gst - warranty model
Nik 80-40VR - $2300 inc GSt - Grey market
If the sigma is $300, then I would get that without any hesitation. This looks like a mistake.
 

xdivider

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its definitely a mistake, i asked and got 2300 b4.....
 

Allan Teo

Senior Member
Jun 3, 2004
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sriram said:
If the sigma is $300, then I would get that without any hesitation. This looks like a mistake.
Hi Sorry it is $2300 at Sim Lim, somehow left out the
2000... :)

Anyway I hear some prices going for even less than $2300...

My only concern is the MANUAL panning mode compared to
Nikon's auto panning detection.

Sigma support confirmed this information and told me that
it has extra flexibility compared to a panning detection mode that
needs to be extremely fast.

I am not sure if I want to have horizontal panning detection
as a manual function.


Allan
 

obviousdude

Senior Member
Oct 14, 2003
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AP e-quoted me $2280 (hence $2394 with GST)

saw the lens on sigma's webby some time back and was waiting for it ever since, but alittle surprised that they priced it = to nikon's pricing.

sigma is usually significantly cheaper.
 

xdivider

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obviousdude said:
AP e-quoted me $2280 (hence $2394 with GST)

saw the lens on sigma's webby some time back and was waiting for it ever since, but alittle surprised that they priced it = to nikon's pricing.

sigma is usually significantly cheaper.
International seem to be cheaper but dun noe sigma has international warranty here or not (US does, so they like to buy grey).
 

smallaperture

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Jan 5, 2004
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CAMEDIA said:
waaa...u sure did a lot of homework. :thumbsup: Another alternative is to use a 70-200 VR + a 2x tele. Grey one should be more or less around 2300 +- 100. :D You will find this setup more versatile but strongly recommend a monopod at least if u gonna shot at 400mm --> 600mm. VR technology used is also newer and better on this lens but I still find it diff to achieve 100% sharpness handheld on 400mm. :think:

BUY BUY BUY!!! :devil:
One option is to go for a 300F4, which is a PRime and add a 1.4x TC to give you 420. There is very little drop in image quality with a good 1.4x TC like the Kenko or the Tamron SP TC. And remember that is a prime v/s a 5x zoom! For that kind of money, you should expect top-notch results, which only a Prime can give you, at the very long end. Of course, the trade-off is less flexibility without a zoom.

Often, you need to shoot wide open, in low contrast for wildlife, is where the Prime lens would outperform that zoom by a big margin. Remember, animals do like the comfort in the shade, and many of them are camera-shy too.
 

ry4503

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May 2, 2004
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Allan, I thought you already got your answers when you posted the same question in DPReview.

You've already listed down a detailed comparisons of the two lenses. If you must buy either one of the lenses, then your comparison has already decided it should be the Nikon.

The Sigma OS lens is very new and I have not seen any review or first hand experience account. I'm not sure what Sigma is up to, producing a lens almost blow for blow similar to the Nikon, including the pricing. IMO, unless Sigma throws in HSM, otherwise, it should be priced at no more than 70% of the Nikon. Unfortunately, the Sigma is not HSM, and neither is it attractively priced.

I do not own the Nikon 80-400 but have handled it briefly. It's screw-drive focusing on the D70 is indeed painfully slow. I've read many who owned the lens complained about its lack of sharpness compared to 70-200VR, and the slow focusing.

My advise is not to compare between the Nikon and the Sigma in this case, but to decide for yourself should you look at an alternative. If you're willing to fork out more than 2k for it, I'd urge you to seriously look at 70-200VR. You might want to forget about the longer reach of the Nikon 80-400 for the time being and consider the facts that both the Nikon lenses are equally bulky and heavy, the 70-200 is as sharp as it can be, fast focusing, is faster (f2.8), only slightly more expensive. If you need a slightly longer reach, you can expand later by snapping in the TC1.4 or the soon-to-be launched TC1.7 (but not the TC2.0).

If you need a range beyond 300mm, you might want to seriously think about how often you'll need it and consider a prime like the AFS 300 F/4 later. If you need a long reach pretty much in any particular session, a tripod is a must (and so forget about VR). If it's occasionally that you need a long reach, you can always crop from the 70-200 shot, which is razor sharp.

When you mentioned grey Nikon, are you referring to those sold in US? I've not heard of grey Nikon in Singapore and will be a pleasantly surprise if it does.

Hope that'll help in your decision.

Allan Teo said:
Hi

I am about to buy one of these lenses and I need some advice or
confirmation on some of the info I have heard. I am talking about
the 80-400 OS/VR from Sigma and Nikon.

I wish to use this on a Nik D70 SLR and my main purpose
is wildlife photo- big birds and other zoo animals.

So I have scoured the web for over a week and came up
with some info...

A) Major Difference between Sigma and Nikon

-SIgma has no auto panning detection - must be turned on
with Mode 2 switch
- Mode 2 on Nikon turns on VR only when shutter is pressed
- Mode 1 on Sigma turns on VR all the time

the con of the sigma is that you may ruin some shots if panning
is suddenly required - ie Lizard starts to run away across the FOV while
the nikon will save the day.

B) Sharpness:

Some say Nikon is 'soft' at 400 mm and sharp at 80 mm
Some say Sigma is very sharp at 400 mm and has some vignetting
at 80mm

Some say there is no problem at all

C) Slow AF:
I went to the store and tried the sigma, the focus was
a little tad slower than AF-S in a brightly lit sim lim square.
This does not seem to be a problem for me with the D-70.

Some say that with a D70 , the focus is very fast and
this translates to maximum focus speed on the Nik or Sigma lense.

Some say the Nikon lense is bad for taking photos of
birds in flight, some say there is no problem at all.


D) With a D70 the focus seems to be quite fast for the sigma, with
other analog camera bodies, the focus seems to be slower.

E) Not sure of fast focus speed with a D70 for the NIK 80-400VR
as I noticed with the sigma 80-400 OS.

Other issues

F) Sigma does not work properly with some other Nikon Bodies

G) Nikon branding will allow better resale value


Rumours

H)Sigma makes the Nikon 80-400vr under contract for Nikon.

Can some experienced people comment on the information
I have found and maybe help me on the decision?

I think I would need auto-panning as it is a very important
feature to shoot spotaneous wildlife without remembering
to switch quickly..

I found the following prices for the lenses

Sigma 80-400OS - $300 inc gst - warranty model
Nik 80-40VR - $2300 inc GSt - Grey market

So I read in the forums here that the sigma is also available
for $2100 - Parissilk or MS color? Warranty or Grey market?

Thanks in advance for any advice.


Allan
 

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