Sigma 120-300mm HSM on Nikon Body


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Caussway

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This lens seems very good, fast, very sharp and very versatile range.

However I read some reviews outside this forum and Nikon users seems to have problem getting the lens to work properly many reported front / back focus.

Need some advice from Nikon users whom owned this lens before.
I appreciate replies on compatibility , TCs and other practical issues.
I own a D80 now.

Note: While the main the subject is Sigma lens, but this is nikon specific issue,
which is why I posted it here :)

thanks.
 

scenar

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I am currently using the 120-300f2.8 on a D80 as well

(1) had to order lens as no one seems to hold stock for it. waited ~1mth for lens :sweat:
(2) lens arrived with focusing problems - sent it back to sigma for calibration
(tech did it on the spot :thumbsup: )

Once calibrated, the lens focuses spot on.

There however, are certain annoyances with the lens.

The tripod collar is fairly stiff, rotating the lens around it requires some effort,
nowhere near the smoothness of a nikon collar like the one on the 70-200VR

There are also no rubber gaskets around the lens mount, as is present again with the 70-200VR and even the nikon 18-70 kit lens

Without any TC, AF is reasonable fast, not the speed of the 70-200, but gd enough..

All that said, I use it exclusively with the sigma 2xTC for birding to give myself a budget 600f5.6.

Optically, the lens performs VERY VERY well.
Despite the shortcomings listed, I have no regrets acquiring this little gem.

All shots below are with the 2x TC

f5.6 (wide open)


f5.6 (wide open)


f7.1


For more examples of what this lens can do, check with a fellow Cser, Wheels, his shots are incredible!
 

Caussway

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looking at your pictures, it's really worth what you paid for it.

The last KF, is lovely Superb Capture. Cant believe they are taken with 2x TC.


Thanks a lot for sharing so much info. I few more , really tempted to get one.
But I think the handling technique is more important than the lens itself.

1. How much you paid for the lens and TC.
2. Which tripod / head you recommend for this lens.
3. How is the AF performance with 2X TC.
 

scenar

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1. How much you paid for the lens and TC.

Lens $3550 - I have heard the price is now higher.
TC $310

2. Which tripod / head you recommend for this lens.

I'm using Feisol CT3371 tripod + Markins M10 ballhead

Although I'm not using one, a Wimberly sidekick is recommended due to the weight of the lens

3. How is the AF performance with 2X TC.

Somewhat slow, especially when trying to lock focus in a forest environment with lots of twigs and branches obstructing your subject.


Oh, one thing, the lens zoom ring turns the OPPOSITE way from the normal nikon lenses, quite irritating sometimes....
 

scenar

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I thought Nikon lens are the BEST and nothing else can be better or near as good??

SIGMA lens for budget shooters mah...

:rolleyes:
go elsewhere with your trolling posts :nono: , if u have nothing to offer, just skip the thread. thanks.
 

dejected

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but does nikon produce a lens with the focal range at 2.8? :rolleyes:

I thought Nikon lens are the BEST and nothing else can be better or near as good??

SIGMA lens for budget shooters mah...

:rolleyes:
 

Mendis

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To support Scenar, I just got this lens and added the 2x TC yesterday.

Honestly, not the easiest to handle as the tripod collar is not smooth like Nikkor lenses.

Optics at clean 120-300 - sharp sharp sharp
Optics at 120-300 w 1.4x TC - sharp sharp
Optics at 120-300 w 2x TC - sharp

I noticed that I had to stop down mostly to at least f7.1 to get reasonably sharp pictures. I am going to use it with my ball head setup instead to see if the handling is better. :)

And, sigma lenses are not inferior all the time. They provide alternative lens models that fill the gaps that both Canon and Nikon don't produce. As far as Image Quality is concerned, Sigma's high end models are quite comparable.

The only qualms I have with Sigma is the peeling of coating and the tripod collar. :)
 

Mendis

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I have to lock down the collar before taking a shot. If not, sure blur, especially at low speeds below 1/200th. I am not sure if your lens, 170-500, has the same problem. The 120-300 is quite heavy coming close to 3kg! So, everytime I release the tripod collar, the lens slacks downwards. :)
 

calebk

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I thought Nikon lens are the BEST and nothing else can be better or near as good??

SIGMA lens for budget shooters mah...

:rolleyes:
Don't write bluntly, and don't make sweeping statements. There are some Sigma lenses out there that Nikon doesn't even produce. Take the 120-300 for instance. Nikon doesn't even make a lens of similar zoom range with f/2.8.

Two very important things to learn in any forum are the above. Writing bluntly will not do anything for you except maybe offend some others (and I suspect Scenar was a little offended. Chill, bro.)

Take the words "budget shooters". It makes every Sigma user sound like a cheapo, doesn't it? Hence, it's important to not make sweeping statements either.

Hope you take away a valuable lesson today.

Cheers and happy shooting. ;)
 

Mendis

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No. it does not twist around. It slacks forward. :) When you tighten the collar, the lens moves upwards a little. The thing is, the tripod collar is placed too far to the rear of the lens, causing the front heavy problem. :)

The tripod collar on my 600 nikkor is so smooth and well damped that I can shoot without tightening. :)
 

calebk

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No. it does not twist around. It slacks forward. :) When you tighten the collar, the lens moves upwards a little. The thing is, the tripod collar is placed too far to the rear of the lens, causing the front heavy problem. :)

The tripod collar on my 600 nikkor is so smooth and well damped that I can shoot without tightening. :)
It would seem the tripod collar is not flush with the lens barrel. There is an irregularity in the gap between the lens barrel and the collar's inside surface, hence leading to the frontward slack. In other words, the inside of the tripod collar is not exactly parallel to the lens barrel.
 

Mendis

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eh.. You are right. When you release the locking nut, the gap widens too much; resulting in the collar not flushed to the lens barrel.

Having said, I can live with the 'weakness'. The versatility of the zoom, the image quality and HSM speed is great. :)

Cheers.
 

calebk

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Oohhh.. alamak, I thought it's ok to write this way because I saw others write to me this way, i try to fit in.. never crossed my mind I'd crossed someone here...heheheheeee... apologies..no offence intended... :)

Yah but well,... I;m a Budget Shooter leh....
Used to have a Nikon system years ago and switched to Minolta but now Minolta gave up...
*haiz!* end up buying so much because of SONY took over and my lenses needed complementing (completing) with range of digital lenses.. pocket chao-tah liao...
Now worse - fell in love with the new SONY bodies coming this year...! :(
Alot of people write like this, and they do end up dissing someone with careless words. It's important to know what we're writing, and this goes for me too. Well, we learn. Heh.

Ahh...if only you didn't make the switch. Haha. Some Sony lenses are really steep man.
 

Caussway

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thanks guys, CS is really a great place . Appreciate all your inputs.

I saw someone here used the Sigma TS-41 with this lens. I guess this can solve the problem
of stiffness. But not cheap S$200+
http://www.amazon.com/Sigma-TS-41-Tripod-Socket/dp/B0001VQ12O

Keep shooting and sharing.

I travel to HK quite often, planning to get one there. Price I saw was like S$3200+,
not sure now. Sigma warranty is international right ?
 

Mendis

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No. This is the collar Scenar and I are using. It's the same collar in the new model too.
 

scenar

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Hey CJ Goh, I guess i got a little uptight, apologies, guess it's the prob with internet forums, sometimes intentions get confused :)

Calebk, thanks for helping out!

Mendis, we should go shoot someday! 120-300 outing! (get wheels too!) :bsmilie:

An extra word on the TS-41 collar here:

Once I was using it out in a light drizzle, the water actually helped to lubricate the ring, making it much easier to turn, I'm wondering if I could apply a thin layer of hand lotion or something to reduce the friction!

And yes, Mendis is right, quite impossible to shoot without locking down the collar.

Caussway: I do not know if you would want to get one in HK, the local sigma centre MAY not (just a guess) be so obliging with calibration should the lens need it.
 

scenar

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You mean this is standard tripod collar comes with 120-300mm ?
Now it does (DG version), initially it did not.
So do check if u r getting 2nd hand.
 

donchua

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You mean this is standard tripod collar comes with 120-300mm ?
Below the old collar with old batch? (Pic from Sigma4less) Same as those on the present 70-200mm f2.8.



Below with new collar for the new batch? (Pic from Sigma America)



Even the Sigma 70-200mm f2.8 Macro also using the same collar? (Pic from Sigma4less)
 

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