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New Sigma 100-300 F4 EX (my mini review)

Discussion in 'Photography & Video' started by MWP, May 27, 2006.

  1. MWP

    MWP Member

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    Hi all,

    Well i splurged a little yesterday and bought a new Sigma 100-300 F4 EX DG HSM :thumbup:
    Thought i would buy it while still here in Canada since its a lot cheaper than Australia.

    It was a choice between the this lens, the Canon 100-400 L and the Sigma 80-400 EX OS.
    I didnt like the push-pull on the Canon 100-400 L and it was too expensive for me.
    The Sigma 80-400 EX OS didnt have HSM (very slow to focus) and has recently been discontinued.

    Ive never used a big lens like this this before, so my first thought was obviously "wow, its heavy".
    I can see its going to take a while to get used to handling a lens of this weight and size... mainly due to having to hold the camera+lens differently to support the weight.
    I also bought a light monopod and head for use with it, these will also take some getting used to.

    The lens itself is VERY well built, fully sealed so there will be no problems with dust or rain. The front doesnt rotate or extend so this also helps with sealing.
    This was quite important to me as ill be using it at offroad motorsport events... one of the worst places to be for dust.

    The zoom ring is a little stiff. Im not sure if its normal for a lens of this size, or if its just because its new and will free up with time & use.
    The focus ring is also quite stiff.

    Auto focus in the lens is performed by HSM, and the manual ring is clutched.
    Focus is quick and accurate. Maybe not quite as quick Canon HSMs, but very close. Certainly a lot quicker than non-HSM lenses.

    This lens is VERY sharp. Up there with the best of the Canon L tele zooms right through the zoom and aperture range.
    The bokeh is also very nice, silky smooth backgrounds at F4.

    I can see why this lens is rated as Sigma's best zoom lens.

    I havent used the lens a lot yet, so i dont have any decent photos from it to share.
    Here are a couple of the better photos i took yesterday though... they have only been converted from RAW using RSE and cropped & resized in PSP-X.
    They have not been sharpened at all.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    And a photo of it compared to the 350D kit lens and Canon 55-200.

    [​IMG]

    My conclusion... a good high-end tele zoom for people wanting quality but not wanting to pay the higher $$s for the Canon L's.
     
    Last edited: May 27, 2006
  2. norbs

    norbs Member

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    Nice shots. By christ, thats a big lense. :shock:
     
  3. sirshelldrake

    sirshelldrake Member

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    is it me or is that tripod collar on the wrong way?
    theres alot of strong 10 votes for the lens on FM (some people saying it's on par with the 70-200F4L which has a massive following), but seems to have a few people that strongly dislike it, might be a quality control issue. would be interesting to see how this goes up against a 70-200/2.8 + 1.4TC, obviously alot cheaper (probably half the price) but less versatile. could be a good option for those that are considering the 70-200/F4L or the sigma 70-200/2.8 as they're similar price.
     
  4. Sturmy

    Sturmy Member

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    Yes the tripod collar is around the wrong way :)
     
  5. Amfibius

    Amfibius Member

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    EXIF info from your image says: ISO 400, F/5, 1/2000 sec, Canon 300D. You may have been better off shooting at ISO 100.

    The image you posted looks soft. Detail on the fur is blurred. Is this cropped or a resize from a full image? Sorry to say, but my old 100-400L makes better images than this.

    If the lens is so highly rated, I suggest you do a few more test shots. If they all look like this then I would return it to Sigma.

    Image from my 100-400L (at 235mm, F/4.5, 1/90sec, ISO 800 on a 10D):

    [​IMG]

    and a 100% crop of the snout (unsharpened):

    [​IMG]
     
  6. OP
    OP
    MWP

    MWP Member

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    Yes it is.
    I quickly flipped it around the other way to get it out of the way of the zoom ring.
    I may or may not leave it there, depending on how much it unbalances the lens+camera on the monopod.

    They have EXIF info?
    Weird, PSP-X normally strips the EXIF info.

    Anyway, as i said these were a couple of quick snaps on the first day i bought the lens. These definatley should not be used to judge the lens.
    I really need a tripod to test it properly, and i dont have access to one at the moment.
     
  7. EpHeSuS

    EpHeSuS Member

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    FYI, this lens is not weather sealed. So don't get too excited ;)

    Have had this lens for a few months now and I love it. Extremely fast focus and very sharp pics, even with a 1.4x TC on.

    Just took these (freezing outside :Paranoid: )

    All wide open, 300mm and 100% crops. Shot in RAW and processed with C1P.

    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]


    These arn't really the best of shots, as it was overcast when I shot them.

    Well that's nice... just as I was pasting those photos in the sun comes out :o
     
    Last edited: May 27, 2006
  8. Sturmy

    Sturmy Member

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    MWP a trick when not using the collar, have it twisted up to about 2 O'clock as you look through your cameras viewfinder, you wont even notice it's there then, It's what I do and it works well.
     
  9. Amfibius

    Amfibius Member

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    At 1/2000 second, a tripod would have made no difference to the image. It's a focusing error (which I doubt), or some kind of lens problem. Try a few more images with it and see if it looks OK.
     
  10. c.leong

    c.leong Member

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    In the second shot I don't think the bokeh is as smooth as it could be. But I could be wrong, as bokeh is a subjective thing.
     
  11. sir_bazz

    sir_bazz Team Papparazi

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    I agree and would put the front bokeh in the first shot in the same boat.

    Having said that though I find it's more difficult controlling bokeh once past 200mm. Really need to put some distance between the subject and jthe background.

    bazz.
     
  12. petal666

    petal666 Member

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    That is the bohek I had on my 100-300 when I owned it. It looked ugly to me.
     
  13. l00b3r

    l00b3r (Banned or Deleted)

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    BOHEK? :p

    -Matt
     
  14. petal666

    petal666 Member

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    It's the sigma version :tongue:
     
  15. l00b3r

    l00b3r (Banned or Deleted)

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    i thought you were saying the Bokeh was Heck bad.
    we'll just pass it off as that eh? :leet:

    -Matt
     
  16. c.leong

    c.leong Member

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    You'll find that the lack of a focus range limiter is a bit annoying, when the lens loses focusing track and cycles in and out to try to regain focus. Other than that, buying 82mm filters is a costly affair. But its a great value for money lens for what it offers, essentially an up-sized 70-200mm F/2.8 or F/4 (depends how you look at it). You could stack a 1.4x TC and still get fairly decent results, and even use it for shooting insects in a pinch.
     
  17. EpHeSuS

    EpHeSuS Member

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    I love the bokeh of the 100-300, but at times highlights can look quite weird.

    But did someone mention bokeh? :weirdo:

    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
     
  18. l00b3r

    l00b3r (Banned or Deleted)

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    i find that bokeh QUITE ugly.

    AK~ :sick:

    -Matt
     
  19. EpHeSuS

    EpHeSuS Member

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    [rMeh, just as good as anything I've seen come out a 70-200, 100-400L.
     
    Last edited: May 27, 2006
  20. Raytracer

    Raytracer Member

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    I like my bokeh smooth and creamy - thus:

    [​IMG]

    but that is with at 150 - so not really relevant to the higher zooms mentioned here :)
     

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