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Sigma Launches the 120-300mm F2.8 DG OS HSM

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Bob Howland:

--- Quote from: Edwin Herdman on January 10, 2013, 01:27:34 PM ---It was annoying that they did not include a focus limiter switch, and it's painful to see that they've now changed the design (and at such a price) to include what should've been there.  However, I feel that when I'm careful I can usually work around this problem.

--- Quote from: Bob Howland on January 08, 2013, 09:09:17 AM ---Based on my experience and observations, the resulting images would not be acceptable.
--- End quote ---
That's not been my experience.  Did you look at the teleconverter-attached images at POTN forums?  With the EF Extender III I rarely have any problem with the 2011 version.

If you are shooting with a camera with smaller pixel pitch than the 7D and need critical resolution then there may be a problem.  Occasionally the images seem somewhat less than critically sharp - but only at 1:1 magnification (discounting focus errors of course).  I've got a good number of shots that are more than acceptably sharp in my view.  The weakness of the lens and TC combination comes when shooting at somewhat longer ranges against a busy background - occasionally (such as an image across a swamp / small lake) I have gotten an unacceptably busy rendition of OOF backgrounds.  No doubt the 200-400 will excel in this area, hopefully even with the TC active.

The 200-400 will be the single-lens option for wildlife if you cannot afford to remove the lens in the field (I admit this is somewhat burdensome to change), but 120-200mm has been useful surprisingly often and f/2.8 even more so.

After all these considerations, I would be reluctant to toss out the 120-300 entirely in favor of the 200-400 TC 1.4 - especially as it seems to excel in relatively close-up to medium range photography (although you have to work around the minimum focus distance - 1.5m at the wide end, and 2.5m at the far end - it is able to focus closer than many other lenses in this range).  The price on  the original model couldn't be beaten, either - maybe one of the better lens deals in recent times, and I hope the price increase doesn't reflect Sigma's belief they sold the original too cheaply.  I was definitely limited by funds to that lens, however, and for that reason the 120-300 + TC combination will still be tempting compared to the 200-400mm.  It seems to handily beat consumer-oriented lenses in the 1X0-400mm and 1X0-5X0 (etc.) ranges.

--- End quote ---

Thanks for the comments. I've only used the Sigma TCs and have not been impressed with the 2X. I still would prefer a 200-500 f/4 lens, even if it is substantially heavier and more expensive.

I had the previous 120-300 OS (the one launched in 2011) and is was quite possiby the worst lens I have ever used so I sold it after just 8 months. The image quality was awful and unusable with both 1.4 and 2X converters. I went back to sigma twice for a slipping focus ring during the time I owned it. I think sigma are charging too much for this new lens if its essentially the same lens with just user adjustability added.

There are many mixed experiences with this lens,

The first version and the second one(with os), mixed experiences from users who either love it or hate,
Sending them back for failing os/auto focus..
Some find it amazingly sharp, others unacceptable(especially with TC's)

Yet there are a lot of reviews who see this as a serieus alternative to a 300 f2.8 from canon/nikon,
Or an extended 70-200 2.8 was quite positive, especially on center performence (and on crop factor bodies.)

I have also read about thedigitalpicture mid frame and corner results being a bit colored, by the fact that it should perform better when used at a different distance then it was tested.
Anyone that can confirm this?,

If they keep their word at sigma about the quality control, this lens would be a great alternative to the canon 70-200 when used on a crop factor body

Hope to see some thorough reviews when the lens gets released, with real world (high res) examples and crops


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