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Author Topic: Sigma 120-300mm f2.8 DG OS (new) impressions  (Read 7537 times)

meenanm

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Sigma 120-300mm f2.8 DG OS (new) impressions
« on: June 09, 2013, 03:13:27 PM »
Ok, the Sigma 120-300 arrived to me on Wednesday. Work and weather prevented me from getting much time to test it out.  On Saturday morning I took time time shooting at home and testing out the lens.
I was testing using my Canon 1Dx.  I noticed it was back focusing a fair amount. I setup a focus test using FocusTune (Win) and confirmed it was in fact back focusing.  I tested it at the max 300 and f2.8.  =5 gave me the best average focus.  Visually I might have gone with minus 4.  I did some more samples and then needed to get to an event.

I used the new lens at the state softball finals.  Below are some sample shots.  I only adjusted exposure slightly. The images were shot in JPG on the camera.  I'll right a full review and post the reports from FocusTune later this week.  I also need to test it on the 5DIII body as well.


At 2.8 the focus was a bit soft, I think -4 might have been a better choice. Initial impression:
(based on a sample set of 1 lens)

1. Its not a lens you can put on the camera and just go shooting.  The USB dock may be a required item.
2. Lots of potential, if I can get the focus set right. Wish I didn't have to spend time seeking the right adjustment.
3. The tripod ring is better - more substantial. But, it is not as smooth as my L series lenses when rotating the camera.

f2.8 300mm 1/6400 ISO200



f2.8 300mm 1/5000 ISO200


f3.5 300mm 1/1600 ISO100


f4 120mm 1/1600 ISO200 



f4 300mm 1/3200 ISO200 
« Last Edit: June 09, 2013, 03:22:55 PM by meenanm »
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Sigma 120-300mm f2.8 DG OS (new) impressions
« on: June 09, 2013, 03:13:27 PM »

TWI by Dustin Abbott

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Re: Sigma 120-300mm f2.8 DG OS (new) impressions
« Reply #1 on: June 09, 2013, 05:45:49 PM »
Shots look pretty good.  I too sometimes prefer my visual tuning on a lens to a FoCal result. 

Big question - other than the focus being perhaps a hair off, how fast and, most importantly, how accurate do you feel the focus is?
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meenanm

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Re: Sigma 120-300mm f2.8 DG OS (new) impressions
« Reply #2 on: June 09, 2013, 08:32:43 PM »
Big question - other than the focus being perhaps a hair off, how fast and, most importantly, how accurate do you feel the focus is?
Focus is fast. Not quite as fast as the Canon 400 f2.8 II. But its pretty fast. Fast enough for sports.  As to the accuracy, not ready to put a stamp on it yet due to the back focus. I had some misses.  Not an exceptional number of misses for a softball game. Some that surprised me were the longer shots. For instance shooting an outfielder with center focus, I caught the fence more often than I thought I would. 

Update: I just spent some time tweaking the focus with the doc. I reset the 1Dx micro back to 0. I eventually worked my way up to a -15 setting on over 100'+. At that setting it is sharp!  I then started working on the 120, 150 and 200 mm settings. I did not have time to put on the 5DIII and test it with the updates.   I'll do a full review soon.

Suggestion, if you buy this lens, get the dock. Not sure if my situation is typical, but without it, I'd be calling Sigma or considering returning it.
-Mike
« Last Edit: June 10, 2013, 08:11:30 AM by meenanm »
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weixing

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Re: Sigma 120-300mm f2.8 DG OS (new) impressions
« Reply #3 on: June 10, 2013, 09:28:43 AM »
Big question - other than the focus being perhaps a hair off, how fast and, most importantly, how accurate do you feel the focus is?
Focus is fast. Not quite as fast as the Canon 400 f2.8 II. But its pretty fast. Fast enough for sports.  As to the accuracy, not ready to put a stamp on it yet due to the back focus. I had some misses.  Not an exceptional number of misses for a softball game. Some that surprised me were the longer shots. For instance shooting an outfielder with center focus, I caught the fence more often than I thought I would. 

Update: I just spent some time tweaking the focus with the doc. I reset the 1Dx micro back to 0. I eventually worked my way up to a -15 setting on over 100'+. At that setting it is sharp!  I then started working on the 120, 150 and 200 mm settings. I did not have time to put on the 5DIII and test it with the updates.   I'll do a full review soon.

Suggestion, if you buy this lens, get the dock. Not sure if my situation is typical, but without it, I'd be calling Sigma or considering returning it.
-Mike
    You mean you can adjust the AF accuracy using the dock? I'm using 60D which do not have the AFMA, so if can adjust the lens AF without using AFMA, it will be very tempting.

   Just wonder how well does this lens take 2x TC?? I'm currently using EF 400mm F5.6L for birding... so really tempted to "upgrade" to this lens if IQ and AF perform reasonably well with TC.

   Have a nice day.

meenanm

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Re: Sigma 120-300mm f2.8 DG OS (new) impressions
« Reply #4 on: June 10, 2013, 11:30:12 AM »
TWI...    You mean you can adjust the AF accuracy using the dock? I'm using 60D which do not have the AFMA, so if can adjust the lens AF without using AFMA, it will be very tempting.

   Just wonder how well does this lens take 2x TC?? I'm currently using EF 400mm F5.6L for birding... so really tempted to "upgrade" to this lens if IQ and AF perform reasonably well with TC....

Yes, with the dock you can adjust the AF at various mm and distances.  There is a setting for 120, 150, 200 and 300mm. In each of those there are 4 settings to adjust at various distances.  Once I am certain I've achieved optimal settings for my 1Dx, I'll test it on my 5DIII. The hope is that they would be the same.

You can also set two custom settings.  I'll be doing this for a project on Saturday.  I'll be shooting baseball from the dugout press area.  I'll likely set a min focal distance and set it to the faster auto focus option. If it does not work out, I can revert back with the flip of a switch.

The dock is an interesting concept. If the lens settings work for two current generation AF systems (1Dx and 5DIII) I'll be pretty happy.
-M
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Re: Sigma 120-300mm f2.8 DG OS (new) impressions
« Reply #5 on: June 10, 2013, 11:55:23 AM »
TWI...    You mean you can adjust the AF accuracy using the dock? I'm using 60D which do not have the AFMA, so if can adjust the lens AF without using AFMA, it will be very tempting.

   Just wonder how well does this lens take 2x TC?? I'm currently using EF 400mm F5.6L for birding... so really tempted to "upgrade" to this lens if IQ and AF perform reasonably well with TC....

Yes, with the dock you can adjust the AF at various mm and distances.  There is a setting for 120, 150, 200 and 300mm. In each of those there are 4 settings to adjust at various distances.  Once I am certain I've achieved optimal settings for my 1Dx, I'll test it on my 5DIII. The hope is that they would be the same.

You can also set two custom settings.  I'll be doing this for a project on Saturday.  I'll be shooting baseball from the dugout press area.  I'll likely set a min focal distance and set it to the faster auto focus option. If it does not work out, I can revert back with the flip of a switch.

The dock is an interesting concept. If the lens settings work for two current generation AF systems (1Dx and 5DIII) I'll be pretty happy.
-M

That would be nice.  The amount of work to dial it in on two separate bodies would be pretty high.
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CarlTN

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Re: Sigma 120-300mm f2.8 DG OS (new) impressions
« Reply #6 on: June 10, 2013, 01:40:52 PM »
I thought the whole point of this lens was to get the USB dock...Does the dock cost a lot or something?  I thought the dock was supposed to be included in the purchase price of the lens...(since the price is ~$600 higher than the 2011 version).

It would be interesting to get impressions from other users.  I want to rent this lens at some point, but I've spent too much money on other things lately.

From what I gather, optically the new lens uses the same elements as the 2011 lens.  I've not tried it either, but again, having read reviews and opinions, it looks like the resolution is plenty high in the middle 60% of the image area at all focal lengths and apertures, even wide open...to represent an excellent value at or near the selling price of new units. 

As for focus accuracy and consistency...I suppose it's possible that the focus motors and elements are no more fast or consistent than the 2011 version's...it's just that now you can tweak the adjustment a lot more.  However, if you're paying an extra $600 and the USB dock is not even included...then all that extra $600 is going for, is the prettier exterior shell...

As for me, if it means tweaking the focus accuracy for a few hours on each camera body I used it with (I doubt it would take more than 30 minutes for me), that would be more than worth the trouble, given how much less this lens costs than the competition...especially since it's also an f/2.8 ZOOM...Zooms are a lot more flexible than a prime.

I've used my own Sigma 120-400 zoom a lot lately.  I've never had to use any in-camera AFMA with it, whether with my previous crop body, or on my 6D.  Since it really is as sharp as the Canon 100-400 at all focal lengths, and has a bit better color at wider than 200mm than the Canon...and probably autofocuses around 90% as fast as the Canon...(and costs barely over half what the current "old" Canon 100-400 sells for)...the only thing I really wish it had was a bit faster aperture.  But then that's a bigger, more costly lens.  That's the 120-300 f/2.8, at 3.5x the price, and an extra 2 pounds or so of weight...

Unless of course, Sigma, Tamron, or someone makes a 70-400 f/3.5-f/5.0.  Why won't they (especially since Canon's new version would likely be priced at twice what the old one cost)??  Old habits die hard I guess.  There are too many consumers willing to pay up for something "new", no matter how similar it is to the "old".

It does seem there is a no-man's-land with telephoto lenses, where you go from something that takes a 77mm filter, to something so huge that it only takes insert filters.  And yet, with Nikon's new 80-400, you still have something that takes 77mm filters, yet costs $2700.  I want something with a front element of about 90mm+ diameter, if I'm going to pay $2700...

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Re: Sigma 120-300mm f2.8 DG OS (new) impressions
« Reply #6 on: June 10, 2013, 01:40:52 PM »

meenanm

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Re: Sigma 120-300mm f2.8 DG OS (new) impressions
« Reply #7 on: June 10, 2013, 02:16:04 PM »
Regarding the dock, it is not included.  It's $59 retail. I would guess they hope people buy more than one lens and do not need multiple docks.  For a zoom of this range I would think they could have included it as well. On the plus side, at least it is not costly.

Maybe my backfocus is an exception. I hope to hear form other owners and what they have found.
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CarlTN

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Re: Sigma 120-300mm f2.8 DG OS (new) impressions
« Reply #8 on: June 10, 2013, 02:20:03 PM »
Regarding the dock, it is not included.  It's $59 retail. I would guess they hope people buy more than one lens and do not need multiple docks.  For a zoom of this range I would think they could have included it as well. On the plus side, at least it is not costly.

Maybe my backfocus is an exception. I hope to hear form other owners and what they have found.

Thanks for the info, yes that's ridiculous...it should be included for sure!

TWI by Dustin Abbott

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Re: Sigma 120-300mm f2.8 DG OS (new) impressions
« Reply #9 on: June 10, 2013, 02:52:02 PM »
Regarding the dock, it is not included.  It's $59 retail. I would guess they hope people buy more than one lens and do not need multiple docks.  For a zoom of this range I would think they could have included it as well. On the plus side, at least it is not costly.

Maybe my backfocus is an exception. I hope to hear form other owners and what they have found.

I can understand not including it with the 35mm f/1.4, but I do agree that it should be included with a lens with this kind of price tag.  Looking forward to seeing more shots now that you have it dialed in.
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bchernicoff

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Re: Sigma 120-300mm f2.8 DG OS (new) impressions
« Reply #10 on: June 10, 2013, 03:11:54 PM »
I found Roger's experience with the dock and the 35mm 1.4 an interesting read: http://www.lensrentals.com/blog/2013/06/sigma-optimization-pro-and-usb-dock

Also, I know initially it was stated that the lens would not have updated optics, but now I've read elsewhere that it has and is much sharper than the original. I feel we should be cautious about making statements one way or the other until someone definitely states what the situation is. I've been hoping Roger will get the change to post some impressions.
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Re: Sigma 120-300mm f2.8 DG OS (new) impressions
« Reply #11 on: June 10, 2013, 03:43:47 PM »
Purely speculation: Even if the optical formula is the same as the older one, they may be making it with better tolerances and thus may get better results from that.
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Re: Sigma 120-300mm f2.8 DG OS (new) impressions
« Reply #12 on: June 10, 2013, 11:31:51 PM »
Also, "it depends on what the definition of 'original'" is...is...:P.

The "original", was the pre-2011 version, which did not have image stabilization.  I'm pretty sure the 2011 version used a different optical formula from "the original"...since the elements which get stabilized, would need to be part of the update.

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Re: Sigma 120-300mm f2.8 DG OS (new) impressions
« Reply #12 on: June 10, 2013, 11:31:51 PM »

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Re: Sigma 120-300mm f2.8 DG OS (new) impressions
« Reply #13 on: June 11, 2013, 07:45:38 AM »
I think "original" in this context was the first OS version, since the latest one is said to have the same optical design as that.
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bchernicoff

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Re: Sigma 120-300mm f2.8 DG OS (new) impressions
« Reply #14 on: June 11, 2013, 08:17:55 AM »
The review from this thread claims IQ is much improved: http://www.canonrumors.com/forum/index.php?topic=14801.msg268631#msg268631
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Re: Sigma 120-300mm f2.8 DG OS (new) impressions
« Reply #14 on: June 11, 2013, 08:17:55 AM »