April 19, 2014, 12:43:43 AM

Author Topic: Sigma 70-200 f2.8 OS vs. Canon 70-200 f 2.8L (non-IS) vs. Canon 70-200 f4L IS  (Read 12778 times)

Ahven

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Hey first time poster here!

I've been reading these forums for a while and now I would like some feedback since I'm doing a major (in my budget range) lens purchase. The 3 lenses I'm trying to choose from are:

Sigma 70-200 f2.8 OS
Canon 70-200 f 2.8L (non-IS)
Canon 70-200 f4L IS

On paper I'm strongly leaning towards the Sigma since it really offers the best of both worlds with f2.8 and IS. I live in the euro- zone and here these 3 lenses are all 990-1100 euros the 2.8 L being the most expensive and the f4 L IS being the cheapest. Not much of a price difference though. What is surprising is that when I read through the forums and reviews I hear very little about the Sigma, especially on forums. Everyone is going on about the f2.8 L IS II which is probably great but at 2k euros it is twice the price of the Sigma while offering the same specs. Simultaneously it is out of my price range.

I am planning on using a TC with the lens and would much rather use a 2x since I've heard the Canon 2x is great. How does it fit with the Sigma lens? I'd presume not a problem there. This however would exclude the f4. The type of photography I'd do with the lens would be pretty versatile. I'm hoping to do portrait, street and then with the 2x I'd take it to the woods and shoot some birds and wildlife. On a recent trip to Norway I really came to appreciate the 70-200 focal lenght for landscape as well. I shoot crop 550d (or t2i? in the US?) right now, waiting what Canon will do with the 7d mk II before deciding if to go FF or not so no immediate plans on FF and don't really consider that when purchasing glass.

Thanks in advance for your help :)

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Maui5150

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I have never held and shot the Sigma, have the F4 Non-IS and just bought the 2.8 IS II.

When I was researching, I saw a lot of side by sides, not only of the F4 to 2.8 to 2.8 IS II, saw some Sigma 2.8 vs Canon 2.8 thrown in as well. 

Summary as I saw it:

-- Sigma is build cheap. Feel is not as good, but how much does that matter.
-- Sigma is soft, especially when looking at crops.

EDIT - I was thinking the Version II was a newer version, but the OS is newer I believe. You also could track down a Canon 70-200 F2.8L IS Version 1 for close to the same amount of money on the used market.  I have been seeing a range of $1200 if you are patient to around $1400 or so on average)
« Last Edit: January 06, 2012, 02:27:49 PM by Maui5150 »

K-amps

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I researched it before getting the mk.ii, I wanted the Sigma... but after reading the reviews, especially on dpreview, I decided against it.
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Sigma 24-105mm F4 ART; EF 70-200 F/2.8L Mk.II; EF 100mm L F/2.8 IS Macro, 50mm F/1.8ii;  TC's 2x Mk.iii; 1.4x Mk.iii

Maui5150

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I should also say that I have spent a lot of time looking at the Sigmas, especially the 50-500 as well, and the 120-300.  The 120 to 300 seems like a fine lens, but also a 3K lens.  I think a lot of people would like an off-brand cheaper brand, but the more I look at reviews, sample images, it reminds me a lot of L glass versus plain EF glass.  Granted, I think a lot of the Sigma lenses are more comparable to the better Canon lenses when you are looking at their better lenses, but if it is sharpness you want, Canon seems to have the edge... Though were I to look at the 120-300 from Sigma versus the 100-400 from Canon, especially since it is a 2.8, but reviews I read indicate AF on the Sigma might struggle. 

Ahven

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Thanks for replies.

I'm still not sold on the Canons though. I understand the IQ is better, I read the whole dpreview article which was actually pretty good for the Sigma. Pretty much along the lines "you pay less you get less, but still awesome" and it works better on APS-C of course (which I'd be shooting for starters at least). The problem, as it always is with fast glass, is the corner sharpness wide open. When doing landscape this could hurt, but for portrait and wildlife, I'm really not that concerned since APS-C + subject placement in the center-ish portion of the frame = I'd be using the "good area" mostly. On top of that I could always stop down a bit if it's possible.

Now the build quality does concern me. I absolutely hate the plasticy feel of cheap glass. Dpreview does say it's plastic, but still very good and solid. Again not "L", but no slouch. Well I'm starting to feel I've sold myself to the Sigma, still if someone has 1st handed experience or some very valid arguments for/against I'd be glad to hear!

carlc

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I feel I must jump in here re: the Canon 70-200mm f2.8 IS Mk II.  I rented one from LensRentals back in Sept, 2011.  I enjoyed using it and got some pretty good results.  Then over Christmas I rented the EF-S 17-55 F2.8.  Great lens (super IQ and color) but I felt the range was a little short for me eveen on a 7D.

So I went back to my old stand by, EF  24-105 and realized the f4.0 wasn't what I need for low light indoors.  Over Christmas I saw the great price on the 70-200 F2.8 IS Mk II offered by B&H and "I PULLED THE TRIGGER."   I am glad I did, no I am REALLY glad I did.  It is fantastic and the more I use it and learn from using it, the happier I am and have not looked back a second on the cost.

Remember this, Canon L glass will hold its value for years and the results you get while owning it help you forget the price.  Good luck and give the Canon 70-200mm F2.8 IS MkII a STRONG second look.  BTW, I own a Sigma 50mm F1.4 and happy with it.  But I will always rely on Canon for my zoom lenses with IS.

willrobb

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I'm sure the canon 70-200mm f2.8L II IS would be the best of all the lenses in this range, but considering your budget requirements I would STRONGLY recommend you get the canon 70-20mm f2.8L (non IS).

I own the 70-200mm f2.8L lens and love it. Sure, sometimes IS would be nice, but when I rally need an IS equivalent a tripod or monopod comes in just as handy for me. For catwalk I use a monopod all the time, IS would be redundant for me to be honest. For handheld shots, IS is a big bonus, it's just a case of whether you really need it or not.

I did a little review of the 70-200mm f2.8L vs the 100-400mm f4.5-5.6LIS at my blog, but it's only about catwalk photos, think I will do a proper 70-200mm f2.8L review sometime soon though:

http://www.willrobbphotography.com/2011/10/tokyo-girls-collection-aw-2011-the-canon-ef-70-200mm-f2-8l-vs-the-canon-ef-100-400mm-f4-5-5-6l-is/

As for the Sigma, I haven't used it but a friend who works for Getty used the Sigma 70-200mm f2.8 for a few years and loved it before upgrading to the canon 70-200mm f2.8LII IS. The main point about the canon L series is that it'll a. last longer than the Sigma due to it's build quality and b. Retain a lot of it's value if you re-sell it in the future as someone else pointed out.

The Sigma will be no slouch, but if it's between the Sigma and the canon 70-200mm f2.L and there is little price difference, I think that overall you'll get better build, a longer life span, better IQ and more re-sale value from the canon, the only advantage of the Sigma will be IS.

Whatever you get, good luck.

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pwp

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Coming from a position of having owned and heavily used the non-is 70-200 f/2.8, the isI and the isII across 14 busy years in just about every shooting environment you could poke a stick at, plus extended test drives of Canon f/4 70-200is and the Sigma 70-200 f/2.8 within the past few months I'm in a pretty good position to comment.

The Canon 2.8isII without doubt is the standout lens here, but with a constrained budget the very strong second would be for the bargain priced non-is Canon 70-200 f/2.8. In many ways I wish I'd kept mine. Just go for the Canon. It's a lens you'll completely love. And if you ever upgrade, resale on the Canon will outperform the Sigma.

If you're using a TC, then clearly you need f/2.8.

You see far less comment on the Sigma because there are simply far fewer of them out there. Have you looked at the Fred Miranda lens reviews? The fact that Canon shooters consistantly report that the f/2.8 70-200 (of any model) is a stellar favourite does convert to strong sales of new lenses and excellent retained value when on-selling.

The Sigma is a very respectable lens, and possibly great initial value, but the Canon should be both the emotional and practical choice.

Paul Wright

Flake

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I have the 70 - 200mm f/2.8 IS L II and very nice it is.  The primary reason it's nice is the amazing corner to corner performance on a FF sensor, it's this performance which costs & is worth the money.  But you have a crop frame and so long as you are not immenently planning to move to FF the the Sigma should provide results as good (shock horror) as the more expensive Canon.  The main drawback with the Sigma is that it just can't maintain high resolution across the frame, not even close.  This isn't so important on crop sensors, it isn't that important if all you want to do is portraits with blurred backgrounds, but it is important if you want the full potential of the lens.

I don't think it's realistic to compare the old Sigma design with the latest one, they are very different , especially the macro DG version which was not well regarded.  If memory serves (and I'm not looking it up) the Sigma and Canon f/2.8 lenses are not weather sealed the f/4 IS is, which may or may not make a difference. f/2.8 makes a difference to Canon bodies focus so it's worth having, but then so is IS.  The lens which will hold its value best is the f/4 IS which seem to sell on Ebay for near their new price, the Canon f/2.8 is an old design, still good, but suffers badly at resale, fetching only half it's original cost (ebay completed listings), The Sigma is just too new to tell, personally I think it's expensive, and wonder if the price will fall some what, second hand prices are holding up, but there aren't many being sold.

I'd like to reccomend something which you haven't considered, but which falls right into your price range, and that's the MkI Canon 70 - 200mm f/2.8 IS L available used for around £1000 it's likely to retain its value and there are plenty of very well looked after ones around.

Oh and one other thing - Canon teleconverters don't work with Sigma lenses, they're too wide to fit in the base of the lens.

Cornershot

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I have the Canon 70-200mm f4 IS and the 2.8 IS I version, and the f4 is sharper. In fact, it's one of the sharpest lenses in my bag that rivals prime lenses. It's really a terrific lens that can sub for the 2.8 in many daytime situations. Most of the stuff I shoot is pretty stationary so can work indoors for me too. The IS on that lens is great. The biggest benefit is the smaller size and weight. 

K-amps

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I have the Canon 70-200mm f4 IS and the 2.8 IS I version, and the f4 is sharper. In fact, it's one of the sharpest lenses in my bag that rivals prime lenses. It's really a terrific lens that can sub for the 2.8 in many daytime situations. Most of the stuff I shoot is pretty stationary so can work indoors for me too. The IS on that lens is great. The biggest benefit is the smaller size and weight.

I have a F2.8 mk.ii and it is nice and sharp, but I agree with you the f/4 is sharper. I tested a copy each from a local store. Tested 3 F2.8's, two new and one refurbed, all 3 were very close in sharpness but I think both the 70-200 F4 IS and the 70-300L had them beat in sharpness.

Having said that, the F2.8mk.II have an "X" factor that I cannot explain... they sometimes take magical shots..!  ;D
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Cornershot

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@K-amps It definitely has that something. I've gotten plenty of money shots with the mark I. It's hard to justify but I'll probably break down and end up selling off my mark I for the newer mark II down the line.

Rampado

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protect a filter?

Ans It´s not a good idea...

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Ahven

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Refurbished 2.8 L IS would be great, but the used market in my country isn't as "big" as in the US or some bigger market areas. I'm always on a lookout for good deals and 1k for 2.8 L IS mk1 would be great, but no such luck as of yet. I won't buy used abroad, because in my opinion, my customer protection isn't good enough if I do. Who do I call if I get a piece of crap and ordered it from across the Atlantic?

The non- is 2.8L does interest me, but is it an old model as someone pointed out? My way of shooting IS does come in handy. I've had a 70-300 Tamron with VR and I think it made a big difference. I hike outdoors with my camera and setting up tripod/monopod isn't always practical or I don't have time for it (in case of wildlife for example). That's when the 3-4 stops of IS really may be the difference between success and failure.

As of resale value, when I scroll through my local listings, there's even someone asking to buy the Sigma (no posts to buy the Canons) which does reassure me about it's resale value. When I read the dpreview review of the Sigma and check various sample shots, I get this feeling that I just cannot tell the difference when it comes to real life shooting (compared to canon) and that if I went for Canon I'd be making more of an emotional choice. I don't like that idea and thinks it's a bit silly. I think I have a raving pixel- peeper inside me and when it comes to decisions like this I try to suffocate him and make a decision based on what I really need and what is most practical. I guess pixel level sharpness doesn't matter if the shot is blurry because of a lack of IS.

That being said, if the 2 grand wasn't a problem I'd probably go for the 2.8 L IS mkII :D I am a student so such money is a huge deal. My photo professor is an old Leica/ film- Nikon guy, with some old badass soviet union glass. He would probably tell me off if I showed up all happy with a new white lens on my camera! :D I really wanna try his huge 1000mm USSR monster though, looked very cool.

00Q

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I believe I have quite something to contribute.

First of all. I have a sigma 70-200 OS lens. Before that I had the sigma 70-200 HSM II (without the OS).

I must say that in terms of optics, it is brand new and is sharper than its previous versions. And the biggest plus is the OS. I was very frustrated with the non OS version because at times i couldnt hold still in low light. It was very frustrating esp because it was such a good lens, fast focusing and all. Now with OS it is AMAZING. CRISPY SHARP IMAGES.

If I had the option to get the canon non IS or the Sigma OS, I will choose the Sigma anyway purely for the OS. You will not realise how useful it is until you have shot some pictures with it. Sure, you might get some sharper images with the canon, but in low light, all your photos from canon will come out blurred as it is not stabalised. With the Sigma you get the shot. And I can not emphasise how important OS is.

And yes, get the 2.8 and not the f4.

If you have the money, obviously get the canon with IS. Maybe try ebay. You can get it cheaper. Ive never shot with the canon so I cant compare. But I take it that canon is better. I have the canon 24-70 L lens. That the images you get from that is better than the sigma. Mainly from the more vibrant colours. In terms of sharpness, I cant see any difference. The sigma lens is tack sharp. but the canon L lens seem to offer more vibrant colours.

good luck! Im a student too so i know about money being tight!

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