September 20, 2014, 04:36:11 PM

Author Topic: 300mm F2.8 L IS II vs Sigma 120-300mm f/2.8 AF APO EX DG OS HSM any opinion ?  (Read 5826 times)

1982chris911

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Any one here having tested both the new 300mm F2.8 L IS II and the new Sigma 120-300mm f/2.8 AF APO EX DG OS HSM and having an opinion on how these two said lenses compare in sharpness and general (real world) usability ... Some reviews Rate the sigma as sharper as the Canon 70-200mm F2.8 IS II so it should be really sharp ...   
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AdamJ

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I haven't read any reviews of the 300mm II but I'm sure it is the state of the art. There is, no doubt, a difference between sharp (120-300mm) and bleeding-edge sharp (300mm II) but I personally wouldn't need that final magnitude of sharpness, especially at three times the price. I would love to have a 120-300mm, not because I need it for my style of shooting, but because it exists.

HarryWintergreen

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The older  Sigma could never match even the Canon 300 f/2.8 Mk1. For a review of the Mk2, see  [http://www.slrgear.com/reviews/showproduct.php/product/1369/cat/10] or [http://www.the-digital-picture.com/Reviews/Canon-EF-300mm-f-2.8-L-IS-II-USM-Lens-Review.aspx.].
Consider the fact the mk2 even beats the mk1. The Sigma is quite heavy but I see it's having some nice features. So, it might me an interesting alternative for e.g. bird photography (photos taken by humans of birds).

lol

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As a relatively new owner of the Sigma, I have yet to fully get to grips with its detailed character.

For me the zoom and price difference alone were significant reasons to choose it, providing the image quality was decent. Used on a 7D, I find it visibly softer at f/2.8 than when stopped down at all so for critical sharpness that may be a consideration. It's good enough, but if you need the absolute best wide open, you may want more than good enough. I haven't noticed corner issues on crop sensor. AF speed is ok, but not super fast.
Canon 1D, 300D IR, 450D full spectrum, 600D, 5D2, 7D, EF 35/2, 50/1.8, 85/1.8, 135/2+SF, 70-300L, 100-400L
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Axilrod

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I don't know where you heard that the 120-300 was better than the 70-200, and I seriously doubt it's as good as the 300 f/2.8 IS II.  Just look at the charts against the 70-200, it's no contest IMO.:
http://www.the-digital-picture.com/Reviews/ISO-12233-Sample-Crops.aspx?Lens=381&Camera=9&Sample=0&FLI=1&API=0&LensComp=687&CameraComp=453&SampleComp=0&FLIComp=3&APIComp=0

Even with the 1.4x extender the 70-200 is noticeably better.

As for the 120-300 vs. 300 f/2.8 IS II, again, no comparison.  Even at f/8 the 120-300 isn't as sharp as the 300 at f/2.8:
http://www.the-digital-picture.com/Reviews/ISO-12233-Sample-Crops.aspx?Lens=381&Camera=9&Sample=0&FLI=2&API=0&LensComp=739&CameraComp=0&FLIComp=0&APIComp=0
« Last Edit: May 07, 2012, 12:10:27 PM by Axilrod »
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1982chris911

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I don't know where you heard that the 120-300 was better than the 70-200, and I seriously doubt it's as good as the 300 f/2.8 IS II.  Just look at the charts against the 70-200, it's no contest IMO.:
http://www.the-digital-picture.com/Reviews/ISO-12233-Sample-Crops.aspx?Lens=381&Camera=9&Sample=0&FLI=1&API=0&LensComp=687&CameraComp=453&SampleComp=0&FLIComp=3&APIComp=0
Even with the 1.4x extender the 70-200 is noticeably better.


As for the 120-300 vs. 300 f/2.8 IS II, again, no comparison.  Even at f/8 the 120-300 isn't as sharp as the 300 at f/2.8:
http://www.the-digital-picture.com/Reviews/ISO-12233-Sample-Crops.aspx?Lens=381&Camera=9&Sample=0&FLI=2&API=0&LensComp=739&CameraComp=0&FLIComp=0&APIComp=0


That is not the lens I am talking about, this is a much older design by sigma which did not even have IS ... the new one is a completely different design and much improved 
« Last Edit: May 07, 2012, 02:19:50 PM by 1982chris911 »
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GMCPhotographics

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I don't know where you heard that the 120-300 was better than the 70-200, and I seriously doubt it's as good as the 300 f/2.8 IS II.  Just look at the charts against the 70-200, it's no contest IMO.:
http://www.the-digital-picture.com/Reviews/ISO-12233-Sample-Crops.aspx?Lens=381&Camera=9&Sample=0&FLI=1&API=0&LensComp=687&CameraComp=453&SampleComp=0&FLIComp=3&APIComp=0
Even with the 1.4x extender the 70-200 is noticeably better.


As for the 120-300 vs. 300 f/2.8 IS II, again, no comparison.  Even at f/8 the 120-300 isn't as sharp as the 300 at f/2.8:
http://www.the-digital-picture.com/Reviews/ISO-12233-Sample-Crops.aspx?Lens=381&Camera=9&Sample=0&FLI=2&API=0&LensComp=739&CameraComp=0&FLIComp=0&APIComp=0


That is not the lens I am talking about, this is a much older design by sigma which did not even have IS ... the new one is a completely different design and much improved

The AF capability of the Canon 70-200 f2.8 LIS II and 300mm f2.8 LIS are in a different league to the Sigma 120-300 f2.8 OS. The Siggi is a nice lens optically but it's over sized and too heavy for what it is and it's focal length reduction due to breathing is rediculously bad. At minimum focus, the lens is closer to 240mm than 300mm, which to be honest it's that much different than the 70-200 at the long end (which doesn't breath like this).

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GMCPhotographics

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Any one here having tested both the new 300mm F2.8 L IS II and the new Sigma 120-300mm f/2.8 AF APO EX DG OS HSM and having an opinion on how these two said lenses compare in sharpness and general (real world) usability ... Some reviews Rate the sigma as sharper as the Canon 70-200mm F2.8 IS II so it should be really sharp ...   

Yes the Sigma is sharp, but not quite as sharp as the the Canon prime. But there are a few things you should be aware of the Sigma 120-300 f2.8 OS which rarely comes up.
1) it's AF is not in the same league as the ef 300mm f2.8 LIS or 70-200 f2.8 LIS II lenses, not even close. It's slower, less accurate and more ponderous. It often locks on and then looses AF just as quick. AI servo with this lens using 61point AF on a 5DIII was particaulrly bad, as was 19 point AI servo on a 7D. Add a teleconverter and this gets a lot worse.
2) The lens drops focal length dramatically as the focus point gets closer to Min Focus distance. While this may not appear to be an issue, it is if you are trying to blur the background using close focus and wide open aperture. In this respect, the Canon prime is way way better, great for animal or people portraits. From my findings, the Sigma drops to about 240mm at 5 meters...which gives worse results to the 70-200 f2.8 at 1.5m at 200mm. In short, both the 70-200 II L and 300 f2.8 LIS are better at melting background and makes my wonder if the Sigma is worth the effort.
3) The Sigma is a lot heavier and larger than it needs to be. Don't confuse weight / mass with quality! The hood is terrible and the tripod ring isn't anyhwere near to the engineering of the Canon versions.

Vern

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IMO - when comparing a prime to a zoom, the real question is, do you need the shorter focal lengths and zoom flexibility? If what you really want is a longer telephoto for avian photog etc., then the 300II is the clear choice b/c it pairs so beautifully with the 1.4 and 2X III. There are a number posts on this combo. Short version is - you get a stellar 300 2.8, a super 420 4.0, and a very, very good, hand holdable 600 5.6 (best at f8). All the combos AF well. It's a costly set-up, but if you can afford it and tele work is what you want to do, you will have no regrets.
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stochasticmotions

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I have been using the Sigma lens for the last 10 months or so, replacing my canon 100-400L as my main nature photography lens.  I mainly use this lens on my 1D IV with a few shots here and there on the 5D III.

Good things:
This lens is very sharp, my version has fantastic centre sharpness even at f2.8.
I can use both 1.4 and 2.0 teleconverters easily still getting sharper images than my old 100-400L (definitely not as sharp as the latest canon 300L with or without the teleconverters).
Autofocus is slower than any canon L series lens and almost nothing compares to the canon 300L, but tracking autofocus on the 1D IV even with a 2X teleconverter for birds in flight is still very good.  If the lens does lose focus it can hunt (I think this is better on the latest version with focus limiter).
Autofocus on my version is spot on for single shot.
IS works very well, especially with the teleconverters on.

Not so good things:
The weight is very significant for hand holding.  I have gotten used to it but the 300L is much easier to handle.
Weight and size are not so good for travel, I do considerable treks into mountains, woods, where ever and my neck and back pay for it.
No weather resistant properties is also a down side, but I knew that when I got it.

From my point of view this lens is more useful most of the time than my old 100-400L, and is pretty much in between the price points of that and the 300L.  I think it is more useful than the Sigma 300 prime at nearly the same price.  Nothing I have seen beats the Canon 300L in sharpness, autofocus speed, and most of the other features, but I was able to pick up the Sigma used for $2100.  That extra $3-4000 for the Canon is still difficult for me to justify, at least until I can make enough off of my nature shots or hit the lottery (likely both about the same odds :) )

I may change my tune if/when canon updates their telephoto zoom.

Here is one of my latest shots tracking a Black-crowned night heron using 1D IV, Sigma 120-300, canon 2X teleconverter.
Red eye flight by stochasticmotions, on Flickr

AlanF

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IMO - when comparing a prime to a zoom, the real question is, do you need the shorter focal lengths and zoom flexibility? If what you really want is a longer telephoto for avian photog etc., then the 300II is the clear choice b/c it pairs so beautifully with the 1.4 and 2X III. There are a number posts on this combo. Short version is - you get a stellar 300 2.8, a super 420 4.0, and a very, very good, hand holdable 600 5.6 (best at f8). All the combos AF well. It's a costly set-up, but if you can afford it and tele work is what you want to do, you will have no regrets.

+1 except my 300+2xTC is sharpest at f/5.6, both from my own experience and measuring with FoCal. The Sigma is too heavy for me to handhold at a kg more and so I compromise with the Tamron 150-600 when I need a zoom in that range.
5D III, 70D, Powershot SX50, 300/2.8 II, 1.4xTC III, 2xTC III, 70-200/4 IS, 24-105, 15-85, Sigma 10-20, Tamron 150-600.

AlanF

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Too_Many_Hobbies

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I only have the Sigma 120-300 sport, but would agree that it is surprisingly sharp and quick enough to capture birds in flight and other fast subjects.  I personally love the flexibility of a zoom lens, so all things considered I chose this lens over a prime.  I often use it with the 1.4 teleconverter with (at least to my eye) excellent results.  I also use it with the 2x and have no problems there if I stop it down a little (2/3 of a stop).  With no teleconverter I feel it is great even wide open.  Compared to the 100-400 that I have the Sigma is night and day sharper and is my go to unless I'm walking around with my 2 year old in which case the weight/size is too much and I take the 70-200 F4 or 100-400.

To me it came down to
Canon (lighter weight, I'm sure sharper especially with the 2x teleconverter wide open, and I'm sure faster autofocus)
vs.
Sigma (light enough for me to hand hold, [although I find it a bit too front heavy with the 2x teleconverter, and I still have no idea why Sigma thought it was a good idea to make their lens hood out of lead], much cheaper, and zoom flexibility.  Sharpness and autofocus speed are good enough for me, so those really didn't play much into my decision.

I guess it depends on what you plan on using the lens for.  For example, for small birds that I can get really close to, the focal length hit you take when at/near minimum focus distance is annoying, but for everything else I've been shooting I'm very happy.

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