Review: Sigma 100-400mm f/5-6.3 DG OS HSM C

Canon Rumors Guy

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The-Digital-Picture has completed their review of the brand new and aggressively priced Sigma 100-400mm f/5-6.3 DG OS HSM C lens.</p>
<p><strong>From TDP:</strong></p>
<blockquote><p>The AF accuracy could be slightly improved and a tripod ring would be nice to at least optionally have available, but otherwise, the 100-400 C gives you a very useful range of focal lengths in a relatively small and light, nicely-designed, full-featured package. This is a lens that you will want to take with you and that alone means you will capture more images. The great image quality for a very reasonable price seals the deal on this one. The Sigma 100-400mm f/5-6.3 DG OS HSM Contemporary is another lens warranting kit-addition consideration. <a href="http://www.the-digital-picture.com/Reviews/Sigma-100-400mm-f-5-6.3-DG-OS-HSM-Contemporary-Lens.aspx">Read the full review</a></p></blockquote>
<p>Sigma 100-400mm f/5-6.3 OS Contemporary $799: <a href="https://bhpho.to/2qZrGXx">B&H Photo</a> | <a href="http://amzn.to/2tlRIFI">Amazon</a> | <a href="https://mpex.com/sigma-100-400mm-f5-6-3-dg-hsm-os-contemporary-lens-canon.html?acc=3">MPEX</a></p>
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AJ

EOS R
Sep 11, 2010
820
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Whoa. It's sharp. Almost as sharp as Canon100-400 mk2
http://www.the-digital-picture.com/Reviews/ISO-12233-Sample-Crops.aspx?Lens=1120&Camera=979&Sample=0&FLI=4&API=0&LensComp=972&CameraComp=979&SampleComp=0&FLIComp=4&APIComp=1
Way better than Sigma 150-600 C
http://www.the-digital-picture.com/Reviews/ISO-12233-Sample-Crops.aspx?Lens=1120&Camera=453&FLI=0&API=0&LensComp=990&CameraComp=453&SampleComp=0&FLIComp=5&APIComp=0
 

AlanF

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They are just TDP's results with their copies of each of lenses. It doesn't mean that your copies of the lens will be the same. I have tested two copies of the Sigma 100-400mm on my 5DSR vs my copy of the Canon 100-400mm II and my copy of the Sigma 150-600mm C.

http://www.canonrumors.com/forum/index.php?topic=32776.msg667778#msg667778

Here are some results at the centre from each with sharpening with USM (0.9px 100%). The 100-400mm Sigma is the poorest of the three. The new Sigma is quite a good lens, but don't judge how good it is relative to other lenses from one website. You might buy a better copy or a worse one.
 

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AlanF

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AJ said:
but it shows what a good copy can do.

True. And equally true it will show what a bad copy can do. And it is also a fact that, as here, someone then will post that lens A is way better than lens B on the basis of one randomly selected copy of each lens. Lensrentals is the only site that makes valid general comparisons as it looks at many copies of each lens as in:

https://www.lensrentals.com/blog/2016/08/the-sort-of-great-400mm-shootout/

where they carefully compared ten or so copies of each of Canon, Sigma, Tamron, Nikon zooms at 400mm. The site points out there that variation within each group of those lenses is greater than differences between each group.

You can't draw any general conclusions from my tests either. But, my tests stopped me buying the one copy on sale locally, and I will wait until there is a good copy in stock.
 

AlanF

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Here are serious inconsistencies between respected sites.

ePhotozine yesterday reviewed the lens https://www.ephotozine.com/article/sigma-af-100-400mm-f-5-6-3-dg-os-hsm-contemporary-lens-review-31050
and measured a 50% drop in MTF from centre to edge at 400mm (centre = 3800 lw/ph edge = 1900), implying very soft edges.

Lenstip also reviewed in the past few days and measured only a 12% drop in resolution from centre to edge http://www.lenstip.com/502.4-Lens_review-Sigma_C_100-400_mm_f_5-6.3_DG_OS_HSM_Image_resolution.html

(400mm centre = 41.5 lp/mm edge 36.5)

One of the copies I tested was very good at the edges. You cannot trust these individual sites or make a judgment call on what to buy from just one review.
 

gruhl28

Canon 70D
Jul 26, 2013
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AlanF said:
Here are serious inconsistencies between respected sites.

ePhotozine yesterday reviewed the lens https://www.ephotozine.com/article/sigma-af-100-400mm-f-5-6-3-dg-os-hsm-contemporary-lens-review-31050
and measured a 50% drop in MTF from centre to edge at 400mm (centre = 3800 lw/ph edge = 1900), implying very soft edges.

Lenstip also reviewed in the past few days and measured only a 12% drop in resolution from centre to edge http://www.lenstip.com/502.4-Lens_review-Sigma_C_100-400_mm_f_5-6.3_DG_OS_HSM_Image_resolution.html

(400mm centre = 41.5 lp/mm edge 36.5)

One of the copies I tested was very good at the edges. You cannot trust these individual sites or make a judgment call on what to buy from just one review.
Something we should all know but often forget. Thanks for the reminder.
 

AJ

EOS R
Sep 11, 2010
820
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I'll stay tuned for a lensrentals assessment.
Still it looks promising
 

Plainsman

EOS 90D
Oct 26, 2012
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..another difficult to read essay from DP.
a long section on focal range - has this not been covered in other DP lenses tests like say Canon 100-400 I and II reviews?
"heat wave influence at 400" - pointless comment or was it peculiar to this lens!!!!
After saying the lens is sharp wide open DP tell me there is "touch of softness at 100" - relative to what? I gave up after that.
I must admit that I like lenstip reviews. Nice clear and precise and you only need to read them once and you know instantly where the lens is good or poor.
 

AlanF

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Plainsman said:
..another difficult to read essay from DP.
a long section on focal range - has this not been covered in other DP lenses tests like say Canon 100-400 I and II reviews?
"heat wave influence at 400" - pointless comment or was it peculiar to this lens!!!!
After saying the lens is sharp wide open DP tell me there is "touch of softness at 100" - relative to what? I gave up after that.
I must admit that I like lenstip reviews. Nice clear and precise and you only need to read them once and you know instantly where the lens is good or poor.

Lenstip is the same as any of the other single-lens testing sites. For example, they had a terrible review of the Panasonic-Leica 100-400mm f/6.3 that was at odds with other sites and they wouldn't back down in the face of criticism. Their review of the Sigma 150-600mm C vs Tamron 150-600mm is quite different from lensrentals measurements of 10 copies of each and so on.
 

AlanF

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Photography blog has reviewed a copy. Says it is a little soft in the centre at 400mm at f/6.3 but sharpens up when stopped down.

http://www.photographyblog.com/reviews/sigma_100_400mm_f5_6_3_dg_os_hsm_review/sharpness_5/

it says also "Auto-focusing was acceptable rather than quick on the Canon EOS 5DS R", which was what I found, and very, very slow with the Sigma matching 1.4xTC, compared with the Canon 100-400mm II being fast.
 

Plainsman

EOS 90D
Oct 26, 2012
193
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AlanF said:
Photography blog has reviewed a copy. Says it is a little soft in the centre at 400mm at f/6.3 but sharpens up when stopped down.

http://www.photographyblog.com/reviews/sigma_100_400mm_f5_6_3_dg_os_hsm_review/sharpness_5/

it says also "Auto-focusing was acceptable rather than quick on the Canon EOS 5DS R", which was what I found, and very, very slow with the Sigma matching 1.4xTC, compared with the Canon 100-400mm II being fast.

...sorry but this photoblog you are referring to seems to believe that taking photos of a bookshelf (at presumably very close range) for image assessment is relevant or even acceptable..
 

AlanF

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Plainsman said:
AlanF said:
Photography blog has reviewed a copy. Says it is a little soft in the centre at 400mm at f/6.3 but sharpens up when stopped down.

http://www.photographyblog.com/reviews/sigma_100_400mm_f5_6_3_dg_os_hsm_review/sharpness_5/

it says also "Auto-focusing was acceptable rather than quick on the Canon EOS 5DS R", which was what I found, and very, very slow with the Sigma matching 1.4xTC, compared with the Canon 100-400mm II being fast.

...sorry but this photoblog you are referring to seems to believe that taking photos of a bookshelf (at presumably very close range) for image assessment is relevant or even acceptable..

Most sites are unacceptable by themselves. TDP just uses charts at a fixed distance, and now with the 5DSR it's difficult to gauge resolution because the converging lines are fully resolved for most lenses, unlike previously. Lenstip uses Imatest software at an unknown distance, as do ePhotozine and Photozone, and they often have widely different results. Cameralabs uses charts for close-ups but does do long distance shots but in varying light conditions - I quite like that site because it gives real clues about how some lenses fare well close up but are poor at infinity and vice versa. Crucially, they all test only one copy of a lens. You can see clearly from the photoblog site that the Sigma sharpens up when stopping down, which does have some relevance to that copy of the lens, showing it is soft at f/6.3 and 400mm. But, the variability of the testing means it is difficult to compare different lenses.

Lensrentals looks at many copies carefully using infinity focus, and it's the only site I trust by itself.

I read all the tests I can find, look for some consensus, and then test for myself.
 

Plainsman

EOS 90D
Oct 26, 2012
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My preferred reviews these days are either by lenstip or on youtube by Dustin Abbott. I thought his review of the Canon 70-300 IS II was excellent.
 

Keith_Reeder

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Feb 8, 2014
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Plainsman said:
My preferred reviews these days are... by Dustin Abbott.

Dustin's reviews are great, but (no disrespect to him) he's not a wildlife/sport photographer, and I would only really trust a review of a lens like this one from someone with the specific experience and skill-set that these genres require, given that they're what these lenses are about.
 

SecureGSM

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just in time:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=41PvCOZgpC4

Plainsman said:
My preferred reviews these days are either by lenstip or on youtube by Dustin Abbott. I thought his review of the Canon 70-300 IS II was excellent.
 

AlanF

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SecureGSM said:
just in time:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=41PvCOZgpC4

Plainsman said:
My preferred reviews these days are either by lenstip or on youtube by Dustin Abbott. I thought his review of the Canon 70-300 IS II was excellent.

Wow, that was a really useful review if I want to go on a bird photography trip, stand 40 feet away from a wooden bird hide (bird viewing shed) and take photos of the hide and examine the texture of the wood. I am really looking forward to the next part of where we enter the bird hide and take photos of the birds outside.
 

AlanF

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Photozone aka optical limits has finally reviewed the lens: http://www.opticallimits.com/canon_eos_ff/1045-sigma100400f563c
They found what I found in the 4 copies I looked at courtesy of the local dealer; the IS in the viewfinder is terrible and not much good in practice. Their summary is: "Thus even though the Sigma is quite capable in optimal conditions, we'd suggest to look elsewhere."
My experience of the Tamron 100-400mm f/6.3 wasn't good either. I made the mistake of buying one because I thought it would be light for travel but eventually sold it as the tracking of birds in flight was hopeless. The Sigma and Tamron 150-600mms are much, much better and really worthy of consideration.
 

Durf

Picture Taker - Image Maker
Photozone aka optical limits has finally reviewed the lens: http://www.opticallimits.com/canon_eos_ff/1045-sigma100400f563c
They found what I found in the 4 copies I looked at courtesy of the local dealer; the IS in the viewfinder is terrible and not much good in practice. Their summary is: "Thus even though the Sigma is quite capable in optimal conditions, we'd suggest to look elsewhere."
My experience of the Tamron 100-400mm f/6.3 wasn't good either. I made the mistake of buying one because I thought it would be light for travel but eventually sold it as the tracking of birds in flight was hopeless. The Sigma and Tamron 150-600mms are much, much better and really worthy of consideration.

I almost bought the Tamron 100-400 recently also for an easier lens to travel with but backed away from it. I've heard too many negative things about the Sigma 100-400 and never considered it. The most recent Canon 100-400 is on my wish list.....

I do have a Sigma 150-600 C that I got a few years ago and my copy seems really sharp even at 600mm, I really enjoy the results I get with it most of the time.

I do have an issue with it hunting occasionally though if I'm not in great light conditions, I also need pretty good light for it to track well most of the time. I normally just use it on bright days to keep my frustration level at a minimum ;)

I use it on my 80D most of the time and took this squirrel image at 600mm -
f/6.3 - ISO 640 - 1/80sec.

The squirrel was about 20ft away from me in this photo......
20180902_Homeshots_031.jpg