Sigma 120-300 f2.8 OS- samples and a questions-Owners please read!

Started Sep 20, 2011 | Discussions thread
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Christoph v Ballmoos
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Sigma 120-300 f2.8 OS- samples and a questions-Owners please read!
Sep 20, 2011

Hej there,

last week, I finally bought the Sigma 120-300 mm f2.8 OS. By far my biggest and heaviest lens so far. I was a bit worried by all the confusion created by fighting people here in the forum, but I was convinced by sample pictures.

The lens feels great, heavy, but less heavy than I feared. When I was out with it, I had it mainly on a monopod, which helps a lot. But I need a new monopod ;-)...
I tested it again my best lenses and I was very satisfied:

at 120 mm it is as sharp or sharper than my EF 100 mm f2.8 USM Macro lens, already at 2.8

@200 mm it is as sharp as my EF 70-200 f4 L USM IS wide open and sharper stopped down to f4

@300 mm it is as sharp as my EF 300mm L USM (non IS, which is claimed to be sharper than the IS)

With 1.4x and 2.0x it is also sharper than my EF300mm. I think it is especially impressive at 420 mm, but also ok at 600mm. AF is still quite ok at 600m.

The lens is good at f2.8, but improves at f3.2. Further stopping down does not help a lot. If you have any specific question for comparison, please ask, I shot about 100 different situations with the four lenses under quite controlled conditions, and I will post the pics.

AF with the lens is very good, but the greatest thing imo is the OS. The picture through the viewfinder is rocksteady. It is easy to shoot at 1/20-1/50 at 300mm, also on monopod. The MFD is not that bad as has been claimed. At 300mm it is 2.5 m, but at 220mm, it is still 1.5mm, so bare or with a short extension tube, you should get a very useful butterfly lens as well.

But then, there was one bad thing, and so my lens is already on the way to Sigma. It will not or very slowly focus when pointed steep upwards (like a bird in a tree), when you start your focus close to the MFD. The otherway round, when you are at infinity focus and point it steep down, it will only very slowly focus towards MFD. This happens not at 120mm, but mainly between 200 and 300mm. Very strange. Also, it does not happen when the lens is horizontal (+ - 30°), only in the extremes.

SO PLEASE, OWNERS, check if you see a similar thing with your lens. I tested the lens in the shop, but of course you do not point to the ceiling in a shop that is 3m high. So, I hope, I get a fixed or new lens back soon.

I also add some pics, they are not unprocessed, but went through a quick Lightroom treating, and one or two hat Topaz Detail to improve contrast (the ones without exif info).
Anyway, I think it is a great lens and I am looking forward to get mine back.
Cheers,
Christoph

bare lens:

with 1.4x TC (Kenko 300 pro DG)

shutter speed 1/40 at 420mm!!

with 2x TC (Kenko 300 pro DG)

raw from camera, 0% sharpening in lightroom, 100%

 Christoph v Ballmoos's gear list:Christoph v Ballmoos's gear list
Sigma 120-300mm F2.8 EX DG OS HSM
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