Is the Sigma 120-400mm f/4.5-5.6 AF APO DG OS HSM worth owning?

Started Jan 25, 2013 | Discussions thread
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jonikon
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Is the Sigma 120-400mm f/4.5-5.6 AF APO DG OS HSM worth owning?
Jan 25, 2013

I've been looking for more reach with my D7000 than the 70-300mm affords me for some birding in my back yard and have concluded a 400mm lens would be adequate and also be (barely), hand holdable. Unfortunately there is a dearth of affordable lenses in the 400mm range and while the Nikon 80-400 is a worthy consideration, it is well over my lens budget of $700, and the Tokina 80-400 does not have a motor or VR. However there is another choice, the Sigma 120-400mm f/4.5-5.6 AF APO DG OS HSM which is within my budget if purchased ued and, has VR and HSM , I have tracked some Sigma 120-400mm f/4.5-5.6 AF APO DG OS HSM  auctions on ebay and have found they sell in the range of $500-700. While this lens gets generally good reviews from buyers on Amazon and B&H, I found that the professional reviewers (SLRgear.com and Photozone) did not have much good to say about it, which has given me pause.  I have also looked at web images from this lens and some appear to be quite good. Needless to say, I am in a bit of a quandary over whether to purse a purchase of  this lens or not.  I realize the Sigma 120-400 is not comparable to a pro lens, but is it "good enough" for casual use to consider purchasing a used one for almost half the current street price  of a new lens? Or is this lens so flawed that  I should I just pass on it?

Some opinions on IQ and focusing  from those who  have used the Sigma 120-400mm f/4.5-5.6 AF APO DG OS HSM would help me make a decision, and would be greatly appreciated.

Thanks,
- Jon

 jonikon's gear list:jonikon's gear list
Nikon D7000 Nikon D5100 Nikon 1 V1 Nikon AF-S DX Nikkor 18-105mm f/3.5-5.6G ED VR Nikon AF-S Nikkor 70-300mm f/4.5-5.6G VR +10 more
Nikon D7000
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