Sigma 300mm 2.8 vs Canon 300mm 2.8L II

Started Apr 14, 2012 | Discussions
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Roger Sta New Member • Posts: 16
Sigma 300mm 2.8 vs Canon 300mm 2.8L II

Hi!

I'm planning to sell Canon 70-200mm 2.8L IS in the near future and buy a 300mm 2.8 lens. I mostly shoot concerts (quite dark venues) and kitesurf and occasionaly animals in the wilderness. I'm planning to use a Canon 1DmkIV.

However i'm torn. The Canon 300mm 2.8L II (i just can't get hold of mk I here, where i live) is absolutely fantastic AF speed and IQ wise and there is no question there, however it costs close to 7000€. The sigma 300mm 2.8 lens is about 3200€ and therefor much more affordable.

Could anyone comment, how the Sigma 300 2.8 holds up and are the IQ and AF differences marginal compared to Canon?

Thank you!

Canon EOS-1D
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GtoJon
GtoJon Veteran Member • Posts: 3,549
Re: Sigma 300mm 2.8 vs Canon 300mm 2.8L II

The image quality on the Sigma 120-300mm OS is fantastic & holds up. The versatility of the zoom is priceless at times! I would have a hard time making a decision if they were the same price! Since the price difference is light years apart it should be a no-brainer The Sigma is tack sharp wide open! There are plenty of samples to prove it .... more than the Canon 300mm IS II. Go rent one or both & see what you think! I usually shoot wide open, but this time I was at f6.3.

Cheers Hope this helps
7D, 120-300mm OS, 2xII @ 600mm, ISO 640, f6.3

Cheers
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Paul B Jones
Paul B Jones Senior Member • Posts: 1,866
Re: Sigma 300mm 2.8 vs Canon 300mm 2.8L II

I upgraded from the Canon 300mm f2.8 i (an already legendary lens) to the 300mm f2.8 ii and am ecstatic with the results. I lack the technological knowledge of most of the shooters in this forum so for me it is a matter of impressions. Some of my other lenses give me doubts but I have absolute faith in the ii; believing the new IS could quell an earthquake and the glass has some magic sharpening power.

Borrow or rent a copy before purchasing anything else.

Spruce Grouse in Snow - 300mm f4 ii and 7D at ISO 2000:

http://www.flickr.com/photos/paulbjones/6826558141/in/photostream

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Paul B Jones

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rebel99 Veteran Member • Posts: 4,025
Re: Sigma 300mm 2.8 vs Canon 300mm 2.8L II

very nice photos of the bird detail is excellent, i am not sure if you were using any of the TCs with your setup? i'll be picking up one of these lenses in a couple of weeks and can't wait to get my hands on it

cheerz.

Paul B Jones wrote:

I upgraded from the Canon 300mm f2.8 i (an already legendary lens) to the 300mm f2.8 ii and am ecstatic with the results. I lack the technological knowledge of most of the shooters in this forum so for me it is a matter of impressions. Some of my other lenses give me doubts but I have absolute faith in the ii; believing the new IS could quell an earthquake and the glass has some magic sharpening power.

Borrow or rent a copy before purchasing anything else.

Spruce Grouse in Snow - 300mm f4 ii and 7D at ISO 2000:

http://www.flickr.com/photos/paulbjones/6826558141/in/photostream

-- hide signature --

Paul B Jones

Doug J Veteran Member • Posts: 8,952
Re: Sigma 300mm 2.8 vs Canon 300mm 2.8L II

I went through a similar decision process a few years ago - Sigma vs. Canon- the price difference was very significant. The research I did resulted in my understanding the Sigma lens optically was excellent.

The issues I had were based on support where I live (Singapore), mostly quite subjective and a bit of paranoia on my part; and the question of future compatibility with my Canon bodies. Sigma, and other 3rd party lens manufacturers, reverse engineer the communication protocols for the camera bodies to ensure compatibility.

Back in the day of the 10D, many Sigma lenses were not compatible with the body and Sigma offered a no charge service to re-chip lenses, thus ensuring their lenses would work with the 10D+ bodies. A few years later they stated they they have no more "chips" and could no longer update their lenses. This raised a question for me about future compatibility & support.

The local prices for super telephotos in Singapore are very high. I ended up buying the Canon 300/2.8 from B&H at a price of USD 4,200. After shipping costs & GST (VAT), I saved about USD 1,500. Back then, Canon included an international warranty on lenses, although I haven't needed it.

The EF 300/2.8 is a great lens, I'm pleased with its performance. If I had to decide today, I would strongly consider the Sigma 120-300, optically it seems to be a great lens and the flexible zoom range is a real plus, but your needs might be different than mine.

I hope this helps.

Cheers,
Doug
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Charlie Phillips
Charlie Phillips Contributing Member • Posts: 627
Re: Sigma 300mm 2.8 vs Canon 300mm 2.8L II

Hi Roger,

I bought a brand new Sigma 300 F2.8 a couple of years back as an alternative(cheaper) to the Canon for the wild dolphin work that I do. I sold the Sigma after a week as I found that the AF wasn't quite fast enough for my liking, I kept missing shots that I would have normally nailed. The IQ was good, nice contrast and colours but the AF speed made a huge enough difference to spend the money and order up the Canon 2.8 IS 300. One of the best lenses of all time. Period.
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Best Wishes from Scotland,

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Howard S Senior Member • Posts: 2,073
Re: Sigma 300mm 2.8 vs Canon 300mm 2.8L II

I keep looking at the Sigma 120-300, it's only 1,874.75 EUR in Hong Kong currently.

Roger Sta OP New Member • Posts: 16
Re: Sigma 300mm 2.8 vs Canon 300mm 2.8L II

Thank you all for your input!

The problem we have here, where I live, is that there are no companies, who rent more expensive lenses e.g the Canon 300mm 2.8 and longer, however there is a market for nature photographers who would be more than happy to rent such lenses.

On the other hand, I could try the Canon 300mm 2.8 mkI or II lens, because we have an excelent official Canon retailer here with whom i have good connections. Judging by the MTF charts, reviews, pictures and photog's comments of it in use, then it's a no brainer that the Canon 300mm is an excelent lens.

The problem is that I really can't rent the Sigma 120-300 OS or 300mm 2.8 lens from anywhere and therefor I have to do extensive research to find out, if the lens shines in the conditions I'm planning to use it in (shot wide open or in the range of 2.8-4 90% of the time with the focal length of 300mm and mostly framed in the center or near it). It's about 2 times cheaper than the Canon 300 2.8L II, however i have heard problems about it having a slower AF speed which means that the rate of keepers will be lower and having problems being softer. On the other hand, 70% of my work will be for web (longest side either 960 or 1920 pixels) and 30% (higher paying jobs) at the full resolution and for print.

GtoJon
GtoJon Veteran Member • Posts: 3,549
Re: Sigma 300mm 2.8 vs Canon 300mm 2.8L II

I have used the Canon 300mm f2.8 IS vI & the focus on the Sigma 120-300mm OS is just as silent, fast, clear, contrast and accurate. The OS is also good for 4 stops as they claim I also had the previous EX DG version without OS & the new one is a completely different lens .... clearly top shelf! I use it almost eclusively with a 2xII converter wide open & it has no problem grabbing focus with my 7D

Cheers
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Paul B Jones
Paul B Jones Senior Member • Posts: 1,866
Re: Sigma 300mm 2.8 vs Canon 300mm 2.8L II

rebel99 wrote:

very nice photos of the bird detail is excellent, i am not sure if you were using any of the TCs with your setup? i'll be picking up one of these lenses in a couple of weeks and can't wait to get my hands on it

cheerz.

Paul B Jones wrote:

I upgraded from the Canon 300mm f2.8 i (an already legendary lens) to the 300mm f2.8 ii ...

Thanks for the kind words, I wasn't using a TC. Enjoy your great lens!

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jhal Senior Member • Posts: 2,178
Re: Sigma 300mm 2.8 vs Canon 300mm 2.8L II

I own the Sigma 300/2.8 ( as well as the Canon 400/2.8 L IS) and I do sports photography ( with the 1D MKIII/7D).

IMO & experience the Sigma is the best value for money 300/2.8. It lacks IS but with the high ISO capability of the 1D MKIV ( plus a monopod if you can use one) it should be fine for concerts and wildlife. It's small size and light in comparisson to Canon's 300/2.8 and it will attract less attention.

With your spare change buy a Sigma 1.4TC

On the other hand the Sigma 120-300 it will give you greater flexibility and IS.

If you are on a budget and you only sell 20% of your work stick with one of the above.

Roger Sta wrote:

Thank you all for your input!

The problem we have here, where I live, is that there are no companies, who rent more expensive lenses e.g the Canon 300mm 2.8 and longer, however there is a market for nature photographers who would be more than happy to rent such lenses.

On the other hand, I could try the Canon 300mm 2.8 mkI or II lens, because we have an excelent official Canon retailer here with whom i have good connections. Judging by the MTF charts, reviews, pictures and photog's comments of it in use, then it's a no brainer that the Canon 300mm is an excelent lens.

The problem is that I really can't rent the Sigma 120-300 OS or 300mm 2.8 lens from anywhere and therefor I have to do extensive research to find out, if the lens shines in the conditions I'm planning to use it in (shot wide open or in the range of 2.8-4 90% of the time with the focal length of 300mm and mostly framed in the center or near it). It's about 2 times cheaper than the Canon 300 2.8L II, however i have heard problems about it having a slower AF speed which means that the rate of keepers will be lower and having problems being softer. On the other hand, 70% of my work will be for web (longest side either 960 or 1920 pixels) and 30% (higher paying jobs) at the full resolution and for print.

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garyknrd Contributing Member • Posts: 730
Re: Sigma 300mm 2.8 vs Canon 300mm 2.8L II

I have the Sigma 300mm f2.8 prime. i have the Canon 300mm f2.8 IS 1. I use the Canon all the time. It is just a better lens. The new Sigma zoom is suppose to be very good though.

It took me months of dickering with Sigma to get the lens calibrated properly. It was a nightmare.

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