Canon 100-400 VS Sigma 50-500 ?

Started Sep 16, 2012 | Discussions
GregMueller
Regular MemberPosts: 109
Like?
Canon 100-400 VS Sigma 50-500 ?
Sep 16, 2012

A big telephoto is somewhere in the future for the 7D I have ordered......

It used to be that non big time manufacturers like Sigma and Tamron (etc.) were immediately dismissed (we're talking back a few decades); but now they seem to be quite competitive.?.?

I've been reading reviews and it seems like the two lenses mentioned above are pretty close, each with their own little quirks, which tip the scale in favor of the other.

Does anyone do tests with rez charts (etc.) which definitively show superiority of one lens over the other, or will I always have to interpret nebulous terms like "a little soft"...?

Canon EOS 7D
If you believe there are incorrect tags, please send us this post using our feedback form.
TDR1
Contributing MemberPosts: 539
Like?
Re: Canon 100-400 VS Sigma 50-500 ?
In reply to GregMueller, Sep 16, 2012

I'd recommend you take a look at http://www.dxomark.com/ . The problem is the site seems to be down at the moment.

They have loads of measurements for most lens/camera combinations.
--
Adrian Jones
http://www.flickr.com/photos/tdr1/

Reply   Reply with quote   Complain
GregMueller
Regular MemberPosts: 109
Like?
Re: Canon 100-400 VS Sigma 50-500 ?
In reply to TDR1, Sep 16, 2012

I've book marked it and will keep trying it.
Thanks!

Reply   Reply with quote   Complain
Pedagydusz
Veteran MemberPosts: 4,223Gear list
Like?
Re: Canon 100-400 VS Sigma 50-500 ?
In reply to GregMueller, Sep 16, 2012

My experience: I use a 100-400 very often (bird photography). Have used it with the 20D, 50D and now 7D. It is a great lens, very compact, surprisingly lightweight. Better with a tripod or monopod, but perfectly hand-holdable if necessary.

Biggest problem: not good with tele-extenders. Loses AF (except through hacking), and optical quality suffers, even with the 1.4 x TC. (I have not tried the more recent TC version).

The Bigma (Sigma 50-500): many speak highly for it, but I tried one and did not like it at all. Slower than the 100-400, heavier, bulkier. Optically didn't do well at 500 mm, 400 mm seemed to be the limit for good performance, and not stellar at that.
Same problem with tele-converters.

The AF problem relates to the 7D, 60D and "lesser" cameras. It does not relate to the 1D series of Canon cameras.

You might also consider the 400 mm f/5.6 L (non IS). It does not have IS, but seems to be better that the 100-400 at full aperture, and seems to behave better with TCs. I never tried it, but it seems a widespread opinion. If is also less transportable than the 100-400 (much longer), about the same weight. Lack of IS? For many, does not matter: after all, for bird photography, a fast shutter is required
Hope this helps
--
Antonio

http://ferrer.smugmug.com/

 Pedagydusz's gear list:Pedagydusz's gear list
Olympus PEN E-PL5 Panasonic Lumix DMC-GX7 Adobe Photoshop CS6
Reply   Reply with quote   Complain
Keith Z Leonard
Senior MemberPosts: 3,996Gear list
Like?
Re: Canon 100-400 VS Sigma 50-500 ?
In reply to GregMueller, Sep 16, 2012

The 50-500 OS is quite good, I enjoyed it a lot though it's really heavy. A friend of mine had both and found the Sigma to be sharper at every focal length, he ditched his 100-400. I have the 100-400 and find it easier to carry around all day.

I think the differences are pretty small, really, but the 50-500 has a better range and weighs more. So it's a trade off, really.

50-500 OS

100-400 L

 Keith Z Leonard's gear list:Keith Z Leonard's gear list
Canon EOS 5D Mark III Canon EF 70-200mm f/4.0L USM Canon EF 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L IS USM Sigma 50mm F1.4 EX DG HSM Canon EF 24-105mm f/4L IS USM +13 more
Reply   Reply with quote   Complain
Keith Z Leonard
Senior MemberPosts: 3,996Gear list
Like?
Re: Canon 100-400 VS Sigma 50-500 ?
In reply to Pedagydusz, Sep 16, 2012

I had no AF issues on the 7D or 400D with the Bigma OS. Make sure you are talking about the OS version rather than the older un-stabilized version.

 Keith Z Leonard's gear list:Keith Z Leonard's gear list
Canon EOS 5D Mark III Canon EF 70-200mm f/4.0L USM Canon EF 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L IS USM Sigma 50mm F1.4 EX DG HSM Canon EF 24-105mm f/4L IS USM +13 more
Reply   Reply with quote   Complain
Pedagydusz
Veteran MemberPosts: 4,223Gear list
Like?
Re: Canon 100-400 VS Sigma 50-500 ?
In reply to Keith Z Leonard, Sep 17, 2012

You are right, I was talking about the non-OS version. I never used the OS version, and am ready to believe it to be much better.

However, the AF issues that I was mentioning are there for any lens: Canon limits AF to f/5.6, so any combination of lens+TC that results in maximum aperture smaller that f/5.6 will not AF.

A way around this is to tape the relevant pins in the TC (two), so that the camera no longer knows the lens is beyond the "official" limit, and AF works as normal!

This feature (f/5.6 limitation to AF) does not apply to Canon series 1D cameras. I think that their limit is f/8 (not sure). I don't know about the Canon 5D series, or the just announced 6D FF.
--
Antonio

http://ferrer.smugmug.com/

 Pedagydusz's gear list:Pedagydusz's gear list
Olympus PEN E-PL5 Panasonic Lumix DMC-GX7 Adobe Photoshop CS6
Reply   Reply with quote   Complain
thx1138
Veteran MemberPosts: 7,147
Like?
Re: Canon 100-400 VS Sigma 50-500 ?
In reply to Pedagydusz, Sep 19, 2012

Pedagydusz wrote:

My experience: I use a 100-400 very often (bird photography). Have used it with the 20D, 50D and now 7D. It is a great lens, very compact, surprisingly lightweight. Better with a tripod or monopod, but perfectly hand-holdable if necessary.

Biggest problem: not good with tele-extenders. Loses AF (except through hacking), and optical quality suffers, even with the 1.4 x TC. (I have not tried the more recent TC version).

I refute that observation. I have used 100-400L + 1.4x TC II/III extensively on my 1D III/1D IV and the IQ is still very good, and surprisingly it was still fast enough for BIF in normal light. Of course AF speed with 7D will be a problem, but IQ is not one of them.

Reply   Reply with quote   Complain
Loren Charif
Veteran MemberPosts: 3,540
Like?
Re: Canon 100-400 VS Sigma 50-500 ?
In reply to Pedagydusz, Sep 19, 2012

Another way around it is to use the Kenko PRO DGX 1.4x TC, which allows very quick AF using the outer groups of points (left & right). Not so great with inner, top, and bottom groups, and therefore, mixed results in AI Servo/19 point or non-side groups.

It will report the correct FL (e.g. 560 when zoomed to 400).

Loren

Pedagydusz wrote:

However, the AF issues that I was mentioning are there for any lens: Canon limits AF to f/5.6, so any combination of lens+TC that results in maximum aperture smaller that f/5.6 will not AF.

A way around this is to tape the relevant pins in the TC (two), so that the camera no longer knows the lens is beyond the "official" limit, and AF works as normal!
--
Antonio

http://ferrer.smugmug.com/

Reply   Reply with quote   Complain
Keithgg
Regular MemberPosts: 283
Like?
Re: Canon 100-400 VS Sigma 50-500 ?
In reply to Loren Charif, Sep 19, 2012

Take a look at:

http://www.lensrentals.com/blog/2010/09/lens-repair-data-4-0

Of course, you may never want to buy a lens ever again.

Also, a newer one.

http://www.lensrentals.com/blog/2012/01/lens-repair-data-2011

Cheers
Keith

Reply   Reply with quote   Complain
Alton (TN)
Contributing MemberPosts: 985
Like?
Re: Canon 100-400 VS Sigma 50-500 ?
In reply to GregMueller, Sep 25, 2012

I have an older 100-400L I bought back in my 20D days. While it was "OK" back then it was never one of my favorites. With the 7D is was never sharp and I could not get it to calibrate using MFA. I sent it back to Canon and I should be able to make a better comparison when it returns. BTW, this is the 2nd time I've had to send it back. The first time AF stopped working. But I am hoping my copy returns this time with the same stellar performance others have reported.

I also have the 400 F5.6L and it seems to be all that it has been hyped up to be. It is very sharp with fast AF. I wish it was IS and the minimum focus distance sometimes gets in the way when trying to get close to small subjects, but both are close to being non-issues.

Finally I have the Sigma 50-500 OS. So far I am very happy with this lens. It is "almost" as sharp as the prime. I really like the colors produced by the 7D and Bigma. I shot the butterfly 20 seconds from the time I noticed it from inside my house. The 7D+Bigma was on a tripod. I didn't have time to setup so I ran outside and made the shot handheld with the tripod dangling from the bottom of the camera (no place or time to plant the feet). I could not have made this shot with the 400 F5.6 because of the MFD.

The 100-400 should return this week and I can make a better comparison then, but so far I'm happy with the other two lens.

I hope this helps.
--
Alton

Reply   Reply with quote   Complain
KentG
Veteran MemberPosts: 3,563
Like?
Re: Canon 100-400 VS Sigma 50-500 ?
In reply to Alton (TN), Sep 27, 2012

I don't have any lenses beyond 300/2.8, but I do have a Sigma 100-300/4 EX HSM IF that works really well with the Canon 1.4x II to give me a 160-480/5.6 lens. Although the lens has no OS it is sharper from 100-300 than the Canon 100-400 and with the TC is is a little less sharp than the Canon's 400mm setting when at 480. And at the 480 setting it is sharper than any of the Sigma zooms that I owned previously that went to 500mm (and were slower at F6.3 besides). Too bad it is not made anymore.
Kent Gittings

Reply   Reply with quote   Complain
GregMueller
Regular MemberPosts: 109
Like?
Re: Canon 100-400 VS Sigma 50-500 ?
In reply to KentG, Sep 29, 2012

Alton

Eagerly awaiting your review.....

Reply   Reply with quote   Complain
Matt
Senior MemberPosts: 1,964
Like?
distance rings - problem solved
In reply to Alton (TN), Sep 29, 2012

Alton (TN) wrote:

I wish it was IS and the minimum focus distance sometimes gets in the way when trying to get close to small subjects, but both are close to being non-issues.

see title ..

-- hide signature --

Nothing to see here ...

Reply   Reply with quote   Complain
qianp2k
Senior MemberPosts: 9,495Gear list
Like?
Re: Canon 100-400 VS Sigma 50-500 ?
In reply to GregMueller, Oct 2, 2012

Another option is Sigma 150-500. This guy has a set of Africa safari with this lens on 5D3, pretty good considering this relative light and budget zoom.
http://forums.dpreview.com/forums/readflat.asp?forum=1032&message=42619910

Here are some reviews compared the two Sigma zoom and Canon 100-400L

http://www.juzaphoto.com/article.php?l=en&article=50

http://blog.sigmaphoto.com/2011/the-50-500mm-vs-150-500mm-shootout-and-telephoto-faq%E2%80%99s-by-robert-o%E2%80%99toole/

New batch of Canon 100-400L is very sharp. My copy that bought two years ago is almost as sharp as 400L/5.6 at 400mm. I sold 400L/5.6 after I got 100-400L.

Zoo photos with 60D
http://forums.dpreview.com/forums/readflat.asp?forum=1019&message=38702551

Airshow photos with 1D3
http://forums.dpreview.com/forums/readflat.asp?forum=1032&message=42051663

-- hide signature --
 qianp2k's gear list:qianp2k's gear list
Sony RX100 Canon EOS-1D Mark III Canon EOS 5D Mark II Canon EOS 5D Mark III Sony Alpha 7R +19 more
Reply   Reply with quote   Complain
GregMueller
Regular MemberPosts: 109
Like?
Re: Canon 100-400 VS Sigma 50-500 ?
In reply to qianp2k, Oct 2, 2012

I was wondering about the 150-500 but in my readings here I got the impression it was not as crisp as the 50-500 ???

Reply   Reply with quote   Complain
qianp2k
Senior MemberPosts: 9,495Gear list
Like?
Re: Canon 100-400 VS Sigma 50-500 ?
In reply to GregMueller, Oct 2, 2012

GregMueller wrote:

I was wondering about the 150-500 but in my readings here I got the impression it was not as crisp as the 50-500 ???

http://photo.net/equipment/sigma/50-500os/

If you really need 500mm, then the relative new Sigma 50-500 OS is the choice. But it's heavy, relative slow as shown in above link.

f/5.6 @ 113-243mm
f/6.3 @ 244-500mm

Otherwise late batch of Canon 100-400L IS is very sharp with nicer color and AF noticeable faster that is crucial in certain types of photography such as birding and airshow. It's also noticeable lighter/smaller that you can hand-held (entire day on 1D3 in airshows) that is also a very important factor. I carried 100-400L in my recent trip (instead of reputed 70-200L/4.0 IS). To my eyes it's almost as sharp as 70-200L/4.0 IS between 100-200mm.

-- hide signature --
 qianp2k's gear list:qianp2k's gear list
Sony RX100 Canon EOS-1D Mark III Canon EOS 5D Mark II Canon EOS 5D Mark III Sony Alpha 7R +19 more
Reply   Reply with quote   Complain
anand53
Regular MemberPosts: 476Gear list
Like?
Re: Canon 100-400 VS Sigma 50-500 ?
In reply to GregMueller, Oct 2, 2012

GregMueller wrote:

I've been reading reviews and it seems like the two lenses mentioned above are pretty close, each with their own little quirks, which tip the scale in favor of the other.

I own a 100-400 and borrowed a Sigma 50-500 on a trip into the tiger reserves. Firstly moving the 100-400 was much easier than the other. Secondly, and may be, because I was familiar with my own 100-400, the comfort levels were very high. Both were with 100-400, handheld.

 anand53's gear list:anand53's gear list
Canon EOS 7D Canon EOS 70D Canon EF 50mm f/1.8 II Canon EF-S 15-85mm f/3.5-5.6 IS USM Canon EF 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L IS USM +3 more
Reply   Reply with quote   Complain
Rakumi
Veteran MemberPosts: 6,151
Like?
Sigma 150-500
In reply to GregMueller, Oct 2, 2012

This is when i first started with a dslr so jpeg straight from camera with default settings and no added sharpening or anything from in camera settings.

-- hide signature --

Darkness is the monster and your shutter is your sword, aperture your shield and iso your armor. Strike fast with your sword and defend well with your shield and hope your armor holds up.

Reply   Reply with quote   Complain
Alton (TN)
Contributing MemberPosts: 985
Like?
Repair came back from Canon
In reply to GregMueller, Oct 2, 2012

The 100-400 (70-200 also) returned from Canon Factory repair. I spent most of yesterday calibrating the two repaired lens and came away feeling the repair was acceptably complete, but that the lens was still just acceptable.

I feel like I certainly do not gain anything in IQ or performance using the 100-400L over using the prime or Bigma. But, it is not so bad I could send it back again and say it was not repaired. I have had the lens for 8 years now and it does work and maybe it is just time to give it due and realize that it is getting a little long in the tooth. Still, I was hoping that it would perform somewhere near what I hear others saying about their copy.

Having said that, I will still use it. It is not so bad that I can't get good pictures out of it. It is just not my first choice, and by a good margin.

I used FoCal yesterday to calibrate with. FoCal does not support the 5DIII in full automatic yet and I struggle to get reliable results in manual mode. On the 7D, FoCal seemed to calibrate both lens. Today I will check the results using Spyder LensCal and see if there is a difference.

BTW, the 70-200 did not impress me either. FoCal struggled to get a calibrated result and kept adding more points. Finally, it gave MFA corrections. I ran it again, and it came back with different results by a pretty wide margin. However, the IQ didn't seem bad. I've had this lens for 8 years also and it might be time for a new one. I would really like to have VII with IS anyway.

I'm sorry I was so long winded. I hope this helps though.

-- hide signature --

Alton

Reply   Reply with quote   Complain
Keyboard shortcuts:
FForum MMy threads