Incredible value, extremely sharp

Started 8 months ago | User reviews thread
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richiebee Veteran Member • Posts: 3,468
Incredible value, extremely sharp

I've had this lens about a month and have used it to photograph birds (nothing more than gulls and ducks) and I've taken it to a concert.

I bought the lens for some casual wildlife stuff. I'm not a birder (don't have the patience for a start), but we occasionally get things like eagles, hawks, whales and seals, that I'm interested in capturing.  In view of the casual nature of this, I didn't want to invest in a really expensive lens, and because I want to be able to take it everywhere, I didn't want a very heavy lens.

In terms of weight, it fits the bill very well, and for its focal length, I feel that its pretty compact too.

I read lots of reviews and expected a weak OS system and decent but not mind blowing performance. My expectations in both regards have been exceeded significantly.  It's extremely sharp throughout its range and both sharpness and clarity start with the aperture wide open.  Admittedly, wide open is not large... this certainly isn't a fast lens.

I usually shoot concerts with a trio of f/2.8 zooms, but this past weekend, I shot a concert that had more restrictive access than I'm used to, and I expected to be shooting mostly from close to the back of the auditorium so I decided to take this one along.  I went to their dress rehearsal and found at this venue, I was better off with a trio of 15-30, 70-200 and this 100-400.  The variable aperture took a little getting used to, but by the concert the following evening, I was good to go.

I used it almost exclusively on the Nikon D500, and shot 946 frames on it. I missed focus twice, and everything else was as sharp as this one.

Focusing was fast and accurate, and I did not need to fine tune the AF.

Lighting at the venue was decent, but constantly changing.  Having a variable aperture lens did slow me down a little, but I'm really happy with what I got. There was plenty of detail even when when I had to push the ISO to 10,000.

I don't usually need to go beyond 200mm at concerts I shoot, so I can't say I'll use it regularly for concerts, but I'm very happy to have it in my bag of tricks.

I'm knocking off half a star because even though its pretty light, I think it should have a tripod collar.  The design really makes it difficult to even custom make one, because there's not really anywhere on the barrel to secure one.  Otherwise, its amazing.

 richiebee's gear list:richiebee's gear list
Nikon D610 Nikon D500 Nikon D850 Nikon AF-S Nikkor 14-24mm f/2.8G ED Nikon AF-S Nikkor 50mm f/1.4G +16 more
Sigma 100-400mm F5-6.3 DG OS HSM
Lens • Canon EF, Nikon F (FX), Sigma SA Bayonet
Announced: Feb 21, 2017
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Nikon D500 Sigma 100-400mm F5-6.3
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