new Sigma 120-300 f/2.8 again? But now with weather sealing for sports?

Started Jan 7, 2013 | Discussions
MICHAEL_61 Senior Member • Posts: 2,156
new Sigma 120-300 f/2.8 - awesome!
1

I am totally for Sigma on this one. This lens is unique, Canon does not have anything comparable. Quality is great even with the 2x TC. Having purchased it recently, I asked the store if upgrade is possible. They talked to Sigma on my behalf and Sigma agreed to take back my lens and give me the new version if I don't mind the difference in price. How's that for customer support?

lordofthelens.co.nz

joger
OP joger Veteran Member • Posts: 4,900
Re: new Sigma 120-300 f/2.8 - awesome!

MICHAEL_61 wrote:

I am totally for Sigma on this one. This lens is unique, Canon does not have anything comparable. Quality is great even with the 2x TC. Having purchased it recently, I asked the store if upgrade is possible. They talked to Sigma on my behalf and Sigma agreed to take back my lens and give me the new version if I don't mind the difference in price. How's that for customer support?

lordofthelens.co.nz

oh - that's great!!

Looks like the new version is the same optical calculation as the current OS version.

Here are the some ISO 12233 charts from center and outer frame. I received also some RAWs from the forum here and I can confirm that the Sigma without Extenders is roughly as good as the Canon 300 F72.8 II with the 2x Extender - fully in line with the TDP results

Sigma 120-300 at 300 f/2.8

Sigma 120-300 at 300 f/2.8

Sigma 300 at 600 f/5.6

Sigma 300 600 f/5.6

300 II at 300 f/2.8

300 II at 300 f/2.8 

300 II at 600 f/5.6

In fact I'd even say the 300 II including the 2x Extender is sharper in the corners then the Sigma 300 without the extenders - but this my be due to sample variation for which Sigma is know to have the least possible variances

I am sure that most will buy the Sigma option because of the price - which is a good reason.

I may quote TDP here on the sales price:


As I said in the Canon EF 400mm f/2.8 L IS USM Lens review and as is the case with all Canon Super Telephoto lenses, the price is going the be the biggest road block for most people to obtain the amazing Canon EF 300mm f/2.8 L IS II USM Lens. 
 
There is no arguing that the Canon EF 300mm f/2.8 L IS II USM Lens carries a very high price tag, but as I've reported before, my experience with Canon Super Telephoto Lens ownership has been a positive one financially. Quality Canon lenses taken care of retain their value very well. You can usually get most of your money back at resale - or even make a profit as new lens prices increase. This makes overall cost of ownership very low. 
 
My big white Canon lenses have actually proven to be a better investment than my 401k fund in the last few years. I sold my being-replaced Canon Super Telephoto Lenses prior to the new ones becoming available to be able to fund the new lenses. Even selling my four mint, used lenses at very-good-for-the-buyer prices, I still made a significant amount of profit (4 figures) after getting years of use from them. 
 
I of course cannot predict the future, but history is often a good indicator of it. What I can tell you that I'm having much more fun with my Canon EF 300mm f/2.8 L IS II USM Lens than with my 401k investments. And the images I've captured are priceless to me.


On the other hand side - what's wrong with a 70-200 f/2.8 lens and a 1.4x Extender - the ISO 12233 charts suggest that this combination will probably not disappoint as well.

And the Sigmas are no real f/2.8 lenses. The filter mount is 105 mm thus the front lens might be best case 98 mm in diameter.

The 300 II has a (this morning measured) free front lens diameter of 115 mm - dxomark measured a T-stop of 3.2 on the Canon 300 f/2.8 II - the Sigma has a few lenses more and with the given geometry I would suspect that the real T-stop for the Sigma might be at a level or 3.8 or even close to 4.0

That's explains the price difference - I am not saying that the Sigma is a bad lens - but a Canon 70-200 f/2.8 plus an 1.4x Extender might do the same job with indistinguishable results at a lower price point and the 70-200 is surely the better 70-120 mm lens

Out of the box thinking

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OP joger Veteran Member • Posts: 4,900
Re: new Sigma 120-300 f/2.8 - awesome!

what I am also concerned is the travel size and weight - maybe the optical performance does not matter that much for many but the packaging size and weight maybe does

Canon 300 f/2.8 II L IS USM vs Sigma 120-300 f/2.8 OS HSM DG

Compared with a 70-200 f/2.8 the Sigma is a giant lens - the 200-400 1.4x will be a monster too but for the intended purpose the 200-400 1.4x will be perfectly suited - tripod mount for Sports photography

I like perfectly optimized products - even if they cost a bot more - Sigma seem to be half way there - every time - which equals to a half full glass - better then nothing for sure!!

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Gearóid Ó Laoi, Garry Lee
Gearóid Ó Laoi, Garry Lee Veteran Member • Posts: 6,188
Re: new Sigma 120-300 f/2.8 - awesome!

joger wrote:

MICHAEL_61 wrote:

I am totally for Sigma on this one. This lens is unique, Canon does not have anything comparable. Quality is great even with the 2x TC. Having purchased it recently, I asked the store if upgrade is possible. They talked to Sigma on my behalf and Sigma agreed to take back my lens and give me the new version if I don't mind the difference in price. How's that for customer support?

lordofthelens.co.nz

oh - that's great!!

Looks like the new version is the same optical calculation as the current OS version.

Here are the some ISO 12233 charts from center and outer frame. I received also some RAWs from the forum here and I can confirm that the Sigma without Extenders is roughly as good as the Canon 300 F72.8 II with the 2x Extender - fully in line with the TDP results

Sigma 120-300 at 300 f/2.8

Sigma 120-300 at 300 f/2.8

Sigma 300 at 600 f/5.6

Sigma 300 600 f/5.6

300 II at 300 f/2.8

300 II at 300 f/2.8

300 II at 600 f/5.6

In fact I'd even say the 300 II including the 2x Extender is sharper in the corners then the Sigma 300 without the extenders - but this my be due to sample variation for which Sigma is know to have the least possible variances

I am sure that most will buy the Sigma option because of the price - which is a good reason.

I may quote TDP here on the sales price:


As I said in the Canon EF 400mm f/2.8 L IS USM Lens review and as is the case with all Canon Super Telephoto lenses, the price is going the be the biggest road block for most people to obtain the amazing Canon EF 300mm f/2.8 L IS II USM Lens.

There is no arguing that the Canon EF 300mm f/2.8 L IS II USM Lens carries a very high price tag, but as I've reported before, my experience with Canon Super Telephoto Lens ownership has been a positive one financially. Quality Canon lenses taken care of retain their value very well. You can usually get most of your money back at resale - or even make a profit as new lens prices increase. This makes overall cost of ownership very low.

My big white Canon lenses have actually proven to be a better investment than my 401k fund in the last few years. I sold my being-replaced Canon Super Telephoto Lenses prior to the new ones becoming available to be able to fund the new lenses. Even selling my four mint, used lenses at very-good-for-the-buyer prices, I still made a significant amount of profit (4 figures) after getting years of use from them.

I of course cannot predict the future, but history is often a good indicator of it. What I can tell you that I'm having much more fun with my Canon EF 300mm f/2.8 L IS II USM Lens than with my 401k investments. And the images I've captured are priceless to me.


On the other hand side - what's wrong with a 70-200 f/2.8 lens and a 1.4x Extender - the ISO 12233 charts suggest that this combination will probably not disappoint as well.

And the Sigmas are no real f/2.8 lenses. The filter mount is 105 mm thus the front lens might be best case 98 mm in diameter.

The 300 II has a (this morning measured) free front lens diameter of 115 mm - dxomark measured a T-stop of 3.2 on the Canon 300 f/2.8 II - the Sigma has a few lenses more and with the given geometry I would suspect that the real T-stop for the Sigma might be at a level or 3.8 or even close to 4.0

That's explains the price difference - I am not saying that the Sigma is a bad lens - but a Canon 70-200 f/2.8 plus an 1.4x Extender might do the same job with indistinguishable results at a lower price point and the 70-200 is surely the better 70-120 mm lens

Out of the box thinking

Another chap on-line reckons it's a 290mm f2.9.

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ed rader Veteran Member • Posts: 8,512
Re: new Sigma 120-300 f/2.8 again? But now with weather sealing for sports?

For me it's all about the lenses and not about the camera. I've never regarded the 100-400 as an acceptable option being not cheap and not fast and not really lightweight and having a crazy design.

then you must not need a travel zoom for wildlife.  the lens weighs 3 lbs -- less than the 70-200L f2.8 II which is on your best list, and the "crazy design" makes the lens very compact and quick to zoom.

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MICHAEL_61 Senior Member • Posts: 2,156
samples

http://lordofthelens.zenfolio.com/img/s1/v54/p1374071140.jpg

with 2x TC, 600mm

http://lordofthelens.zenfolio.com/img/s8/v83/p1374070066.jpg

zooming out to 120mm - no can do with fixed 300mm

http://lordofthelens.zenfolio.com/img/s4/v62/p1374069660.jpg

zooming out to 269mm - same story, if I had 300 L I would have missed this shot

I'd say for real-life practical purposes Sigma beats the 300mm L - which I couldn't afford anyway.

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ScottD1964 Senior Member • Posts: 1,910
Re: samples

Michael,

Great examples of the versatility of the Sigma vs. a 300 f2.8 prime (of any make).  Here are a few samples of mine that once again I'd never have been able to get if shooting with a prime.  I'm in no way saying anything negative against Canon or the quality of their super teles which I have owned and used.  However, in terms of versatility the Sigma 120-300 f2.8 OS HSM is one-of-a-kind.

And trust me, it is far easier to be able to shoot with one camera than to fiddle with two cameras (one with super tele and one with a 70-200).

Scott



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joger
OP joger Veteran Member • Posts: 4,900
Re: samples

ScottD1964 wrote:

Michael,

Great examples of the versatility of the Sigma vs. a 300 f2.8 prime (of any make). Here are a few samples of mine that once again I'd never have been able to get if shooting with a prime . . .

you gotta be kidding .-)

your images don't even come in the right oreintation

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joger
OP joger Veteran Member • Posts: 4,900
Re: samples

MICHAEL_61 wrote:

I'd say for real-life practical purposes Sigma beats the 300mm L - which I couldn't afford anyway.

oh really?

If you could afford your statement would be different?

(have you ever tried one? I've bought the 100-300 f/4.0 APO and is was mediocre to say the least)

I am personally simply a bit disappointed that I've lost so much money without being forced to (300 EUR) on a lens (100-300 f/4.0) that was advertised as the ultimate zoom that time and yet a relatively cheap Canon 70-200 f/4.0 (bought in HongKong for a bargain) beats it in every single aspect: weight, size, image quality and resale price

My statement - watch out - you're probably not getting what you're searching for . . .

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OP joger Veteran Member • Posts: 4,900
Re: new Sigma 120-300 f/2.8 - awesome!

Gearóid Ó Laoi, Garry Lee wrote:

Another chap on-line reckons it's a 290mm f2.9.

o.k. let's do the math (I am btw talking about T-Stop and not f-stop!!)

So we got some 98 mm front lens diameter - with 290 mm focal length - that makes f/3.0 (300/98=3,06) - if Sigma manages it to do a 105 mm filter thread with a bigger diameter significantly more then 98 mm I'd be very surprised - 3 mm to hold a lens is very tight!

The 300 f/2.8 II is advertised as f/2.8 and the front lens has a diameter of 115 mm which leads to a theoretical f-stop of f /2.6 (300/115 mm). DXOmark measures the light transmission to T/3.2 (I trust them - that result is easy to measure) - light in - light out

So we got with 16 lenses in the 300 f/2.8 II a 'misbehavior' of 23 %

Let's assume the 23 lenses of the Sigma 120-300 are extremely good optimized and we only add 5 % additional loss of light instead of the 23 vs 16 lenses of the 300 f/2.8 II which would lead to 43 % additional loss.

so we got following formula: 290 / 98 * 3.2 / 2.6 * 1.05 = 3.82 - which is in favor of the 120-300 - the real world result might be in the range of T/4.0 or even beyond . . .

If you're not into fooling yourself you should understand by now that Sigma is advertising something that's not existing - it is still a good lens but so are the the 70-200rds from other vendors

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Gearóid Ó Laoi, Garry Lee
Gearóid Ó Laoi, Garry Lee Veteran Member • Posts: 6,188
Re: samples

120-300 at the track tonight..

120mm

300mm

193mm

I find this zoom range EXTREMELY useful. I do have a 300 as well and having had this latest lens, I'm inclined to sell it..

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joger
OP joger Veteran Member • Posts: 4,900
Re: samples

Gearóid Ó Laoi, Garry Lee wrote:

I find this zoom range EXTREMELY useful. I do have a 300 as well and having had this latest lens, I'm inclined to sell it..

I am not doubting that a zoom is more versatile then a prime lens. Every event photographer has zooms instead of primes. I read in one thread that a former 50 f/1.2 user now almost purely uses the 24-70 f/2.8 II because it is good enough for what he does.

I am sure the 120-300 is good enough for sports and photo journalism.

I am just putting together the facts and I bring some further thoughts about the very tight product cycles of Sigma for these kinds of lenses.

Both the 70-200 and 120-300 have an IMHO too narrow products cycle and from the outside it looks like Sigma is selling the salami in small pieces rather then in one go.

The first 120-300 was a gap filler and optically so lala - the OS version seems to be really nice and the new version seems to be just a bit refined on the outside with some weather sealing and new look. Just one year after the introduction of the OS version - hm??

But the end of the day it is more a T/4.0 lens then a f/2.8 lens and it is quite heavy and bulky and not really cheap.

The Canon 70-200 f/2.8 weighs just half of it in use and with an 1.4x extender it is optically on par and cheaper and lighter and has probably a higher resell value.

Why the heck would a lens maker with such a long history in lens design forget about the focus range limiter in such a lens? By purpose or by accident?

Both answers make me think that this brand is not really trustable - this is of course my own make up of my mind.

If Sigma were a car maker I would put them in the area of Kia or Hunday rather then Audi or BMW or even Porsche.

The flaws are too big for such an expensive toy when you can have a nearly flawless 70-200 f/2.8 with a t-stop of T/3.4

I am just using the 300 f/2.8 II as an example of the target Sigma should have in mind. When they are there I will honor them for their efforts - it must be allowed to point out the flaws and almost one stop less light then advertised is probably not really a good story - even for 1/2 the price - especially when the product cycle is only one year.

just my 2CT

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joger
OP joger Veteran Member • Posts: 4,900
Re: samples

some further thoughts

In a few months from now we might see more people at sports events with 200-400 1.4x lenses then any other lens - the first people who had them in their hands indicate that the image quality will be stunning and I have no reason to doubt that - the price will be steep but worth it - sports photographers spend much more money on traveling then on equipment

Have a look here

nice to see what pro's are using

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MICHAEL_61 Senior Member • Posts: 2,156
If I could afford it I'd...

joger wrote:

MICHAEL_61 wrote:

I'd say for real-life practical purposes Sigma beats the 300mm L - which I couldn't afford anyway.

oh really?

If you could afford your statement would be different?

(have you ever tried one? I've bought the 100-300 f/4.0 APO and is was mediocre to say the least)

If I could afford it I'd buy the Sigma 200-500mm F2.8 APO EX DG of course

100-300/4 is rubbish compared to 120-300/2.8 - they are not in the same category mate.

As for the 120-300 - it is a very sharp and versatile lens with great colour and contrast, see more samples:

http://lordofthelens.zenfolio.com/p665456386/e51f38dde

joger
OP joger Veteran Member • Posts: 4,900
Re: If I could afford it I'd...

MICHAEL_61 wrote:

joger wrote:

MICHAEL_61 wrote:

I'd say for real-life practical purposes Sigma beats the 300mm L - which I couldn't afford anyway.

oh really?

If you could afford your statement would be different?

(have you ever tried one? I've bought the 100-300 f/4.0 APO and is was mediocre to say the least)

If I could afford it I'd buy the Sigma 200-500mm F2.8 APO EX DG of course

no interest in such a heavy lens - maybe that's the reason why you're comfortable with a 3 kg lens

the 120-300 is simply too heavy and too bulky for my taste - as the 200-500 is surely too

2,5 kg vs 3 kg makes a huge difference when you try to handhold a lens for a longer period - I know photographers that buy the extra battery compartment to make their equipment look more professional

If you're fine with it I am happy for you!!

I was just collecting some facts (doing simple analyses and mathematics) and thoughts (which I hopefully clearly enough marked as my own thoughts)

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Gearóid Ó Laoi, Garry Lee
Gearóid Ó Laoi, Garry Lee Veteran Member • Posts: 6,188
Re: If I could afford it I'd...
1

MICHAEL_61 wrote:

joger wrote:

MICHAEL_61 wrote:

I'd say for real-life practical purposes Sigma beats the 300mm L - which I couldn't afford anyway.

oh really?

If you could afford your statement would be different?

(have you ever tried one? I've bought the 100-300 f/4.0 APO and is was mediocre to say the least)

If I could afford it I'd buy the Sigma 200-500mm F2.8 APO EX DG of course

100-300/4 is rubbish compared to 120-300/2.8 - they are not in the same category mate.

As for the 120-300 - it is a very sharp and versatile lens with great colour and contrast, see more samples:

http://lordofthelens.zenfolio.com/p665456386/e51f38dde

Well Michael, you might as well talk to the wall. All Joger is interested in is sharpness. He is obsessed with it. Hence the photo of a static Meerkat with hairs so sharp you could bleed touching them.

He has also decided that the max aperture of the Sigma 120-300 is f4, even though he doesn't have one to measure. I imagine it'll go to f5.6 today or even f32.

For his information the front element is either 100 or 101mm wide. I can't decide. That would give you a theoretical limit of f2.9 or 3 but of course that could not be allowed as Canon's 300mm holy of holies is apparently f3.2 despite having a 107mm front element, the same as the Sigma 300 which I also have.

As for BMW or Audi, they may be "cool" brands but I've had a Honda Accord diesel for the last 6 years into which I've put no part. This is also regarded as the best saloon in Germany, according to a recent poll.

Every pro whose review I've read has been mucho impressedo with the range of the 120-300, and I had misgivings about it when I got it first because of it's size, but it's a helluva great beast of a thing.

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MICHAEL_61 Senior Member • Posts: 2,156
Samples here - previous post truncated due to computer glitch
1

600mm, with 2x TC

Approx. at 200mm, showing AF accuracy with high-speed BIF

600mm - with 2x TC wide open! shot through dense wire in the zoo, rendered invisible by shallow DOF

600mm with 2x TC

300mm wide open at night, showing OS - 1/15 sec handheld. EXIF says F 2.83

As you see, it is indeed 2.8 not less as you say. And speaking of bokeh:

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Gearóid Ó Laoi, Garry Lee
Gearóid Ó Laoi, Garry Lee Veteran Member • Posts: 6,188
Re: If I could afford it I'd...

because of its size. Doing this on a tablet which, like Joger, has a mind of its own..

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MICHAEL_61 Senior Member • Posts: 2,156
Re: If I could afford it I'd...

Gearóid Ó Laoi, Garry Lee wrote:

because of its size.

Oh, it is hand-holdable. Juza tried:

joger
OP joger Veteran Member • Posts: 4,900
Re: If I could afford it I'd...

yes - I know that image - had my hands on one of these monsters at Calumet in Essen / Germany.

Nice demonstrator - indeed - never seen sample images from that monster though.

Would be nice to see the results at 500 mm vs the Canon pendant at f/4.0 and it would be nice to get the T-Stop as well

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