Sigma 300mm f2.8 vs Canon/Nikon 300mm f4 IS/VR?

Started Nov 23, 2015 | Questions
tobicy68 Contributing Member • Posts: 577
Sigma 300mm f2.8 vs Canon/Nikon 300mm f4 IS/VR?

When stepping up from a 70-300 zoom to a 300mm f4 prime lens (or for Sony users, the 70-400), I realize the price for either Canon or Nikon 300mm F4 IS/VR new I can get a used Sigma 300mm F2.8 prime or 120-300mm F2.8 non OS zoom lens for the same price or perhaps cheaper from sites such as evil bay.

What are some of your takes on this? Which to choose? For Sony users it'll be the decision between Sigma 300mm F2.8 and Sony 70-400 since there's no Sony mount for 120-300 and Sony does not have a 300/4.

Is the 300/2.8 really another league compared to 300/4s in terms of sharpness and overall image quality? The 300/4s obviously are handheld-able the 300/2.8s you really need to build a strong upper body to be able to handheld them.

There's not a lot of samples and scientific tests/reviews for the Sigma 300/2.8 but based on the photos and dxomark results of the more popular 120-300/2.8 and Canon/Nikon 300/2.8, they really outshine the 300/4s especially for the Canon 300/4 IS which look pale in comparison to the 120-300 and Canon 300/2.8 in terms of wide open sharpness:

http://www.dxomark.com/Lenses/Compare/Side-by-side/EF300mmf-4L-IS-USM-on-Canon-EOS-5D-Mark-III-versus-Sigma-120-300mm-F28-DG-OS-HSM-S-Canon-on-Canon-EOS-5D-Mark-III-versus-Canon-EF-300mm-F28L-IS-USM-on-Canon-EOS-5D-Mark-III__263_795_1063_795_928_795

Now not saying that the Canon 300/4 is mediocre or bad lens at all, it's an L lens and the jump in performance and overall operation and speed should be substantial compared to a 70-300 zoom. But for the same price, if I can get an off brand Sigma 300/2.8 is it more preferred to get the 300/2.8 than the 300/4?

I especially put more weight on sharpness and resolution because I'm using an APSC camera and am afraid the 300/4 or 70-400 will look pale in comparison to 300/2.8 in terms of sharpness and resolution on a modern 24mp APSC sensor.

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Nikkor AF-S 300mm f/4E PF ED VR Samsung S 300m F2.8 ED OIS
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rednefed Contributing Member • Posts: 837
Re: Sigma 300mm f2.8 vs Canon/Nikon 300mm f4 IS/VR?
1

tobicy68 wrote:

Is the 300/2.8 really another league compared to 300/4s in terms of sharpness and overall image quality? The 300/4s obviously are handheld-able the 300/2.8s you really need to build a strong upper body to be able to handheld them.

The Sigma 300mm f/2.8 is reasonably light for a lens of its class. Better yet, it's easily the most compact 300/2.8 (not much longer than most 70-200 lenses) so there's less torque on the distal end of the setup. Therefore, it'll be perceived as even lighter.

That said, after a zoo day with the lens, or even after shooting a baseball game from the stands, I am more than happy to put down the gear bag.

There's not a lot of samples and scientific tests/reviews for the Sigma 300/2.8 but based on the photos and dxomark results of the more popular 120-300/2.8 and Canon/Nikon 300/2.8, they really outshine the 300/4s especially for the Canon 300/4 IS which look pale in comparison to the 120-300 and Canon 300/2.8 in terms of wide open sharpness:

Now not saying that the Canon 300/4 is mediocre or bad lens at all, it's an L lens and the jump in performance and overall operation and speed should be substantial compared to a 70-300 zoom. But for the same price, if I can get an off brand Sigma 300/2.8 is it more preferred to get the 300/2.8 than the 300/4?

I asked Roger Cicala from LensRentals about the Sigma. His take is that it's pretty much as good as the Canon mkI and AF is decent enough. There's no focus limiter or IS, though. For the used price and lens quality, pretty excusable.

I especially put more weight on sharpness and resolution because I'm using an APSC camera and am afraid the 300/4 or 70-400 will look pale in comparison to 300/2.8 in terms of sharpness and resolution on a modern 24mp APSC sensor.

My Sigma 300mm f/2.8 is plenty sharp on a D810:

A 100% crop from near one of the rule of thirds points, minimal sharpening

Make sure you get the DG version, though - I had an older, non-DG variant - it flared like mad and had low contrast. Sold it and bought a DG version for not much more. Buy cheap, buy twice... Sigma's DG coatings really helped out the lens.

A handling quirk: one's left hand tends to rest near the focusing ring in shooting position. While the focus ring is well dampened and rotates over 180 degrees from lock to lock, there actually isn't much resistance to turning it, so be careful.

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Nikon D850 Nikon AF-S Nikkor 24-120mm F4G ED VR Sigma 20mm F1.4 DG HSM Art Sigma 24-70mm F2.8 Art Sigma 135mm F1.8 Art +1 more
SushiEater
SushiEater Forum Pro • Posts: 10,329
Re: Sigma 300mm f2.8 vs Canon/Nikon 300mm f4 IS/VR?

tobicy68 wrote:

When stepping up from a 70-300 zoom to a 300mm f4 prime lens (or for Sony users, the 70-400), I realize the price for either Canon or Nikon 300mm F4 IS/VR new I can get a used Sigma 300mm F2.8 prime or 120-300mm F2.8 non OS zoom lens for the same price or perhaps cheaper from sites such as evil bay.

I don't know about other lenses but you don't really want most Sigma lenses announced before January 2010.

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Nikon D810 Nikon D500 Nikon D5 Nikon AF-S Nikkor 24-120mm F4G ED VR Nikon AF-S Nikkor 28-300mm f/3.5-5.6G ED VR +14 more
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