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Sigma 300-800mm f/5.6

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Thread started 08 Dec 2005 (Thursday) 14:48   
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chrishunt
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Does anyone actually have this lens? It's HUGE. I wanted to see some pictures of this thing and the pictures it produces if anyone has one.

Post #1, Dec 08, 2005 14:48:35


chris hunt
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chrishunt
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Yea for searching...

Here's another thread on it:

http://photography-on-the.net ...09731&highlight=300​-800mm

Post #2, Dec 08, 2005 14:50:49


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chrishunt
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This is fun. I'm answering my own thread!

Pics of the lens:
http://www.pbase.com/l​iquidstone/sigma_30080​0testexternal link

Bird Shots with the lens:
http://www.pbase.com/l​iquidstone/sigma_30080​0birdsexternal link

Post #3, Dec 08, 2005 14:53:24


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formula4speed
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Liquidstone on these forums has one, he also gets some of the best shots I've ever seen with it. Seems like a fanatastic lens.

Post #4, Dec 08, 2005 15:01:18


I'm taking pictures of everything, so go ahead and take this place away from me.

5DII, 16-35mm f/2.8L II, ZE 28mm f/2, 35mm f/1.4L, ZE 50mm f/1.4, 100mm f/2.8L IS, 580 EX

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liquidstone
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A short User Report

burntbizzkit wrote:
Does anyone actually have this lens? It's HUGE. I wanted to see some pictures of this thing and the pictures it produces if anyone has one.

Hi Chris,

I use one and let me put here a short User Report:

I've been using the Sigmonster (Sigma 300-800 DG, Canon mount) as my main birding lens since since April this year, and I'm very, very impressed with its optical performance.

THE GOOD POINTS:

It beats my beloved 400 5.6L in sharpness and contrast at any length (with TC on the 400 prime) and aperture. Here are unprocessed 100% crops straight from the camera (jpeg large fine, parameter -1/0/+1/0) from my copies of the 400 5.6L and the Sigmonster:

http://www.pbase.com/l​iquidstone/image/52379​202/originalexternal link

This beast is prime-like in sharpness (on my 20D/350D/300D) from 300-700 mm wide open, and I stop down in those focal lengths only for more DOF. At 800 mm, it's still sharp wide open, but improves back to super-sharpness at f/8 - f/11.

Here's a shot at 800 mm, f/5.6 , 1/60 sec, ISO 200:
http://www.pbase.com/l​iquidstone/image/51039​579/originalexternal link

100% crop:
http://www.pbase.com/l​iquidstone/image/51039​585/originalexternal link

Here's one at 800 mm, stopped down to f/9, 1/250 sec, ISO 200
http://www.pbase.com/l​iquidstone/image/52733​557external link

100% crop:
http://www.pbase.com/l​iquidstone/image/52733​454/originalexternal link

A test shot at 1000 meters:
http://www.pbase.com/l​iquidstone/image/52021​274external link

100% crops
http://www.pbase.com/l​iquidstone/image/52021​338/originalexternal link
http://www.pbase.com/l​iquidstone/image/52045​420external link

Wide open shots at 700 mm or shorter:

648 mm, 1/60 sec, ISO 400
http://www.pbase.com/l​iquidstone/image/48133​059/originalexternal link

687 mm, 1/80 sec, ISO 400
http://www.pbase.com/l​iquidstone/image/52847​449external link

With a 2x TC, there's some IQ degradation but it's still better than upressing. Here's a shot at 1600 mm with a Sigma 2x TC (2560 mm equivalent AOV with the 350D), f/18, 1/50 sec, ISO 400, manual focus and exposure:
http://www.pbase.com/l​iquidstone/image/50832​927external link

100% crop
http://www.pbase.com/l​iquidstone/image/50832​965/originalexternal link

The Sigmonster (with 350D) is now my main long gun and it allowed me to get close to a lot of shy Philippine endemics. For flight shots, my 20D + 400 5.6L is of course the better tool.


THE NOT-SO-GOOD POINTS

Sigma has increased the price of the DG version to circa USD 6200 (B&H). From the outpout I've seen, I can't see a difference in IQ between the older non-DG and the newer DG one. So if I were to buy this lens all over again, I'd go for the non-DG version if it's cheaper by more than USD 1,000.


This lens would benefit greatly with the addition of Optical Stabilization (tripod-ready OS) and a focus limiter switch. The latter, a standard feature of Canon long Ls, works wonders in speeding up AF at fliers. The Sigmonster's HSM is fast, but Canon's USM is a bit faster (just a field use impression, not based on objective test).


The Sigmonster is a heavy beast, and I've not been able to hand hold it in any manner. But I knew about the weight and bulk before I bought it, and had accepted these trade-offs for extreme reach, near-prime optics and zoom flexibility.


It needs a good support and long lens technique (LLT) to do its job well. For support, I use a Manfrotto 3421 gimbal head and 475B tripod.


The classic LLT of "left hand on the lens, face against the VF and gentle shutter press" work for many people. However, I prefer to use a remote switch, hands off the lens and wait for the vibration to die down (evident in the VF) before tripping the shutter. With this LLT, I have gone as slow as 0.8 sec (with MLU) and 1/40 - 1/50 sec (without MLU) at 800 mm and got decent results. In strong wind though, I revert back to the classic LLT and just use faster shutter speeds of 1/160 or faster.


MY CONCLUSION:

If you're looking for 500 mm to 1000 mm and beyond reach, the 500 f/4 L IS is lighter (hence can be hand held) and more compact, 1 stop brighter and most probably a bit sharper at 500 mm, has IS, faster AF and weather-sealing. But the 500 prime doesn't zoom.

If you value the framing flexibility of zoom while still retaining near-prime sharpness, and can live without IS, the Sigmonster is a worthy alternative to the similarly weighing 600 f/4 L IS.

Most of the recent bird pics in my galleries are taken with the Sigmonster:

http://www.pbase.com/l​iquidstoneexternal link


Warmest regards from our islands,

Romy Ocon

Post #5, Dec 08, 2005 16:42:25


Romy Ocon, Philippine Wild Birdsexternal link
Over 260 species captured in habitat, and counting.

Looooong Lens Imaging (1000 mm and beyond)external link

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chrishunt
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Wow. Thanks a lot for that report. I was not expecting the lens to be so sharp! It looks extremely usable with the 2x attached as well. I can't even imagine having that kind of reach on a 1.6x camera and shooting birds. I thought 200mm was amazing on a 20d :)

I'm curious why more people don't own this lens as the price sits between the Canon 500 and Canon 600 primes. It seems like it has pretty good performance, and you might not need IS since this will always be on a tripod/monopod anyway. It will always be out of my budget :)

Post #6, Dec 08, 2005 16:57:49


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Matatazela
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Romy, you are incredible. Thanks for that review! The pics are nothing less than excellent.

Post #7, Dec 09, 2005 02:35:56


:lol:

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Mitcon
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It's certainly an excellent bit of kit. I don't think I've seen a sharper image out of any zoom thats for certain. it's well out of my budget and to be honest and I'm not even certain I'd be able to use it, but dang it all I still find myself wanting and wishing for one lol.

Post #8, Dec 09, 2005 02:49:40


Cheers Wayne :D
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Feel free to visit my image galleries
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liquidstone
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burntbizzkit wrote:
I'm curious why more people don't own this lens as the price sits between the Canon 500 and Canon 600 primes. It seems like it has pretty good performance, and you might not need IS since this will always be on a tripod/monopod anyway. It will always be out of my budget :)

Hi Chris,

I guess the reason is - you really can't go wrong with the Canon Big Whites, as these have been extensively tested in the field and widely reported by wildlife pros. The Sigmonster OTOH, while excellently performing, is not so well known.

At its previous price point of circa USD 4500 (the older non-DG version), I think the Sigma is a better value than the 600 f4 L IS. But at USD 6200 for the DG version, one has to badly need the zooming flexibility and extreme reach without a TC to pick it over the Canon 600.

This is the case for me because our birds are smallish and shy due to hunting/trapping pressure. Most shots here are loooong shots.

Romy

Post #9, Dec 09, 2005 04:24:47 as a reply to chrishunt's post 11 hours earlier.


Romy Ocon, Philippine Wild Birdsexternal link
Over 260 species captured in habitat, and counting.

Looooong Lens Imaging (1000 mm and beyond)external link

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CyberDyneSystems
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The real value in the Big Sigma Tele's is getting a good used one.. This particular lens is an exception due to it's rarity,. but in general a used Sigma tele will not hold it's value as well as a canon will... If you can find a used Sigma 500mm ,. it should cost no more than about $2,500.00 for one in perfect condition. Not bad! :)

Great review Romy!

Post #10, Dec 11, 2005 00:06:53


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DocFrankenstein
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Test shot?

Come on! Show us your neighbours doing stuff! :lol:

You know you want to!

Post #11, Dec 11, 2005 00:15:22


National Sarcasm Society. Like we need your support.

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condyk
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DocFrankenstein wrote:
Test shot?

Come on! Show us your neighbours doing stuff! :lol:

You know you want to!

Yeah ... come on fella. Let's see some gardening or DIY shots :lol: :lol:

Post #12, Dec 11, 2005 03:55:07 as a reply to DocFrankenstein's post 3 hours earlier.


http://photography-on-the.net .../showthread.php?t=1​203740

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