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Sigma 70-200mm f/2.8 EX Vs. Canon 70-200mm f/2.8 IS L 1st im

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Thread started 01 Jan 2004 (Thursday) 16:30   
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CyberDyneSystems
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Sigma 70-200mm f/2.8 EX Vs. Canon 70-200mm f/2.8 IS L 1st impressions

This is by no means a scientific comparison,. It is more my personal impressions and observations.

*** EDIT*** Original tests were performed on a 10D. I have made a few edits to this review as I have become more familiar with the Canon lens.

1st,. let's look at the ergonomic and handling characteristics.

Understand that I have owned the Sigma for about 8 months compared to days with the Canon,. So I am used to the Sigma. I admit that this may ''color" my opinion.

Overall Build Quality: Tie
Both lenses give an equal impression of overall build quality being top notch.

Weight: Winner, Sigma.
The Canon is heavier @ 51.2ounces Vs the Sigmas 43 ounces. I find this amusing as Sigmas are often being referred to as heavy

The Canon definitely feels heavier!

Controls: Winner, Sigma.
The focus ring and the zoom ring on the Sigma are smoother and more tactile. The focus ring is much larger on the Sigma and the rubberized texture more pleasing to the fine touch. When I use the lens with Manual focus as a macro with rings, this is a help.

Personally I prefer the direction of the Sigmas clockwise rotation to increase zoom magnification to Canons counter clockwise. This is totally one persons opinion,. Leaving this an easy 50/50 as to who prefers what.. but to me there is some logic to turning the ring UP to INCREASE magnification.

The Canon has a more substantial Manual/Auto focus switch.

The focus gauge window on the Canon is taller, where as the Sigmas is wider. The print on the Canons is bolder larger type. Meters are white on black but feet are green on black making the feet unreadable. Sigma,. Both meters and feet are white on black,. But this creates confusion, as you don't instantly know which is which. I give equal ratings to the zoom mm increment marks, white on black for Sigma and Black on white for Canon. Both legible.

The Canon's Biggest Ergonomic "issue"!
The Focus limit switch, IS switch and manual Vs. AF switch are ALL too "proud" they stick out and essentially get bumped into the wrong position 100% of the time the lens is picked up. This is a common complain with this lens and I am no exception. (interestingly the OLDER 100-400mm IS does NOT suffer the same problem. Pity Canon changed these switches with the newer 70-200mm lens :( )

Accessories: Winner, Sigma.
The Sigmas lens collar can be removed from the lens while the lens is mounted to the body. The Canons cannot. I found this out while the Canon was mounted on my monopod,. I wanted to remove the camera quickly and went to open the collar it doesn't open. However,. The two collars seem about equal in strength,. And the Canons is marginally easier to rotate.

If you have not seen a Sigma EX lens hood,. Then you should. Compared to the flimsy items that Canon is selling the, Sigmas are made of far better materials. Not thin flimsy plastic,. But solid chunks of molded hard plastic that have a built in flat rough texture that will not reflect light as much as the shiny Canon hoods. Also the bayonet mount on the Sigmas seem much more solid.

Canons included nylon case seems a bit more spiffy, but I like the Sigmas hunter green over the Canons really weird 1960s moon launch silver??? Blech.

In use.

Note: that for this test both lenses were used hand held and the Canon's Image Stabilization was always ON

Viewfinder Image: Winner, Canon.
On my 10D, the image in the viewfinder seems brighter with the Canon.

Overall ergonomic impression: Winner, Sigma.
As a general side by side, many of the details above,. Zoom ring, focus ring and especially weight, the Sigma seems an easier lens to pick up and shoot with hand held. The Canon is a LOT heavier than I was expecting. It is nearly 8 ounces heavier than the Sigma.

Compare this to the “Monster†Sigma 50-500mm EX Zoom,. Which weighs in at 58 ounces,… which means it is only 6 ounces heavier than the Canon 70-200mm f/2.8 IS.

...Remember, the 50-500mm requires a trailer,... so at 51.2 ounces the Canon could benefit from a roof top cargo rack at the least!

Image Stabilization: Winner, Canon.
This is the first IS lens I have owned. I have had occasion to use a few others briefly,. But in most cases I was shooting from a tripod anyway. This is gives the Canon a clear, undisputed advantage over the Sigma. The question is how much is it worth. There are IS features built into cameras that cost one quarter the cost of the 70-200mm IS,. So I am not sure why it needs to come at such a premium. There is a $700.00 or so price difference between the two Canon versions of this lens. And yet the new IS version of the 300mm f/4 costs no more than the old non IS version did?

Image Stabilization is a boon indeed. As my image quality comparison is in fact only at the beginning stages,. I cannot yet offer my opinion on how much it affects the performance of the lens. But I can tell you it is amazing. I am sure there will be many conditions under which the IS will be a great advantage.

AutoFocus Speed: Canon! (for now)

From my initial use,. it seems to me that the IS function slows down the Canon from a cold start. But this does not change the fact that the Canon focuses faster. The Sigma with it's HSM is no slouch,. but the Canon wins hands down. IMHO the Canon is the fastest focusing Zoom I have ever used

Autofocus Accuracy: Stand Still Tie?
This really has surprised me. If there was anything I expected to be a lock it would be the Canon AF Accuracy. As it turns out, the Canon is no more perfect than the Sigma. Which in this case for both is excellent!

On The MkII Since writing this review I have attained the 1D MkII The differences become more significant with the focus tests on a MkII body. The 10D it seems does not have the "nards" to fully realize the potential of the Canon's focus speed and accuracy.

AutoFocus tracking: Canon, Canon, Canon
The Canon simply rules here. This lens is Canon's best Zoom lens at focus tracking. Period. On the MkII it is positively unreal. Keeping up with some of the best Primes, no mean feat for any Zoom.

Please Note: A few months back I reported some odd AF accuracy problems with the Sigma that seemed to crop up out of no where. Upon further investigation,. I realized that all issues disappeared when the UV filter I was using was removed. Since then no problems at all. For this reason both lenses I am using in the field with no filter (being VERY careful )


Image Quality: NO WINNER . Yet!
I have used the Canon far to little so far to say which I find has better image quality. What I can say at this point is that the two lenses are EXTREMELY close! In fact,. on the one side this is what I was expecting,.

...but in my heart of hearts I was hoping that the Canon would blow my mind in the same way that my first experience with a fast telephoto Prime lens did.

Well it did not. So the improvement, if any, is marginal at best. The Canon is sharper wide open. Here is the noticeable difference, but by f/4 they are too close to tell.

Below are four images taken the same day with both lenses. (although the sun was setting fast so the lighting does change)
For now I leave it up to you to decide which is taken with which lens.

Can you tell?


IMG NOTICE: [NOT AN IMAGE URL, NOT RENDERED INLINE]
http://images.fotopic.​net ...;noresize=1&nos​tamp=1

IMG NOTICE: [NOT AN IMAGE URL, NOT RENDERED INLINE]
http://images.fotopic.​net ...;noresize=1&nos​tamp=1

IMG NOTICE: [NOT AN IMAGE URL, NOT RENDERED INLINE]
http://images.fotopic.​net ...;noresize=1&nos​tamp=1

IMG NOTICE: [NOT AN IMAGE URL, NOT RENDERED INLINE]
http://images.fotopic.​net ...;noresize=1&nos​tamp=1



**Just adding some example images to check out:
From the EF;
IMG NOTICE: [NOT AN IMAGE URL, NOT RENDERED INLINE]
http://images.fotopic.​net ...p;outx=600&nore​size=1

IMG NOTICE: [NOT AN IMAGE URL, NOT RENDERED INLINE]
http://images.fotopic.​net ...p;outx=600&nore​size=1

And more;
http://newfoundland.fo​topic.net/p10870980.ht​mlexternal link
http://newfoundland.fo​topic.net/p10870981.ht​mlexternal link


Some performance samples
http://carmenpremier.f​otopic.net/p5023608.ht​mlexternal link
http://carmenpremier.f​otopic.net/p5023639.ht​mlexternal link
http://carmenpremier.f​otopic.net/p5023644.ht​mlexternal link
http://cyberdynesystem​simaging.fotopic.net/p​4638500.htmlexternal link
http://cyberdynesystem​simaging.fotopic.net/p​4402370.htmlexternal link

Post #1, Jan 01, 2004 16:30:29


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PaulB
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The direction of rotation of the various control rings is VERY important when you are swopping lenses - if you change from one zoom to another and the rings work in opposite ways then it does lead to missed photographs.
I know that this is something which may not be important to non-Pros but believe me when you are under pressure on a job it is.
This consistancy is one reason that most Pros buy lenses made by the camera manufacturer and stick with them - it matters even in these days of AF.

Post #2, Jan 01, 2004 16:44:07




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morenoar
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Ok, here is my guess of the lenses. And I have not used either one of them. The only Sigma lens I used was the 50-500 (and my pictures came out HORRIBEL)
1st one and 3rd one with the Sigma
2nd and 4th with Canon.

But I would LOVE to know if I am right or not. I need to get a GREAT lens for my soccer team pictures. If I can get away with the Sigma Version (cause I will use a tripod or Monopod) and 2x converter, then I can save my money for a Flash unit. Let me know if I was correct or not.

Post #3, Jan 01, 2004 16:53:10


Would LOVE to see the light one day. Help me achieve my goal.

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msnow
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the 4th one is very nice, I'm only going to guess on that one...Canon.

Post #4, Jan 01, 2004 16:59:41




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CyberDyneSystems
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Morenoar,

You'd be wrong. :D

I'm not going to say HOW wrong,. but wrong.... :)

I would like to leave this unanswered for a little longer so that more get a chance at it.

RE: the 4th Image.
Without saying which lens it is,.. I almost did not post that one. I should have posted a Disclaimer... so I will now

4th Image Disclaimer!!!
The advantage that 4th image had was due to the wonderfull lighting I got through a break in the clouds near sunset. It is sort of a "ringer" that image, as it gives a much more pleasing lighting than the others.

So,.. for you just looking the first time,. keep that in mind when you make your guesses. The lighting played a much larger factor on image quality here than did lens choice. (IMHO) You may notice that Morenoar chose the two images with the worst lighting and assumed they were from the Sigma. They are the less pleasing of the four. But it is the lighting that ,makes them that way.

Lastly,. I did not say that there were two of each.... :)

Post #5, Jan 01, 2004 17:22:15


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morenoar
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Hey, I am glad that I am WRONG
Now I know that the Sigma Lens takes GREAT PICS and I can then get it and ge the 2x and save money. Thanks

Post #6, Jan 01, 2004 17:25:01


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CyberDyneSystems
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morenoar wrote:
Hey, I am glad that I am WRONG
Now I know that the Sigma Lens takes GREAT PICS and I can then get it and ge the 2x and save money. Thanks

Morenoar,

You have E-mail :)

Post #7, Jan 01, 2004 17:27:36


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CyberDyneSystems
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PaulB wrote:
The direction of rotation of the various control rings is VERY important when you are swopping lenses - if you change from one zoom to another and the rings work in opposite ways then it does lead to missed photographs.
I know that this is something which may not be important to non-Pros but believe me when you are under pressure on a job it is.
This consistancy is one reason that most Pros buy lenses made by the camera manufacturer and stick with them - it matters even in these days of AF.

Paul, I couldn't agree more. It blows to switch direction on the zoom ring.. and as I say,. which direction an individual prefers I am sure is largely a matter of which you started with.. or whatever ends up influenceing your decision.

My first lenses turned "the canon way" but once my main lenses became the two Sigma's (70-200 & 50-500mm) I quickly adapted and preferred them. Going back to the 17-40mm Canon I allways get turned around. Now I have sold the 50-500mm all that remains is the 70-200mm.. to me all other lenses turn "the wrong way" :D

Fortunately,. no one messes with the focus ring. :) It allways truns the same direction. ( at least in all the lenses I have tried?)

Post #8, Jan 01, 2004 17:33:42


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morenoar
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yes I do.'

morenoar@earthlink.net


Thanks

Post #9, Jan 01, 2004 17:43:30


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Belmondo
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morenoar wrote:
yes I do.'

morenoar@earthlink.net


Thanks

I now pronounce you man and --------

Post #10, Jan 01, 2004 17:49:54


I'm not short. I'm concentrated awesome!

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CyberDyneSystems
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There he goes,. calling me a -------- again!!!!


//jeez Tom,. I'm glad I took the time out of my schedule to type up this nice detailed review for you :D :D I can see by your post it made a big impression ! ROFL! :)

Post #11, Jan 01, 2004 18:00:04


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morenoar
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Belmondo wrote

I now pronounce you man and --------


That would be SENSI and Student

Darth and Luke

He HE He

Post #12, Jan 01, 2004 18:00:26


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Canuck
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PaulB wrote:
The direction of rotation of the various control rings is VERY important when you are swopping lenses - if you change from one zoom to another and the rings work in opposite ways then it does lead to missed photographs.
I know that this is something which may not be important to non-Pros but believe me when you are under pressure on a job it is.
This consistancy is one reason that most Pros buy lenses made by the camera manufacturer and stick with them - it matters even in these days of AF.

CDS,
Thanks for the first look at the 2 lenses side by side, so to speak. I was wondering if you were ever gonna get that lens! :D I might add the 70-200 to bridge a gap in my current array of lenses, after some time. It is also possibly a lighterweight alternative to the 120-300 if I don't need it all the way out to 300. Please don't mistake me, I really like the 120-300! Only problem is that it weighs 5 3/4 pounds!

PaulB,
I really never paid too much attention, but having mentioned it, the Canon 16-35L and Sigma 120-300 EX zoom opposite directions. That really sux and I have problems with right/left and clockwise/anticlockwis​e. Something that is rather amusing here, is that I have no clue which direction I'm going in terms of north, south. east, and west of you asked me on the fly. If I was in the US, I'm usually not too far off. These roads turn a lot over here so it gets really confusing real quick. One thing I have foud is to listen for the click type sound and that means that you're at the end of the zoom range on either low, or high side. If you have a put/pull, listen for a similar noise. The Canon 75-200 FD lens I have is a push/pull type.

Post #13, Jan 01, 2004 18:06:56




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IanD
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CDS,
Great shots, all of them.
Are they straight up or did they pass through PS?
The only problem for me looking at them is they make me want to go out and shoot. Problem is that right now the thermometer is at -10C with a wind out of the west.
Supposed to snow tomorrow. I think I'm going to move into Toms house and live in his garage with Gitzo :)
Ian

Post #14, Jan 01, 2004 18:30:55


Ian (Duck Photographer)
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davege
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I'm going to say that #2 is the Sigma and the rest are the Canon. That's because I detect a small amount of blur in the pavement/background of #2. I'm assuming that the Canon IS stabilized the others.

Please tell me I'm wrong! =8>

Great review and a good use of this forum.

davege

Post #15, Jan 01, 2004 18:42:46




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Sigma 70-200mm f/2.8 EX Vs. Canon 70-200mm f/2.8 IS L 1st im
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