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Old 22nd of January 2004 (Thu)   #1
J.A.F. Doorhof
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Default Sigma 80-400 OS Minireview and example shots.

Couldn't wait for the delivery/review, but today is the day the Sigma 80-400 OS lens will arrive here for me to play with, I have taken the afternoon off (easy as an own boss ;D) so keep posted for a minireview, if it's here before dark.

Greetings,
Frank
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Old 22nd of January 2004 (Thu)   #2
J.A.F. Doorhof
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It's here, my precious ;D.

If first impressions say anything it's WOW, this lens is big.
It's much thicker than my previous 134-400 Sigma, and a beautiful made appearance.

There are 2 settings (well actualy 3).
OFF (duh)
1, after a second or so the OS kicks in and gives a truely stable picture.
2, Vertical movement is eliminated, good for panning.

I will go out in about an hour to do some more testing outside, but the first impression is very positive.

Only drawback is the focus, this can take some time compared to my 28-75 f2.8 but on the other hand it's offcourse a much bigger reach lens.

When focussing however it goes really fast, it only hunts from close to far away.

The package is very complete again with a Hood and carrying case + straps.

Keep reading for some test shots in about 2-3 hours.

Greetings,
Frank
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Old 22nd of January 2004 (Thu)   #3
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Well ok, the weather here is VERY VERY bad, no sunlight and big grey clouds, but I don't care ;D it's better to really test those low shutterspeeds I guess.

So don't judge from quality standing, the lens can do MUCH better in better weather.

The first shot is done out of the hand with a 1.4 Sigma EX convertor:


specs:
Iso 200
f 8
Exp. 1/60 sec
Focal length 896

Pretty useless.


specs:
Iso 200
f 8
Exp. 1/50 sec
Focal length 896

much better but still not as I would use


specs:
Iso 800
Exp 1/200s
f8
Focal length 896mm

This is more like it ;D.

The object was really far away, combined with the rain and bad light I think this is really impressive, I would not dream to shoot my old 400mm lens WITHOUT 1.4x convertor under 1/600sec and with convertor not even under 1/800 and even then the picture would be blurry because on 400mm the 135-400 was allready soft.

One thing however, even with the 1.4x convertor I loose autofocus and lowest apperture becomes f8. That's a shame, but the lens focusses really nice and fine, so it's not really a problem, when I shoot with the 1.4 convertor autofocus is not that important anyway and manual is easy to do.

Overall I'm at the moment VERY impressed with the OS system, I tried the Canon once and was also impressed but it seems the OS from Sigma is a bit more solid but there has been some time passed on that test.

I can't wait to go out and shoot in some normal weather.

I made some standard shots and the colors look very good, so does contrast and sharpness, but I can really judge that on a normal day.

Keep you posted.

Greetings,
Frank
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Old 22nd of January 2004 (Thu)   #4
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Frank,

Looking forward to some pics without the 1.4X
...see what that OS can do with a bit more light...

For AF speed,. compare it with the OS on and then with the OS OFF,.. with the Canon lenses,. I find that "IS" slows intital autifocus,. as it has to wait for the "IS" to spin up...

I have to say,. I would consider this lens over the Canon 100-400mm jst for the Zoom ring (as opposed to push pull) I know I'll get flamed for that statement (soory Jim! ) but I really couldn't bare the push pull

Keep us updated
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Old 23rd of January 2004 (Fri)   #5
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Bad weather again, but here is an example of the 80mm setting.
Indoors, no flash and a realy difficult situation a Cat in a rather dark living room in front of the window.
Only the eyes have been a little enhanced in PS.



Overall I'm VERY happy with the lens, the OS is really amazing and very effective, I can shoot under 1/100 on 400mm and still get reasonable good shots, when I go to 1/200 on 400 they are really good, with my previous lens and with OS of you can really forget this.

The Focusspeed is very slow, that's true, but to be honest it's still fast enough for anything I do, on continues focus it can easily track birds and soccer players so that's no problem.

The manual focus is really amazing precise and quick.

The sound of the lens is maybe a problem for some wildlife shooters, but I think the 400mm reach will give you enough space between your subject, it's not a really noisy lens but it's a bit noisier than for example my 70-210 f2.8 APO from Sigma.

Overall I'm glad I choose the Sigma over the 100-400L from Canon.
I shoot ALOT on 400mm wide open and the quality is outstanding optical, even when stopped down two stops there is hardly any difference in sharpness, so my uneducated quess is the optical quality is good.

I can whole heartedly advice anyone the 80-400 OS.

Greetings,
Frank
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Old 23rd of January 2004 (Fri)   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CyberDyneSystems
Frank,

Looking forward to some pics without the 1.4X
...see what that OS can do with a bit more light...

For AF speed,. compare it with the OS on and then with the OS OFF,.. with the Canon lenses,. I find that "IS" slows intital autifocus,. as it has to wait for the "IS" to spin up...

I have to say,. I would consider this lens over the Canon 100-400mm jst for the Zoom ring (as opposed to push pull) I know I'll get flamed for that statement (soory Jim! ) but I really couldn't bare the push pull

Keep us updated
CDS, I'm with you on the zoom ring.

Frank,
Thanks for the review. Keep the samples coming. I am very interested in this lens. BTW, where did you buy it?
Chris
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Old 23rd of January 2004 (Fri)   #7
CyberDyneSystems
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I am completely baffled as to why Sigma did not use an HSM focus motor for this lens?

I remember when this was first preveiwed in a press release it did say it would have HSM,. then later (still before any were released) the print material all omited any mention of HSM,.

But from your description of the focus speed and noise,. (especially as compared to your much older 70-210mm) combined with the fact that Sigma still does not list it as HSM,. we must assume it has there standard focus motor.

Was it an incompatibility with the OS system?

Weird.
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Old 24th of January 2004 (Sat)   #8
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To be honest that also puzzles me, on the other hand, who gives.....
The OS kicks in in about the same time the focus is achieved, sometimes even a bit later (under 1 second by the way).

The only time I really find it annyoing is when I have to travel the whole range, when you switch from something far away to something a bit less far away it's fast enough.

HSM would make it a perfect lens.

The only thing that also puzzles me is why the 1.4x extender looses autofocus ?
Does any one know if that's normal ?
And I read there was a workarround with blanking a pin
There is MORE than enough light coming through the viewfinder.

One nice side effect.
The lens is very thick, and the 10D really looks like a small camera now , it carries very easy on those Zoo tours, just grab onto the lens.

Greetings,
Frank
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Old 24th of January 2004 (Sat)   #9
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JAF:
I think AF loss is perfectly normal, as you are loosing 1 stop with the converter, and AF is lost for lenses darker than f/5.6, and the 4.5-5.6 becomes a f/7.1-8.0 with the teleconverter. You must tape a contact in the teleconverter (but I don't know which one) to regain AF, but probably not a very reliable one.
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Old 24th of January 2004 (Sat)   #10
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Ah, I thought I lost AF with f8 or f11.
Sorry.

Greetings,
Frank
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Old 24th of January 2004 (Sat)   #11
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AFAIK, only the top models keeps AF at f/8 (the ones using the 45 point AF system), at only in selected AF points (or only central one, I don't remember). That includes the EOS 1v,1D,1Ds and 3 cameras only (at least in current models)
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Old 24th of January 2004 (Sat)   #12
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Found it.
http://www.fredmiranda.com/TipsPage/

Will try this in the summer, in these light conditions I think I'm better of with manual focus.

Greetings,
Frank
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Old 24th of January 2004 (Sat)   #13
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Couldn't wait so I tested it tonight, in house (very very low light), I expected to get an error 99 straight away but to my surprise it works right away, the focus is just as fast as normal, or at least I could not detect a difference.

Are there any bad things about this mod ?
Like not working appertures or something else ?

Greetings,
Frank
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Old 24th of January 2004 (Sat)   #14
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As the camera meters through the lens,. it does not matter to the camera that the lens can no longer report the proer aperture,. the camera will still expose correctly...

The downside is,. it is hit or miss how well this trick will work,. both from one type of lens to the next,. as well as from one copy to another.

It lucks like you have indeed been lucky!!!!

I have had luck with some lenses as well,. but the lens I was both really hoping it would work well with,. and by all logical deduction SHOULD have worked well with this trick,...


It so happens that my 500mm f/4.5 Prime DOES NOT like the tape trck

It is only f/4.5... many f/5.6 will work no problem,.. so the f/4.5 being sooooo close to an f/4 which will ALLWAYS work with a 1.4X....

Oh well,. it does "sort of " work,. but it has problems sometimes as well.. regardless of available light.
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Old 25th of January 2004 (Sun)   #15
J.A.F. Doorhof
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Tried some more last night.
It hunts on the low light in the kitchen (but only on 400) but that also happens without the convertor, so that's no problem, as soon as I hower aim at a kitchen device it's in focus (rather normal I would say).

One thing I did notice last week when I got the 1.4x convertor was that my 70-210f2.8 keeps saying it's a f2.8 so I think that lens also has no communication with the camera.

The main reason I asked because I read somewhere that the 10D has two focus methods, one being for good conditions and that one is very accurate, and one less acurate for bad conditions, when using the tape trick this could fool the camera into thinking it's always bad.
This is no issue on the 80-400 because I'm glad I HAVE autofocus back, but could be an issue on the 70-210f2.8.

So anyone heard about that one ?

Greetings,
Frank
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