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Old 28th of June 2007 (Thu)   #1
TeamSpeed
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Default Mini-Review of Bigma 50-500 vs Dust Pump 100-400

Disclaimor: Nicknames are just those seen on other threads, purely used as affectionate terms of endearment, nothing else.

EDIT: LightRules did a similiar lens comparison and can be found here: http://photography-on-the.net/forum/...t=review+bigma
This way you have a couple different posts to read to make up your minds between these two lenses!


Synopsis:
I had a Bigma I have been using, and thought with the current deals out there on the 100-400, I would try it out as well. I am currently evaluating how I like the IS vs the shorter range of the Canon lens. The Bigma is very nice, and works well with a Kenko 1.4x TC, however, just lens to lens, it made sense to do a quick comparison.

Hopefully you find some of this useful, I have never done a lens comparison before for all to see, so I hope I kept everything as equal as possible.

Initial Thoughts:
- Both come with good factory accessories, padded case, tripod ring, and hood

- Bigma has a larger pistol grip, much nicer in my opinion for lugging it around

- Bigma weighs a bit more, but also with a larger tripod ring/grip, that might have a little to do with the weight

- Canon is shorter by a small bit at both ends of the zoom compared to the Sigma

- Both are very sharp, Canon seems to have a very minor edge on contrast, color looks good on both

- Canon focuses a bit faster, both are very quiet, and very sharp, looks like I got a great copy of the Bigma

- Canon has a focus range limiter, Bigma does not, so it will traverse the entire range if it cannot achieve lock

- On the Canon, wIth the pump action, if you have the ring set too loose, the lens will slam open or shut if you are not careful about the angle you hold the lense. Not too much loose travel in the Bigma. The friction setting ring also seems a bit awkward being piggybacked onto the focus ring, but I guess you get used to it.

- Sigma is a screw/twist focus, the Canon is a push/pull, but seems to work very well, and I would think sideline shooting of sporting events, this push/pull would actually be nicer. However, to lock the canon, you have to twist the friction ring, on the Bigma, you just flick a switch, quite a bit nicer.

- Price of the Bigma is about 2/3 that of the Canon 100-400

Camera/Photo Settings:
I shot small jpg on all shots, just to eliminate any Raw->Jpg post processing differences. Manual mode was used, 1/1500 shutter, ISO of 400. Eliminated the need for IS, but I was not concerned at this point about how well IS worked. I left it off to keep a good comparison, but at this speed, IS or not, wouldn't really matter. Later tests will be with lower ISOs, so that shake is introduced, but we all know what that outcome will be.

The only post processing steps were: 1) Auto-level and 2) USM of (200%, .4, 0) and applied on all shots.

Initial Conclusions:

They are both built very well, focus quickly, and if you have a sharp copy of the Bigma, they seem very comparable in IQ. I like the smaller and lighter 100-400, but like the versatility and longer reach of the Bigma. I am still not sure which is the keeper at this point, I will need more time with each. As I shoot daylight events with the Bigma about 90-95% of the time, it makes the decision even harder. If I was shooting during dawn or dusk, the IS would be very handy, but becomes a little less handy as the day gets brighter, where shutter speeds can be very high. I really believe that both lenses seem to be very equal, given range, price, and IQ of the two, with just a nice kiss to the Canon for IS and slightly smaller footprint.


Sample Shots:
Full sized shots can be seen on my gallery, the caption states what it was, and photo info will give you further EXIF data. Small thumbnails are below.

http://snapintime.smugmug.com/gallery/3073318#167589878

Lens Package contents and size comparisons:




Test subject at 55mm using my 17-55, to show 1x the subject matter (address stone)
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Last edited by TeamSpeed : 2nd of July 2007 (Mon) at 10:14.
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Old 28th of June 2007 (Thu)   #2
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Default Re: Mini-Review of Bigma 50-500 vs Dust Pump 100-400

All Canon shots, from 100 to 400mm, 100mm increments



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Last edited by TeamSpeed : 28th of June 2007 (Thu) at 18:21.
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Old 28th of June 2007 (Thu)   #3
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Default Re: Mini-Review of Bigma 50-500 vs Dust Pump 100-400

All Sigma shots, from 50mm, then 100mm to 500mm, 100mm increments





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Old 28th of June 2007 (Thu)   #4
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Default Re: Mini-Review of Bigma 50-500 vs Dust Pump 100-400

Both look very nice, much shaper than I'd thought a lens would be that covers so much distance. My only real problem with them is that the canon's case looks like a woman's hand bag of some sort.
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Old 28th of June 2007 (Thu)   #5
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Default Re: Mini-Review of Bigma 50-500 vs Dust Pump 100-400

So, get a Lowepro lens case. Cheap, and nice. I've never once used a Canon case.
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Old 28th of June 2007 (Thu)   #6
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Default Re: Mini-Review of Bigma 50-500 vs Dust Pump 100-400

I have both of those PLUS the Sigma 80-400 OS and still can't decide which to sell, all 3 deliver very sharp images and the OS although marginally slower than the IS is just as good. Many think the 100-400 L is better than the 80-400 but in my tests it's way to close to call. AF speed goes to the Canon, but again marginally on a 1 series body, a bit more noticable on my 20D.
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Old 28th of June 2007 (Thu)   #7
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Default Re: Mini-Review of Bigma 50-500 vs Dust Pump 100-400

Just run out the door to shoot something, and see which one you grab first. Sell the others.
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Old 28th of June 2007 (Thu)   #8
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Default Re: Mini-Review of Bigma 50-500 vs Dust Pump 100-400

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ronald S. Jr. View Post
Just run out the door to shoot something, and see which one you grab first. Sell the others.
Interesting, I may have to try that. Currently it would be the Bigma, but I need more time with the Canon to be fair, then I will see what I reach for first. They really are very close, when you compare range vs price vs IS, then IQ between the two. The similiarities are such that if you are an L fan, there is not enough to cause you to switch to the Sigma, and if you go for dollar value and believe that other 3rd party lenses provide that value, you would stay with the Sigma.
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Old 28th of June 2007 (Thu)   #9
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Default Re: Mini-Review of Bigma 50-500 vs Dust Pump 100-400

The 500mm of the bigma is tempting, but the sharpness and overall IQ of my 400L keeps me staying with the L. In real world shooting, though, I've found that 500mm doesn't seem like a whole lot more than 400mm. Not enough to sacrifice IQ for, for sure.

As for the "grab then sell" method, I've done that many times. If a lens accumulates enough dust on the lens cap to write my name in (if there were that much room), I sell it.
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Old 28th of June 2007 (Thu)   #10
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Default Re: Mini-Review of Bigma 50-500 vs Dust Pump 100-400

Don't forget about the 50mm other end. That makes a huge difference when shooting sports on the sidelines, when Marvin Harrison is about 10 ft from you catching a football, and 100mm would be too much reach. Also, if you want to see the Colts playbook, 500mm comes in very handy. This shot, however is from the older 170-500mm, not the greatest IQ, the Bigma beats it handily, at least in the copies I had. In two months, I will be at the training camp again, and this time, it will be the battle between the Bigma and the 100-400. After training camp, I will know which is the keeper.
Attached Images
File Type: jpg _MG_7014a.jpg (84.2 KB, 1600 views)
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Old 28th of June 2007 (Thu)   #11
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Default Re: Mini-Review of Bigma 50-500 vs Dust Pump 100-400

Put a wireless transmitter on your camera, and get a laptop for the other team's coach to receive images. I bet they'd pay you a mint!
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Old 28th of June 2007 (Thu)   #12
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Default Re: Mini-Review of Bigma 50-500 vs Dust Pump 100-400

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ronald S. Jr. View Post
Put a wireless transmitter on your camera, and get a laptop for the other team's coach to receive images. I bet they'd pay you a mint!
LOL, I have gotten many comments about some of the playbook pics I have. Funny, out of the pics I took, I only consider about 5 or so that were any good last year. I need to work on my technique and composition this year.

This was one of my favs, taken at 170mm of the old Sigma I had. Had to sit in the stands just to get far enough back. This year, the 50mm range on the Bigma will come in handy. Go Marvin!

When camp is closer, I will have to open up a thread and see how many POTNers can show up in Terre Haute at Rose Hulman, my alma mater. There are no fences or anything really stopping you from getting in close to the action, other than the hundreds of other fans that are there to watch.
Attached Images
File Type: jpg _MG_7004a.jpg (86.2 KB, 1588 views)
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Last edited by TeamSpeed : 28th of June 2007 (Thu) at 20:13.
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Old 28th of June 2007 (Thu)   #13
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Default Re: Mini-Review of Bigma 50-500 vs Dust Pump 100-400

the range on that bigma looks great
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Old 2nd of July 2007 (Mon)   #14
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Default Re: Mini-Review of Bigma 50-500 vs Dust Pump 100-400

Here are two sample shots of wildlife, the rabbit was with the bigma and the robin with the 100-400. These pics were heavily compressed, the robin at 50% and the bunny at 40%. Both are very sharp, I am really appreciating the Bigma currently. Larger pics available on the smugmug album for this review.

Robin: http://snapintime.smugmug.com/galler...168955467-L-LB
Bunny Wabbit: http://snapintime.smugmug.com/galler...168955533-L-LB
Attached Images
File Type: jpg IMG_9025.jpg (97.3 KB, 1495 views)
File Type: jpg IMG_8998.jpg (89.4 KB, 1485 views)
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Old 3rd of July 2007 (Tue)   #15
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Default Re: Mini-Review of Bigma 50-500 vs Dust Pump 100-400

I compared the 50-500 and 100-400 about six or seven years ago and could not find much difference in image quality then. If either had any advantage it was the Bigma at 400 mm, but the difference was too little to matter.

To me the choice was between whether I needed the 50-500 zoom range or the image stabilization more. I ususally use a telephoto lens on a tripod so I chose the zoom range. The have been a few times when I had to shoot hand held in low light when I was sorry I did not have the image stabilization, but there have been many more times when I was shooting at 500 and glad I had at least that much length.

I am going on another trip to Africa in September and have just ordered the Canon 70-300 IS DO for the times when I won't be able to shoot hand held. On my 20D it will be like having a 112-480 image stabilized lens on my film camera so it should fill much the same use that the 50-500 did when I shot film. I will still have the 50-500 for those longer shots of birds.
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