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Mini-Review of the Sigma 150-500 vs Canon 100-400L

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Thread started 11 Jul 2008 (Friday) 19:17   
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TeamSpeed
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History:
I had a Bigma that was very sharp in the past, then I picked up a 100-400L pretty cheap, so I did a mini-review back then of the Dust Pump against the Bigma. I found both to be very good IQ wise, and the slight nod went to the Canon due to weight, IS, and the ease of adding TCs and manually focusing over the Bigma. I decided to pick up this latest Sigma lens, since it has OS, and I was very optimistic that I would find it to be comparable to the Canon and my old Bigma.

Shooting Conditions:
Nice sunny day so that I would not have any issues with AF, and all hand-held at ISO 800. I sat on my porch chair and did these shots pretty quickly to get them all in the same exposure conditions. I shot large JPG for all shots, on a 1DMKIII. I ran a quick micro adjustment on the Sigma, I have had a much longer time period over the past months to tweak the 100-400 to the MKIII, so that may be a factor as well to some extent here on some of the discrepancies between the lenses. I took the filter off the Canon, so that it would not be a factor in this. Also, I didn't quite hit the correct zoom factor on the Sigma, as all I could do is get close to the markings on the barrel.

Post Processing:
I have an action that I ran for each and every shot, so the post processing was the same for each. I do an auto-level, USM contrast step, overlay layer with high pass at around the 1.0 mark, then merge. No saturation steps or USM sharpening steps.

Personal Conclusions:
The Sigma is longer than the Canon by quite a bit, and won't fit in my bag if I keep it. The OS seems to be much better than the IS on the Canon, BUT only when it is not doing a strange little twitch from time to time, it was really bugging me. I could see it jerk from time to time, other times it was so locked in, it was uncanny. I think they have a little work yet on this version of OS. The color rendition is different than the Canon. It cannot utilize the 77mm filters either, like the Canon and so many of the other lenses, both Canon and Sigma.

The Canon seems to resolve more detail though at different points, at least with my copies. It could be that I have a very sharp 100-400 and a softer Sigma, it is hard to tell with such a new lens. It could be something to do with the contrast difference between the two lenses as well. The Canon is still lighter and smaller overall, but I really did like the zoom ring on the Sigma versus the push/pull/friction locking ring on the Canon. The Canon is easier to manually focus as well, but with age, I am sure like all other Sigma lenses, the focus ring will become much looser/smoother.

Overall, it seems to be a really good lens at its price point and its range, but I think Sigma needs to address the OS behavior, and it is still a very long lens, it reminds me a bit of the older 170-500mm lens. If I didn't have the Canon, I would seriously consider this lens as my defacto telephoto lens. I will play a bit more with both lenses, and one of the two will then go up for sale.

Post #1, Jul 11, 2008 19:17:51


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TeamSpeed
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Here is the Canon at 100mm and the Sigma at 150mm, very similar in IQ at the low ends of each lens in my opinion.

Canon Full Size JPGexternal link Versus Sigma Full Size JPGexternal link

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Post #2, Jul 11, 2008 19:20:21


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TeamSpeed
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Here is the Canon at 200mm and the Sigma at 200mm, I can see a color difference at this point.

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Post #3, Jul 11, 2008 19:22:40


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TeamSpeed
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Here is the Canon at 300mm (wide open f/5.6) and the Sigma (wide open f6.3) at 300mm, I can see the color difference still, and the Canon is somehow starting to resolve some of the brick/stone pores better than the Sigma.

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Post #4, Jul 11, 2008 19:25:00


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TeamSpeed
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Here is the Canon at 400mm (stopped to f6.3) and the Sigma at 400mm (wide open at f6.3), the Canon is still showing more details strangely enough.

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Post #5, Jul 11, 2008 19:26:14


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TeamSpeed
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Here is the Sigma at 500mm... I think this is the strong end of the lens, better than throughout the rest of the zoom range.

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Post #6, Jul 11, 2008 19:27:48


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TeamSpeed
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Now I decided to add a Kenko Super DG 2x to both lenses. The 100-400 has been a proven performer with this TC, so I thought I would try it out on both. I tape the pins on the TC, and both lenses worked with the MKIII AF.

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Post #7, Jul 11, 2008 19:30:32


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TeamSpeed
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Now I tried to stack the Kenko 2x and 1.4x on both lenses. For both, on the MKIII, there is now not enough light for the AF engine, so I have to manually focus. As you see, I am able to manually focus the Canon pretty well, but is harder on the Sigma. Most likely it is the fact that the lens is so new that the manual zoom ring is very stiff and I had a hard time holding the lens (much like the Bigma when I did the same tests) and manually focusing.

I have a pretty good 100-400 moon shot with manual focusing with the TC stacked, I will try to repeat this test with both lenses at a later date.

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Post #8, Jul 11, 2008 19:33:40


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TeamSpeed
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Here is the Sigma at the 500mm end with the 2x, then with the 2.8x stacked combo. Again, it is hard to manually focus with the stack.

Sigma 2x 500mm Full Size JPGexternal link Versus Sigma 2.8x 500mm Full Size JPGexternal link

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Post #9, Jul 11, 2008 19:37:05


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_aravena
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No pics on the last post but...oh, you just posted it.

Anywho, great taste. It makes me lean more towards the Canon a bit despite the extra 100 zoom, which as typically stated on the long end can seem like little. All depends on what you're shooting though.

Still, money wise it makes ya think but the 100-400 used ain't too shabby. Keep them coming!

Post #10, Jul 11, 2008 19:42:17


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brecklundin
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TS:

Thanks for the great side by side of these lenses. It makes me glad I am getting the 150-500.

Correct me if I am wrong but, to my eye, there is slightly less detail on the Sigma. Is this though the result of a tad less contrast? To me it looks as if with just a small amount of contrast and maybe black levels the images might end up being very close. But being so new to this I have no real clue so I though I would ask.

Overall I like what I am seeing from your pics...thanks again!

Post #11, Jul 11, 2008 20:58:25


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Tee ­ Why
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Thanks for the comparison. Look like the pumper has more resolution and better colors to me.

Post #12, Jul 11, 2008 21:02:32


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good stuff. thanks a lot!

Post #13, Jul 11, 2008 21:03:51 as a reply to Tee Why's post 1 minute earlier.


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Tony-S
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Team,

It looks like there's a slight difference in the exposures of the images, with the Canon a bit darker than the Sigma. Do you think that might account for the differences in detail?

Post #14, Jul 11, 2008 21:17:14


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hudge
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Tony-S wrote in post #5895194external link
Team,

It looks like there's a slight difference in the exposures of the images, with the Canon a bit darker than the Sigma. Do you think that might account for the differences in detail?

Yeah, with many of the head-to-head shots the exposure is not the same for each lens.

Post #15, Jul 11, 2008 21:36:23


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Mini-Review of the Sigma 150-500 vs Canon 100-400L
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