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Old 11th of July 2008 (Fri)   #1
TeamSpeed
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Default Mini-Review of the Sigma 150-500 vs Canon 100-400L

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.
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Last edited by TeamSpeed : 11th of July 2008 (Fri) at 20:00.
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Old 11th of July 2008 (Fri)   #2
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Default Re: Mini-Review of the Sigma 150-500 vs Canon 100-400L

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 JPG Versus Sigma Full Size JPG
Attached Images
File Type: jpg canon_1x_100_potn.jpg (131.3 KB, 4230 views)
File Type: jpg sigma_1x_150_potn.jpg (133.3 KB, 4189 views)
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Old 11th of July 2008 (Fri)   #3
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Default Re: Mini-Review of the Sigma 150-500 vs Canon 100-400L

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

Canon Full Size JPG Versus Sigma Full Size JPG
Attached Images
File Type: jpg canon_1x_200_potn.jpg (124.1 KB, 4144 views)
File Type: jpg sigma_1x_200_potn.jpg (129.2 KB, 4152 views)
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Old 11th of July 2008 (Fri)   #4
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Default Re: Mini-Review of the Sigma 150-500 vs Canon 100-400L

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.

Canon Full Size JPG Versus Sigma Full Size JPG
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File Type: jpg canon_1x_300_potn.jpg (108.2 KB, 4133 views)
File Type: jpg sigma_1x_300_potn.jpg (113.6 KB, 4110 views)
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Last edited by TeamSpeed : 12th of July 2008 (Sat) at 08:01.
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Old 11th of July 2008 (Fri)   #5
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Default Re: Mini-Review of the Sigma 150-500 vs Canon 100-400L

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.

Canon Full Size JPG Versus Sigma Full Size JPG
Attached Images
File Type: jpg canon_1x_400_potn.jpg (115.8 KB, 4151 views)
File Type: jpg sigma_1x_400_potn.jpg (135.4 KB, 4135 views)
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Last edited by TeamSpeed : 12th of July 2008 (Sat) at 08:01.
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Old 11th of July 2008 (Fri)   #6
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Default Re: Mini-Review of the Sigma 150-500 vs Canon 100-400L

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.

Sigma Full Size JPG
Attached Images
File Type: jpg sigma_1x_500_potn.jpg (135.6 KB, 4144 views)
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Old 11th of July 2008 (Fri)   #7
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Default Re: Mini-Review of the Sigma 150-500 vs Canon 100-400L

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.

Canon Full Size JPG Versus Sigma Full Size JPG
Attached Images
File Type: jpg canon_2x_400_potn.jpg (117.7 KB, 4070 views)
File Type: jpg sigma_2x_400_potn.jpg (105.9 KB, 4060 views)
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Old 11th of July 2008 (Fri)   #8
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Default Re: Mini-Review of the Sigma 150-500 vs Canon 100-400L

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.

Canon Full Size JPG Versus Sigma Full Size JPG
Attached Images
File Type: jpg canon_28x_400_potn.jpg (123.1 KB, 4037 views)
File Type: jpg sigma_28x_500_potn.jpg (111.6 KB, 4022 views)
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Old 11th of July 2008 (Fri)   #9
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Default Re: Mini-Review of the Sigma 150-500 vs Canon 100-400L

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 JPG Versus Sigma 2.8x 500mm Full Size JPG
Attached Images
File Type: jpg sigma_2x_500_potn.jpg (118.9 KB, 4020 views)
File Type: jpg sigma_28x_500_potn.jpg (111.6 KB, 3985 views)
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Old 11th of July 2008 (Fri)   #10
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Default Re: Mini-Review of the Sigma 150-500 vs Canon 100-400L

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!
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Old 11th of July 2008 (Fri)   #11
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Default Re: Mini-Review of the Sigma 150-500 vs Canon 100-400L

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!
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Old 11th of July 2008 (Fri)   #12
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Default Re: Mini-Review of the Sigma 150-500 vs Canon 100-400L

Thanks for the comparison. Look like the pumper has more resolution and better colors to me.
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Old 11th of July 2008 (Fri)   #13
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Default Re: Mini-Review of the Sigma 150-500 vs Canon 100-400L

good stuff. thanks a lot!
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Old 11th of July 2008 (Fri)   #14
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Default Re: Mini-Review of the Sigma 150-500 vs Canon 100-400L

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?
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Old 11th of July 2008 (Fri)   #15
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Default Re: Mini-Review of the Sigma 150-500 vs Canon 100-400L

Quote:
Originally Posted by Tony-S View Post
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.
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