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FORUMS Canon Cameras, Lenses & Accessories Canon EF and EF-S Lenses 
Thread started 13 Feb 2011 (Sunday) 07:27
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Battle of Super-Teles: 400L vs Bigmos @ 400mm

 
Alex_Venom
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Feb 13, 2011 07:27 |  #1

This is a totally unscientific test I performed today. Keep that in mind.
If you have any suggestions to make this test better/more trustworthy, just tell me and I'll try to do it.

Keep in mind also that results like these are VERY subjective, so, where I see a big difference, some people will see none, and the other way around. Just let's remember this is NOT a place to argue, so please, be polite. If you don't trust/don't like the results, you're welcome to complain but let's keep a friendly discussion, OK?

Converted using DPP, default settings (the same) for every picture, with only +3 sharpness added straight out of the camera. No other corrections done. Converted to JPEG at the highest quality and resided to 1024 by DPP. I'd expect some quality loss from Flickr, but that would apply to all the pictures, so...

Basic setup:
400 L 5.6 prime - 3 shots: f/5.6 (wide open), f/6.3 and f/8.0
Sigma 150-500mm @ 400mm - 2 shots: f/6.3 (wide open) and f/8.0 (sweet spot of my copy)
Canon 7D, M mode, 10s timer, 10x Live View. Each photo shown is the best of 5 taken.
Very steady tripod. No winds.

Subject is the roof of a church, with some screws and cables showing. It is around 50 meters away.
Cloudy day at 11 AM. Light is not exactly the best, but is pretty OK.

So, let's go to some pictures.
First set: 400L @ 5.6, 6.3 and 8.0 respectively:

IMAGE: http://farm6.static.flickr.com/5051/5440997341_7d3a7fd0f8_b.jpg

IMAGE: http://farm5.static.flickr.com/4142/5441602504_ebe66f97f8_b.jpg

IMAGE: http://farm6.static.flickr.com/5291/5441602824_10db76102a_b.jpg

Second set.
Sigma 150-500 @ 400mm, f/6.3 and f/8.0 respectively. OS off.

IMAGE: http://farm5.static.flickr.com/4101/5440998373_cc6fcc580f_b.jpg

IMAGE: http://farm5.static.flickr.com/4154/5441603588_983f4469db_b.jpg


(100% crops on next post due to the limitation of quantity of images)

My conclusions:

The Canon is sharper wide open but very, very slightly sharper only @ f/8.0.
The OS on the Sigma IMHO compensates for the sharpness difference, not to speak about the versatility of the zoom.
On the edges of the frame, the Canon is noticeably sharper at any given aperture.
AF on the Canon SMOKES the Sigma. No comparison at all.
Canon is lighter (way more), and can be used @ f/5.6 with optimal results. It has a more solid barrel as well and "feels" more solid and robust.

So, basically:

If I'd need:
- VERY fast and accurate AF (tough not tested here, since it was MF)
- Lighter, smaller lens
- f/5.6 with great sharpness

I'd get the Canon.
On the other hand, if I'd need:
- Optical stabilization
- Can sacrifice 1 stop of light for it
- Don't care about the weight
- Versatility of a zoom

I'd get the Sigma.
Anyways I got both.. :D

Now, your opinions?

Photography is about GEAR and not talent or practice. Practice won't make you a better photographer. Expensive equipment will. =D
"Nobody can buy a scalpel and become a doctor, but anyone can buy a camera and become a photographer."

  
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Alex_Venom
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Feb 13, 2011 07:29 |  #2

Now, some 100% crops.
First set.
Canon @ 5.6, 6.3 and 8.0:

IMAGE: http://farm6.static.flickr.com/5212/5441603674_6bd733c4aa_b.jpg

IMAGE: http://farm6.static.flickr.com/5258/5440998825_95dd0ef4ff_b.jpg

IMAGE: http://farm6.static.flickr.com/5015/5441603846_e368a595aa_b.jpg


Sigma @ f/6.3 and f/8.0:

IMAGE: http://farm6.static.flickr.com/5054/5440999001_7c020776fa_b.jpg

IMAGE: http://farm6.static.flickr.com/5259/5441603998_dd9f818e51_b.jpg

Photography is about GEAR and not talent or practice. Practice won't make you a better photographer. Expensive equipment will. =D
"Nobody can buy a scalpel and become a doctor, but anyone can buy a camera and become a photographer."

  
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weeatmice
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Feb 13, 2011 07:34 |  #3

The only thing I'd suggest is using smaller images so that you can put them side by side for similar apertures.


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Alex_Venom
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Feb 13, 2011 07:36 |  #4

If you're using Firefox, Mozilla or any other tab-based browser, you can open the images on different tabs (right click it and choose Open in a new Tab) and navigate trough them using the keyboard. I find this way more practical to see differences while still having big sized images ;)


Photography is about GEAR and not talent or practice. Practice won't make you a better photographer. Expensive equipment will. =D
"Nobody can buy a scalpel and become a doctor, but anyone can buy a camera and become a photographer."

  
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nightcat
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Feb 13, 2011 07:41 |  #5

Nice test. I have the 400mm 5.6 and I am impressed with the Sigma. The results are close and the difference is very very minimal. If someone needs the versatility of a zoom, your test should assure them the Sigma is a great buy. For me, I do not require the versatility of a zoom, so the Canon is a far better buy becasue of the AF and weight.

I'm curious how the Sigma would fare against the 500mm Canon at same focal length and apertures. If the results in IQ would be this close , I would buy the Sigma immediately! Thats for posting this.




  
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weeatmice
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Feb 13, 2011 07:50 |  #6

Alex_Venom wrote in post #11833445 (external link)
If you're using Firefox, Mozilla or any other tab-based browser, you can open the images on different tabs (right click it and choose Open in a new Tab) and navigate trough them using the keyboard. I find this way more practical to see differences while still having big sized images ;)

*slaps self*

thanks


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Alex_Venom
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Feb 13, 2011 07:58 |  #7

nightcat wrote in post #11833457 (external link)
Nice test. I have the 400mm 5.6 and I am impressed with the Sigma. The results are close and the difference is very very minimal. If someone needs the versatility of a zoom, your test should assure them the Sigma is a great buy. For me, I do not require the versatility of a zoom, so the Canon is a far better buy becasue of the AF and weight.

I'm curious how the Sigma would fare against the 500mm Canon at same focal length and apertures. If the results in IQ would be this close , I would buy the Sigma immediately! Thats for posting this.

Oh, for that I wouldn't be surprised if the Canon smoked the Sigma big time. The 500L is something from another world... it's just... magical.
The micro contrast on that thing is the best I've ever seen and the sharpness is just incomparable. One can easily tell a photo taken with the 500L from another one taken with another lens. :D

weeatmice wrote in post #11833487 (external link)
*slaps self*

thanks

LOL :D


Photography is about GEAR and not talent or practice. Practice won't make you a better photographer. Expensive equipment will. =D
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dave ­ kadolph
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Feb 13, 2011 08:40 as a reply to  @ Alex_Venom's post |  #8

Was there a lot of compression loss--neither are as sharp as I would have guessed?


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artyman
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Feb 13, 2011 09:42 |  #9

I reckon the Sigma is an excellent value for money lens, not surprised a prime beats it, that is expected. I've been very happy with the images I've got from my Sigma, unless spending considerably more for the 500L I doubt there is much to touch it at that length.


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alpharon
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Feb 13, 2011 09:54 |  #10

I love my 400/5.6L and would not trade it out for the Bigma. It's also very sharp wide open.

I might be a little biased...I'm also a prime lover:

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Alex_Venom
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Feb 13, 2011 10:33 |  #11

dave kadolph wrote in post #11833691 (external link)
Was there a lot of compression loss--neither are as sharp as I would have guessed?

If there was any compression loss, it was done to all pictures due to the exact same processing at any given moment.
My copy of the 400L was adjusted by Canon, so, I'd suspect one of both:

- I have an extremely good copy of the Sigma
OR
- some condition on the test gave the Sigma some advantage (that's why I described the conditions and am open to change anything if one finds them incorrect for some reason)

One thing I didn't mention and that came to my mind right now is that the Sigma is f/6.3 wide open, and non-1D bodies have f/5.6 AF sensors. The lens actually "cheat" the body to AF, but I'd expect it to be at least a little bit less precise than the Canon's, since the later is f/5.6. Not talking about AF speed here, the Canon is WAY faster due to lots of factors, but about accuracy only: I guess under any given situation, Canon to be more accurate.


Photography is about GEAR and not talent or practice. Practice won't make you a better photographer. Expensive equipment will. =D
"Nobody can buy a scalpel and become a doctor, but anyone can buy a camera and become a photographer."

  
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LowriderS10
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Feb 13, 2011 10:51 |  #12

Alex_Venom wrote in post #11834232 (external link)
If there was any compression loss, it was done to all pictures due to the exact same processing at any given moment.
My copy of the 400L was adjusted by Canon, so, I'd suspect one of both:

- I have an extremely good copy of the Sigma
OR
- some condition on the test gave the Sigma some advantage (that's why I described the conditions and am open to change anything if one finds them incorrect for some reason)

One thing I didn't mention and that came to my mind right now is that the Sigma is f/6.3 wide open, and non-1D bodies have f/5.6 AF sensors. The lens actually "cheat" the body to AF, but I'd expect it to be at least a little bit less precise than the Canon's, since the later is f/5.6. Not talking about AF speed here, the Canon is WAY faster due to lots of factors, but about accuracy only: I guess under any given situation, Canon to be more accurate.

OR...the Sigma is better than most people would think ;) I was tossing around the idea of getting a 100-400L or a Bigmos a few weeks ago and shot both (albeit only in stores) and was impressed by the Sigma's performance.

By the way, thanks for posting the back-to-back photos/crops. Why do you have both lenses, if I may ask?


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sudipto_roy
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Feb 13, 2011 11:12 |  #13

I think Sigma offers reach and versatility. Canon offers light weight and prime quality. Both have their strengths and weaknesses. The final choice (unless you have both like Alex) really depends on what kind of photography you are going to do.
One issue for me with the Canon 400 is its really long minimum focusing distance. Being interested in birds, I end up missing quite a few full frame opportunities due to this.


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HKGuns
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Feb 13, 2011 11:25 |  #14

Nice comparison. Since it appears you have both, which are you keeping?




  
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Alex_Venom
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Feb 13, 2011 11:38 |  #15

LowriderS10 wrote in post #11834338 (external link)
OR...the Sigma is better than most people would think ;) I was tossing around the idea of getting a 100-400L or a Bigmos a few weeks ago and shot both (albeit only in stores) and was impressed by the Sigma's performance.

By the way, thanks for posting the back-to-back photos/crops. Why do you have both lenses, if I may ask?

I bought the Bigmos around 1 year ago, after a long, looong debate between it and the 100-400L. I ended up with the Bigmos because of a sudden (but quite regular :p) Canon price rise. Had been satisfied with it since then, but last year I got the chance to have the 400L for a great price and couldn't let it pass, and being a lens junkie, I just got it :D
In the end I decided keeping them both as the 400L is much much better for BIF: the slow AF on the Bigmos just can't keep up.

HKGuns wrote in post #11834524 (external link)
Nice comparison. Since it appears you have both, which are you keeping?

I will keep both for now, as I said above, because the Bigmos is not good for BIF and the 400L lacks OS/IS.
Now, if I could keep only one, it would be a difficult decision. I love the reach and OS on the Bigmos, and love the speed and compact size on the L. IQ wise they are closer than I first thought, but are oranges and apples when talking about purpose. 400L is obviously designed for BIF, so OS/IS is not needed, while the 150-500 is a more "multi-purpose" super tele. I think the 150-500 would stay and the 400L go... but I would miss it for sure :D


Photography is about GEAR and not talent or practice. Practice won't make you a better photographer. Expensive equipment will. =D
"Nobody can buy a scalpel and become a doctor, but anyone can buy a camera and become a photographer."

  
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Battle of Super-Teles: 400L vs Bigmos @ 400mm
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