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FORUMS Photography Talk by Genre Bird Talk 
Thread started 20 Feb 2013 (Wednesday) 11:23
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Anyone familiar with Sigma 800mm?

 
stoshdwalshphotography
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Feb 20, 2013 11:23 |  #1

Hi All,

Curious to learn what opinions of the Sigma 800mm are out there (the prime, not 300-800). I've gone back and forth about purchasing one, and would love to hear from someone who has owned/currently owns it.

I'm used to the 400mm f5.6 and the 500mm f4 IS, which have been my go-to birding lenses for some time now, so those are my comparison basis.

Yearning for more reach, though, and being steadfastly opposed to extenders (I know some people are fine with them, but I find them too degrading to IQ to use them for photos I intend to print), I turn to the Sigma...

Will appreciate any perspectives that exist. Thanks in advance.


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jhayesvw
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Feb 20, 2013 19:55 |  #2

I wish I could help but from what I have seen the sigmas lenses with no extenders produce about the same quality and focus speed as the Canon primes with extenders.

At that point a 600 f4 IS + 1.4tc would be a better option to me.
Unfortunately I dont see a Sigma 800 prime lens photo example thread on here.



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Evan
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Feb 22, 2013 15:37 |  #3

Well, it doesn't have IS/OS. At that focal length you pretty much need it when tripod mounted because of the wind.

A local I know owns a 300-800, and it doesn't have IS so he piles/hangs bean bags from his setup to stabilize in winds. But he gets good shots.

The sigma 800 definitely is a cheaper alternative, but I would still go for the canon 600ii+tc or 800mm. Just because they have IS and they will be much sharper.


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johnf3f
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Feb 22, 2013 17:50 |  #4

A few years ago I tried out one of the earlier Sigma 800mm lenses and found it reasonably good, I think it was the 800mm APO. The owner thought the chip would have to be updated to obtain AF on our cameras but the 5D Mk1 and 1D3 worked fine.
Since then there have been improvements in the optics and AF system so a current example should be better than the one I tried. Also consider the Sigma 300-800 which (I read) is a better lens.
Recently I picked up a used Canon 800mm F5.6 for about the same price as a new Sigma 300-800 and must say that I am very impressed and it is certainly a better option if you can stretch to it. This lens replaced my Canon 600 F4 L IS Mk1 which would be a cheaper option for you than an 800mm Canon .
Personally I was anti extenders until I tried them on the better lenses, my Canon 1.4 Mk2 gives up little IQ for the extra reach and my 2 x Mk3 is surprisingly useable on F4 lenses - not ideal but very useable. The 2 x Mk3 on my 300 F2.8 L IS Mk1 was not too far short (in IQ) of my 600 F4 IS Mk1 and makes a very good setup when I need to be mobile.
I would expect the Sigma 800 to give you good results with useable AF, the 300-800 is apparently better (but more expensive), my choice would be a used Canon 600 or 800.
Hope this helps.


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Evan
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Feb 22, 2013 20:57 |  #5

johnf3f wrote in post #15641547 (external link)
Recently I picked up a used Canon 800mm F5.6 for about the same price as a new Sigma 300-800

In in the hell did you manage that snipe!?


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stoshdwalshphotography
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Feb 23, 2013 11:09 |  #6

Thanks for the replies.

I've owned/used the Canon 300 2.8 with both extenders, as well as the 500 f4 with a 1.4x, and found the results to be unsatisfactory. It's fine for images on a screen, but not for printing anything larger than perhaps 8x10. I used both lenses on a tripod and a gimbal almost exclusively, so the 800 w/o IS on a gimbal is not an issue for me--if it's windy I usually go more mobile and use the 400 f5.6 and handhold everything. The 500 by itself is one of Canon's best lenses for sure, but I found it wanting on a few occasions for reach, which prompts me to look at the 800.

I've heard good things about the 300-800, but is a zoom range that wide really going to have better IQ than a prime? The other issue there is that the 300-800 is rarely available 2nd hand, while the 800 is much easier to find. The image sample thread looks like people are getting good results from the 300-800, but, regrettably, there is no thread (that I could find) for the Sigma 800.

Obviously, the Canon L lenses are going to be the gold standard, but the 3k price difference between a 4k Sigma 800mm and a 7k 600mm (version I) is enough to buy a lot of kit, and I haven't seen anything (yet) that would lead me to believe that the 600 is so much sharper that I should sacrifice 200mm and 3k for IS and a modicum of sharpness.

Anybody out there own/use one now?


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johnf3f
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Feb 23, 2013 15:16 |  #7

BirdBoy wrote in post #15642103 (external link)
In in the hell did you manage that snipe!?

FLEA-BAY and patience! I was willing to go a little higher but nobody else bit - they obviously thought it would go too high.


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johnf3f
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Feb 23, 2013 15:26 |  #8

stoshdwalshphotography wrote in post #15643515 (external link)
Thanks for the replies.

I've owned/used the Canon 300 2.8 with both extenders, as well as the 500 f4 with a 1.4x, and found the results to be unsatisfactory. It's fine for images on a screen, but not for printing anything larger than perhaps 8x10.

Strange - a friend of mine borrowed my Canon 300 F2.8 L IS Mk1 + Mk3 2 x extender recently. Coupled with her Canon 40D she managed to get some Kingfisher shots that seriously impressed the judges, who didn't know what gear she was using.
NOTE this is the Mk3 2 x extender - very much better than the Mk2 on my lenses.


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Hor ­ Kee
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Oct 08, 2013 01:07 |  #9

A useful review is here http://www.billmajoros​.com …s/new/Canon600/​index.html (external link)




  
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badams
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Oct 11, 2013 15:00 |  #10

I'm surprised to hear that you don't like the results of the 500 with a 1.4 tc. I've been using my 500 with a Kenko 1.5x tc ($90) and like the results. In fact, I haven't seen a reason to even try a Canon tc. I've often wondered how much better they were, but I never could justify the cost difference.

I've been eyeing the Canon 800 for some time and had nearly enough for it, but I decided to buy a house instead. So then I thought about the Sigma 800 but when I saw no IS/OS it turned me away.


Everyday use: 7D2, 1.4x v3 Canon TC (sometimes the 2x v2 Canon TC), Canon 500mm f4 L IS USM; 6D, 24-105L
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Eastcoast
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Oct 11, 2013 16:35 |  #11

Check out Romy Ocon, Philippine Wild Birds. User name Liquidstone. He is the master of this lens!


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jhayesvw
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Oct 15, 2013 09:34 |  #12

Don't forget weight. Being able to handhold is priceless.



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stoshdwalshphotography
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Oct 16, 2013 15:23 |  #13

on screen, tc is fine, but print there is no comparison. I ended up going with the Canon 800, and don't use tc with it at all. Tried it, but as 800 is already 5.6 (not f4 as 500 is), DOF and IQ are too much of a sacrifice as far as I'm concerned.

No IS on the sigma did me in also--even with IS, the 800 is a big learning curve compared to the 500, and I do EVERYTHING on a tripod. No problem with what others do, but I don't feel like I miss shots b/c of not handholding, and saving stops with slower shutter speeds can make a big difference in the early/late hours typical of wildlife photography...


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johnf3f
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Oct 18, 2013 15:03 |  #14

stoshdwalshphotography wrote in post #16376209 (external link)
on screen, tc is fine, but print there is no comparison. I ended up going with the Canon 800, and don't use tc with it at all. Tried it, but as 800 is already 5.6 (not f4 as 500 is), DOF and IQ are too much of a sacrifice as far as I'm concerned.

No IS on the sigma did me in also--even with IS, the 800 is a big learning curve compared to the 500, and I do EVERYTHING on a tripod. No problem with what others do, but I don't feel like I miss shots b/c of not handholding, and saving stops with slower shutter speeds can make a big difference in the early/late hours typical of wildlife photography...

I see you went for the Nuclear option! If your Canon 800 F5.6 is like mine (as it should be) you are going to be very happy with it! I agree the 800 is not ideal with extenders though I tried both of mine and they were not as bad as I thought they would be, but they are limited to record shots.
I find the 800 surprisingly hand hold-able and do use it this way when I must. I can get away with shutter speeds down to 1/125 on static subjects - but life is so much easier with a tripod!
Congratulations on your new lens!

P.S. I think you will learn this lens VERY quickly once you master actually getting subjects in the viewfinder! As to the rest - it just works, probably why it is my favorite + most used lens!


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ckoffend
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Nov 14, 2013 21:34 |  #15

I have the Sigma 300-800, not the prime 8. So take it all with a grain. I ended up with this lens over the 600 f/4 IS. I am no pro, by any stretch of anybody's imagination (to put that to rest).

I can tell you I like the 300-800 over the 600 due to the fact it is so much easier to shoot with. Find at 300-400 and zoom in. Is the IQ as good as the 600? I am sure with me shooting, it would be hard to tell the difference. But I have seen shots from the 300-800 by a Sigma pro that are stunning and just as good as the 600.

Now, I mount the 300-800 and use a Canon 500 hand held at the ready. I can squeeze off enough shots on the 600 hand held thanks to the IS, but my window is about 15-20 seconds at the most. I can HH the 500 longer and with less rest in between.

Sorry, I can't speak to the 800 specifically. If you are a pro or semi pro, or just willing to put the money into the pot, I'd go with the Canon 800 or stick with the 400 5.6 and get a lot of bird feeders!

Either way, with good technique all these lenses are very capable of producing great images. Like you, I avoid TCs, but have been tempted to try the Kenko Pro.




  
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Anyone familiar with Sigma 800mm?
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