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Archive 2013 · Sigma 120-400 or better options?
  
 
JustinPoe
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p.1 #1 · Sigma 120-400 or better options?


I've recently switched over to Nikon and I'm trying to decide on a telephoto. I had a 5D3, 17-40L, 24-150L, 70-200L before. Now, I have the D800E, 14-24 and 24-120. Nikon's 70-200 f4 is what I initially wanted, but I'm now leaning towards the Sigma 120-400. There were times when I felt that I wanted just a little more reach with the 70-200L and I'll also have a ton of overlap (even more so than my Canon setup) with the 24-120 + 70-200.

These reason are why I'm leaning towards Sigma's 120-400. However, I've only owned one Sigma telephoto a while back and I wasn't too impressed with it, the 70-300. Sharpness wasn't bad, but photos with that lens just seemed really flat and not too contrasty. This seems like an aspect people don't talk about very often.

I solely shoot landscapes, so while I'm not using a telephoto too often, it is an important part of my setup when I need it.

Has anybody had experience with the 120-400? What are your thoughts?



Jun 28, 2013 at 03:12 PM
Frogfish
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p.1 #2 · Sigma 120-400 or better options?


The Sigma 120-400 is not one of their best and is an older model now, everyone I know who has bought one (5 or 6 people) has quickly moved it on. It is completely different beast to the 120-300 which is a superb lens and the also excellent Bigma (50-500) and Bigmos (150-500) both good lenses.

The 120-400 is not good at the tele end (soft) and is better at the wide end and middle of the range.

The Nikon 70-200/4 is in a totally different league and even with a f1.4 TC will be sharper than the Sigma at 300-400mm equivalents (after cropping).



Jun 28, 2013 at 03:52 PM
woos
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p.1 #3 · Sigma 120-400 or better options?


Save up for the 50-500 OS. It's a great one. If you can't afford to save up for that, compromise and get the Nikon 300mm f/4, a used one can be a great buy, and it's very sharp--it just lacks stabilization.

Imho the 120-400 is probably better than the 150-500, but I don't like either. Both produce pics which, like you said, are very flat and not too contrasty. And really need to be at f/8 on the long end to be decent. And even then, are only just decent.

They really lack that "special sauce" that the new Sigma glass has. I had a 150-500mm OS that I used on a Canon camera, back in the day. I kept it for like...oh...a week. Before I returned it. To put it mildly, it sucked. Badly. Sigma really dropped the ball with those lenses imho. I don't know what the deal w/them is, but they need re-done.

Again, if your budget is less than 1k, look for a used nikkor 300mm f/4... If you want stabilization and can save up a little, get a 50-500 OS. Or wait for one to appear on the Sigma refurb page. The 50-500 OS will rock your world. It's so much better. Not even in the same league as the 150-500. Granted, you won't get sharp corners at 500mm. But, who cares. It's sooo much better than you'd think it could ever be. Biggest downside is f/6.3 comes at like...225mm. But then again, you get an extremely good macro mode, so whatever. D800 sample from 50-500 OS, it's about a 50% crop, this guy was about 1/2 the way down the frame toward the bottom left corner, at 500mm f/8 I believe. (I now use a 120-300 2.8, but sometimes I miss the convenience of the 50-500).








Jun 28, 2013 at 04:21 PM
fraga
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p.1 #4 · Sigma 120-400 or better options?


The old 80-400 OS is a good lens.
Both 50-500 (old and new) are good lenses.
120-300 OS is a very good lens.
120-400... not so good.

Google reviews.
You will see what we are talking about.

Edited on Jun 28, 2013 at 04:28 PM · View previous versions



Jun 28, 2013 at 04:25 PM
woos
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p.1 #5 · Sigma 120-400 or better options?


To prove I'm not just talking out of my butt, here's a shot I took with the 150-500mm. This is like the entire frame, by the way, not a crop. It took a ton of work to make the pic look this decent. And even then, it still looks pretty bad. You can tell it just isn't sharp (and yes, I know, it's 1/200th of a sec, even with OS on it could be a little soft...but trust me, I took many many pics, some at super high shutter speed with the OS off, all that)...this was the best pic I ever got out of it. Super flat looking images with ugly bokeh and a yucky "haze" that comes over the image, where you can see some fine details yet the overall pic looks soft. The 120-300 OS with the 2x on it is far far better than the 150-500mm on the long end. Sad. Just say no to the 150-500 :P








Jun 28, 2013 at 04:25 PM
the solitaire
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p.1 #6 · Sigma 120-400 or better options?


If you donīt use that range a lot but feel that a 70-200 is too short, why not consider the Sigma 100-300 f4?


Jun 29, 2013 at 10:50 AM
MalbikEndar
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p.1 #7 · Sigma 120-400 or better options?


Well I'm not gonna claim that the 150-500 is a great lens but I don't think it's quite as useless as some suggest. Below reduced from 75% of a full frame taken at 500 mm



although 100% crops reveal some softness



By the way, after using this guy for a while I now believe that it really IS less sharp at 500 mm, and that this is not an artifact of the more challenging stability and focus required.




Jun 30, 2013 at 07:46 PM
woos
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p.1 #8 · Sigma 120-400 or better options?


Man, your copy looks way better than mine did. :P


Jul 01, 2013 at 03:15 AM
karmaportrait
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p.1 #9 · Sigma 120-400 or better options?


Maybe the 70-200f4 and get a 1.7tc if you're not going to need the extended range that often? From what I've read the 70-200f4 is a fantastic lens, I'm not sure I'd sacrifice the step back to some other lenses if I didn't regularly need the reach.


Jul 04, 2013 at 01:50 PM
 

Search in Used Dept. 



NikonDeb
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p.1 #10 · Sigma 120-400 or better options?


I have a friend who has the Sigma 120-400 for a Canon and his images are tack sharp, at every focal length. By the way-isn't this a new lens?

Someone was mentioning a 300 f4-I will be posting mine for sale along with a 200-400, 70-200f2.8 VR2 and more. As soon as I can figure out how to place images



Jul 23, 2013 at 10:02 PM
binary visions
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p.1 #11 · Sigma 120-400 or better options?


Are you dismissing the new Nikon 80-400mm solely on price?

It's a pretty nice lens...



Jul 24, 2013 at 12:33 AM
Andre Labonte
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p.1 #12 · Sigma 120-400 or better options?


For landscape, the 80-400 would be a great lens ... old or new version. The old version can be bought for a reasonable price.


Jul 24, 2013 at 02:46 AM
JustinPoe
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p.1 #13 · Sigma 120-400 or better options?


NikonDeb wrote:
I have a friend who has the Sigma 120-400 for a Canon and his images are tack sharp, at every focal length. By the way-isn't this a new lens?


Maybe you're confusing it with Sigma's new 120-300? The 120-400 is an older lens.


binary visions wrote:
Are you dismissing the new Nikon 80-400mm solely on price?

It's a pretty nice lens...


At first, yes. I feel I never used my telephoto enough to justify the price, however, I knew I'd ultimately get it, so I went ahead and bought it.



Jul 24, 2013 at 01:24 PM
binary visions
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p.1 #14 · Sigma 120-400 or better options?


I didn't even realize this thread was nearly a month old. Hope you're enjoying the new gear!


Jul 24, 2013 at 02:00 PM
Andre Labonte
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p.1 #15 · Sigma 120-400 or better options?


Ditto here ... so, which 80-400 did you get?


Jul 24, 2013 at 02:21 PM
JustinPoe
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p.1 #16 · Sigma 120-400 or better options?


binary visions wrote:
I didn't even realize this thread was nearly a month old. Hope you're enjoying the new gear!


No worries, I appreciate the input!

Andre Labonte wrote:
Ditto here ... so, which 80-400 did you get?


I got the new 80-400 AF-S. I read too many good things about it to pass it up. My only complaint (if you even want to call it that) is its size/weight. Overall though, it's a pretty incredible lens.



Jul 24, 2013 at 02:39 PM
NikonDeb
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p.1 #17 · Sigma 120-400 or better options?


I just picked up the Sigma 120-400 at Adorama and was told it's only about 8 months old. I tested it out and I am impressed. The REAL test will be Friday, when I shoot Selema Gomez in concert. My expectations are high, and I am hoping I will be able to retire my 200-400f4.
I thought about getting the new Nikon 80-400 but for the amount of time this lens sits as opposed to being used, I wanted to go the cheaper route and the Sigma was a perfect price. (and much lighter than the Nikon 80-400)
I will thouroughly test on Friday



Jul 25, 2013 at 12:13 AM
Pinarello65
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p.1 #18 · Sigma 120-400 or better options?


I have the D800E, 120-400 and Nikon's 300 f/4..

D800E+Sigma 120-400 gives me this kind of result which I'm happy with.






this one cropped bottom half off






But I get this kind of sharpness out of the 300 f/4, most noticeable in the detail of hair/whiskers & look closely you can even see dust & bits in the air.













I prefer to shoot with primes but zooms are convenient at times & I've been happy with my 120-400 on the D800E.

So let's see a sample from the concert NikonDeb!





Jul 27, 2013 at 01:15 AM





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