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Archive 2010 · Sigma 120-300 or Canon 100-400
  
 
CanonShooter88
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p.1 #1 · Sigma 120-300 or Canon 100-400


Well I'm going to need some convincing here. I've had the Canon 100-400 for a long time, and it's been a nice flexible lens to carry around. Recently (i.e. past few years) it has seen extremely little use. I shoot sports, and it's my only lens slower than f/2.8. When in daylight and when traveling, I do like the 100-400mm range it offers and the fact that it isn't very heavy.

However, I have an opportunity to snag a used Sigma 120-300mm (non DG), and am considering selling the 100-400mm to put money toward it. I do realize it's a lot heavier (I used to work with the Canon 300mm f/2.8), and so weight is not the issue. I'm more concerned with sharpness, contrast, AF, etc. between these two lenses.

All in all, would you keep the 100-400, or sell it and get the 120-300? I could see myself using the Sigma more because of its low-light capabilities, but AF speed & accuracy is not something I'm willing to sacrifice.

Thanks!
-Mark

**Also, if there have been any past posts on this topic that I missed, feel free to post the link...I don't expect you to write some long post when the work has been done for you already



Jul 09, 2010 at 05:14 PM
kateman
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p.1 #2 · Sigma 120-300 or Canon 100-400


Hi, Mark
i have never shot w/ the 100-400, so...fwiw i have owned two copies of the sigma. both backfocused badly. both continued to do so after calibration at sigma. the speed and zoom range is excellent, but the focus issue killed them for
me. i have bitten the bullet and now shoot w/ primes only for the long stuff. hope this helps.
B



Jul 09, 2010 at 05:42 PM
photomarvin
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p.1 #3 · Sigma 120-300 or Canon 100-400


Those lenses really serve two different purposes...if you really don't use the 100-400 I'd sell it. Personally my copy of 120-300 is way sharper than any 100-400 I've had...although a good copy of the 100-400 is no slouch.

The 120-300 is perfect for shooting low light wildlife, theatre, runway, and sports among other things...I would not use the 100-400 in any of those situation personally. For me the 100-400 would be for daytime hikes, maybe daytime sports, birding, landscapes, etc.



Jul 09, 2010 at 05:50 PM
gheller
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p.1 #4 · Sigma 120-300 or Canon 100-400


my 120-300 is tack sharp wide open with a 1.4x (almost up there with the 300/2.8L I used to own)

I have heard, however, that there are some out there with issues.



Jul 09, 2010 at 06:53 PM
Tim Speciale
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p.1 #5 · Sigma 120-300 or Canon 100-400


I never felt the Sigma was consistent enough for me. But I've never pulled the trigger on the 100-400. It would depend more on whether or not you'll be using it at dusk...


Jul 09, 2010 at 06:56 PM
Alek Komarnits
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p.1 #6 · Sigma 120-300 or Canon 100-400


While not quite as much reach, how 'bout the Canon 70-200/2.8ISv2 ... which gets raves reviews (I feel the same about mine) ... and can take a Teleconvertor semi-decently if you are willing to go to F/4 or F/5.6.


Jul 09, 2010 at 07:06 PM
Chris Maccubbi
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p.1 #7 · Sigma 120-300 or Canon 100-400


I have both. Maybe the Canon is just a bad copy, but unless the light is just perfect, I am not happy with the images.

The Sig is slower to focus but overall, I get significantly more keepers from it.

After talking to others about both pieces of glass, I honestly think I have a bad Canon copy and a far above average Sig.

Just expect the Sig to lose paint as most of them do.

Lastly, 80% of my shooting revolves around baseball & football.



Jul 09, 2010 at 07:12 PM
Lance Couture
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p.1 #8 · Sigma 120-300 or Canon 100-400


Alek Komarnits wrote:
While not quite as much reach, how 'bout the Canon 70-200/2.8ISv2 ... which gets raves reviews (I feel the same about mine) ... and can take a Teleconvertor semi-decently if you are willing to go to F/4 or F/5.6.


I went this route initially, albeit with the v1 of the 70-200/2.8 IS, and I can honestly say the 100-400 is a much better offering. The focus is faster, the bokeh is much better, and the IQ is better.

I pondered the Siggy vs the Canon for a long time, and was offered a really great deal on a Siggy - I just couldnt pull the trigger due to the possible AF issues. That, and I really find the IS of the Canon lens useful.



Jul 09, 2010 at 07:15 PM
David Israel
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p.1 #9 · Sigma 120-300 or Canon 100-400


I have owned several copies of the 100-400L and am on my second copy of the 120-300 2.8. Both of my current copies of these respective lenses are excellent copies. I do not use my 100-400L for sports, ever (as I have plenty of lenses more appropriate to the task). I primarily use my 120-300 for sports and occassionally press it into service for Nature photography (though, not often).

While my 120-300 is the DG version, I do not believe that there is a huge difference between the two versions (DG vs non-DG).

If, as you say, you are shooting sports then the 120-300 is a no brainer from my perspective. I have never found focus speed to be a limiting factor with my 120-300 and I love it's flexibility (although, a focus limiter switch would have been a God send on this lens). My wife occassionally shoots baseball with me and she always wants to use the 120-300. My copy is very sharp and contrasty and, after over two years of use, still hasn't had a single paint chip flake. The 100-400 simply can not produce the beautiful bokeh that the 120-300 can.

The only thing that I would caution you about would be to try out the lens before purchasing it. Front and Back focusing issues seem to plague Sigma lenses, to a greater degree than Canon (not a fact, just empirical evidence). I have found more copy to copy variation in the Sigma lenses than I have with Canon's.

If you can get a good copy of the 120-300, and you are shooting sports with it (especially if you shoot at dusk or night games), then you will never regret the decision to own the 120-300 over the 100-400L (also, a very fine lens).

Just my 2 cents worth.



Jul 09, 2010 at 08:44 PM
ragebot
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p.1 #10 · Sigma 120-300 or Canon 100-400


I have had the 120-300 for several years and have been quite happy with it. Have done a little sports stuff, but mostly wildlife. For me the Canon 400/5.6 was a better choice for my wild life, even in low light due to size, bulk, and more keepers. When I got a 100-400 I started using the 400 some what less, possibly due to the small MFD of the zoom which makes it a great macro/close up lens with ETs.

One thing I have noticed is that since I got a 1d4 I am using the Sigma a lot less because of the clean high ISO performance.

So my first question to you is what body you will be shooting with. A camera like the the 1d4 makes the 100-400 much more of a go to lens.



Jul 09, 2010 at 10:33 PM
 

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CanonShooter88
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p.1 #11 · Sigma 120-300 or Canon 100-400


Much thanks to all of you for your thoughtful remarks and helpful stories of experience; I have some good material to digest!


Jul 10, 2010 at 06:18 AM
Vishal
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p.1 #12 · Sigma 120-300 or Canon 100-400


Does the 120-300's AF Performance improve if shooting with the Centre Point AF against all or alternate AF Points selected when with a 1.4x Converter ?


Jul 10, 2010 at 06:31 AM
Vatche
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p.1 #13 · Sigma 120-300 or Canon 100-400


I've handled the 120-300 and I must say that it's quite heavy compared to the 100-400. I don't know if this can be an issue for you.


Jul 10, 2010 at 08:49 AM
DCphotog
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p.1 #14 · Sigma 120-300 or Canon 100-400


I've owned both. I still own the Sigma 120-300/2.8. The 100-400IS is a great lens to carry anywhere because it's light. For nature hikes and stuff like that it gets the nod. There are times where I miss the 100-400 for just that reason. I don't miss the push/pull.

The Sigma really shines for certain sports and because of it's faster aperture. I have a great copy of the lens. It's very sharp and fast to focus. I have zero complaints about mine aside from it not being a Canon and having IS. Actually if Canon came out with one I'd have to think hard about replacing it. It really is a good lens. Clearly some have issues with theirs so try before you buy. On my cameras, after AF calibration in the camera, it is snappy, and nails focus. The Sigma to me is faster to focus and searches much less. And build quality is up to par as I've used mine a lot and have zero problems. For certain sports this is a no brainer. For nature you may find it is a bit short in focal length.



Jul 10, 2010 at 04:01 PM
andrew81
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p.1 #15 · Sigma 120-300 or Canon 100-400


Bit OT: what sports are you'll shooting with this lens?


Jul 10, 2010 at 11:23 PM
OwlsEyes
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p.1 #16 · Sigma 120-300 or Canon 100-400


We went the other way.
I shoot a 300 f2.8 IS and my wife used the 120-300 f2.8. At f3.5, the Sigma was a sharp as the Canon 300 f2.8. It did not have as much contrast as the Canon lens, but this was easily improved in post process. We sold the Sigma for a 100-400IS. The zooms belonged to my wife and she found the Sigma too heavy for long hikes. BTW, the Sigma is either heavier than my 300 f2.8 or does not balance as well... never felt comfortable shooting it w/out a tripod.

We just returned from Kenya and I believe that the Canon 100-400IS is sharper at 400mm than the Sigma + 1.4x converter was at 400mm...

not sure if it helps, but there you go.
cheers,
bruce



Jul 11, 2010 at 12:05 AM
Ralph Thompson
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p.1 #17 · Sigma 120-300 or Canon 100-400


I've owned both. What body are you shooting with? My copy of the 120-300 did not play well with any of my 1D** bodies. It front focused on all of them. I had to stop down to F-4 most of the time. I sent it back to Sigma for calibration. It was only marginally better. With the 1d3 I was able to dial out most of the front focusing problems. Sigma & B&H both told me for some reason the 120-300 doesn't "talk well" with 1D series bodies (I talked to the head Sigma tech rep at PMA a few years ago)

The 100-400 is a very versatile lens. It's a bit slow on the long end. I've owned mine for six years. It's not as sharp as my primes (300 & 400 2.8) or the 70-200 but its a great go to lens for bright sunny days. With the current generation of high ISO cameras, I feel the 100-400 would get a bit more use.

I shoot a fair amount of youth sports and when the sun is out, it's normally the 400 2.8 on one body and the 100-400 on the other. I sold the 120-300, it was just not consistant enough for me.



Jul 11, 2010 at 04:58 AM
gheller
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p.1 #18 · Sigma 120-300 or Canon 100-400


FWIW, all of my "Surf Pix" were with the non-DG version and a 1D2.

It performs flawlessly (used on 2 different 1D2 bodies).

greg



Jul 11, 2010 at 05:11 AM
ragebot
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p.1 #19 · Sigma 120-300 or Canon 100-400


OwlsEyes wrote:
SNIP BTW, the Sigma is either heavier than my 300 f2.8 or does not balance as well... never felt comfortable shooting it w/out a tripod.

SNIP
bruce


I have never shot with the Canon 300/2.8, but from what I have read it is a first rate lens. Never the less it is heavier than the Sigma 120-300. BH lists the weight of the Sigma as 5.7 lbs (2.6 kg) and the Canon as 6.00 lb (2.7 kg) with collar. I have seen posts about the collar on the Canon being heavy, and this may help with the balance issue.

In any case I do find my Sigma 120-300 tires me out on a long hot hike unless I use it with a monopod. I also have used it on a tripod as well. I do not have any issue hand holding the 100-400, but its IQ does improve with a monopod or tripod.



Jul 11, 2010 at 02:06 PM
CanonShooter88
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p.1 #20 · Sigma 120-300 or Canon 100-400


Again I thank you all for your posts. I have decided to purchase a Sigma 120-300mm. I will be holding on to the 100-400mm for a bit longer to make sure I like the Sigma and also to ensure that it is among the good copies. At least if it's one with an issue I can return it and still have the 100-400mm, which doesn't have any problems. And who knows, I might end up keeping both...as "photomarvin" said, the lenses really do serve different purposes, so perhaps I will find their niche as I shoot.


Jul 13, 2010 at 12:07 AM
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