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Sigma 120-300mm f2.8 EX DG HSM

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91 321390 Mar 15, 2014
Recommended By Average Price
82% of reviewers $2,085.38
Build Quality Rating Price Rating Overall Rating
9.35
9.60
9.1
120_300_1_

Specifications:
This telephoto zoom lens has a large aperture of F2.8 that is constant throughout the zoom range. The angle of view of the 120-300mmF2.8 varies from 20.4degree to 8.2degree and offers great versatility of composition from a fixed position. Two Special Low Dispersion (SLD) glass elements in the front lens group and two in the rear group offer effective compensation of color aberration. Since focusing and zooming do not change its overall length, this lens offers ease of handling. HSM ensures a quiet, high-speed, AF as well as full-time manual focus (for Sigma, Canon and Nikon mounts). A removable tripod collar is provided with the lens. As the front of the lens does not rotate, circular polarizing filters can easily be used. When this lens is used with the 1.4x EX or 2x EX Apo Tele Converters (optional), it becomes a 168-420mmF4 AF telephoto lens or a 240-600mm F5.6 AF ultra-telephoto lens respectively. The lens materials used in this new lens are lead and arsenic free ecological glass.


 


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Beau Arnold
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Registered: Nov 6, 2006
Location: United States
Posts: 851
Review Date: Jul 20, 2009 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $1,750.00 | Rating: 9 

 
Pros: 2.8 120-300 zoom lower cost than the white ones
Cons:
none

I got my Ms Siggy from a known entity from this board. From the moment I shot my first shots and opended them in PS I knew I had made a great buy. It's a non dg and on my 1D for kids sports like tball it's the perfect fl. Maybe one day I'll move it own but not before I see the files from my 300/400 before I let this lens go.

Jul 20, 2009
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Il Medico
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Registered: Apr 3, 2006
Location: United States
Posts: 580
Review Date: May 1, 2009 Recommend? no | Price paid: Not Indicated

 
Pros: Makes a nice door stopper or anchor (for a small boat)
Cons:
Well... after 5 trips to for service and having nearly everything but the glass and housing replaced it's still doesn't focus worth a sh!t. Constant BF, many where nothing is in focus, tracks horribly if at all.

Bought this POS from here a FM. Had it since August 08. Didn't focus from the day I got it. Sent for service 5 times. It still doesn't focus reliably. It still won't even track somone WALKING towards the camera.

It is sharp at 300/2.8 when manually focused via LV. So I'm into this lens for $2200, got screwed, can't sell it, but at least I can use it as a MF only lens. YIPEE!


May 1, 2009
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Steve Langton
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Registered: Oct 29, 2007
Location: United Kingdom
Posts: 0
Review Date: Apr 19, 2009 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 9 

 
Pros: Sharp, even wide open F2.8 120-300 range very useful for sports and wildlife
Cons:
Heavy! No stabilisation/vibration reduction system

I use this for sports and and animal photography, including several African safari trips in recent years, usually on a Canon 1D Mk III.

I've heard mixed reports about image quality on this lens but I have no complaints at all about the images taken with my copy - sharp and contrasty. Most importantly, it's actually very sharp at F2.8 (I can't see the point of an expensive long lens with a F2.8 maximum if it's not sharp at that aperture). The focal lengths covered are very useful for a sports or wildlife photographer. It focuses quickly and accurately.

On the negative side, of course it's heavy (what did you expect?) and does not have IS/OS, which would really be a big advantage, and I had an issue with the back of the lens becoming loose, which was easily sorted by simply removing the lens mount (3 screws) and tightening the internal screws that hold the lens together. Not an ideal situation but not a disaster, either.

Overall, excellent for its versatility and image quality.


Apr 19, 2009
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Portengen
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Registered: Jul 3, 2008
Location: Netherlands
Posts: 0
Review Date: Feb 26, 2009 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: Rasor sharp images, fast autofocus, zoomlens with primelens performance which makes it the best alternative for the 300mm 2.8 primes.
Cons:
Tripod collar for the older versions is not doing the job. Paint (coating) comes off easily on the exterior. I would have prefered a drop-in type of filter instead of a big 105mm screw-on-filter (like on the 500mm and 300-800mm)

This review is for the older 'Non-DG' version. It produces amazingly sharp pictures with my D300 body. They're a perfect couple together. Even set on f2.8, the quality is still very good, going to excellent on f4 and higher.

It's a true professional lens, it weighs a lot and it's build like a tank, just not for the coating on the body. After 4 years of use, pieces of paint of the entire body had come off. Sigma however repaired this free of charge! They replaced all the external body parts. Great, because there has to happen a lot before I sell this piece of glass.





Feb 26, 2009
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Tobers
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Registered: Jan 23, 2007
Location: United Kingdom
Posts: 39
Review Date: Nov 17, 2008 Recommend? no | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 1 

 
Pros: Build quality.
Cons:
Wont focus consistently, fails to track properly, only 10% (if that) keeper rate.

I've just returned the 2nd copy of this lens. The first one was truly awful - it wouldn't focus on anything. The sharpest it got was still a blurry mess. No amount of focus micro-adjustment could get the image any sharper. I concluded that it was optically incorrect at f/2.8.

The second copy was less bad, but still pretty awful. It simply cant keep up with the Canon 1Dmk3 at 10fps. In comparison to my Sigma 100-300 F4, which has a pretty-near 100% keeper rate (i.e. this isn't the camera's fault), the 120-300 is just really bad. It simply would not focus accurately in AI Servo mode.

You could see the focal point moving in front and behind the subject on successive frames of moving cars in a sequence. There was no consistency at all that might allow me to dial it out with micro-adjustment.

My suspicion is that the motor cannot handle the speed of focusing required to follow fast (40mph) objects. I went to see Sigma's calibration expert to confirm it wasn't just me and he saw the same results. We tried a third copy of the lens which was just as inconsistent. We then put on a 300 2.8 prime which was also pants, and then put the 100-300 F4 back on again to make sure we weren't going mad, and it again was pin sharp on each frame in each sequence.

Even shooting stationary objects would yield poor results, with focus in front of or behind the subject. Even when it was in roughly the right place, the sharpest area of the focal plane was still blurry and messy. And yes the shutter speed was high enough, and the 100-300 F4 returned excellent results even at a lower shutter speed in exactly the same circumstances.

I've handed it back and have asked for a 3rd copy (3rd time lucky) so I'll see how that goes, otherwise its money-back time and saving starts for a Canon 300 2.8 L IS....


Nov 17, 2008
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jwmelrose
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Registered: Nov 13, 2008
Location: United States
Posts: 0
Review Date: Nov 13, 2008 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: HSM and IF is nice. The focus is fast and accurate: great for sports
Cons:
very heavy, but what did you expect. Tripod or monopod all but required.

I really like this lens. I have used it on a rebel xt and a 5D to shoot sports. The one real downside is that because its so big, heavy and expensive I find I am unlikely to take it with me unless I am sure I will want to use it.

Nov 13, 2008
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dinny66
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Registered: Oct 10, 2008
Location: United Kingdom
Posts: 0
Review Date: Oct 26, 2008 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 9 

 
Pros: Fast apeture, built like a tank, non-rotating and non extending.
Cons:
Can't think of any.

What a workhorse. Finally managed to get a secondhand one (non-dg) for a great price after reading the reviews on here.
It's all true!
Use it for football and wildlife. Takes the TC's well.
Really pleased with it. Great for low light too.



Oct 26, 2008
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KurtHansen
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Registered: Mar 23, 2005
Location: United States
Posts: 0
Review Date: Oct 25, 2008 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 8 

 
Pros: Great range, speed and price. One notch below a Nikon 70-200 AF-S VR in focus speed and image quality.
Cons:
For the price, none. If willing to pay more for a 300 2.8 AF-S VR you will get more. But that is not an apples to apples comparison in my POV.


I like this lens (and Sigma 1.4x combination) and will not repeat the many positive comments already written. For quality, speed, zoom and price there is no other lens that meets this.

After the 1st year I did have some maddening focusing problems with this combo. I found 1/2 of the screws near the mounting rings in the 1.4x and on the lens were loose. I removed the screws, added a tiny drop of Lock-tight - problem solved.

On one occasion since my focusing started acting up and a quick clean of the electrical contacts (lens, body and 1.4x) with a swab and alcohol solved the problem.

I use the Sigma 120-300, Sigma 1.4x and Nikon D200. This combo works great for soccer or footbal and gets you right on top of the subject. 2nd D200 has a Nikon 70-200 VR.


Oct 25, 2008
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glsammy
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Registered: Jun 22, 2008
Location: United Kingdom
Posts: 0
Review Date: Sep 1, 2008 Recommend? no | Price paid: Not Indicated

 
Pros: Non I can think of. If the thing can't take decent shots, it's not much use.
Cons:
Terrible AF performance. Struggled to focus correctly on anything. 75% of tests shots were out of focus. Shocking lens performance on all shots taken.

I'm afraid I have to post a negative review of this lens.
The one I got was shockingly bad. It struggled to focus correctly on anything and even the few it did correctly focus on there was very poor image quality, no definition, poor contrast, in fact little detail to be seen.
I can only assume the lens was faulty. I returned it within 48 hours of receiving it.
The supplier said it wasn't faulty, but if they had admitted it was, they would have had to pay for the return postage cost. I've got dozens of sample shots that prove it was.
I've bought four Sigma lenses, two of the four were faulty from new. I think that says something about Sigma quality control. This time I was so angry I refused a replacement. My next lens will probably be an off shade of white rather than Sigma black.


Sep 1, 2008
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Britman
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Registered: Sep 5, 2007
Location: United Kingdom
Posts: 1
Review Date: Jul 9, 2008 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: Price, internal zoom, fast focusing, colour, sharpness, boken, decent hood.
Cons:
Weight.

I sold my Sigma 300mm f/2.8 prime to buy this baby. Main reason being I needed the zoom option. I've not regretted it. Sharpness is brilliant and is on a par with Some of Canon's cheaper primes, namely the 70-200 f/4 and the 300 f/4.

I've only used it with a 1.4x converter and I'm delighted with the results. (Some recent - http://www.eos-forums.com/index.php?topic=22580.0 - mine are first in post)

One thing that really tipped me in towards this lens is the internal zoom, no more worrying about the zoom action sucking in dust.

I do have an issue, which might be my camera (Canon 40D). Sometimes, say 2-3 times in a days shoot, I will miss a shot because the lens goes hunting and focuses very slowly.

Take two lens on a shoot? I just take this one Smile


Jul 9, 2008
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OwlsEyes
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Registered: Feb 22, 2003
Location: United States
Posts: 4289
Review Date: Jun 27, 2008 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $1,800.00 | Rating: 9 

 
Pros: Unique... only lens like it. Affordable and flexible optic that allows you to substitute a 70-200 & 300 f2.8 lens with one lens. Sharper than expected. More than acceptable results when paired w/ the EX 1.4X converter.
Cons:
Heavy

This is a very underrated optic that is often maligned for the wrong reasons. The lens is not going to be as sharp or fast to focus as the manufacturers 300 f2.8... Let's face it, how could it? The Nikon or Canon 300 f2.8 lenses cost $4000... these lenses should be sharper. With this disclaimer now out of the way, I find this to be the most flexible alternative to a 300 f2.8 lens. My wife and I use this lens and the Canon 300 f2.8 IS for wildlife and compressed landscape photography. Having just returned from a photo safari in Tanzania, I can say that the Sigma lens more than held its own. It performed beautifully and allowed for flexibility that was impossible with our straight 300 f2.8 lens.

Our 120-300 f2.8 has been hauled through US National Parks, Costa Rica, Europe and now Tanzania. It has been subject to droppage and the endless vibrations of a safari. In spite of the abuse,... it takes a licking and keeps on ticking. In the end, I find this lens to be the best bargain for the nature photographer wishing for long & fast glass in a flexible package.

cheers,
bruce
http://www.btleventhal.com


Jun 27, 2008
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PrecisionPhoto
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Registered: Oct 4, 2006
Location: United States
Posts: 1879
Review Date: Mar 25, 2008 Recommend? no | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 4 

 
Pros: Can't think of any
Cons:
Don't like the coating on the lens Stiff focus ring Back focused on the 1DII

I found the lens over priced and had back focus issues
and the coating on the body was inferior to Canon's


Mar 25, 2008
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Giorgos
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Registered: Jan 9, 2008
Location: United Kingdom
Posts: 0
Review Date: Mar 19, 2008 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: Very Sharp, cheap, build quality, works great with TCs
Cons:
Even not slow, AF is not as fast as expected.

I must give a full 10 on this lens, if only for the price paid. This lens is trully one of a kind. Where else can you find a zoom lens reaching up to 300mm with a constant f/2.8? And keeping its sharpness throughout its range too.

This lens is SHARP. I mean I was looking at photos I took the first day I bought it and i was double checking if the photo was indeed at f/2.8. At f/2.8 this lens is very sharp. If you step down at f/3.5 it looks like it's been sharpened in photoshop.

As I wrote above, I was expecting faster AF. Don't get me wrong, the AF is fast, but not lightning fast as expected from a professional lens like this. I don't find this as a limiting factor. I mainly do wildlife and it's great for birds in flight. I am not sure how it would handle in a F1 track though, even though it would be more than adequate for all other motorsports.

Some people state the lack of IS (or OS in Sigma's case) as a con for this lens. Why is that? You are buying a lens without stabilisation, why cry over it. If you want stabilisation, pay twice as that and get the Canon prime. For God's sake, this is a bargain.

Again, some say that it costs money to buy filters for this lens. I agree here, it would be better if you could use drop in filters like the 300mm prime but people that say that it costs to buy the UV for protection I just laugh. I myself paid $200 for a Heliopan UV just to protect this baby and not degrade its quality. Again, the filter size is part of its specifications and it's even quite small for a 300mm f/2.8

Even Sigma says that this is sharper than its 300mm prime. I've read reviews that the Canon is sharper than this. To be honest, I can't see how it can get sharper than this, and if it can, then good for those who can afford it, I can't!


Mar 19, 2008
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lextalionis
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Registered: Jul 28, 2007
Location: United States
Posts: 1076
Review Date: Mar 17, 2008 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $2,750.00 | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: Very very sharp lens...only a wee bit of edge-softness at 300mm and f/2.8
Cons:
Heavy, AF isn't as fast as expected, some Canon 1-series may have focus issues.

A truly remarkable Sigma Zoom. This is a wonderful sports and nature lens. Works very well with the Sigma TC's...highly recommend!

Sample photos taken with a Nikon D200 and Canon 5D

-Roy


Mar 17, 2008
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Drew_Persson
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Registered: Oct 25, 2006
Location: United States
Posts: 1214
Review Date: Jan 16, 2008 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $2,200.00 | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: GREAT color and contrast (like it more than my L lenses), built like a tank, works well with Sigma 1.4x TC.
Cons:
Heavy, mounted on a 1D you're well over ten pounds of camera.

Can't beat it for the money, heck might not be able to beat it for twice the money. It's heavy and my arm cringes when I pull it out of the bag, but WOW the 120-300 captures some gorgeous images. Not much else to say...highly recommended.

Makes me want a Sigmonster.


Jan 16, 2008
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willis
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Registered: Jul 23, 2005
Location: United Kingdom
Posts: 471
Review Date: Jul 27, 2007 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: Range, versatility, fast and sharp wide open, rapid AF, gorgeous bokeh, well built, good value, excellent with sigma 1.4X and & 2x TCs.
Cons:
Heavy (hand holdable but not much fun for prolonged periods), no IS, no focus range limiter. Very expensive front filter (105mm).

I bought this with a little trepidation as all my other lenses are Canon. Its now my sharpest lens. Excellent for sports as I hoped but what I didn't expect is the quality with a 2x TC. It needs a tripod but it's a great wildlife lens. From reading other reviews I seem to have a very good copy. I have nothing but praise for it.
While its fairly expensive its cheap compared to canon alternatives (and Canon don't make anything truly comparable).


Jul 27, 2007
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Sigma 120-300mm f2.8 EX DG HSM

Buy from B&H Photo
Reviews Views Date of last review
91 321390 Mar 15, 2014
Recommended By Average Price
82% of reviewers $2,085.38
Build Quality Rating Price Rating Overall Rating
9.35
9.60
9.1
120_300_1_


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