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Sigma 120-300mm f2.8 EX DG HSM

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Reviews Views Date of last review
92 324903 Jun 22, 2014
Recommended By Average Price
83% of reviewers $2,085.38
Build Quality Rating Price Rating Overall Rating
9.34
9.58
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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JMShort
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Registered: Mar 18, 2003
Location: United States
Posts: 294
Review Date: Jan 26, 2006 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $1,999.00 | Rating: 7 

Pros: Zoom range in a 2.8. Price/value
Cons:
AF just not up to snuff. Poorly designed tripod collars.

I've owned this lens for about 9 months now and it is a lot of quality lens for the money. But, I find the autofocus is just a bit too slow for a lot of the sports I shoot. Also, after some dissappointing results on my 20D, I now only use this lens on my 1DmlII as it seems only the Series 1 autofocus has the tolerances to get constistant results. I was hoping to take advantage of the 1.6 crop factor on the 20D to get more telephoto out of this lens, but my 20D gives far too many soft focus results, even when my subjects were not in motion. Recently, shooting football in a poorly-lit dome, this lens on the 1DmlII did OK, but still missed on the focus all too often. I also talked with a colleague who shoots significantly more sports than I who abandonned this lens (for the big Canon 2.8 glass) after trying several copies of this lens, finding the focus just too slow.

Also, I am dissappointed with the strength of the TS-41 tripod collar, purchased for an additional $150. It really is a required accessory with this lens, even for hand-held use, as it is the only way to attach a strap to this lens. I broke the first TS-41 I bought for this lens while lifting the lens out of my camera backpack. The collar, unlike those supplied on big Canon glass, is not strong enough to rely on as a carrying handle. I'd think for the price on this collar, it could be built just a bit stronger.

My recommendation on this lens is to be cautious about its focussing limitations when considering it.


Jan 26, 2006
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pnorth
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Registered: Sep 3, 2004
Location: United States
Posts: 560
Review Date: Jan 18, 2006 Recommend? | Price paid: $2,199.00

Pros: Fast AF, built like a tank, f2.8, and zoom!
Cons:
None

I canít say enough about this lens, it has been my workhorse for all of my outdoor sports photography. I owned the non DG for about a year and a half, then went to the DG version thinking it would make a difference on my 1Dmk2, but to be honest with you, the difference is not that big, the DG may be a hair more contrasty, and the color has just a little more pop, but over all it is the same thing. On my new DG lens, I had an issue with it locking up while in AI servo, but sigma was quick to replace the HSM in the lens, and now it has not locked up once. This lens works great with a Sigma or Canon 1.4X TC. The zoom is invaluable to have IMO, and the larger tripod collar is also a plus. I use this lens primarily for sports, but it makes for a great nature lens also. I have had the opportunity to get the 300mm prime, but now that I have used the 120-300, I donít think I would capture nearly as many keeper images with a prime. This is the best all around sports lens on the market hands down.

Jan 18, 2006
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canonpro
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Registered: May 9, 2005
Location: United States
Posts: 3
Review Date: Jan 10, 2006 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 10 

Pros: Super fast AF, f/2.8, built like a tank. Works great with 1.4x teleconverter. Extremely sharp. (sharper then any of my Canon L zoom lenses).
Cons:
Heavy, after handholding for a few hours your arm does hurt, tripod mount is small (DG version includes the TS-41 though), Non-Parafocal.

Tried out the Canon 100-400 L and the Sigma 120-300. I was not happy with the focus speed or sharpness with the Canon (tried 2 copies), not to mention the push pull feature. The IS on the Canon was really nice, but with the 2.8 of the Sigma Im not really missing it. This is one of those sleeper lenses (like the Sigma 150 macro). Its tack sharp, the auto focus is very fast, and the quality/build is great. This is the second Sigma lens I have (next to my 150 Macro), all my other lenses are L glass. Im usually an L snob, but this lens (and 150) have totally changed my view on the compition. If your think of getting a Canon 100-400L try this lens side by side, and youll be very surprised!!!

Jan 10, 2006
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Thang
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Registered: Jan 25, 2004
Location: United States
Posts: 8530
Review Date: Oct 25, 2005 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $1,400.00 | Rating: 10 

Pros: Useful zoom range at constant f/2.8. This lens produces razor sharp images at f/2.8! AF is extremely quiet and fast. This lens performs well with my Canon 1.4x and 2x TC IIs. Built quality feel very sturdy.
Cons:
The tripod collar is too close to the AF ring. The zoom ring is a little tight. Hopefully, it will loosen up over time.

I bought this lens last week over at the Buy and Sell forum for $1400. I was ecstatic to find one at this price. I did some test runs with the 1DII and the images are sharp at wide open. Stop down to f/3.2, it's amazingly sharp. I also ran some test shots with the 1.4x and 2x TCs. Stopped down by 1/3 fstop, the images are sharp and I am happy!

I have been searching high and low for something to go with my 600mm lens. This will be a perfect compliment to my 600mm while I am in the field photographing birds/wildlife. I have tried the 300 f/4 IS, 400 5.6 and the 100-400 IS but none is as flexible as this lens. So far, I am very satisfied with the image quality. Hopefully, I will have some time this weekend to test the AF tracking capability of this lens on flying/diving ospreys.

I have a feeling that this will be another keeper for me.


Oct 25, 2005
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MichaD
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Registered: Nov 29, 2004
Location: Germany
Posts: 407
Review Date: Sep 14, 2005 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $1,840.00 | Rating: 9 

Pros: Sharp, Fast and it zooms
Cons:
Non-Parafocal! 105mm filters

A 300/2.8 with the ability to zoom out is just too damn useful! This has to be one of the best deals in the Sigma lineup.

It's very sharp and also handles the 1.4x TC very well.
At first I though I wouldn't be able to handhold this baby as well but it balances nicely and after a little getting used to I can now handhold it basically all day. I'm by no means a bear, quite the wimp actually. A monopod isn't the worst thing to use of course.
The zooming action isn't the smoothest around and also has some play when tilting the lens straight up and down while the focusing is buttery smooth and the AF is fast and precise.
I got mine before the DG version came out and had to buy the larger tripod socked, the supplied one was a joke for a lens of this caliber. I hear it's included on the current model now.
The only real gripe I have about this Lens is it being so massively non-parafocal. A slight change in focal length sets the focus way off. It's not a deal breaker but can surely slow you down.
I'd rate the Bokeh pretty high. It's not 200/1.8L smooth, but nothing distracting, doubled or fuzzed up. Very circular highlights, even stopped way down. Things get ugly in the background when using TCs though.
I really like the design of the shade, provides great mechanical protection of the front element and mounts bullet proof. The leather "lens cap" should fit when the lens hood is mounted and not only when it's reversed.



Sep 14, 2005
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gamecockfan
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Registered: Mar 21, 2005
Location: United States
Posts: 75
Review Date: Sep 9, 2005 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $1,875.00 | Rating: 10 

Pros: Value, build quality, sharpness, contrast, good zoom range for sports
Cons:
Tracking with 1D MKII

I have been very pleased with this Sigma. Last year I swore off ever buying another Sigma after a less than satisfactory experience with a 24-70. A close encounter with this lensís little brother, the 100-300 f/4 convinced me that Sigma could indeed make an excellent glass so I gave this one a shot.

In most respects it equals my Canon 70-200 f/2.8. There are three areas where it trails the L: ability to track moving objects on my 1D MKII, it seems to add a very faint yellowish cast and, to a very minor degree, sharpness. The different in sharpness is only apparent when making very large prints or 100 % crops .

As an outdoor sports lens it is without equalÖbecause no one else makes a zoom in this range, sharpness, speed, ect. Primes rule in landscapes, stills and portraits but action sports BEG for a fast zoom. You just miss too many shots without a zoom. IF Canon made a similar white lens in this range it would no doubt cost twice as much, weigh more and could not possibly be much better but would likely be a little sharper.

If, and until, a better sports zoom lens comes along this is the fat cat daddy. It isnít perfect but as the standard bearer by default it is a 10.


Sep 9, 2005
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Baden
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Registered: Jul 5, 2005
Location: Denmark
Posts: 0
Review Date: Jul 5, 2005 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 10 

Pros: Build and Quality, Very sharp at 300 2.8, Great zoom range.
Cons:
none so far.

So far i am very very happy with this lens. Its tack sharp on both my 1D and 20D body. The AF is very pricise - no back or front focus here. The sharpness and great AF is just as good as the 70-200, maybe a little better. I am looking forward to be using it for Soccer very soon. The overall feel is superb, build and design is great and I will have no problem using it handheld even if it is a littele heavy. Love this nice EX glass.

Regards
Allan


Jul 5, 2005
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Geofn
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Registered: Jan 31, 2005
Location: United States
Posts: 842
Review Date: May 31, 2005 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $1,815.00 | Rating: 10 

Pros: Optical Quality, Build Quality, Internal Focusing, the new tripod mount design.
Cons:
A wee bit on the heavy side (but then again, think about what you have here!). Would like to see a real lens cap. Also would be great to have OS!

This is one amazing hunk of glass! Focusing is as fast and accurate as any of my Canon L's. Background blur at 2.8 is wonderful - this will be an awesome portrait lens. My copy is tack sharp across the whole aperture range at all zoom steeings. At the 300mm setting I can't see a whole lot of difference between this lens and my 300/4 L prime, and even at the 135mm setting this isn't much worse than my 135/2 L prime (the 135/2 does beat the Sigma in the corners, especially at f4 and wider - duh!).

This lens could really benefit from OS - while it's possible to hand hold this beast, you really ought to plan on a (sturdy) tripod.

I bought this with the Sigma 1.4x tele, and the combination is also tack sharp, as is the lens when used with my Canon 2x. Autofocus works perfectly with both extenders.

All in all this is a great lens for sports photography and I expect to use it for nature and portraits as well. This is the best priced 300/2.8 on the market, and you get the zoom as a bonus.


May 31, 2005
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jimyd
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Registered: Mar 23, 2005
Location: Australia
Posts: 7
Review Date: Mar 24, 2005 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $3,500.00 | Rating: 10 

Pros: What a LENS...perfect range for sports photography. Very Sharp and excellent contrast.
Cons:
Slightly heavy...not really considering what your getting.

I have used this lens very closely with my EF300F2.8L, the prime is only marginally better at 2.8, @ f4 and above these two lenses are almost identical in sharpness. The canon focusses quicker and tracks better however the Sigm is not a slow mover either.
I ended up selling my Canon after much thought and tests, ....do i regret it??..not at all. Give me a 120-300f2.8 zoom any day..this lens is a beast that hasnt been given enough respect. Get a good copy and its stays with you for life.


Mar 24, 2005
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DSeelig
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Registered: Oct 27, 2002
Location: United States
Posts: 575
Review Date: Mar 12, 2005 Recommend? | Price paid: $1,900.00

Pros: Zoom good sharpness
Cons:
slower autofocus then canon . actually alittle shy of 300 mm

Well after a year I sold my 120-300. I have felt i was not getting as much critcal sharpness from this lens as I wanted. If I shot nothing but HS or kid sports I would have kept it. But I shoot pro sports and rock and roll for an arena. For my local paper work it was a great lens. but for the critical times I was dissapointed just a bit. so I got a a canon 300 f2.8 is. The autofocus is just a a little slow for the pro sports arena. If canon had its autofocus in it I might still own it. It is aslo a little shy of 300 mm .

Mar 12, 2005
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shadowoa
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Registered: Oct 9, 2004
Location: United States
Posts: 1073
Review Date: Mar 6, 2005 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $1,750.00 | Rating: 10 

Pros: 2.8!, Fast!, Sharp!
Cons:
HUGE front filter. Heavy.

This lens is unbelievable. I have own alot of lenses and this is the sharpest. Even at 2.8 it is sharper than my 100-400IS lens was stopped down. Ultra fast focus, ultra sharp, great color. There is nothing wrong with this lens, but it is very big.

Mar 6, 2005
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boris342
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Registered: Oct 28, 2004
Location: Australia
Posts: 814
Review Date: Feb 19, 2005 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 10 

Pros: Sharp, fast, better than canon or nikon alternative 300mm F2.8's!! Brilliant wide open, awesome build quality, hand holdabe and cheap for what your getting. Also works great with TC 1.4x, 1.7x and 2.0x. Woks especially well with 1.7x.
Cons:
Gimmie Is/Vr/Os!!! This lens would be the best thing ever if it had some sought of vibration reduction :D!

This lens is the best tele lens i've shot with. check out my pics from rally aus, most with this lens http://www.darwinonline.org/thumbnails.php?album=1169 . I handheld the HOLE week end :O, and I really had no problems with it's weight (although I am young). There is one thing I would love to see in this lens and it's optical stabilisation, come on sigma, listen to me here this lens would be a dream with OS. Autofocus is just as quick as nikon's AFS, and canon's USM.

Thanks Alex :D


Feb 19, 2005
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uno1
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Registered: Feb 11, 2005
Location: Sweden
Posts: 0
Review Date: Feb 11, 2005 Recommend? no | Price paid: Not Indicated

Pros: Zoom range, 2.8 through all range.
Cons:
Autofocus does not function on Nikon D70 0.2m backfocus at 10m distance.

This would be the lens of my dreams if functioning properly.

After trying 2 different new lenses on 2 different Nikon D70 cameras, focus is in 95 % of images 1-3 dm (4-12 inches) behind the subject I aim for when shooting from 10 m distance. One of the lenses was sent to authorized Sigma service for check between tests, one of the cameras was sent to Nikon for focus adjustment. Problem is still remaining afterwards. Several hundreds of pictures taken, subject NOT moving.
It is very evident shooting at F2.8 from 10 m and zoomed to 300 mm, but at closer distance and / or zoomed out it seems to be OK. Also, first focusing 2 m behind subject and then refocusing on my main subject when taking the picture seems to give worse result than first focusing at closer distance.
My 15 years old AF Nikkor 300/4 provide 100 % images with correct focus under same conditions (same subject, distance, light, camera settings, focus procedure etc.)
On my Nikon F4, I have not observed the problem, although only one roll of film taken and not exactly same distances.

Another odd observation regarding this lens is the focal length when set to 300 mm. I did observe a significant difference to my old Nikkor, which brought me closer to the subject. I took some images of a long ruler from 8 m distance and then calculated the focal length. The Nikkor was 305 mm and the Sigma 270 mm. Sigma Corporation, Tokyo head office, informed me that focal length should be measured focused at infinity. In that case focal length is less than 270 mm since it decreases when focusing to infinity (same result for both 2 Sigma lenses tested). This is not a major problem though.

Sigma corp. answered to my questions regarding focus problem with providing info of the lens optical performance, but did not comment what could cause the focus problem and not what I could do about it.

I have been testing and discussing this issue with my local retailer and Sigma for more than one month now. If they can provide a lens working properly on my D70, I will highly recommend the lens. Now it is worthless.



Feb 11, 2005
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A_Altenburger
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Registered: Jun 22, 2004
Location: United States
Posts: 1368
Review Date: Feb 2, 2005 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $1,919.00 | Rating: 10 

Pros: This is by far the best lens I have ever owned, including my Canon L's. Fast and sharp. Suits my needs perfectly for sports. Ability to go out to 300mm as well as go wider. Would love a Sigma 200 f/1.8 prime.
Cons:
I hand-hold for 90% of the sports I shoot. It does get heavy after several hours. Certainly not a knock on the lens though.



Feb 2, 2005
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Review Date: Jan 22, 2005 Recommend? no | Price paid: $1,800.00 | Rating: 8 

Pros: Able to cover a nice range that Canon has no comparison to it in a zoom. Doesn't attract as much attention being black.
Cons:
Back focus at times when using the wrong focus practice. Not as sharp as say Canon's 300L f/4 are. Bayonet mount had a little play in it that Canon lenses don't have when fit up to the Canon bodies.

I like the range the 120-300 has and that AF is very fast and quite.

If you need this range of a Tele its still the only thing out there and can produce nice work.

The color renditions are very rich and being a 2.8 makes it fast and useable in low light situation.

I sold it for two main reasons being the back focus issue if you're not using good focus practices that Canon has a little more mercy for.

And most impotently how for instance Canon's 300L f4 non IS blew it out of the water when it came to sharpness and AF.

I hope I learned my lesson and stay away from 3rd party lenses from now on.


Jan 22, 2005
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David356
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Registered: Sep 9, 2002
Location: United States
Posts: 27
Review Date: Dec 26, 2004 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $1,999.00 | Rating: 10 

Pros: This is as good as my 70-200 2.8is, zoom range, speed, focus speed
Cons:
105mm filters, tripod coller you need to get the TS-41 adding another $150, no big thing but it would be nice the have OS in this lens

This lens is great for auto racing and other sports. I got mine just before Thanksgiving and first time using it was Irwindale for Thanksgiving night. It was alot better then the 70-200IS with the extra 100mm. It did not work as well with the Canon 2x, it was alittle slow on focus. This could be as it's the frist time using it. Try again during the 2005 race seasom.

Dec 26, 2004
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†††



Sigma 120-300mm f2.8 EX DG HSM

Buy from B&H Photo
Reviews Views Date of last review
92 324903 Jun 22, 2014
Recommended By Average Price
83% of reviewers $2,085.38
Build Quality Rating Price Rating Overall Rating
9.34
9.58
9.1
120_300_1_


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