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Sigma 120-300mm f2.8 EX DG HSM

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Reviews Views Date of last review
92 327046 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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Kirk77
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Registered: Dec 5, 2004
Location: Australia
Posts: 4
Review Date: Dec 10, 2004 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $4,000.00 | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: sharp as a tac even at 2.8...and fast focusing
Cons:
tripod collar slightly loose.

I find this lens one of the most valuable lenses for sports photography...especially with the 1.3x conversion on a 1DmkII...its reach and zoom range are perfect..soccer,baseball,tennis,motorsports etc.

Dec 10, 2004
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Kirk77
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Registered: Dec 5, 2004
Location: Australia
Posts: 4
Review Date: Dec 10, 2004 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $4,000.00 | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: sharp as a tac even at 2.8...and fast focusing
Cons:
tripod collar slightly loose.

I find this lens one of the most valuable lenses for sports photography...especially with the 1.3x conversion on a 1DmkII...its reach and zoom range are perfect..soccer,baseball,tennis,motorsports etc.

Dec 10, 2004
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andrewma
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Registered: Nov 17, 2004
Location: United States
Posts: 18
Review Date: Nov 25, 2004 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $1,800.00 | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: Fast focus (HSM), metal lens hood, carrying case, very sharp
Cons:
heavy (as it should be), don't really need the case much, bokeh seems a bit...off?

I love this lens. I have the Canon 70-200L f/4 and HAD the Canon 70-200 f/2.8 and have used the larger canon L lenses and I would safely say that I prefer this lens for the price. It not only has 100mm more on the canon 70-200 zooms, but most lenses of this size should be on a monopod/tripod anyhow. It's possible to hand hold and if it's bright you'll be able to take very sharp pictures throughout the range of zooms. some folks complain about sharpness at 120mm but mine seems very sharp even in the corners.

You'll have a hard time trying to put this in the horizontal position on a monopod with a digitla camera that has a vertical grip. somehow the grip sticks out just enough to hit the quick release lever of monopods. on both my canon and bogen monopods. quite an annoyance as you have to loosen the tripod collar, rotate the camera, then rotate it back to shoot in horizontal. I mostly shoot in vertical so it avoids this problem but you'll find yourself STUCK if you switch to vertical and then try to take it off the monopod. you can't release it without turning it to vertical! GRRR!!

lens is heavy to hand hold. i work out a lot and used to doing finger tip push ups for kung fu and i find my arm getting tired trying to hand hold. those on here that can hand hold...you guys must be bears.

focusing is very sharp. just expect to pay a TON for filters. i picked up a uv and circular polarizer for a whopping $240-280 or so. with a 105mm thread, don't even bother looking at any of the cokin series! anyone know if the lee filters will even fit this??


Nov 25, 2004
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Ken T.
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Registered: Sep 24, 2003
Location: United States
Posts: 6
Review Date: Oct 20, 2004 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $1,900.00 | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: Sharpness, Range, Build
Cons:
Mount seems just a little looser than Canon lenses

I did a lot of research before purchasing this lens, and read a lot of positive, and some negative things about it. I was concerned about quality control from Sigma, so I bought this at a reputable dealer with a good exchange policy. It seems like a lot of the negative comments from some of the other boards started with..."Well I have never actually used the 120-300, but my past experience with Sigma..." I have never used anything other than Canon glass for my cameras, so this was a decision I did not take lightly.
I use this lens for football, baseball, soccer, an dance, using the Sigma 1.4 APO converter during the day when needed for the extra reach. I am amazed at the quality right out of the 1D. I add just a little touch of sharpening, and the results are fantastic. I almost always shoot wide open, and am very pleased with the results.
No problems with focus. Speed is very good, and accuracy is great. Possibly a little slower in AI Servo than my 70-200 2.8, but I don't know if that is proveable or just an impression. I have not tried this lens on the 10D for sports, so I can't comment on the focusing speed with that combo. I have also taken some close-up portraits at 300mm, and the detail is stunning. Thank God for gaussian blur in photoshop to soften the facial detail.
The build quality is top rate. Of course it's heavy, but I do handhold it on occasion. On days where I am shooting football games from 09:00 am to 11:00 pm, a monopod is an absolute necessity. I always use a filter because I am so paranoid of scratching the front element. The filter is huge and not cheap, but a lot less expensive to replace than the lens if I ever screwed up royally.
If you want to see some examples ot the lens, you can look at http://www.tse.photoreflect.com Of course these are very low resolution thumbnails, but can give you an idea of the reach and focusing accuracy of the lens. I would say that 90-95% of the shots are good enough to post, with most of the bad ones being my fault.


Oct 20, 2004
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pnorth
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Registered: Sep 3, 2004
Location: United States
Posts: 560
Review Date: Oct 12, 2004 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $1,900.00 | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: Great Sharpness, zoom very usefull, value
Cons:
NONE

I purchased this lens for outdoor sports, and nature photography. I was a little nervous about using a 2X converter due to softness, but was very surprised at the sharpness with the converters attatched! 600mm f5.6 is great for nature, and the canon 1.4 and 2X converters work great with this lens. Now that I have the 120-300, I couldn't imagin myself without it.

Oct 12, 2004
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geejames
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Registered: Aug 22, 2004
Location: United States
Posts: 27
Review Date: Sep 25, 2004 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $1,400.00 | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: Fast, sharp and great zoom. The Build is solid. It is the only 3rd party lens I own with 18 other Nikons and it is a decision I am glad I made.
Cons:
Some complain it is heavy. It is lighter then most of the Nikon 300 mm F2.8 AF models and cost much less then the newer AF-S series? I have one fear getting it wet as Sigma recommends it is not water resistant. Can't have everything?

I use the APO 1.4x teleconverter. I find it fast and accurate even with the teleconverter. Thus far it performs outstanding. Would recommend it to anyone who wants a lens that performs without breaking the bank. When I first tried it out it was priced at 1,899 so I brought the 70-200 F 2.8 AFS VR G by Nikon instead.Since then Sigma has raised the price and it sells for $2,299. I was Fortunate to find it on E-bay at 1,400 in mint condition so now I have the best of two worlds so to speak. For outdoor sports the 70-200 is placed on a second body. The Sigma 120-300 rules for soccer, baseball and football.

Sep 25, 2004
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Peter Kirk
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Registered: Sep 25, 2004
Location: Australia
Posts: 309
Review Date: Sep 25, 2004 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $2,200.00 | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: Love the quality and speed of focus.
Cons:
Lens Hood could be a fraction longer...but then again it might affect the 120 range.

Ive found that the lens works extremely well with the 1DmkII in every respect. Focus is absolutely SPOT ON each time.
I have tried it on the D60 and found the lens faultless....speed of focus drops due to camera spec's not lens's fault. A worthwile investment. This lens has defined a new level of "sharp" in my images....I thought the 85 mm f1.8 was crisp....until I got my hands on this beauty...will not be seperating with this lens.


Sep 25, 2004
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Peter Kirk
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Registered: Sep 25, 2004
Location: Australia
Posts: 309
Review Date: Sep 25, 2004 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $2,200.00 | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: Love the quality and speed of focus.
Cons:
Lens Hood could be a fraction longer...but then again it might affect the 120 range.

Ive found that the lens works extremely well with the 1DmkII in every respect. Focus is absolutely SPOT ON each time.
I have tried it on the D60 and found the lens faultless....speed of focus drops due to camera spec's not lens's fault. A worthwile investment. This lens has defined a new level of "sharp" in my images....I thought the 85 mm f1.8 was crisp....until I got my hands on this beauty...will not be seperating with this lens.


Sep 25, 2004
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Unregistered
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Location: Australia
Review Date: Sep 25, 2004 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $2,295.00 | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: Very sharp and quick focus speed....comparable to primes.
Cons:
Slightly forward heavy....just a tad....however mounting a 1.4x and a 1DmkII balances is out nicely.

I found that the fact that I can zoom out from 300 makes this lens a big blessing in all situations.
Very very good results at all aperatures except fully closed down....but then again how many times do you shoot at F 32??
Excellent product. Highly recommended.


Sep 25, 2004
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spartan123
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Registered: Nov 9, 2003
Location: United States
Posts: 3683
Review Date: Sep 3, 2004 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $1,500.00 | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: EVERYTHING!!! This lens rocks!
Cons:
Weight, but it balances well on a monopod.

The perfect sports / wildlife lens for me. Works great with 1.4 TC and the photo's are just tack sharp. I no longer have to worry about my son playing in his soccer matches and getting to close to me.

A lens WELL worth the money.


Sep 3, 2004
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MacD
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Registered: Jun 5, 2004
Location: United States
Posts: 898
Review Date: Sep 1, 2004 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $1,900.00 | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: Fast, sharp when longer than 120mm, good contrast and saturation, and a zoom.
Cons:
Large and heavy, but any 300mm will be. My copy is a little soft wide open at 120mm.

This is my second copy. The first was excellent, but I thought I had to have the Canon 300 2.8 IS, so I sold it and went with Canon. At my first sporting event I realized how much I missed the zoom, causing me to miss many excellent shots. I sold the Canon, went back to the buyer of my first Sigma, hoping he did not like it, and he told me I was not getting it back! Thankfully, Canoga had not raised their price yet, and I got a new one for 1898.00. The only thing, both copies have been soft when wide open at 120mm, but I'm almost never below 180mm, so for me, all is great.

Sep 1, 2004
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Dean Treml
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Registered: Aug 9, 2004
Location: Switzerland
Posts: 333
Review Date: Aug 9, 2004 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $1,700.00 | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: Fast, Sharp, Versatile.
Cons:
Looks funny with a white Canon 1.4x ...

After 18 years of sport, news and commercial photography this is the best lens I've ever used. How many times I've been stuck with a 300mm prime and wished I could have zoomed back to 200mm I couldn't begin to imagine.
When this lens became available I bought one and put it up against my Canon 300mm f2.8 USM during a sporting event using a combination of stand alone and converters. The Canon 300mm is now no more. The Sigma was as sharp and as fast, if not faster and the added versatility of the zoom made it no contest. The contrast of the Canon glass was a little superior, but if you are shooting digital this does not matter as it may with film.
At 2.6kg it's 300g lighter than the Canon 300. If you are used to amateur spec lenses you might find this heavy, but from a pro-user point of view it is a good weight and very easy to hand hold. The lens hood is not unnecessarily long and the general handling ergonomics are superb.
This lens is so great for shooting the everchanging dynamic of sports, in any light condition, and if I thought this lens was good on the EOS 1D, it's even better on the EOS 1D mk II. Having said that, it still preforms brilliantly on the D60.
Thanks Sigma, now could I please have a 35-120mm f2.8 to marry up to it !


Aug 9, 2004
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Jesd
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Registered: Jul 22, 2004
Location: Denmark
Posts: 1
Review Date: Jul 25, 2004 Recommend? no | Price paid: $1,728.00 | Rating: 6 

 
Pros: Fast focus. Takes great photos at f8.
Cons:
At f2.8 it always focus behind the subject.

I just bought this lens, and a number of tests have shown that at f2.8 it always focus behind the subject. At f8 it takes great photos, but that is not why I bought this lens. For some reason it gets better if I put on a x2 TC (Sigma). I have tried this lens on both S2Pro and D70 and the results were the same.

Jul 25, 2004
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Canuck
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Registered: Jul 22, 2004
Location: United States
Posts: 2
Review Date: Jul 22, 2004 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $1,900.00 | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: Incredibly sharp all the way thru the range, all around great lens
Cons:
This is not lightweight at 5 3/4 lbs, but what 300mm F2.8 isn't heavy.

This lens was my first pro lens after shooting with some consumer grade glass and what a difference that makes! My first use of this lens took me to Wales. The fist pics were taken in Tenby/Saundersfoot area. I had truly hit it right. I have since taken pics of all kinds of landscape, airplanes (including Concorde), the moon, and lots more. I truly can't say enough good stuff about this lens! This past weekend took me to Fairford for Int'l Air Tatoo (IAT) and that made all the difference in the world having a monster lens that can perform. Just to name some of the pics taken were the Super Hornet doing a high subsonic flyby and I can thank the 10D for 9 frame buffer as well as a Hawker Hunter, Tornado, B-1B Lancer amung other planes doing high speed passes. It seems that this has made it a lot easier to take really good pics. It just works like that. This lens has bailed me out a few times when the lighting was leaving a lot to be desired and the F2.8 is where it is at.

Would I recommend it? If you have the cash, a very big most definitely!


Jul 22, 2004
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Scott Sewell
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Registered: Dec 8, 2003
Location: United States
Posts: 8568
Review Date: Jul 8, 2004 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $1,500.00 | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: f2.8 through entire 120-300mm zoom range; quick and very quiet AF; solid, sturdy build; sharp images with good color; great lens for sports
Cons:
Not a lens I'd want to hand-hold for too long; tripod colllar sits rather low...would be nice if it were "taller";

Don't let the bad things you might have heard about this lens scare you away. There simply is no other lens on the market like this and if you think you might need this zoom range at f2.8, it's worth your effort to look into this lens. The HSM focuses quickly and quietly and the lens feels like it's well built and rugged. Images are sharp at all f-stops and throughout the entire zoom range.

I'm not convinced this lens has as many problems as one might be led to believe because, IMO, there are just a lot of factors that come into play when shooting at f2.8 and in this zoom range. Basically, there isn't much room for error! Sequences of shots of moving subjects has resulted in very few OOF shots and those few are related more to the limitations of my 10d and my shooting (in)abilities than the lens.

Granted, there appear to be some legitimate QC issues with some copies of this lens, but find a good copy and it will hang with the best of them. And it does so at a fraction of the cost of a prime 300mm f2.8. Don't let the fact that it's not white and doesn't have a red line around the barrell scare you away. There's simply an awful lot to like about this lens.

EDIT: I'd highly recommend buying the optional TS-41 tripod collar for this lens. It gets the lens up higher from the mount and is much easier to grab.


Jul 8, 2004
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parson
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Registered: Jul 24, 2003
Location: United States
Posts: 72
Review Date: Jun 9, 2004 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $1,788.00 | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: Superb build quality; super-fast focus speed; reasonably priced for what you get.
Cons:
Could seriously benefit from rear drop-in filter capacity

I've used this for a little over two weeks on my D2h and can find no serious drawbacks. Outstanding image quality regardless of what others might have experienced. I've found no indication of back focus problems with the D2h. Color and contrast with this lens are excellent and the range (especially on the D2h) is outstanding -- equal to a 450mm f2.8 for less than two-grand! Neither focusing nor image quality suffers with the addition of the 2x converter.

I do wish Sigma had given this great lens rear filter capacity. Finding and buying 105mm front filters is next to impossible. Beyond that I can find no complaints with this piece of equipment.


Jun 9, 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 327046 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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