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Sigma 120-300mm f2.8 EX DG HSM

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Reviews Views Date of last review
92 327003 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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lee Woolery
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Registered: Jun 3, 2004
Location: United States
Posts: 1
Review Date: Jun 3, 2004 Recommend? no | Price paid: $1,899.00 | Rating: 2 

 
Pros: Does focus fast
Cons:
Poor image quality and customer service...service department not helpful at all

Many have reported excellent results with this lens when used on the Nikon D2H, however I never was able to get one in focus (and sellable) shot on mine. All focus settings were tried, tripods, high shutter speeds, static and moving objects and the results are all the same...what AF locks on is out of focus but what is about 2 feet behind is razor sharp.

It has been sent back twice for repair, adjustment, replacement and it still back-focuses. The images are useless and no amount of sharpening can save them. I asked for a replacement but last I heard they were sending it back to Japan for analysis.

I am sure that I got a bad one because it focuses just as poorly on a D100 and F4. On MF, the images are great but who would pay $1900.00 for a manual lens to be used on a camera that has an AF system as sophisticated as the D2H.

Sigma blamed the camera but the $179.00 Nikkor 70-300G lens that I purchased as a temporary replacement has better image quality than the Sigma that cost 10 times as much....as long as you have bright sun shine. To have over $2000.00 wrapped up in a lens, teleconverter and lens filter and not be able to make one penny off of it is quite frustrating.

I am only hoping that Sigma will send me a replacement that will focus perfectly on the D2H.


Jun 3, 2004
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tschaal
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Registered: Oct 31, 2003
Location: Norway
Posts: 209
Review Date: Jun 2, 2004 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $2,166.00 | Rating: 8 

 
Pros: Price, focal lenghts, sharpness, AF speed.
Cons:
None

I bought my first one back in december 2003, ownd it for some 2 months and found it to be a superb lens in every way. A 300mm lens with zoom down to 120mm, that also performed great with both 1,4x and 2x teleconverters. Did even do well with stacked converters:)

Since I didn't know any better, I sold this lens so that I could get the $ to buy a EF 300mm f2.8 IS. Somehow I had made up my mind that IS was something I had to have.

To make a long story short; I got the EF 300mm f2.8 IS and tested it, but when I took the pricetag + quality of the pictures and compared it to the 120-300's price and quality of pictures and also got a zoom...there was not much more to think about.

I now have boutght a new Sigma EX 120-300 f2.8 lens and would recommend it to everyone that would like to have the best 300mm f2.8 zoom lens out there.

Of course, if you have unlimited amount of $ and can afford 2 houses and a L prime for one and a L zoom for the other, get those, but if not: This is the one to get!


Jun 2, 2004
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Larry Carter
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Registered: Jan 7, 2002
Location: Georgia
Posts: 3739
Review Date: Apr 16, 2004 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $1,799.00 | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: Well built (actually built better than my Canon 300 4L). For wildlife I like a black colored barrel on the lens so I was pleased.
Cons:
The weight is on the heavy side. Hard to hand hold. I'll just have to get used to it.

Outstanding glass. Excellent resolutions at all f-stops except f32, and sharp at all focal lengths. HSM auto focus is fast and quiet, I was very surprised at that, seems faster than my Canon L but more than likely they are the same, I'll have to take more notes on this.

The biggest surprise was how well it did with the Canon 2X II TC. Very sharp and didn't lose much resolution at all f-stops. Excellent!!! It will be nice to have a 240-600mm f5.6 lens. Can't wait to try it out on some macro work.

All I can say is "Sigma did something right!". I've never been a zoom lens user but I think this lens will change my mind about the future of zooms. Anyways, its near fixed focal length quality and would rival Canon's best. I would recommend this lens to anyone who needs a fast f2.8 with the flexibility of a zoom. Bravo!!!! This lens is a winner in my book.

Larry Carter



Apr 16, 2004
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Wayne Gravning
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Registered: Dec 9, 2003
Location: United States
Posts: 68
Review Date: Apr 3, 2004 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $1,625.00 | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: Constant f2.8 aperature and 120-300mm zoom range. Well constructed and priced competitively. Tripod Collar. Very Quiet and Quick focus....no hunting. It locks in and that's it. Color looks very good to me. Four year warranty.
Cons:
I would think twice before carrying this lens for a five mile hike. ( I'm kinda old ). I use a Bogen monopod when shooting sports.

Bought the lens in October of 2003 for shooting High School soccer and track on my Canon 10D. The first thing when I acquire a new lens is to put it on a tripod and shoot a series of pics thru the entire f/stop range. This lens proved very sharp from f2.8 to f16. Then I had to learn which sensors work best for me to get a higher ratio of sharp pictures. I finally have decided that I enjoy the challenge of "sharp shooting" wide open with/without my Sigma APO 1.4 teleconverter. Missed focus I blame on my slow reactions and inexperience with auto-focus lenses. I have 45 yrs. of motion picture productions and large camera landscape work for fun. It is truly a joy when I "hit" focus on fast action and I can see the beads of sweat and facial details etc. This lens is truely a keeper.

Apr 3, 2004
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DSeelig
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Registered: Oct 27, 2002
Location: United States
Posts: 575
Review Date: Mar 31, 2004 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $1,899.00 | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: Sharp as a tact. Excellent autofocus speed - I shoot sports- I can zoom on a runner from 2nd to 3rd and not cut him off. I have had 2 copies of tghis lens the first had the infamous out of alignment problem . Months after the shuttbug article. The second was soft till it was sent in to be fixed. Do not buy this lens from a sleazy dealer to save a few bucks . Buy with a usa warranty
Cons:
You have to buy an accesory tripod adapter to hung on your shoulder. This costs 150 dollars This lens is heavy but can be handheld. Not quite Lseries build quality. Quality control .

This lens is quite simply phonemonal,when you have it working right.

Mar 31, 2004
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Kris K
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Registered: May 6, 2002
Location: United States
Posts: 172
Review Date: Nov 19, 2003 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $1,650.00 | Rating: 6 

 
Pros: Very sharp, good color. Very good, but not great AF speed.
Cons:
Poor QC and poor function on a 1Ds. Unusable AF (serious back-focusing)

I tried two different copies of this lens on my 1Ds. Neither came even close to acceptable AF function on this camera. The camera has spot on focus with 5-6 other L lenses I own, so I know it was the Sigma lenses. When manually focused, this lens if fabulous...but I won't pay that type of money for a MF lens. I've since read that Sigma is aware of a suboptimal function of their "comparator" chip which makes it unlikely for this lens to perform well with AF on the 1Ds. I know other users of this lens w/ a 1Ds have reported no problems, but I've yet to see any proof of that. I, on the otherhand, have numerous tests and mis-focused photos to demonstrate that at least two of these lenses did not work. If you're going to try it on a 1D or 1Ds, I'd be sure there is a good return policy from whomever you purchased it.

Nov 19, 2003
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Creative Edge
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Registered: Jun 14, 2003
Location: United States
Posts: 2039
Review Date: Nov 3, 2003 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $1,659.00 | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: Extremely fast autofocus...does not hunt.. Love the ability to be at 300mm then move out to 120mm and it's extremely sharp across the whole range!!!!!
Cons:
have not found any... sure it's heavy...but what 300 2.8 isnt...

I have used all kinds of zooms including the Nikon 80-200 2.8 and this is the sharpest zoom I have used..
Wide open it's very sharp and at 4.5 it is as sharp as a prime..
I still cannot believe that Sigma sells this 300 2.8 for the price they do..
I was debating between the Nikon 300 2.8 and this one,, but the ability to zoom out made me go with the Sigma...Sure some diehard prime shooters will doubt it's that sharp.... but as a long time shooter of prime lenses.. it definately convinced me....
Build quality is top notch,,,the finish is beautiful and a nice hood comes with it. .. the hood is a little short...
Oh,,and did I mention it's extremely SHARP!!!!!

Update... I've been using this lens for about 6 months now and it still amazes me..
I shot motocross races with it and the autofocus is extremely fast and accurate. I cannot even imagine giving this lens up for a prime 300.
The images are tack sharp...


Nov 3, 2003
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Mike D
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Registered: Apr 18, 2003
Location: United States
Posts: 73
Review Date: Jun 24, 2003 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $1,899.00 | Rating: 8 

 
Pros: Fast autofocus,(Canon mount) Good results with both 1.4 & 2x Sigma T/C's The ability to zoom down from 300 when needed,ie, sports!
Cons:
Lens hood could be a bit longer

So far, I'd say the results from this lens rival what can be expected from the Canon 300/2.8, I've had two of the Canon's, but not the new model, so, can't compare that one. I just switched back from Nikon, and it's as good as what I got from their 300/2.8 AFs. I don't think it can be beat, and the price speaks for itself. If I do find any faults, I won't be shy about reporting on them. Also, it will get a workout at Brickyard and N.H.R.A. nationals. Here is a link to a professional review that I found helpfull during decision time. Hope this helps others on a budget, as I was!
http://www.photography.za.com/media.htm


Jun 24, 2003
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gavin
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Registered: Jun 7, 2003
Location: Canada
Posts: 468
Review Date: Jun 15, 2003 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $3,400.00 | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: Reversed Zoom ring, focus speed, f2.8, price, sharpness.
Cons:
heavy, problimatic lense mount (nikon).

This truelly is the best lense in my bag. I don't even use the 70 - 200 if I can avoid it. It's pin sharp and AF is as good as I've used. In low light it's stella. I like how the Zoom ring has been moved out so I don't rest my hand on the monopod locking nut, and the 'pull down,push up' zoom action is far more logical than the nikon and canon norm. I can not compare it to anything else, because no one makes one. You do have to make sure the mount is seated well or all sorts of 'err' messages will light up your life.

Jun 15, 2003
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Hammerli
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Registered: Apr 17, 2003
Location: United States
Posts: 1914
Review Date: Apr 17, 2003 Recommend? no | Price paid: $1,899.00 | Rating: 6 

 
Pros: Fast focusing, even w/ Sigma 2X. Outer finish seemed more durable than L lenses. Great focal range, especially w/ 2X.
Cons:
Poor fit between lens and Sigma 2X and lens and 1Ds. By the time I had both on, the stack-up of the tolerances resulted in a rattling assembly, not acceptable at this price. Poor sharpness and contrast both with AND without 2X.

On initial impressions, this lens seemed great. In the store, the lens focused very quickly both with and without extender attached, and seemed to be a great 600/5.6 equivalent on my 1Ds. However, once I got it home and took 847 images on a Sunday trying to figure out the problem, I returned it. Regardless of whether I had the extender on or not, I could not get sharp pictures at any ISO, aperture, or shutter speed. Mounted on a tripod, and even outdoors in bright sunlight, I could not obtain one sharp image. I will give Sigma the benefit of the doubt, and assume it was out of adjustment, but I expect better quality control at this price point.

Apr 17, 2003
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xojins
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Registered: Mar 16, 2003
Location: United States
Posts: 23
Review Date: Apr 7, 2003 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $1,800.00 | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: Tack Sharp! Fast AF
Cons:
Heavy

I love my 120-300mm. I did have a problem with this lens when I 1st received it. The whole right side of the frame was out of focus. Luckly, I live not too far from Sigma's office on Long Island. I dropped off the lens Firday and had it back on Monday. After that, it was tack sharp!

As for the performance, the autofocus is fast (with a 10D), and the images are very sharp and detailed. You will need a fast shutter speed and a good tripod for this lens. Some people have stated issues with the zoom ring. I can honestly say that I have no problems turning it and it can be used to quickly change the zoom. I have used the Sigma 2x and 1.4x converter with this lens and the image is still sharp, no vignetting and very very little CA.

Here is a 100% crop from the upper right hand corner of a test shot @600mm f/8 1/40s, slight usm, no curves:

http://www.davidamatulli.com/images/crop.jpg

I would recommend this lens to others.


Apr 7, 2003
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erikff
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Registered: Sep 8, 2002
Location: South Africa
Posts: 1281
Review Date: Mar 30, 2003 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: very sharp and fast
Cons:
heavy

I have owned this lens now for a little under two months and only had a chance to put it through its paces in the last few days. I am blown away both the sharpnesss of the photographs as well as by the speed in which it locks into focus. I dont know much about HSM, SLD, EX, APO, ED, Multicoating vignetting, abborations and all those things but can tell you that I am extremely happy with my lens.

I bought this lens (and a 2X converter) to replace my Nikon 80-400 VR and havent looked back. Simply put - Ilove this lens

The weight of the lens does however become prohibitive to carry around with me wherever I go and I would not recommend it unless one uses it with a monopod. (or a tripod when combining it with a Sigma 2X EX adaptor) Thats my 2c worth...


Mar 30, 2003
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Sigma 120-300mm f2.8 EX DG HSM

Buy from B&H Photo
Reviews Views Date of last review
92 327003 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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