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Sigma 300mm f2.8 EX APO HSM

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22 199796 Nov 13, 2010
Recommended By Average Price
100% of reviewers $1,569.14
Build Quality Rating Price Rating Overall Rating
9.53
9.71
9.5
300f2_8EX_lg_1_

Specifications:
Sigma APO 300mm f2.8 EX is one of the EX Series lenses. It is an ultra compact Apochromatic telephoto lens with a fast F2.8 maximum aperture, and incorporates two Extraordinary Low Dispersion glass elements (Abbe number 90.3), to reduce chromatic aberration to a minimum. It incorporates internal focusing which enables responsive and fast auto focus speed. The AF drive for Sigma SA, Canon and Nikon S.L.R. cameras feature Sigma's ultra-quiet Hyper Sonic Motor (H.S.M.). Sigma's dedicated APO EX Tele Converter 1.4x and 2x lenses work easily with this lens without sacrificing the AF speed of the Sigma APO 300mm F2.8 EX. A detachable tripod socket and rotatable drop in filter holder are provided. The lens materials used in this new lens are lead and arsenic free ecological glass.


 


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gearoid
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Registered: Dec 9, 2005
Location: Ireland
Posts: 1
Review Date: Nov 13, 2010 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 10 

Pros: Really fast silent AF. Fantastic sharpness wide open (mine was front focussing. Sigma recalibrated it to perfection. No problem to me as the Sigma centre is nearby). Well made. I've not used this lens stopped down at all!
Cons:
Heavy, but of course it has to be with all that glass!

I recently got a Canon 1d4 and had expanded my general photographic interest into running as my daughter has become a very successful runner. I have a 400 f5.6 and a 70-200 F4 but I wanted that unbeatable OOF background that the 300f2.8 gives. I tried this lens in a camera shop in Dublin on a 1d4 body and got them to download the images to their computer. I was impressed. When I brought it home on critical testing I discovered that it was front-focussing by about 45mm. The Sigma centre 15 miles from where I live fixed this while I waited. It is now perfect. I'm thrilled with it. The AF is really fast and silent. The lens is heavy, but how could it not be and I've used it on a 1d4 at running races and not noticed the weight, handheld. I've since bought a monopod but have yet to use it. If there's any difference between the results of this (I've always used it wide open, so far) and a Canon equivalent, then I don't think I'd notice it. I suggest that before you buy one, do as I did in the shop, try it out & look at the results on their computer.

Nov 13, 2010
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samoksner
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Registered: Jun 13, 2010
Location: United States
Posts: 1
Review Date: Jun 13, 2010 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 9 

Pros: Sharp, well built
Cons:
none

I've borrowed this lens several times and just love it. I've shot it at f2.8 often and have never been displeased. Is it as sharp as it gets at f2.8? Probably not, but then again... who would expect it to be? Nikon or Canon's own 300/2.8 are not as sharp as they get at 2.8. I've shot soccer with it and was satisfied with the AF speed, not blazingly fast, but I could never blame it for missing anything. I can't speak for it's low light AF performance, but if I had a permanent need for a 300/2.8, I would buy this sigma without making any apologies.



Jun 13, 2010
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havasu_photo
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Registered: Jul 18, 2009
Location: United States
Posts: 555
Review Date: Sep 18, 2009 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 9 

Pros: Price; weight; comes with circular drop in filter, that works
Cons:
Crappy tripod mount is useless for handholding. You have to spend another $135 to get the good TS-41 foot, that Sigma should have included for free. Only gets a 9 for overall rating because it doesn't have image stabilization, and the tripod foot isn't good for hand holding.

I bought the non-DG version, used. I also got a matching, DG version 1.4X Sigma tele-converter with the deal.

I can tell you this lens focuses fast, really fast. It's fairly light weight, and balances well in my D300. It is sharpest at F4, but the difference between that, and F2.8, is almost imperceptible. You really have to blow both pictures up, and the differences are so subtle, that at normal image size, you won't notice any difference.

No sharper above F4. It stays sharp up to F11. After that, you run into diffraction.

Next, I put on the Sigma 1.4X DG teleconverter. No difference in focusing speed, no hunting. Image quality was sharpest at F5.6. A little loss of IQ/sharpness at F4. Doesn't get any sharper above F5.6, but you don't lose any sharpness either.

So, without TC, sharpest at F4, with TC, sharpest at F5.6

When compared to the Sigma 100-300, at the same apertures, the Sigma 300mm F2.8 blows the other Sigma away. And, the 100-300 is no slouch, it's a good lens. But the difference is remarkable, as well it should be.

When compared to the Sigma 150-500mm; are you kidding me?? The 150-500mm can't even touch the 300mm, anywhere in its focal range, at any F-stop.

Conclusion; I would put the Sigma 300mm F2.8 up against the Nikon 300mm F2.8 any day!! I don't think anyone could tell a difference; either in sharpness, or auto-focusing speed. Now I'm not talking about the VR version of the Nikon lens, but the non-VR.

My only gripe with this lens is the tripod collar. It works well on a tripod, and seems to balance well. But, you aren't using it to handhold it. That is why I'm upgrading the foot to the Sigma TS-41. This lens is capable of being hand held. But, you better have a fairly fast shutter speed, because at 5lbs, it's no light weight.

Build quality is excellent. This lens is approximately 7 years old, and was used out in the field extensively by a Pro before I bought it. There's not a mark on it. None of the paint has chipped off, or even worn through, like you would expect from a Sigma. I think back then, they actually had quite good quality control.

This one's a keeper. It's all metal, has a cool leather lens cover, and is easily a match for the plastic Nikon 300mm F2.8


Sep 18, 2009
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RonLander
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Registered: Sep 16, 2009
Location: United Kingdom
Posts: 13
Review Date: Sep 16, 2009 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 10 

Pros: Cheaper than the Canon 300 mm 2.8L IS, sharp, good bokeh
Cons:
No easy way to fit a strap.

Upgraded from a Canon 100-400 L IS to get this and I am very impressed. Works very well on my Canon 5D mk1 with and without the Canon 1.4x converter. Not too concerned about the lack of IS because I use it with a monopod or tripod.

Supplied with a polarised filter which is an additional cost if you go the Canon route.

This is my first Sigma lens and shall not be the last.


Sep 16, 2009
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RRJackson
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Registered: May 30, 2009
Location: United States
Posts: 1
Review Date: Jun 7, 2009 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $310.00 | Rating: 10 

Pros: Very sharp. Amazing bokeh. Easily removable tripod bracket. Inexpensive.
Cons:
Screw-driven.

This is about the nicest 300mm f/4 (for my needs) that I'm aware of. Mine is in Nikon F mount, so it doesn't have the HSM motor of the Canon version. It's a shame Sigma has stopped making this lens. I'd love to see an updated version with their HSM motor, but zooms dominate the market now. I far prefer a prime that does one thing really well over a zoom that does many things passably well.

Sigma are the king of bokeh, IMO. They seem to have a really consistent take on what makes attractive bokeh. I don't know if it's the 9-bladed iris or the optics themselves, but I love the look of "Sigma bokeh" and it keeps drawing me to Sigma lenses. Here's an example of this lens wide open:

http://www.flickr.com/photos/r_jackson/3602225858/

It's always so smooth and creamy. It almost never devolves into something busy. That said, I did manage to grab one test shot with this lens where the bokeh went a little busy, particularly in the top left:

http://www.flickr.com/photos/r_jackson/3601412153/

So they aren't a magic bullet, but overall I really love Sigma bokeh.

This lens has the standard Sigma quick-release tripod bracket. I tend to hand-hold a lot, so this is a big deal to me. The Nikon version of this lens has a removable bracket, but it's very hard to remove.

Overall this lens is everything I expect from Sigma. It's built well, it performs exceptionally well and it has a wonderful look. I couldn't be happier.

Some notable specs:

Length: 195mm / 7.67 inches long

Weight: 1190 grams / 2.62 pounds

Takes a 77mm filter

1.2m / 3.93 feet minimum focus

1:3 reproduction ratio

If this seems like a lens that meets your needs I can't recommend it strongly enough.


Jun 7, 2009
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pnorth
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Registered: Sep 3, 2004
Location: United States
Posts: 560
Review Date: Mar 28, 2008 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $2,499.00 | Rating: 9 

Pros: Very Sharp, Fast AF, Light, Tracks a subject well, works great with the 1.4TC.
Cons:
No AF Limiter, Lens hood could be a little bigger, no weather sealing.

I purchased this lens to have as a backup to my Sigma 120-300 and quickly began to favor it over the 120-300 for many field sports. I find the Prime Sigma 300 to AF a bit faster, and yield Sharper more Contrasty images than the zoom. The lens is lighter and smaller than the 120-300 lens as well as the Canon 300. It is truly a great lens at a very decent price. If I had to pick between the Canon and the Sigma prime 300 I would pick the Canon, but for the money, and performance the Sigma is a real winner!! The reason I would pick the canon is for slightly faster AF, Focus limiter which helps, and a bit less hunting in less contrasty shooting situations. The Sigma is very very close to the Canon performance, but not equal. If you are looking for a great 300mm f2.8 lens that focuses fast, tracks a subject with relative ease, is tack sharp, and has a great price, the sigma is the way to go! If you are looking for the absolute best 300 prime on the market, get the Canon.

Mar 28, 2008
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Britman
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Registered: Sep 5, 2007
Location: United Kingdom
Posts: 1
Review Date: Sep 8, 2007 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 9 

Pros: Great price, quiet focusing, compact size, tac sharp, contrast and saturation are good.
Cons:
Weight, tripod mount. no IS.

I've got the newer version, the EX DG HSM.

I'm so delighted with this lens it performs brilliantly. It's pin sharp, even at f/2.8. Focusing is fast, maybe not as fast as the Canon version, but then again it's half the price. Ohh and just because it's half the price doesn't mean your getting half the lens.

The lens hood is well designed and made from alloy and not some cheap plastic.

I do have some small issues though.
I noticed that sometimes the lens was hunting to focus on things, admittedly I was trying to capture planes landing against a grey sky, I did have it hooked up to the Canon 1.4x converter at the time so there might be a compatibility issue. I've since used it with the Sigma 1.4x converter and there was no hunting issues.
The tripod mount so needs to be bigger. Also there's no image stabilization but that's no big deal.

Over all this is a fantastic fast lens.


Sep 8, 2007
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philp
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Registered: Jul 31, 2004
Location: New Zealand
Posts: 0
Review Date: May 4, 2007 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 10 

Pros: Sharpness and colour rendition. Works well with EX APO 1.4 Teleconverter
Cons:
Tripod mount is too small. Should be same as 120-300 F2.8 DG

This is to replace my stellar Sigma 120-300 F2.8 workhorse lens on a 1D MkII.

I bought it secondhand from a guy that has gone to the equivilent Canon, and it is in new condition.

I shoot motorcycle sports and it is a great lens for this.

Handholdable down to 200th sec pans with perfectly sharp images of bikes at around 80mph and this was with the 1.4 on it (420mm). No image quality loss, just stunning.

Would recommend to anyone and even new is a fraction of the Canon 300 F2.8 price, albeit without IS, but it does come with the drop in CircPol that you have to buy separately with the Canon

Highly recommended.


May 4, 2007
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David Chatwin
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Registered: Mar 5, 2007
Location: Norway
Posts: 0
Review Date: Mar 5, 2007 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 10 

Pros: Price , CPL and UV drop-in filter included , sharpness
Cons:
None

Got this with a 15% discount at the latest photo-show in norway..kit includes 2 drop in filters and first impressions are excellent. Back.ground blurr is as good as L version and AF speed is also equally as good..have used it on 5D and 1D mkIIn. Under half price of the L but with-out IS...Would have liked IS but not at an extra 1500 ... Got this for concert and sport use but so far it has given me some excellent portrait shots as well..Build quality is excellent and in combination with extenders it out performs the L version..Will post some updated shots later

Mar 5, 2007
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puyan Kachani
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Registered: Nov 24, 2006
Location: Germany
Posts: 0
Review Date: Nov 24, 2006 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 10 

Pros: all,
Cons:
nothing

highly recommended

Nov 24, 2006
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RiGo
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Registered: Jun 12, 2006
Location: Australia
Posts: 31
Review Date: Sep 10, 2006 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 10 

Pros: Awesome price / value for money / bank for buck, very quick & accurate AF, weight, size, build quality.
Cons:
Lens cap and hood could be improved.

Having also used a Canon 300mm f/2.8, I can honestly say this lens is very, very close in performance. It's a shame it's been discountinued, however if you can get a 2nd hand copy on eBay, then jump to the opportunity. It's outstanding value for money as you will pay a fraction of the cost and get 95% of the performance.

I shoot fast paced sports (rugby) and the AF is quick and produces a large number of keepers. The images look "punchy" and have nice contrast and the bokeh is very nice... it has that "creamy" look we all love so much.

I have used this lens with a Sigma 1.4x APO EX Teleconverter and there is next to no image quality loss, giving you an excellent 420mm f/4 lens.

In summary... excellent image quality, for a fraction of the cost of a Canon L equivalent.


Sep 10, 2006
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ruckj
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Registered: May 3, 2006
Location: Canada
Posts: 0
Review Date: Aug 25, 2006 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 10 

Pros: Great price on a now discontinued version. Excellent performance with very quick AF
Cons:
Would have preferred a better lens cap solution, lens hood doesn't feel all that durable.

Excellent value for the money that has exceeded my expectations in optical performance. Quick AF that I can't discern much difference from my Nikon 70-200 VR. Works really well with my D2X.
Minor nits with the Lens Hood and cap solution.


Aug 25, 2006
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OwlsEyes
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Registered: Feb 22, 2003
Location: United States
Posts: 4387
Review Date: Dec 31, 2005 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $1,500.00 | Rating: 9 

Pros: Price/Value, Weight, Size, Construction, HSM, Center Sharpness
Cons:
Edge Chromatic Abberation on 1Ds (CA absent on 1.6 & 1.3 crop cameras) Reduced Contrast

I have owned this lens for about a year now. I am a nature generalist and am addicted to 300 2.8 lenses. I have owned the Nikkor AFS, AF, and AiS 300 f2.8's. When I switched to Canon I could not afford their 300 2.8 and opted for a relatively unused Sigma EX 300 f2.8. For the puchase price, this lens has been a super performer. It has very good center sharpness from 2.8 to 8.0 and is well mated to a 1D or 20D. I have found that it does exhibit some edge CA on my 1DS, but it is only visible @ 100%...

While I would love to own the current Canon 300 2.8, I can not justify the expense... until I can, the Sigma will continue to be the first lens out of my bag when I want to isolate a subject!

All of the owl images in my FM gallery were made with this lens... have a look.


Dec 31, 2005
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Sprout Crumble
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Registered: Jun 5, 2005
Location: United Kingdom
Posts: 444
Review Date: Oct 25, 2005 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 10 

Pros: Great build quality including the hood. HSM focusing is fast and accurate. Superb image quality.
Cons:
Don't know how long the Sigma EX finish will hold up, but thats true of all Sigmas. OS would be cool.

Well this ones turned out to be a revelation.

Punchy, razor sharp images that are easy to get because of the efficient autofocus and bright image.
Everything about the construction is great. The hood attaches easily and firmly, the filter system works great and the tripod mount holds the lens firmly and well balanced.
On top of that, I was well pleased with the sharpness even with the EX 2x convertor attached.

Not much else to say, except that I paid one quarter of the price of a used Canon L version for it and feel i've got 95% of the quality. I've got some good glass in my system but can honestly say that my two Sigmas are both in the top three along with the 85L.

BTW, if anyone has any sense they'll totally ignore the comment by OasisBear. Possibly the single most ill informed post i've ever read on a forum.


Oct 25, 2005
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Review Date: Oct 3, 2005 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated

Pros:
Cons:

Why would anyone with quality equipment waste their money on third party lenses anyway?
There's always problems.


Oct 3, 2005
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clonardo
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Registered: Jan 19, 2004
Location: United States
Posts: 608
Review Date: Sep 17, 2005 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $1,300.00 | Rating: 9 

Pros: Good sharpness (my sample peaked at f/4), moderate contrast, fairly fast focus, works well with 1.4x TC, kit includes polarizer, relatively compact and light
Cons:
Build quality issues- screws popped out of lens hood securing mechanism. No focus limiter. No way to disengage focus ring. Tripod mount rotator sticks easily.

Aside from the handling and build quality issues, I thoroughly enjoyed this lens, and almost miss selling it (the jury is still out on the Nikon 300/2.8 ED AF I just got). Compatibility with the 1.4x Sigma TC was excellent, and focus tracking worked beautifully on a D2H.

The little screws holding the locking screw for the hood on popped out and stripped the threads. I replaced them with sturdier screws, not a big deal.

The handling on this lens wasn't ideal. The huge focus ring is impossible to disengage, and is very sensitive. I found myself occasionally bumping into it and disengaging the HSM focus. The lack of a focus limiter was also a concern, but I never had any major issues shooting baseball or lacrosse.


Sep 17, 2005
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Sigma 300mm f2.8 EX APO HSM

Buy from B&H Photo
Reviews Views Date of last review
22 199796 Nov 13, 2010
Recommended By Average Price
100% of reviewers $1,569.14
Build Quality Rating Price Rating Overall Rating
9.53
9.71
9.5
300f2_8EX_lg_1_


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