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Sigma 80-400mm F4.5-5.6 EX OS APO

Sigma_80-400_OS
Review Date: Dec 11, 2006 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 9 

 
Pros: sharp, MF possible in AF position, optical stabilizer
Cons:
heavy, slow AF (but you can help)

Slow AF is a major complaint. However you can use MF when in AF mode (and there are not many zoom lenses with that feature!), so: first give the focus ring a twist in the right direction (f.e. close or far away) and then let AF take over. No more 'hunting'!
I have the lense one year now, and it still surprises me. But you have to know its limitations. Sharpness at 400 mm is acceptable at 5.6, and sharpness increases significantly stopping down - and it's already very good at 6.7! So I don't understand the complaints about softness - they do something wrong or they have a bad copy.
It's heavy so don't carry it hanging from your neck - it's gonna hurt after a while. I carry it with the strap diagonally, i.e. stick your head and left arm through the strap and carry it on your left side with the strap resting on your right shoulder. Hikes of 10 miles were no problem anymore.