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Sigma 120-300mm f2.8 EX DG HSM

120_300_1_
Review Date: Feb 26, 2009 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: Rasor sharp images, fast autofocus, zoomlens with primelens performance which makes it the best alternative for the 300mm 2.8 primes.
Cons:
Tripod collar for the older versions is not doing the job. Paint (coating) comes off easily on the exterior. I would have prefered a drop-in type of filter instead of a big 105mm screw-on-filter (like on the 500mm and 300-800mm)

This review is for the older 'Non-DG' version. It produces amazingly sharp pictures with my D300 body. They're a perfect couple together. Even set on f2.8, the quality is still very good, going to excellent on f4 and higher.

It's a true professional lens, it weighs a lot and it's build like a tank, just not for the coating on the body. After 4 years of use, pieces of paint of the entire body had come off. Sigma however repaired this free of charge! They replaced all the external body parts. Great, because there has to happen a lot before I sell this piece of glass.





 
Nikon 28-70mm f/2.8 ED-IF AF-S

1961NAS_180
Review Date: Jul 19, 2008 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $1,400.00 | Rating: 8 

 
Pros: Very well build, speedy AF-S
Cons:
Soft and misfocus on my copy

Guess I wasn't lucky with this lens. I was so exciting when it came in, but all pictures were soft. I like the tacky sharp details, specially the eyes of subjects. But for some reason almost every picture I took was soft, like it was out of focus.
Another issue is that it sometimes took three attempts to focus at all. Saw some other examples of the 28-70mm and they were all very sharp and satisfying. Find it strange that for a lens this price there are still faulty examples.
Sold this lens (explained my problems to the seller) and am now waiting for the 24-70mm.


 
Sigma 300-800mm f5.6 EX IF APO HSM

300_800_1_
Review Date: Jul 3, 2008 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $4,800.00 | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: Extremely sharp, quick autofocus, great build quality
Cons:
Heavy!, no focus-limiter

I really like this piece of glass. Although it weights a ton and is rather large, it's quite good to carry around. You do need a very sturdy tripod with a large ballhead (Like the Arca Swiss B1g) or a gimbal head to use this lens properly. Up till 750mm it stays extremely sharp, even with the lens wide open (5.6).
For 800mm, the lens becomes a bit soft, but still very acceptable. It's actual sharper then a Nikon 600mm f4 AF-S VR with teleconvertor lens a friend has. F5.6 is very useable at 800mm.
At 300mm, f5.6 of course is rather slow. The funny thing about this lens that the 300mm range is great for finding the subject. Once found, just zoom in to 700mm or more and press.
Zoom and focus are very smooth and precise. This lens really proofs that Sigma has moved up from just another third-party-lens to a real competitor for the brand-lenses.



 
Nikon 80-400mm f/4.5-5.6D ED VR AF

1996NAS_180
Review Date: Jul 3, 2008 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $1,200.00 | Rating: 6 

 
Pros: Compact size
Cons:
No AF-S, terrible tripod collar, slow, soft

I guess we don't match... While other owning this lens are rather positive, I tried to get used to this lens two times. The first time was when it first came on the market. I found the lens having focussing issues while the VR sometimes crashed, making the lens a vibrating item.
The second attempt was last year. I wanted to give the lens a second change, so I bought a new one. With it small size and wide range, it looks like a perfect choice for hiking trips. Again I had issues with focussing. Images look very soft and the VR just seems to help every second shot. Beside that it is very slow.
The worst thing of the lens is the tripod collar. I tried it all, with VR on (despite what the manual says) and off, but everytime I press the releasebutton or some more wind is blowing, the lens is not mounted firm on the tripod.
I traded it in for a 70-200mm VR.