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Sigma 300mm f/4 APO Tele Macro HSM

22_03_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.


 
Sigma 300mm f2.8 EX APO HSM

300f2_8EX_lg_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.