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Sigma 70-200mm f2.8 EX APO IF HSM

Review Date: Dec 7, 2003 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 10 

Pros: sharpness! Very good at f/2.8, and still better at f/4, good quality hood and tripod mount supplied, strong and solid
sharpness not at its best at 2.8, but still very good.

If you're looking for an affordable, high end, medium zoom lens that allows you to shoot hand-held (and unless you're a pro, that is what you are looking for), then this is the one. Many people debate about IS, and this lens doesn't have it, but I believe that IS comes in really handy only for 300mm and above. The rule of thumb says that shutter speed for hand-held shots should be faster than 1/focal length, so even at 200mm, 1/250 is already fast enough. Believe me,
- with digital camera's dat can change ISO settings within seconds, with excellend quality up to ISO400 or 800
- with a lens that opens up to 2.8
- with a tripod as second solution
...There will be not many situations where you can not shoot at 1/250 and can not use a tripod. Oh yes, flying birds at low light, but that's where IS doesn't help either.
Again, nothing against IS, but in this zoom range there will be very little situations where it makes a difference.

I have had this lens now for about a month, and have been limited to a few field tests in the zoo, with a canon 10D and and EOS 33/elan7. I am absolutely satisfied with this lens. The zoom is of course too short for real wild life photography, but just right for parks, buildings and portraints. (btw: Wildlife was not what I bought it for). AF works great, even when shooting under relatively low light or macro (I know, it's closest distance is 1.5m, but with a 25 mm ring, I have been able to shoot flowers and bigger insects like bees). Sharpness is very good wide open, and truly excellent at f/4 or higher.

This lens, together with the canon 100-400 L IS will replace my canon EF 75-300 f/4-5.6. I need to test the new canon when I get it, but I might use my sigma with a1.4 converter, as a 280 f/4, where the biggest opening on the canon is 5 or 5.6 for that same focal lenth. Does anybody have any experience with this?
I will span the range from 19mm to 400mm with the following set of lenses:
- Tamron 19-35 (so-so, but sufficient when I need wide angle with my 10D.
- canon 28-105 f/4-5.6 (cheap and sharp)
- canon 50 f/1.8
- canon 100-400 L IS (ordered; not yet used)
- a canon 500 f/4 of Sigma 500/4.5 on my whish list