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

05_03_1_
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
Cons:
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