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

Review Date: May 19, 2005 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $850.00 | Rating: 10 

Pros: Focus range, build quality, not white, Optical Stabilization, feel, look of the lens, optical quality.
Noisy focus (not too bad but still far apart from ring type USM), somewhat slower than USM, heavy, heavy, heavy, not white.

I was looking for a good lens mainly for aviation photos. Lenses I considered – Canon 100-400 IS, Canon 70-300 DO and Sigma 80-400. At the end of the day, I would have bought the 100-400 only if it was 200-300 dollars cheaper.

I think that Sigma is a superb lens and the best value for the money. The focusing, which seems to be the problem many people mention is not equivalent to USM but at the same time it is not on the slow side either. I would say it is equivalent to if not faster than with EF 75-300 IS USM which I sold after I purchased this lens. What makes the focusing feel slower is the noisy AF motor, which gives you the impression that it is taking longer. Also I find that once the focus is locked, it keeps up with the subject movement very easy and accurately and I have a lot less out-of –focus photos than I used to with the other lenses.

Colours and contrast are great compared to my old Canon. Is it better than EF 100-400 – some say yes, some say no. Optically, I could not tell the difference but I’m sure that some people will. If they were the same price, I would choose Canon. In my case, for the price difference I was able to get a nice wireless multi flash set up.
If you would like to take a look at some photos taken with this lens, here is the link (anything taken starting May 1, 2005 is with Sigma 80-400):

Hope this helps with your decision.