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Sigma 120-300mm f2.8 EX DG HSM

120_300_1_
Review Date: Mar 30, 2006 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $2,100.00 | Rating: 9 

 
Pros: Price - Reach - 2.8 - Zoom - Build - Speed - Black blends better with the 20d
Cons:
Focus is quirky - Lens Hood - Filters

I'm new into the dslr world, so I don't have any thing else to compare my experience too, but I can say that there is a learning curve with this lense. My first opportunity to try this lense out was at a indoors rodeo practice a few weeks back. I was shooting in servo mode and zooming away. To keep up with the horses in the availiable light, I was shooting at 1/250, f2.8 @ 1600 iso. My images were hit and miss upon review. The ones that were good were spot on, the others were either front focused or back focused a bit. I was disappointed. So to the forums I went and discovered the intricacies of this lense. You have to re-focus after you change focal length. It works! I also discovered that using the custom function to move auto focus to the ae button is a must - and after using it like this for several weeks, I like it on all my shoots. I also learned that the dof is still quite shallow at 2.8 - even at 75 - 100 yards subject distance. Another education on my part. I also have taken some shots at church, which is not camera friendly. Dark paneling, dim lighting, etc., Shooting at 1600 and 3200 iso is really a bad way to try out a new lens, but the images turned out pretty well given the circumstances. And the reach is great to be able to stay in the back of the church and not walking in front of others. The only lens/image comparison I can do is with images taken with my 24-70L - which are mostly portraits. The Canon has a bit more contrast and is a bit sharper, but I haven't used the Sigma for close ups as of yet. I do love the bokeh the Sigma gives! I have the DG version along with the Sigma EX uv and Circular Polarizer. At a recent air show, the Sigma done very well! I would like to compare it to a Canon prime someday, just to see, but for now I am very happy and axious to get to some little league games and shoot at a reasonable ISO. Build is superb, although I can say I noticed some looseness on a particulary cold practice night at the arena. It was in the upper 30's and there was just a bit of movement (tiny) between the camera and lense. Just an observation. It is heavy - what lens like this isn't! I use a tripod and ball head and it works very well for panning and keeping up with the action. Hand holding - well it's not for me. Zoom and manual focus feel perfect, smooth and precise. All in all - I am pleased and can't wait to use it again.