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  Reviews by: ajnspencer  

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Sigma 100-300mm f4 EX IF HSM APO

Review Date: May 13, 2009 Recommend? no | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 7 

Pros: Most of the build quality, image quality.
Focus issues on three copies, tripod collar.

Ok, let's get the plus points out the way, this is a well built lens that feels great and sturdy, it really feels like it could have mechanically lasted a long time. Also, when it worked properly the image quality was excellent but, and it's a big but, it rarely did.

When I got it home and checked the images I'd shot out and around Brixham and on the way home... out of the 200 or so different shots I'd taken only about 10 were actually usable, and before anyone cried "user error" (I probably would) some of these were tripod shots at 1/1600th of a static subject, nigh on impossible to blur as much as I was seeing.

After a few tests I found out that the lens was front focussing badly, a good inch too far forward, and this was causing nightmares at smaller apertures.

Deciding against having to wait for Sigma to mess around with it I took it back to where I got it (Mifsuds, can't praise that shop highly enough!) and two of the shop staff and I spent half an hour doing a variety of tests on my original copy and the other two they had in stock at the time, only to find all three had the same issue, ranging from an inch to two inches front focussing.

I had been confused by the reviews on here, when most were saying it was excellent at all settings but some were complaining of image quality wide open, I now wonder if their copies may have the same issue as these did...

So, seems to be a great lens but may have some build issues with the focussing to worry about... in the end I decided to bite the cash bullet and rather than wait for the lenses to get calibrated and sent back I got myself a Canon 300mm f/4 prime instead.

To be fair the only other problem I had with the lens was the tripod collar being too small to allow good hand holding when switching between tripod and hand.

So, if you really need the zoom, I'd say give it a try. It does seem to be a lovely and solid lens with excellent IQ when working, but for the love of Canon, make sure you run some tests to make sure the focussing is working properly.

Canon EOS 5D

Review Date: Jan 26, 2009 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 9 

Pros: FF image quality, excellent ISO performance, solidity.
Dust an issue in unexpected places, shows off lens limitaitons.

I bought this in a kit with the 24-105mm IS USM and have been blown away for months by it's quality.

The image quality is superb, the build is solid (especially with the battery grip) and I find it incredibly intuitive to control.

The only issue I've come across that's really the 5Ds fault is dust, but not where you'd expect it. I fully understand sensor dust is just something to live with on an SLR, especially with the size of this FF sensor, but I've also ended up with spots in the viewfinder, trapped around the focusing screen area and perhaps deeper.

It's not a big prob, I barely notice the spots now but occasionally my camera OCD does kick in... Looking around forums this looks like it might be a regular glitch and is what's dropped it's build quality down to a 9 for me.

The only other issue to be aware of is that lesser quality lenses will certainly be shown up on this, but that should perhaps be a plus rather than a negative...

Put it this way, the 24-105 was my first L lens, I now have three and now would only look non-L for a prime...

Basically this is a stunning camera, I'm not even pining too much for a Mark II and if you're on a budget but want a solid workhorse with superb IQ, you can't go wrong with this.