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Sigma 120-300mm f2.8 EX DG HSM

Review Date: Dec 29, 2012 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 8 

Pros: Great to have this aperture and range. AF very good. Sharpness excellent wide open at all FL. Focus silent and fast. Cheap. IS (Called OS, that's the version I have) gives genuine 4 stops.
Heavy. 7.5 lb. Long. Need monopod for sustained use.

This is much praised and it is said that optically it is better than the 300 Ex f2.8. I have that too. I think they are identical in IQ. Like all 300 f2.8's you have to be meticulous about focussing when shooting wide open. If you're shooting sports, the shutter speeds demanded, unless you're panning ,make the OS redundant for that, but for other uses, such as portraiture, it's really great. This is a great portrait lens at every FL and the bokeh is gorgeous.
I imagine that the Canon 300 f2.8 ii is sharper but it doesn't need to be and it costs more than twice this lens. It'll do me fine.
I use it for sports, mainly, as my daughter is a very good runner and triathlete. Monopod usually as it's a bit too heavy, unlike the 300 which is more than a pound lighter, and shorter. The zoom is great for sports, though. You don't appreciate it until you have it.
Mine is attached to a Canon 1Div or a 1Dsiii.

Sigma 300mm f2.8 EX APO HSM

Review Date: Nov 13, 2010 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 10 

Pros: Really fast silent AF. Fantastic sharpness wide open (mine was front focussing. Sigma recalibrated it to perfection. No problem to me as the Sigma centre is nearby). Well made. I've not used this lens stopped down at all!
Heavy, but of course it has to be with all that glass!

I recently got a Canon 1d4 and had expanded my general photographic interest into running as my daughter has become a very successful runner. I have a 400 f5.6 and a 70-200 F4 but I wanted that unbeatable OOF background that the 300f2.8 gives. I tried this lens in a camera shop in Dublin on a 1d4 body and got them to download the images to their computer. I was impressed. When I brought it home on critical testing I discovered that it was front-focussing by about 45mm. The Sigma centre 15 miles from where I live fixed this while I waited. It is now perfect. I'm thrilled with it. The AF is really fast and silent. The lens is heavy, but how could it not be and I've used it on a 1d4 at running races and not noticed the weight, handheld. I've since bought a monopod but have yet to use it. If there's any difference between the results of this (I've always used it wide open, so far) and a Canon equivalent, then I don't think I'd notice it. I suggest that before you buy one, do as I did in the shop, try it out & look at the results on their computer.