Sigma 70-300mm APO - second thoughts...

julian_fraser

Novice Member
I've sought advice from this forum on more than one occasion and value the responses that I always get.

After conducting some recent straw polls and posting general questions about 70-300mm lens choice I've decided to buy a Sigma 70-300mm APO DG (yes, with a motor) this week to replace my existing 55-200mm HSM...can't afford the Nikon VR! In my eyes the reason for this is to broaden my shot-capability, to have "more in the bag" so to speak...

But today, in a couple of different threads I have come across the following comments regarding this lens that have made me wobble on the purchase...

This:
I tried a few times with my sigma 70-300 apo - its noticably soft past 225mm and the more I use it, the more i notice it.
and this:
The 300mm will help a bit, but you will still need to crop. One reason why I parted with my 70-300 when I got my 18-200VR was that there was not much difference between the two with regard to subject size at the long end. The extra 100mm does not get you "50% closer".
and this:
Yes, the Sigma 70-300 APO is a great value for money lens. Its build quality is not the greatest and it is slow to focus
So can anyone that has made the same swap confirm that the change is worthwhile or am I wasting my money here?

Any thoughts much appreciated.
 
Julian, the last two quotes are confirmed by me.
Especially the slow to focus one. Oh boy it is VERY slow to focus!
That extra 100mm does NOT get you 50% closer!!
There's actually very little difference indeed between 200 and 300mm.
Something that has puzzled me for a while now.......

I've just sold my Canon gear for Sony (or maybe a Nikon D80......)
including the 70-300mm APO DG Macro that I had for about a week.
I didn't use it much, due to not having any form of stabilization, but on the few occasions I had enough light to use it, there was still a bit of softness going on at 200mm plus.
Just couldn't get the shutter speed up high enough to avoid it, even at high ISO.

My next lens will be no more than 200mm as there really is no point in a 300mm.
 

Holowlegs

Well-known Member
Hello there

I have owned this lens for over year now, even gave it a nickname 'old faithful'.
Lets get thing in prospect here this is a great value for money, (budget) zoom.

To answer a few off your queries.


I tried a few times with my sigma 70-300 apo - its noticably soft past 225mm and the more I use it, the more i notice it.
I have read this quite a few times, all I can same is I must off got a very good copy because this I haven't notices at all.





|1/640| f/7.1|300 mm |ISO 200|



This was taken at 300mm and am happy with it. What you may miss is the IS. But have you thought about keeping both lens.


The 300mm will help a bit, but you will still need to crop. One reason why I parted with my 70-300 when I got my 18-200VR was that there was not much difference between the two with regard to subject size at the long end. The extra 100mm does not get you "50% closer".
I read this as well, this was in a post that you started with a picture off a little bird and you done well. Thing is with this type off subject they are very hard to capture, we have people on here who use 500mm lens and x2 converters to give 600mm to capture this type off subject and they still have to crop.

I may be wrong here But I think the extra 100mm will get you 33% closer.

Yes, the Sigma 70-300 APO is a great value for money lens. Its build quality is not the greatest and it is slow to focus
Deal with this in two parts.
Build quality For the money I paid for this lens, have no problems at all with build quality. Its better built than my 50mm, and maybe not as good as my Tamron 17-50. But it has taken a couple of knocks with no problem.

slow to focus Have read this a number of times as well. The one you are getting has its own motor to start with so this should help I think. It may hunt a bit in low light, but its not made for low light shooting.


Will go back to one of my 1st points this lens is a very good budget zoom, If I was going to upgrade for better, I will have to pay over 3 times what I paid for it, which would be the Canon 70 - 300mm IS.

Another thing I find a lot off new comers buy this lens, and then blame the lens, when they should be looking at there own lack of skill and understanding.

I have been there myself, as I have improved so has my kit, strange one that.



Here is a thread were a lot off the pictures were taken with this lens Baby Waterfowl


Hope this has helped.


Cheers Holo:smashin::smashin:
 

U'R'ss

Novice Member
Well I have it 70-300 APO with motor and like it, yeah it's a bit soft over 225 ish BUT my mate has the Nikon VR and he says it's also soft at 300, just a bit quicker to focus

We tried both on his camera (D200) and mine, no real difference

For the price saving over the vr, around £180 I'm happy

It is not a wast of money in any respect

I had the 55-200vr and that was much the same at 200

Looks like you have to go for much faster glass and at a much higher price if you want all the sweets
 

Pirate!!

Banned
It's the best of the budget telephoto's. It will be softer after 250mm. Nikon versions have HSM, the rest don't. Remember, it will be sharp @ 200mm whereas a 200mm will be fully extended and probably soft.

A weighty lens . . not for walkabout.

It's great for sports or aviation, but you will need plenty of light.
 

johnaalex

Distinguished Member
Julian

As I was one of those who sowed a seed of doubt, I hope this will help. The two pictures below are the same except one was shot at 200mm and the other at 300mm. There has been no pp or cropping apart from converting from NEF to JPG.

Click on a picture to see a larger image.

200mm


300mm


Also as mentioned in another reply, even when shooting at 600mm I still have to crop in many cases, one reason why I always shoot using the biggest file setting on the camera ;)
 

Strobe

Well-known Member
Holop sums it up pretty well. I have and use the Sigma 70-300 and agree that it is not the sharpest/fastest focussing but, then what do you expect, it's only a £130 odd lens which, in the bigger scheme of things, is peanuts really. For its price, it is good VFM and can produce really nice results (see Holo's pic's for good examples). As a match-up against the similarly priced Tamron equivalent it also scores really well.
 

dfrear

Novice Member
Have to agree with everyone here on the fact that yes, it may be a little soft at 300mm, and yes it may be slow to focus - but for the price your paying it's much more than acceptable. Im not sure what people have to moan about in regards to the build though, it's plenty sturdy enough.

Basically, if you want top notch sharpness and super fast focussing speeds - you need to pay out of the nose for it.
 

julian_fraser

Novice Member
Thanks for all the replies so far.

have you thought about keeping both lens
Unfortunately I have to sell the 55-200mm to part-fund the 70-300mm.

A weighty lens . . not for walkabout.
Ah, that's a bit of a blow...the 55-200mm is ideal as a walkabout size/weight-wise if you know you're not going to miss the wider shots. In fact it's on my camera more often than the kits lens lately.

Thanks for the 200mm/300mm comparison shots...that seems to me to be a fair improvement on frame-filling the subject, no?

And thanks for your example shot Holo...that's one of the things that's attracted me to it in the first place.

Have to say, there seems to be a difference of opinion regarding it's suitability for sports/wildlife...surely the slow focus issue would mean it's no good for capturing action shots (I want to use it at equestrian events amongst other things)...?
 

Strobe

Well-known Member
I do not consider it a weighty lens at all, far from it. It balances nicely on my A100 and is perfect as a 'zoo' lens. Having said that, 70-300 is not traditional walkabout zoom length anyway. I haven't used mine extensively for fast moving subjects, but I did struggle to get lots of keepers at the Red Bull Air Race last year; albeit the planes were travelling very fast and my panning technique probably leaves something to be desired. I shouldn't imagine for equestrian events you would have too much of an issue with good light outside as I don't suppose the subjects will be moving very fast. If indoors, it may struggle and hunt a bit and you may need to bump the ISO.
 

dfrear

Novice Member
Also have to agree that the lens is not exactly weighty. You know it's there but it's nothing compared to some, I wander about with it for hours with no problems apart from the crappy Canon strap digging into my neck - that can be solved with a better strap!

Focusing wise I have managed to get birds in flight with it before without too much of a problem, it's only slow when it hunts in low light, good light and it's fine for most.
 

julian_fraser

Novice Member
Thanks for all the replies guys.

I'm going to stick with the original plan and buy it.
 

johnaalex

Distinguished Member
Don't forget to post some samples ;)
 

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