Which 70-300 lens for my 400D?

Beachball

Active Member
Hi,

I bought my 400D last Saturday (1 day before the 'money-back' offer started. :rolleyes:) and have been having fun with it taking many pics to try and learn the effect different ISO, Aperture, Speed settings etc have.

My main reason for buying my first SLR was to take pictures at motorsport events - such as F1, Le Mans etc. The pictures I took last year at Silverstone and Le Mans with my Sony Cybershot 3.2Mp made me realise I enjoyed taking/seeing the pictures as much as being there and, more importantly, needed something more up to the job! Additionally, I like taking landscape shots of the coast as I live by the beach and a pic of the odd Kite-surfer etc, too.

I have realised already after a few days out with the other half along the coast that the kit lens is not really sufficient and I need a zoom-type lens. After reading reviews on-line and some posts on here I have narrowed it down to the following:

1) Sigma AF 70-300mm f/4-5.6 APO DG macro
2) Canon EF 70-300mm f/4-5.6 USM IS

I realise there is a huge price difference between these two, the Canon one has IS and the Sigma has 'macro'. I really can't decide so any advice/recommendations are welcome on these or any other lenses sub-£500.

Please go easy, I'm only 7days into my 'proper' photography hobby and didn't know what 'IS' was 'til Wednesday whilst reading reviews and still have no idea what "APO" is. I understand 'macro' tho. :D

Thanks.
 

senu

Distinguished Member
APO stands for Apochromatic
This is a method used to counter chromatic abberation, an unwanted lens property which can causes multicolour fringes at the edges of subjects in an image when you push the lens to its resolving limits

Sigma are borrowing the term by stating that because they use lenses with very low dispersion optics, they are able to " persuade" light of different wavelengths to pass through the centre of leas and significantly reduce chromatic abberation in the 70-300DG APO
Does it work? I think so .It is a very affordable lens for the quality

Is it for you? Im not sure about that . The max aperture of f4 shared by both itself and the Canon are certainly a bit slow for motosport. This is because in order to use higher shutter speeds to cappture the action you will need a fast lens.
The IS compensates for that in the Canon (up to a point) as it will allow a hand-held image to be Ok 2-3 stops less than the f4.

Also the USM is faster and quieter than the Sigmas AF
For your Landscapes ( especially as you should use a tripod) the Sigma is better VFM.
With either Lens, the macro feature is something neither motor sport nor Landscape particularly need
If you can afford it the Canon is the better buy: Will it deliver with motorsport ( with the 400D)?
: You'll have to find out in time. I found that shooting RAW with the 400D in burst mode , It would "seize " after 5 shots even with a Sandisk Extreme III card. It may well be better behaved without flash and with jpegs .
HTH
 

Beachball

Active Member
Thanks for the advice. :thumbsup: I think I'll get the Canon lens later today as it seems to meet most of my needs for now and I will find out if its fast enough for motorsport in a few weeks' time. If not, I guess I might have to think about a faster lens... I'm guessing they won't be cheap! :rolleyes:
 

Tobers

Well-known Member
I haven't taken any motorsport pics, but I dont think IS will make things any better for you. I understand that for fast moving motorsport shots, you generally pre-focus on a particular point, pan with the car, wait till the car gets to it, and zap it. I may be completely and utterly wrong though!

Also, will 300mm get you close enough. I reckon with the distance across some of the gravel traps (which I've inadvertanty traversed on my motorbike!) you may need longer than 300mm to get nice & close in, unless you have a press pass of course.
 

Sicknote10

Active Member
The Canon has 2 IS modes, one is for panning shots, so it could help with motorsport (although perhaps not 200 mph stuff)
 

senu

Distinguished Member
I haven't taken any motorsport pics, but I dont think IS will make things any better for you. I understand that for fast moving motorsport shots, you generally pre-focus on a particular point, pan with the car, wait till the car gets to it, and zap it. I may be completely and utterly wrong though!
...Also, will 300mm get you close enough.

The point about IS is not that it will stop the action,
It is that it will allow him use an f4 lens with a much slower shutter speed than ordinarily possible because the effect such lower shutter speed with unstedy hands ( blur) is counteracted by IS ...especially hand held at the 300mm range.

The ideal would be a fast lens with IS but comparing the Sigma and Canon in this case the IS will make a difference
 

Beachball

Active Member
Thanks for all your replies.

I bought the Canon 70-300 lens late this afternoon. I haven't had time to use it except for a quick go on the balcony zooming-in on things below (I live on the 4th floor of a block of flats overlooking the sea) and some panning shots of cars driving past at 30mph! Nice bit of kit tho - it feels very solid. I will see how it performs at my next motorsport event which should be a track-day in 3weeks time at Castle Coombe circuit.

Regarding what Tobers said about the zoom being enough.. well, where I usually sit at Silverstone is on the in-field just after the exit from Copse corner next to the pit-lane exit. The speed of F1 cars are only about 100mph there on the circuit and pit-lane and the enclosure is no more than 50-60 meters from the track. After testing the lens earlier today, I think I will be ok to get tight-in at that distance.

btw I tested my Extreme IV card for burst mode and I get about 10/11 RAW shots before it 'freezes' which I guess should be enough to get a decent shot. I get about 5 RAW shots with my Ultra II card in burst mode.
 

Tobers

Well-known Member
I know that spot well. Dont forget to post some pics up when you've taken some so we can all have a look-see.
 
A

allie5

Guest
Hi,

I bought my 400D last Saturday (1 day before the 'money-back' offer started. :rolleyes:) .

This info might be useful then!

I went into my local Jessops last saturday looking at lenses. They had the Canon 60mm macro for £349. I asked if they would price match with the coupon from the camera mags this month (cheapest £255) which they agreed. I then said, well I will come back tomorrow as thats when the cashback starts and he said "No Canon have bought it forward by one day, it starts today (i.e Sat)". I didnt buy it as Im more swayed towards the 100mm.

Id try sending your reciept and bar code off.

BTW, I bought the Canon 70-300 IS this week and am VERY pleased with it.
 

Beachball

Active Member
Thanks for that info Allie5... I'll send the receipt off etc anyway then. No harm in trying. :)
 

Beachball

Active Member
I know that spot well. Dont forget to post some pics up when you've taken some so we can all have a look-see.

Will do... hopefully I'll get a few decent ones worthy of posting.

This year, rather than on the grass, we're in the grandstand/veranda area there in the Hospitality section for the first time since 2004. That's actually even closer than the grass bit - probably 20meters from the track and above the fencing which helps if taking pics. The Hospitality section provides lunch and a free bar all day... I'll probably have to lay-off the services of the free-bar a bit for this year's F1 GP if I want to get any half-decent shots!
 

senu

Distinguished Member
:eek: thats a fantastic price, i'm skint but it's so tempting to click click buy

it definatley is the Sigma 70-300mm f/4-5.6 APO DG MACRO which is the better model and not the Sigma 70-300mm f/4-5.6 DG MACRO

It is the APO model. Its "glass" is much better quality for not much more dosh
 

baldrick

Novice Member
Regarding photography at Le Mans, you normally have to battle against the catch fencing which can really throw auto-focus!
 

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