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Thread: Sigma 400mm lenses

  1. #16
    Senior Member FlyingColors's Avatar
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    Re: Sigma 400mm lenses

    Quote Originally Posted by Mellyrose
    Just wanted to chime in quickly because I noticed the "twist" versus "push/pull" factor. When Phil first put the 100-400 in my hands, not only did I think "MAN, this is heavy" but I was like "wow that is awkward feeling" with the push-pull since I was used to shorter twisty zoom lenses. Not 10 minutes later, I was used to it. Even though I use twist zooms still, once someone lent me a long lens which had the twist feature, and I thought that for aviation photography and the speed we have to zoom in an out while panning, the push pull is much more efficient. Obviously, this is just my opinion, but I wanted to share since I had the same viewpoint as you before I started using the 100-400. Also, I promise, you do get used to the weight. I have serious neck problems, and if I can let that thing hang around my neck for 10 hours, anyone can ;)

    Do what feels right for you, but any lens is gonna cost a good amount of money. I think we just want you to be satisfied and really happy with the final results!
    This is well put...

    I my case I tried, and tried and tried that Canon 100-400. Sorry. No way for me. Just can't get a good feel for that crazy push-pull.

    Your going to have to try out the gear and get your own feel for it.
    "my finger on the shutter button, while my eye is over my shoulder"

  2. #17
    Senior Member FlyingColors's Avatar
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    Re: Sigma 400mm lenses

    Quote Originally Posted by adam613
    I'm looking at the Sigma 135-400 DG lens as a possible upgrade option. It's about the same price as the Canon 70-300 IS, but it goes all the way to 400mm. I'm not terribly concerned about the lack of IS, because whenever I need a telephoto lens in low light, I'm on a tripod anyway. It's fairly small and light (compared to the Canon 100-400L, which I really am not a fan of due to size, or the Sigma 80-400 EX, which is like the 100-400L without USM). I'd primarily use this lens for plane-spotting.

    This would be a great lens at the price if the image quality is acceptable. The guy at B&H told me it's similar to the Canon 70-300 IS, but I've heard mixed reviews. And it's hard to tell from reviews, because so many people use it wide open and complain about how soft it is, whereas people like us are quite satisfied at f/8.

    Does anyone have this lens? Would you recommend it? Any better alternatives in the same price range (~$500)? Or should I just stick with the cheapo 70-300 until I can afford the 100-400L?
    FWIW- try out that 50-500 Sigma ( I think thats what it is) Monty loves his and his shots are tops!
    "my finger on the shutter button, while my eye is over my shoulder"

  3. #18
    Senior Member NIKV69's Avatar
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    Re: Sigma 400mm lenses

    Here's what I'm going to do: The first few weekends this year when we get some nice weather, I'll rent the 100-400 L. (Maybe even this weekend). I'll see if I get used to it. Then in the spring, when good weather over a long period of time easy to come buy, I'll buy the Sigma 80-400 EX from somewhere that has a liberal return policy (ie B&H). If I don't strongly prefer the Canon, I'll keep the Sigma. The price difference isn't significant at that level.
    I was going to say you have to take both lenses out in the field. What I would do is rent both for a day with sun and with the same exact camera settings take shot with both lenses and compare the raw results. Then factor in the feel and weight as well.
    'My idea of a good picture is one that's in focus and of a famous person doing something unfamous.' Andy Warhol

  4. #19
    Senior Member FlyingColors's Avatar
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    Re: Sigma 400mm lenses

    Quote Originally Posted by NIKV69
    Here's what I'm going to do: The first few weekends this year when we get some nice weather, I'll rent the 100-400 L. (Maybe even this weekend). I'll see if I get used to it. Then in the spring, when good weather over a long period of time easy to come buy, I'll buy the Sigma 80-400 EX from somewhere that has a liberal return policy (ie B&H). If I don't strongly prefer the Canon, I'll keep the Sigma. The price difference isn't significant at that level.
    I was going to say you have to take both lenses out in the field. What I would do is rent both for a day with sun and with the same exact camera settings take shot with both lenses and compare the raw results. Then factor in the feel and weight as well.
    (Here we go..)
    And prey tell how do you see the "raw" results? You gonna print above mural size 40X60 ?
    "my finger on the shutter button, while my eye is over my shoulder"

  5. #20
    Senior Member NIKV69's Avatar
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    Re: Sigma 400mm lenses

    And prey tell how do you see the "raw" results? You gonna print above mural size 40X60 ?
    Not at all, but if I was comparing two lenses for purchase I would want to see how the capture looks before ACR optimizes it. As for what lens gives the better results.
    'My idea of a good picture is one that's in focus and of a famous person doing something unfamous.' Andy Warhol

  6. #21
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    Re: Sigma 400mm lenses

    Quote Originally Posted by NIKV69
    I was going to say you have to take both lenses out in the field. What I would do is rent both for a day with sun and with the same exact camera settings take shot with both lenses and compare the raw results. Then factor in the feel and weight as well.
    Yeah, except I haven't been able to find anyone who rents the Sigma. Which might tell me something... :)

  7. #22
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    Re: Sigma 400mm lenses

    Not to derail or anything. But what are your opinions on the Sigma 50-500.


    This is for a Nikon user though :oops:
    Puts the MIA in NYCA

  8. #23
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    Re: Sigma 400mm lenses

    Quote Originally Posted by NIKV69
    Also, I promise, you do get used to the weight. I have serious neck problems, and if I can let that thing hang around my neck for 10 hours, anyone can
    One of the reasons I don't use the straps on my stuff. Remember one important thing. Any weight put on the front of your body puts a magnified strain on your back and neck. I actually don't understand how you guys with the 400 let that thing hang from your neck for any period of time. It can't be good. Also remember Adam that if you do use the strap you can let it hang on your shoulder to the side between shots which is must better.
    I actually strap it across my body (like a messenger bag) while shooting sometimes, or over my shoulder like a handbag when I'm not using it for an extended period of time. It alleviates the weight off of major points in my neck.

    The push pull vs. twist IS gonna be a personal preference....just my opinion that after using both, it seems easier to pan and zoom with the Canon. You can adjust the tightness of the push/pull to your liking.

    Also, even in THE BEST light, without IS, you will see a difference. I once shot a whole morning with the IS switch shut off (by accident) and I came home to edit and everything just looked a little "off" - fuzzy, regis were softer than normal, more photos were just trash. With the type of photography we do, I feel the IS is essential for best quality shots.

  9. #24
    Administrator PhilDernerJr's Avatar
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    Re: Sigma 400mm lenses

    Like I mentioned, when you're out there on a windy day, the IS helps your aim when panning and framing. Simple as that.

    As for the push-pull, I don't think I'd ever be comfortable with a long twist zoom. I'd hate to equate it to this, but it lets me always have my hand on the bottom of the lens, where I feel more stable, similar to that of holding a rifle. If I were holding such a long lens with a few fingers with my hand at the side of the lens after an in or out zoom, I'd feel less comfortable and my framing and panning would suffer greatly.

    With that, I most cmmonly prefer to keep my camera strap over my right arm, and I adjusted the straps so that when brought up to my face, the forward/upward pulling of the camera from my shoulder makes the strpa tight, and therefore also more secure, giving me more stability.

    That's just how I do it. I take framing and panning very seriously with my shooting as earlier in my "career" I've lost some potentially amazing photos with blur, regardless of whether or not I was in good light.
    Email me anytime at [email protected].

  10. #25
    Senior Member NIKV69's Avatar
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    Re: Sigma 400mm lenses

    I found a nice write up from Ken Rockwell about the whole IS thing. I agree with him. In any photography that involves motion you get your best results from using a faster lens and ideal light and bumping the ISO a tad. Makes sense since since I can get a much sharper picture with my 200 2.8 that is a non VR as opposed to my 400 set at a 200 focal length with the VR on. Both handheld in ideal light and held just as steady. Now we all know a fast 400mm lens is mucho dinero but for comparison it makes sense. Here is Ken's take on it.

    http://www.kenrockwell.com/tech/image-stabilization.htm
    'My idea of a good picture is one that's in focus and of a famous person doing something unfamous.' Andy Warhol

  11. #26
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    Re: Sigma 400mm lenses

    The Sigma 80-400 does have OS(Optical Stabilization)

    Sigma 80-400 review
    http://www.fredmiranda.com/reviews/show ... =37&page=3

    Canon 100-400 Review
    http://www.fredmiranda.com/reviews/show ... =27&page=1
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  12. #27
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    Re: Sigma 400mm lenses

    I have the Sigma 80-400mm OS for Nikon. POS.. I hate it. It locks up and its really soft past 300mm. I cant tell you how many times I have lost a shot because of my door stop. Save up and buy the real deal the 100-400mm Canon. When Nikon comes out with a 80-400mm AF-S VR version, I am buying it. I tried to be a penny pincher and now I have to rebuy it. I never learn. You pay for what you get.

  13. #28
    Senior Member NIKV69's Avatar
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    Re: Sigma 400mm lenses

    I have the Sigma 80-400mm OS for Nikon. POS.. I hate it. It locks up and its really soft past 300mm. I cant tell you how many times I have lost a shot because of my door stop. Save up and buy the real deal the 100-400mm Canon. When Nikon comes out with a 80-400mm AF-S VR version, I am buying it. I tried to be a penny pincher and now I have to rebuy it. I never learn. You pay for what you get.
    But VR doesn't combat softness it combats blur due to the camera shake. If you want ultra sharp pics with a 400MM you need a 2.8 lens. So you better go rob a bank. Any slow 400MM lens even in good light is going to be tough between 300-400MM. You need a perfect capture and some USM in PS.
    'My idea of a good picture is one that's in focus and of a famous person doing something unfamous.' Andy Warhol

  14. #29
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    Re: Sigma 400mm lenses

    Quote Originally Posted by NIKV69
    I have the Sigma 80-400mm OS for Nikon. POS.. I hate it. It locks up and its really soft past 300mm. I cant tell you how many times I have lost a shot because of my door stop. Save up and buy the real deal the 100-400mm Canon. When Nikon comes out with a 80-400mm AF-S VR version, I am buying it. I tried to be a penny pincher and now I have to rebuy it. I never learn. You pay for what you get.
    But VR doesn't combat softness it combats blur due to the camera shake. If you want ultra sharp pics with a 400MM you need a 2.8 lens. So you better go rob a bank. Any slow 400MM lens even in good light is going to be tough between 300-400MM. You need a perfect capture and some USM in PS.
    I have used a friends Nikkor 80-400mm VR lens and compared to the Sigma version, its no comparison. The Nikon blows it away. I know how VR works. The thing I hate worst about the Sigma is the lack of focus limit switch. The Nikon has it. This POS loses focus and then it has to rack from infinity and back to close before it acquires the target again. In aviation photography thats a big no-no. Its too late when the AN-225 just went by and your Crapma I mean Sigma just crapped out again. My Sigma has been to the Sigma, NY repair shop three times. If it was a car, it would be a lemon.

  15. #30
    Senior Member NIKV69's Avatar
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    Re: Sigma 400mm lenses

    I have used a friends Nikkor 80-400mm VR lens and compared to the Sigma version, its no comparison. The Nikon blows it away. I know how VR works. The thing I hate worst about the Sigma is the lack of focus limit switch. The Nikon has it. This POS loses focus and then it has to rack from infinity and back to close before it acquires the target again. In aviation photography thats a big no-no. Its too late when the AN-225 just went by and your Crapma I mean Sigma just crapped out again. My Sigma has been to the Sigma, NY repair shop three times. If it was a car, it would be a lemon.
    There is no lemon law either like with cars, I own that Nikkor lens and it does sound like even though it's not the greatest it is much better than the Sigma. Yea if your lens is constantly taking that long to acquire the subject to focus your going to miss every shot. Time to get rid of that thing.
    'My idea of a good picture is one that's in focus and of a famous person doing something unfamous.' Andy Warhol

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