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Old Sep 30, 2009, 12:24 PM   #1
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Default Sigma 100-300 f/4 - Renting to check it out

Okay. The Canon 100-400 experiment went fairly well. After I shipped it back I started missing the extra reach. Now I have requested the Sigma 100-300 f/4 from lensrental.com and it should arrive sometime tomorrow.

Bad news is that weather guys are calling for 60% of showers on Saturday. If the weather allows I will try to get some soccer, football, and band competitions shots. Rain, Rain, Go Away!
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Old Sep 30, 2009, 6:07 PM   #2
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I'll be interested to hear your impression of how the two lenses compare.
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Old Sep 30, 2009, 10:51 PM   #3
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yea. i'd be interested as well.
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Old Oct 1, 2009, 4:30 PM   #4
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You can buy a Sigma 100-300 f/4 EX, why not rent the 120-300 f/2.8 EX instead to try?
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Old Oct 1, 2009, 11:24 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by NHL View Post
You can buy a Sigma 100-300 f/4 EX, why not rent the 120-300 f/2.8 EX instead to try?
The possible purchase of the 2.8 is not really an option for me at this time. Instead I am looking at something that MIGHT be feasible in a longer lens. My initial short list was the Canon 100-440, and Sigma 100-300 f/4 and maybe the Bigma. So now I am going to "test" the second one.

If I did rent the 2.8 and got hooked, I could end up fighting myself over the credit card.

The lens came today. I got it for three weeks. Hopefully, I'll be shooting on Saturday.
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Old Oct 13, 2009, 9:20 AM   #6
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griffina-

How did the shots with the rented Sigma 100-300mm lens go? I know you faced a chance of rain, did it stay away at least for the band competition? Please fill us in on the details.

Have a great day.

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Old Oct 19, 2009, 11:25 AM   #7
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Default My experience with Sigma 100-300mm f/4

Sorry it took so long to reply back and I don't have photos to post yet but here is the story.

Lens arrived right on schedule in good condition from LensRentals.com, they work very well for quick delivery here in NC.

I have struggled to use this lens. The first time out the sun was bright and I tended to get many of the shots over exposed (not the lens' fault).

I started out shooting some youth football (only second attempt) and my trouble started with the zoom ring. It turns the opposite direction from my Canon 70-200 and I kept turning it the wrong way as I was trying to follow the players as they ran across and down the field. Also this ring is quite a bit tighter and harder to turn than my regular lens. Mind you it is not that it is HARD to turn using your hand and griping with thumb and finger and it is very smooth. But I am used to using just one finger to turn the zoom and that is hard with this lens.

It was frustrating trying to get the shots and learning to use the lens at the same time. I shot some morning football games and went to my son's soccer game to try it there.

At the soccer field (the largest field at our local complex) a mom (and customer) from the other team wanted me to get her son in action so I picked an end of the field with the sun to my back and the other team was coming towards us. The ball stayed on the other end 80% of the first half so I only got a couple shot of her son and people where in the way in some of those (more frustration). So second half begins and I figure our team will be here most of the time which will be great. Well for some reason we get worse and the other team improves and I'm on the wrong end again.

The pictures I did manage seemed to be more out of focus than normal. It just seemed like a lot lower percentage of the pics were in focus and sharp compared to the 70-200 with 1.4 or the 100-400 Canon I tried two weeks earlier. I did go back to the football field but was feeling less than confident in the Sigma so I took the 70-200 w/1.4x and got some good shoots but missed the reach of the 100-400.


This past weekend, I gave it another shot at the soccer field. I used it for a game or two but still felt that the pictures were softer (have not processed any yet) and switched back to the 70-200.

After three soccer games it was off to the band competition. I played around with the micro adjustment in the 50D but never felt I found the exact best spot. I switched back and forth with the two lenses at the band comp and even used the 1.4x with the Sigma some since I was sitting in the stands. I felt a little better about using the Sigma during the band comp but have not compared the photos closely yet.

So far, I must say that the Canon 100-400 was much easier to use (or had easier learning curve) and worked well in comparison to the Sigma 100-300. The Sigma may be better in the long run, I don't know, but it was much easier for me to adapt to the 100-400.

Okay, I will try to get some example photos up later and maybe give a better indication of the in focus shots percentage of the Sigma versus the others.

Thanks,
Andy
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Old Oct 20, 2009, 12:43 AM   #8
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Default Some examples

Okay. I wanted to post a few images to show what I was experiencing.

Here are two series of four images each. Pictures were taken with 50D using a monopod. All were shot in jpg format and have NO post processing done. I know this is not a scientific experiment and that the Sigma group is over exposed and a little further away. Also I realize none of these are really very good but I really wanted to post these sets to illustrate an example of what I was seeing with the focusing.

The first set was with the Sigma 100-300 f/4
Aperture F/4
Exposure 1/1000 sec
ISO 160
Focal length 250


The second set was with the Canon 70-200mm f/2.8 with 1.4x converter
Aperture F/4
Exposure 1/1250 sec
ISO 100
Focal length 217

1-4 with the Sigma 100-300
1)



2)


3)


4)



5-8 with the Canon 70-200 w/1.4x
5)


6)


7)


8)


Perhaps the biggest difference is that I am more familar and comfortable with my own Canon lens and need more time to learn the Sigma.

Hopefully, I could improve with this lens but it goes back to Lensrentals.com in a few days. Based on my two short experiments, if I had to buy one of the two lenses today I would probably choose the Canon 100-400 over the Sigma 100-300 f/4.


Thanks,
Andy
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Old Oct 20, 2009, 9:14 PM   #9
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IMO you're confusing Depht Of Field (DOF) and focusing....

The two sets of images are not totally comparable as their magnification are different: in the first set the subjects were larger and the DOF were shallower than the 2nd set which has more background into focus which make the images appear to be sharper. As you'll find later shallow DOF is something quite desirable when you want to isolate the subject from the background as you'll gain more experience with 'faster' lenses

-> As to the rotation of the zoom, the Sigma is designed to fit multiple bodies so it has to pick one... If you had come from a Nikon family instead then its zoom rotation is in the same direction as the Nikkor I shoot with multiple bodies so it's something I just get use to

Last edited by NHL; Oct 20, 2009 at 9:26 PM.
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Old Oct 21, 2009, 1:07 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by NHL View Post
IMO you're confusing Depht Of Field (DOF) and focusing....

The two sets of images are not totally comparable as their magnification are different: in the first set the subjects were larger and the DOF were shallower than the 2nd set which has more background into focus which make the images appear to be sharper.

Thanks NHL. Yes I agree about the benefits of shallow DOF and also that the two sets are not totally comparable, I was just trying to illustrate my experience and found two similar series shot within a short period of time. Yeah I wished I had gotten zoomed in more on the second player to match the distance and filled the frame more similar to the first. Then the DOF should have been closer since both were at f/4.

Also, I understand about the zoom ring being one way or another. I just added that and the tightness of the ring to help explain my experience. I am sure if I used the lens longer I would be more familiar with the controls and hopefully get better images. But it ships back in two days and with it getting dark so early now I probably will not get to use it again.

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