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Old Nov 24, 2004, 5:54 AM   #1
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Hi guys,

*Sorry - You've probably had this one asked before but i've done a search and no previous thread seemed to answer my questions.

The Situation. At the moment I've got a budget of about €300 ($300 equivalent I guess) to spend on a telephoto zoom lens. I know that for this price-range I won't get the sharpest tool in the kit-bag or a very wide aperture to play with, since I don't have €800+ lying around I can accept these limitations.

The Problem. An uncle of mine is intending to sell off quite a few of his lenses and one of the few that would interest me is a "Canon ef 100-300 USM". I think he'll sell it to me for around €200-250. The longest reach I currently have in a lens only goes out to 135mm and I am beginning to miss the reach of my digital compact which had 380mm to play with.

The Choice. In my intendedbudget and focal lengthrange there are quite a few options available. Amongst the Canon lenses the 100-300mm seems to have the best optical quality, compared to the "75-300mm III USM" and the "75-300 IS USM" is a little too far to stretch my budget. Amongst the other compatible brands (Sigma, Tamron andTokina) only the Sigma have a competitive lens at the same focal lengths - the Standard "70-300 APO Super II".

The most challenging thing I would be throwing at this lens is outdoor-only action shots of Soccer, Rugby or Gaelic Games and perhaps a few shots of wildlife. I realise these could be tough with aperture ratings of f4-5.6.

The Question. In your opinion which of these two lenses provides the better optical quality? Do any of you have either of these lenses?Or do you know of any online sites where I might find reviews or sample pics? I'm trying not to be lazy - I've checked out Pbase, FredMiranda Reviews and PhotoZone but I can't seem to find much information on these lenses and nothing at all on them being used with a 10d.

I would greatly appreciate any help or advice!
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Old Nov 24, 2004, 8:16 AM   #2
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"Buy cheap, and you will end up buying twice" count on it !!
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Old Nov 24, 2004, 8:32 AM   #3
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redundo wrote:
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The Choice. In my intended budget and focal length range there are quite a few options available. Amongst the Canon lenses the 100-300mm seems to have the best optical quality, compared to the "75-300mm III USM" and the "75-300 IS USM" is a little too far to stretch my budget. Amongst the other compatible brands (Sigma, Tamron and Tokina) only the Sigma have a competitive lens at the same focal lengths - the Standard "70-300 APO Super II".
This is pretty much what you are looking at: http://www.photozone.de/2Equipment/easytxt.htm#Ztelel

FYI: http://www.photosig.com/go/photos/br...ories?typeId=7
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Old Nov 24, 2004, 3:20 PM   #4
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Thx NHL for the useful links. I've just bought a Digital Rebel and need all the help I can get...

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Old Nov 24, 2004, 5:55 PM   #5
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hey redundo!

i have the same situation (well, sort of lol)

and i found the Sigma 70-300mm APO a very good buy, it's only $210, and i've heard GREAT things about it

it isn't amazingly fast, but definetely good for the money!

i'm buying it in a couple weeks(months? lol)

Vito
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Old Nov 24, 2004, 6:10 PM   #6
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Typical - I had a great reply written out and the computer crashes! D'Oh!

I understand your arguement SetiPrime. A cheap lens may need to be replaced further down the road, but with my finances it would be years before I could afford a higher quality lens. So considering the time-frame spending€200-300 on a cheapo-fantastico lens that I can have straight away is definately worth considering.

Thanks for the links tooNHL. I had already checked out PhotoZones Lens Test Guide but I am slightly put-off their results because of the small number of tests on these lenses. The other link is very usefull though, I didn't know about that photo sharing site before and it's much easier to find examples of specific lenses and cameras there then on Pbase.

I'm leaning towards the Sigma 70-300 as well Vito! I just want to check out some examples and reviews with the lens first. The only other lens that I have been considering is the "Tokina 80-200 f2.8AT-X Pro". It's well beyond my budget at €545 but for a constant f2.8 aperture I might be willing to wait a while and sacrifice €200 and 100mm of focal length.
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Old Nov 24, 2004, 10:01 PM   #7
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redundo wrote:
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Thanks for the links too NHL. I had already checked out PhotoZones Lens Test Guide but I am slightly put-off their results because of the small number of tests on these lenses...
The trend is consistent though, and here's a summary: http://tihlde.org/~chrisnes/lenses.html

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Old Nov 25, 2004, 3:30 PM   #8
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Thereare two things to consider. Image quality is one but if you cant focus fast enough...you have nothing at all. For sports like soccer you can not prefocus at all because the movementsare too random. So i think the Canon 100-300 with USM is a better bet for thosekind of shots.

Ask your uncle to give a try to the Canon 100-300.
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Old Nov 26, 2004, 6:27 AM   #9
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Thats a very good point Morris. I'll ask him if I can borrow it for a while but ultimately I think it'll come down to how much he asks for it.

For all the searching i've done and reviews i've read, Ican't find much of a difference between these lenses. The Canon seems to have the better AF, while the Sigma seems to have a better build quality (no zoom creep)and more focal length. On the downside both seem to suffer the same problems; ie, soft pictures above 200mm and not particularly fast glass.

My uncle bought his second-hand so if he is willing to sell it for €200 or less - then I'll take it. If he asks for more -then I'll probably go for the Sigma.
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Old Nov 27, 2004, 2:32 PM   #10
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My uncle dropped by today and he had both the Canon 100-300 and the Sigma 70-300 with him! I never knew he had both lenses, I thought he just had the Canon. So he has left both of them with me and I get to spend a week or two trying them out. Not a bad situation at all.

I've taken a few shots with each, but nothing much as he was here fairly late in the day and the light was fading. But I do have a few first impressions.

I'm surprised by how big both of these lenses are, reading reviews on the internet doesn't quite give a good picture as to how something looks in reality. Once extended these lenses are monsters.

One thing which becomes immediately obvious is the build quality of the Sigma compared to the Canon. There is a little bit of wobble in the barrel of the Sigma when fully extended but otherwise the lens feels very solid and robust with absolutely no zoom creep. The Canon on the other hand feels downright shoddy, the plastic feels flimsy and cheap and if the camera is held pointing down the lens immediately flops into the fully extended position.

On the plus side for the Canon the USM AF-motor makes a huge difference. It is fast and doesn't cause any further extension of the lens. The Sigma on the other hand does extend as the focus setting is changed. When the Sigma is at 300mm in the macro setting the length of the lens must be at leastdouble it's normal length. Neither of these lenses could be considered inconspicuous, but the Sigma stands out the most of the two. There is one other thing that annoys me about the Sigma and this goes back to it's lack of a USM/HSM motor. Even in AF-mode the manual focus ring moves when the camera focuses on a subject. This isn't really a problem it just means more care needs to be taken where you grip your camera when you shoot.

On first impressions I find the Sigma the better of the two. The odd few niggly problems I have mentioned are less important then the solid well-built feel of this lens. That said I might still choose the Canon if it's picture quality is any better or if the non-USM/HSM motor of the Sigma makes it too slow.

I'm off to have a look at the shots I took, I don't expect much as it was fairly dark. I'll try and do a proper test over the next few days and post some 100% crops.
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