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Old May 20, 2005, 5:20 PM   #1
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A couple of weeks ago I purchased the Sigma 24-70 f/2.8 EX. It was a difficult decision, but one with which, overall, I am fairly well pleased.

The bad:

-It is a large lens, what with an 82mm filter size and the additional lens hood it will fill a camera bag in a hurry (I have the Tamrac 5747 on the way - http://www.tamrac.com/5747.htm). If you have only been using the 18-55 kit lens it will look really large to you at first.. and maybe at second! When shooting film I use to use a Vivitar 70-210 as my carry-around lens, so I got use to the Sigma in no time.

-The mechanics of the focus is deceiving (at least it was not well explained by others here). It has the same switch for AF/MF as on the kit lens, but you also HAVE to slide the focus ring to the appropriate AF/MF position. The manual states that leaving the focusing ring in the manual position when using auto focus could damage the motor. It is nice to be able to grasp the focus ring in AF mode and not have it turn with the focusing mechanism.

-Focusing noise from the DC motor is louder than the kit lens, but it should not be a problem except in the quietest of settings or in the smallest of rooms.

The Good-

-The focusing hunting that others have mentioned has not been a problem if there is any sort of contrasting matter in the shot. Even focusing through a window in low light was decent although it did hunt a few times. In good lighting conditions it works fine. It could be that the Hoya Pro1 UV filter I got for it helps in that regard, being that it is ultra thin..

- The focus ring is smooth throughout the range. The zoom seems to reflec tthe inertia changes of the various elements in the lens, but I only notice it when I am sitting at the desk writing reviews and testing it.

-The included lens hood makes for nice protection, not only from stray light but from the surroundings (like belt buckles and such)


Observations-

Some have complained about soft images and such when using wide at f/2.8 I would guess at this point that a lot of that comes from the narrow DOF this lens affords, particularly when focusing close to the lens towards the 70mm end of the lens. I have had a number of shots turn out poorly because of that. I would guess that with such a combination of settings this would be a problem with any lens.

I have not placed the kit lens back on the camera since the 24-70 arrived. I used it to get the first really good shot of my black cat I have been able to capture. Printed on my old Epson Photo 1200 at 11x14 it is stunning, even on glossy photo paper (not film).

I just took the attached photo about an hour ago. I was out in the backyard with the dogs and these two lizards were going at it (two males fighting it appears to be since this is the first sunny day in a while they are feeling Spring!). Went back in for the camera and they were still at it when I returned.

This is a 100% crop, just as it came out of the camera- no enhancement at all. Here am the numbers on this pic:
Shooting Mode - Aperture-Priority AE
Shutter Speed - 1/800
Aperture - 9.0
Metering Mode - Evaluative Metering
Exposure Compensation - 0
Autoexposure Bracketing - -2/3
ISO Speed - 200
Lens - 24.0 - 70.0 mm
Focal Length - 70.0 mm

So do i like it? Let's just say that it would be a difficult decision between the Canon 70-200 f/4 and the Sigma 70-200 EX 2.8. Longer warranty, included tripod ring, case, and hood, and less money? Maybe not that difficult of a decision after all!
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Old May 21, 2005, 2:39 AM   #2
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Actually the upper right side looks soft. Sorry.
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Old May 21, 2005, 7:47 AM   #3
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Randy G. wrote:
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So do i like it? Let's just say that it would be a difficult decision between the Canon 70-200 f/4 and the Sigma 70-200 EX 2.8. Longer warranty, included tripod ring, case, and hood, and less money? Maybe not that difficult of a decision after all!
Actually, the Sigma 70-200 2.8 is almost $300 more than the Canon 70-200 f4L. I probably would have gotten the Sigma also if they were equal in price...
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Old May 21, 2005, 8:32 AM   #4
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ChrisDM wrote:
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Actually, the Sigma 70-200 2.8 is almost $300 more than the Canon 70-200 f4L. I probably would have gotten the Sigma also if they were equal in price...
I have not yet decided on that- the lens I took that image with was the Sigma 24-70 EX.

The Canon 70-200 f/4 L, for the price, is quite nice.. and tempting... But if you add the case, hood, and tripod collar to the Canon to make the outfits equal, the price diffrence is a lot less. The tripod collar alone is over $100. Now pay for an equal warranty and the price is about the same, but the Sigma is f/2.8. Not saying one is superior to the other, but placing them on equal ground is the only fair way to compare price.



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Old May 21, 2005, 8:40 AM   #5
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nooner wrote:
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Actually the upper right side looks soft. Sorry.
Don't be..

I was shooting through a fence which was right at the end of the lens hood, so that could very well be a blurred wire causing the soft effect. Or not... :roll:
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Old May 21, 2005, 9:29 AM   #6
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I don't get why people keep making the mistake of comparing a 70-200 f/4 L to an f/2.8 EX

It should really be compared to the EF 70-200 f/2.8 L (non IS), a step up from the f/4. Remember the aperture is a ratio hence twice the light -> twice the glass (=> weight) -> better 'bokeh' which is what you're paying extra for

... It's actually a bargain with the Sigma f/2.8 for what you get :idea:
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Old May 21, 2005, 10:17 AM   #7
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NHL wrote:
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I don't why people keep making the mistake of comparing a 70-200 f/4 L to an f/2.8 EX

It should really be compared to the EF 70-200 f/2.8 L (non IS), a step up from the f/4. Remember the aperture is a ratio hence twice the light -> twice the glass (=> weight) -> better 'bokeh' which is what you're paying extra for

... It's actually a bargain with the Sigma f/2.8 for what you get :idea:
It is apples and oranges.. The images I have seen from the Canon 70-200 f/4 L are very nice indeed. At around $550-600 it is a nice lens. Add the tripod ring- it's now around $700. Add a case- it's now $725. Add the hood- we are at $755. Add three years extra warranty- now you are looking at about $850-900. For $800 you can get the Sigma with all the above, at f/2.8. it's $800 at Target and $740 shipped at Focus with the US warranty.

Now, if you compare the Canon 2.8 vs. the Sigma 2,8, the Sigma is lighter, shorter, uses the same diameter filter, and costs about $550-600 less when you equal things out (add the tripod ring and the longer warranty) with the current rebate on the Canon. The Sigma ia about 1/2 the price of the comparable Canon.

NOW let's compare image quality/value/etc.

Apples to Apples, dust to dust.

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Old May 21, 2005, 11:08 AM   #8
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BTW Randy G., if you don't care for f/2.8, the Sigma 100-300 f/4 EX HSM is an incredible deal too...

This lens is exceptionally sharp even with a 1.4x teleconverter add-on! :idea:
http://www.naturephotographers.net/je1001-2.html

-> IMO the decision between the 70-200 f/2.8 vs the 100-300 f/4 EX is even harder!
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Old May 21, 2005, 11:14 AM   #9
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NHL,

have you used the 100-300 f4.0 as a substitute for a 70-200 2.8 for any candid portrait work.. if so, how did it compare for this type of photos... i know its sharp as a tack and is great for wildlife, etc.. just have not seen it used much for this type of purpose..

thanks, dustin
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Old May 21, 2005, 11:35 AM   #10
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Hards80 wrote:
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NHL,

have you used the 100-300 f4.0 as a substitute for a 70-200 2.8 for any candid portrait work..
It's my main reason for getting the 120-300 f/2.8 EX - It's 1/2 the price of a comparable 300 f/2.8 prime for outdoor portraits/fashion shoots: http://photo.net/photo/nikon/300-2.8.html

-> and why the 100-300 f/4 is such a deal: lighter, sharper, and not much more than the 70-200 f/2.8 EX in price!
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