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Old Apr 30, 2006, 12:41 PM   #1
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Rented those two lenses to help make decision on future purchase. Other lens in 'my' option list is Sigma 80-400 but they didn't have it for renting.

I made a quite number of test shots and also included my existing cheap Canon 75-300/4-5.6 USM II lens.

As always it is difficult to pronounce an absolute winner. I did my test shots as casually as possible, so without much use of tripod which I hate to carry around. Do not have mono pod yet and that may be the solution for non IS lens.

If I wouldn't care about money difference (and for now I do) I would go for Canon lens. There only two key reasons for me: WEIGHT and IS. My 30D and 100-400 feels lighter than Bigma alone! I've measured lenses on my scale (which may not be as accurate). Sigma was almost 2 kilos! For couple of casual shots it is ok, but going out with this lens one day or so is good exercise ... but not for me.

Optically I would still say that Canon has better optics. It looks sharper to me (pr oven on number of shots) and has less purple fringing. But the optical difference between those two lenses is really not so big and it cannot be deciding factor. One has to take into count huge zoom range on Sigma comparing to Canon.

One thing I didn't like on Canon lens is push-pull zoom. There is tightness adjustment ring but I couldn't manage make it smooth enough for ease of operation and at the same time prevent the lens extending by itself when camera is down.

Picture quality depended greatly on how steady my hands were. Even with Canon IS one has to be careful. It is not a problem to make a sharp picture at 1/60 at 400mm, if lens is hold as if it is not IS (I guess most of us had to learn how to make steady shots).

And as a surprise: once (and only once) I've managed to create sharper hand held picture with cheap 75-300 than with 100-400. But those two lenses are not for comparison. Canon 100-400 is just almost perfect optically and what is most important, you will have good picture (technically) most of the time. Unless you forget to turn IS as I did half of the time (why you need this switch anyway - I would keep it on all the time - to save IS mechanisam and batery?)

Pictures taken with 100-400 even without IS can be very good at zoom fully extended.

And at the end, in my case, I would prefer to have something like 70-400. Again Canon 100-400 was primarily made for standard camera and having 1.6 factor on lower end is not always practical.

Also, when I was in the shop, they let me take couple of pictures with Sigma 10-20 which is my next lens to buy. From those couple of pictures I think lens is good. Sharp as any other Sigma, solid and HEAVY (again). Are they using LEAD glas?

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Old Apr 30, 2006, 12:54 PM   #2
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I've read a number of evaluation between Sigma and Canon zoom lenses in above 100mm range and many of them mention AF as an issue with Sigma. I had two days to use those two and for me that cannot be a deciding factor. Both lenses are not super fast AF in my opinion. My handy-small-cheap 75-300 USM beats both in spead. But the difference is in accuracy and build. To me, both Sigma and Canon when it comes to AF are OK and fast enough. I do not see much of 'wonder' in low light (as many complained). It depends what is 'low light' for you. For me it is whean I do not see well - it is low light. And if I do not see than I cannot take picture anyway.
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Old Apr 30, 2006, 12:55 PM   #3
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Canon 100-400 - 100% crop:
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Old Apr 30, 2006, 12:56 PM   #4
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Sigma 50-500 - 100% crop:
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Old Apr 30, 2006, 1:03 PM   #5
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Old Apr 30, 2006, 1:03 PM   #6
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Canon 100-400:
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Old Apr 30, 2006, 1:06 PM   #7
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Canon 75-300/4-5.6 USM II; this picture could make you wonder ... it looks sharper than from 100-400 with IS but you can see more blue fringing. Both pictures taken hand held. This tells you that there is a potential even with a cheap lens. Unless you are taking magazine or technical pictures, picture subjective quality will depend on you not on lens (I didn't make to many great pictures but I think I know to tell the good one):
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Old Apr 30, 2006, 1:12 PM   #8
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Old Apr 30, 2006, 1:13 PM   #9
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Canon - 100% (hand held IS - ON):
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Old Apr 30, 2006, 1:14 PM   #10
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Sigma 100% (hand held @ 500mm - cloudy - terrible day):
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