Go Back   Steve's Digicams Forums > Digital SLR and Interchangeable Lens Cameras > Olympus dSLR

Reply
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread
Old Nov 5, 2010, 1:35 PM   #1
Senior Member
 
zig-123's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2006
Location: Cape Cod, Massachusetts
Posts: 5,145
Default Sigma 135-400mm vs 50-200mm ED lens

It's been raining for the last 2 days and I'm bored......... Well, actually, I was cleaning up a Sigma 135-400mm APO DG lens because I sold it on Craig's List and am going to meet with the buyer later this evening.

In the process, of cleaning and ensuring that I was packing everything that came with it. I decided to take a few photos with it just to make sure that it was functioning as it should. What ended up happening was that I decided to compare the images to those taken with the 50-200mm ED.

The following are 4 images 2 taken with the Sigma and the other two taken with the 50-200mm ED.( I took a bunch more but decided to post 4) My subjects were going to be the birds coming to the feeder. Now, this is a totally unscientific test. But it is a valid one nonetheless, because the conditions were the same for both lenses, the lenses were used on the same body and on the same day and pretty much the same settings.

To be fair, I did run all 4 thru Adobe's Camera Raw and again the slider settings were basically the same. I.E. I applied the same amount of clarity, sharpness, Noise reduction, etc.


Anyways, the conclusion I came to was that the Sigma, at a significantly lower cost than that of the 50-200mm acquitted itself quite well. The person that was buying this lens mentioned to me that she was actually looking for a Sigma 50-500mm. But, that is no longer being made and is pretty difficult to find on the used market these days.

The Sigma 135-400mm is also no longer available new, but is a bit easier to find used. I think it a pretty good alternative to the 50-200mm if your looking for a bit more focal length and are on a budget.
Attached Images
    
__________________
http://scortoncreekgallery.smugmug.com/

So you want to be a better photographer? Open your eyes and take a look at what is all around you.
zig-123 is offline   Reply With Quote
Sponsored Links
Old Nov 5, 2010, 9:50 PM   #2
Senior Member
 
folob's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2010
Location: Edmonton, Alberta
Posts: 855
Default

I have to say that both did a pretty good job
I'd like to be able to obtain such success with my focus ...
folob is offline   Reply With Quote
Old Nov 6, 2010, 6:28 AM   #3
Senior Member
 
tkurkowski's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2007
Location: Maryland, USA
Posts: 3,625
Default

Zig, at the resolution I see on my screen I can't tell the difference between the two lenses which, as you say, speaks well for the Sigma.

The Bigma has the reputation of being a little soft at the long end of its focal range. In your experience is that also true of the 135-400? I noticed that you shot these at 200mm - what's it like at 400?

Ted
tkurkowski is offline   Reply With Quote
Old Nov 6, 2010, 7:05 AM   #4
Senior Member
 
zig-123's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2006
Location: Cape Cod, Massachusetts
Posts: 5,145
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by tkurkowski View Post
Zig, at the resolution I see on my screen I can't tell the difference between the two lenses which, as you say, speaks well for the Sigma.

The Bigma has the reputation of being a little soft at the long end of its focal range. In your experience is that also true of the 135-400? I noticed that you shot these at 200mm - what's it like at 400?

Ted
Hi Ted,

Good question. I purposely tried to keep both lenses at the same focal length as it would be unfair to compare resolution at significantly different focal lengths.

The Sigma 135-400mm lens' IQ degrades as you approach the maximum focal length of 400mm and yes, it is softer. The version I had seemed to have a sweet spot between 150mm and 300mm. Going beyond 300mm, and you started to notice the IQ degrade with the introduction of CA.

My main purpose for this lens was to shoot birds and I was looking for very high feather detail. Probably an unrealistic expectation on my part. I think I paid $325 for it, drastically less than the cost of a 50-200mm SWD+EC20 which is the only Olympus lens combination offering similar focal length.

I had a Tokina 400mm SD 5.6 prime that I purchased for the same purpose and found the Sigma at 400mm, to be a better alternative.

Unless you're pixel peeping, it is a decent alternative.

I've often said that I think one lens missing from the Olympus lens line up is a 100-400mm. A 400mm prime would also be a good choice.


Zig
__________________
http://scortoncreekgallery.smugmug.com/

So you want to be a better photographer? Open your eyes and take a look at what is all around you.
zig-123 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old Nov 6, 2010, 10:04 AM   #5
Senior Member
 
tkurkowski's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2007
Location: Maryland, USA
Posts: 3,625
Default

So is the 50-200mm SWD+EC20 at 300mm better than the Sigma 135-400mm at 300?
tkurkowski is offline   Reply With Quote
Old Nov 6, 2010, 11:20 AM   #6
Senior Member
 
Wizzard0003's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2010
Location: Aberdeen, WA USA
Posts: 1,085
Default

All I can say is those are superb shots what ever lens was used...!

My hat's off to you, Zig...!
Wizzard0003 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old Nov 6, 2010, 11:26 AM   #7
Senior Member
 
zig-123's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2006
Location: Cape Cod, Massachusetts
Posts: 5,145
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by tkurkowski View Post
So is the 50-200mm SWD+EC20 at 300mm better than the Sigma 135-400mm at 300?
Hi Ted,
Based on my results, yes, the 50-200mm ED + EC20 combo is decidedly superior in IQ and detail with little to no evidence of CA.

As I would expect it to be.

Zig
__________________
http://scortoncreekgallery.smugmug.com/

So you want to be a better photographer? Open your eyes and take a look at what is all around you.
zig-123 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old Nov 6, 2010, 11:27 AM   #8
Senior Member
 
zig-123's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2006
Location: Cape Cod, Massachusetts
Posts: 5,145
Default

Hi Folob, Wizzard003,

Thanks for noticing and taking the time to comment.

Much appreciated.

Zig
__________________
http://scortoncreekgallery.smugmug.com/

So you want to be a better photographer? Open your eyes and take a look at what is all around you.
zig-123 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old Nov 6, 2010, 12:45 PM   #9
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Feb 2010
Location: Washington State
Posts: 930
Default

Nice series Zig, once agin you have done the Oly community a good service. I wish my 135-400 was as sharp as yours. I rarely use it anymore though your tests inspired me and I think it may focus better on my E-500 than on the E-1 in which case it could be of use still. You're right about getting soft at the long end. It's not really any sharper than my Tokina 400/5.6 at 400mm, just with no PF.

John
jelow1966 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old Nov 6, 2010, 3:47 PM   #10
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Feb 2007
Location: Wisconsin
Posts: 1,241
Default

Nice job with both lenses, but I still give the 50-200 the edge.
__________________
Greg

https://dogsportphoto.smugmug.com/
fldspringer is offline   Reply With Quote
 
Reply


Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off



All times are GMT -5. The time now is 11:38 PM.