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Old Jul 21, 2008, 4:14 PM   #1
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Hi All,

For those who might be interested in such a lens. . .

I actually received this lens Wed night, but have had little chance to really put it serious use due to weather issues. I have used the time to familiarize myself with lens and its features.

It's about par for the course of lenses of this FL and speed. About 5.2 lbs, a bit over 8" long without the hood, takes a 115mm filter in front.

It has a detachable/reversible, very rigid hood that fits attaches via a bayonet fitting, and has a captured thumbscrew/knob to keep it in place. There is a removeable tripod collar that is very quick and easy to mount/dismount from the lens. There are no fittings to attach a shoulder strap directly to the lens, so I will likely either fashion a harness, or possibly drill and tap the tripod ring accomodate some rifle strap attachment studs, as I don't like the idea of always forcing the lens mount of the camera to support the weight of this lens.

There is a rear filter drawer that takes std screw in 46mm filters instead of requiring dedicated mounted filters like some others I've seen. This drawer has a locking latch so it won't accidentally fall out, and there's a thin ring on the lens that rotates the filter within the drawer, so I'm assuming a polarizer can be adjusted without having to remove the drawer.

The focus ring only needs about 90 degrees to go from lock to lock, so precision in MF takes second place to potential AF speed. AF speed is pretty good, and seems to pretty consistently lock in easily in reasonable light with the K20. I only have a Tamron 1.4x AF TC, and this seems to work well with the Sigma lens, slowing down the focus speed only a little, and causing more hunting as the light gets dimmer. IQ seems to not be compromised very much with the Tamron TC. There is no focus limiter, which would have been nice, and to switch to MF, you need to pull back the focus ring to engage it to the focusing mechanism, and switch the AFS/AFC/MF switch on the body to disengage the screw drive. The AF to MF switch of the focus ring is very easily actualted and this can be done at any position (some lenses only allow it when the ring is in certain specific positions).

The lens seems to be a little softer than the Tamron SP 300/2.8 Adaptall 2 (MF) lens wide open, but as I've not finalized my focus point and image tweeking adjustments, I'll reserve judgement. My first impressions are that the lens is very contrasty and sharp.

My research seems to show that the FA*300 2.8, the Tokina 300/2.8 AT-X Pro, and both of the newer Sigma models (DG APO, and DG APO Macro) outperform this model, but the first two are pretty rare, and seem to command near new prices (at least $2500), even used, and the newer Sigmas haven't yet been released, and even with substantial discounts to "street", would be at least that much because they'd be purchased new. This model has been rated pretty close to the Tamron SP 300/2.8, and since this has been a good performer for me, there seems to be little reason that this lens won't be equally suitable for my use.

Here's the best of a few shots taken yesterday when a rare opportunity presented itself -- both the weather and the bird were relatively cooperative. :-)

This was taken hand held, with the Tamron 1.4x AF TC, sitting on the wet ground (it had just rained) in a very awkward position. The Tamron TC does transfer FL and aperture data, but does no conversions, so SR is optimized for 300mm, and the aperture values are not corrected for the 1 stop light loss.

This shot has been cropped, and only lightly sharpened after resizing.

Scott
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Old Jul 21, 2008, 6:58 PM   #2
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Congratulations on the new acquisition Scott. I am looking forward to seeing some more shots with this lens. Sounds like quite a load to fire hand held!

Tim
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Old Jul 21, 2008, 11:20 PM   #3
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The picture is very good (love the bird). That doesn't sound like a lens for everyone, though. But it looks like you'll have fun with it.
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Old Jul 23, 2008, 7:18 AM   #4
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NonEntity1 wrote:
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Congratulations on the new acquisition Scott.* I am looking forward to seeing some more shots with this lens.* Sounds like quite a load to fire hand held!
Hi Tim,

Thanks. It's looking like it'll take a while for me to get dialed into this lens, but I plan on using it almost exclusively for a while to see what it can do.

Scott
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Old Jul 23, 2008, 7:37 AM   #5
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mtngal wrote:
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The picture is very good (love the bird).* That doesn't sound like a lens for everyone, though.* But it looks like you'll have fun with it.
Hi Harriet,

I'm not usually one to deny myself, but it took some serious thought before I pulled the trigger on this one. I knew that I could handle the size and weight, so I eventually talked myself into it. It remains to be seen whether it will be worth the cost, but things are looking good so far.

Scott
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Old Jul 24, 2008, 8:27 PM   #6
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NonEntity1 wrote:
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Congratulations on the new acquisition Scott.* I am looking forward to seeing some more shots with this lens.* Sounds like quite a load to fire hand held!

Tim
Same from me as well. I envy you guys acquiring those legendary long/fast lens. Maybe a monopod just to handle the weight is needed.

Daniel
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Old Jul 24, 2008, 10:57 PM   #7
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Congratulations on the lens Scott. Most of what you described are the same with the Bigma. Bet that one is twice as sharp though. Have fun and post some more with it....I'm looking for a good 300mm f/2.8 myself right now! Just don't tell the wife I said so!! LOL



Dawg
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Old Jul 25, 2008, 3:40 AM   #8
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danielchtong wrote:
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Same from me as well. I envy you guys acquiring those legendary long/fast lens. Maybe a monopod just to handle the weight is needed.
Hi Daniel,

I've been using a tripod a lot lately when I can, trying to squeeze more detail out of my shots. Luckily, I've also found a number of good vantage points that are either easy walking distance or not far from car access so this isn't too much of a problem.

Scott
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Old Jul 25, 2008, 4:41 AM   #9
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bigdawg wrote:
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Congratulations on the lens Scott. Most of what you described are the same with the Bigma. Bet that one is twice as sharp though. Have fun and post some more with it....I'm looking for a good 300mm f/2.8 myself right now! Just don't tell the wife I said so!! LOL

*
Hi Dawg,

You secret is safe with me, but something tells me there's a lot less chance of her getting anything incriminating from me than her seeing your post! :-)

Scott
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Old Jul 25, 2008, 12:34 PM   #10
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cou;d have sworn i posted here before but.........
how does this stand up to the tamron and the F*300 ??

roy
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