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Old Oct 30, 2010, 8:27 PM   #11
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I decided to take them up on their offer. The reviews are impressive, and show significant IQ improvement over the 135-400 at 400mm, and focuses faster with HSM. I considered the 150-500, but the 120-400 is 2 inches shorted, several ounces lighter, focuses closer with better close up ratio, has somewhat higher IQ, and takes smaller filters which I already have. I shipped the old lens off this morning.

Please let us know how you find the 120-400 Sigma, particularly in the 300-400mm range.

Thanks, Les
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Old Nov 24, 2010, 6:23 PM   #12
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Default First shots with the 120-400 - Preliminary tests

Well, the 120-400 DG OS HSM finally arrived - Sigma's customer service answers email almost instantaneously, but it took some nudging to get the lens shipped, and then the promised tracking never arrived, so I wasn't home for the Friday delivery and had to wait until Monday to get it. It has no mechanical focusing linkage, so can't be used in AF with the K100D or with K10D without the updated firmware that enables it - it works OOB with the K20 and K7. The only inconvenience there is that the K7 has no manual switch to disable the internal anti-shake - which you must do to use the OS (optical stabilization-) without going into the menus to do it. So the K20 may be the most convenient body to use with this lens. The OS works well - there are two switch positions - position 1 is for general use, and position two for horizontal motion only (haven't figured out the advantage for this one yet), but you can see the shaking stop in the OVF with position 1, but not with 2 or with the internal body OS - pretty impressive. The instruction sheet says it will take a full second to achieve stabilization in position 1, but in practice that does not seen a problem, however final judgement will have to await field tests. The HSM (hypersonic motor) is fast and silent, and the lens is well damped so that there is no creep as there was with the old 135-400. The IQ of the old lens was pretty good and there is not much difference in this rough test, but the operation is much better - bigger and heavier, however, so a monopod is called for as continuous hand holding will be tiring, but the positioning of the rings is not conducive to the cradle I like to use. Below are some reprsentative comparison shots, same conditions as before, all OOC, no pp, only downsizing:

1 Sigma 135-400 (same shot as above, but reduced)

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2 Sigma 120-400, K20 internal OS

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3 same, lens OS, position 1

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4 same, lens OS position 2

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They are pretty close in static testing, with the position 2 being the poorest. Internal OS and position 1 are nearly alike, but these are flash and the shutter speed may also be a factor, so I would expect position one to be better in actual field use because it looked so steady in the OVF. Position 2 may be intended for panning motion (BIFs or race cars) or movies, but not for hand held stills.
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Last edited by penolta; Nov 26, 2010 at 6:36 PM.
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Old Nov 24, 2010, 11:08 PM   #13
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Well, the 120-400 DG OS HSM finally arrived - Sigma's customer service answers email almost instantaneously, but it took some nudging to get the lens shipped, and then the promised tracking never arrived, so I wasn't home for the Friday delivery and had to wait until Monday to get it. It has no mechanical focusing linkage, so can't be used in AF with the K100D or with K10D without the updated firmware that enables it - it works OOB with the K20 and K7. The only inconvenience there is that the K& has no manual switch to disable the internal anti-shake - which you must do to use the OS (optical stabilization-) without going into the menus to do it. So the K20 may be the most convenient body to use with this lens. The OS works well - there are two switch positions - position 1 is for general use, and position two for horizontal motion only (haven't figured out the advantage for this one yet), but you can see the shaking stop in the EVF with position 1, but not with 2 or with the internal body OS - pretty impressive. The instruction sheet says it will take a full second to achieve stabilization in position 1, but in practice that does not seen a problem, however final judgement will have to await field tests. The HSM (hypersonic motor) is fast and silent, and the lens is well damped so that there is no creep as there was with the old 135-400. The IQ of the old lens was pretty good and there is not much difference in this rough test, but the operation is much better - bigger and heavier, however, so a monopod is called for as continuous hand holding will be tiring,In my short stint with the 135-400 I found it heavy and also thought a monopod would be in order. But monopods and large lenses are not uncommon.... a friend who has a Canon 7D and a 400 L lens...is starting to use a monopod on a regular basis with this setup...I think hand holding a 400 lens and up, is not easy. I'm noting that as I age, even my relatively light KM and 55-300mm is getting more difficult to HH ...I'm upping the ISO, to get fast shutter speed and maintain F 8...if I can but the positioning of the rings is not conducive to the cradle I like to use. Below are some reprsentative comparison shots, same conditions as before, all OOC, no pp, only downsizing:

1 Sigma 135-400 (same shot as above, but reduced)

Attachment 166720

2 Sigma 120-400, K20 internal OS

Attachment 166721

3 same, lens OS, position 1

Attachment 166722

4 same, lens OS position 2

Attachment 166723

They are pretty close in static testing, with the position 2 being the poorest. Internal OS and position 1 are nearly alike, but these are flash and the shutter speed may also be a factor, so I would expect position one to be better in actual field use because it looked so steady in the EVF. Position 2 may be intended for panning motion (BIFs or race cars) or movies, but not for hand held stills.
Shots seem clear and sharp, especially considering they are taken indoors...I'm assuming....book shelf...thank you for posting pictures and your initial experience with this lens....it has an appeal for me.
I was out in a small, urban forest today...taking pictures of deer...there were a number of times I wished I had the extra reach of a 400...over my 300.
Les
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Old Nov 28, 2010, 11:17 PM   #14
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a bit soft at f5.6, 1/90 sec, ISO 800, OS1 (hand held in full shade) - ooc, unprocessed except for reduction:

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Cropped and processed (sharpened and despeckled in PSE):

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Views: 5287
Size:  99.8 KB

Compare with these taken with the Sigma 135-400:

similar lighting:
http://forums.steves-digicams.com/pe...ing-guard.html

different lighting
http://forums.steves-digicams.com/pe...tale-tail.html
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Last edited by penolta; Nov 29, 2010 at 12:16 AM.
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Old Dec 3, 2010, 2:58 PM   #15
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a bit soft at f5.6, 1/90 sec, ISO 800, OS1 (hand held in full shade) - ooc, unprocessed except for reduction:

Attachment 166875

Cropped and processed (sharpened and despeckled in PSE):

Attachment 166876

Compare with these taken with the Sigma 135-400:

similar lighting:
http://forums.steves-digicams.com/pe...ing-guard.html

different lighting
http://forums.steves-digicams.com/pe...tale-tail.html
Thanks for the comparisons.

Les
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Old Jul 16, 2011, 7:17 PM   #16
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I am comtemplating the 120-400 for my Nikon D5100..They say it has OS and AF for the Nikon...Do you think its worth the money..Looking for a lens where I can also get sum good animal shots(The Zoo)...Any more pics outside at 400mm?? Thanks
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Old Jul 16, 2011, 9:06 PM   #17
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I am comtemplating the 120-400 for my Nikon D5100..They say it has OS and AF for the Nikon...Do you think its worth the money..Looking for a lens where I can also get sum good animal shots(The Zoo)...Any more pics outside at 400mm?? Thanks
It is a very good lens, but rather heavy and bulky to carry around all day at a zoo. It can be hand held for moving subjects, but is better with support for still subjects at longer focal lengths -- for walking around, carrying a heavy tripod would be difficult - I suggest a monopod with a cradle to rest the lens on when shooting stationary subjects, and some way to carry the lens (like a sling bag) so you don't have to hold it in your hands all day.

Here are a couple of additional threads:

http://forums.steves-digicams.com/pe...00-os-hsm.html

http://forums.steves-digicams.com/pe...ore-birds.html
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Last edited by penolta; Jul 16, 2011 at 9:09 PM.
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