Monday, October 30, 2006

Sigma 120-300 2.8 Review Part One

I recently sold my Canon 300 f4 IS L lens to help fund a 120-300 2.8 lens from Sigma. Moving into the indoor sports season, I needed something fast but longer than my 70-200 2.8. So, in came the 120-300.

I have been wanting this lens for a while, or a Canon 300 2.8 or 400 2.8. The lens I picked up was used, but in brand new condition. Picking the lens up for the first time you are amazed on just how heavy it is. I have had a few Sigma lenses in the past, but this one is the biggest and seems to be built like a tank. Looking at the lens cover/cap, the first thing I can honestly say that Sigma missed the boat on is the design. The cap can only be used in the storage position, or at least used correctly. There is a little notch cut out to lock around the hood knob, but when the hood is in shooting position, forget it. I have heard a lot of complaints about the hood. It is a bayonet style hood. You thread it into a notch set up on the lens, turn till it locks and tighten the knob. I like the stile and think it works well.

So, even before I attached my camera I twisted my monopod onto the beast. Pretty good balance, but if you get an older non DG lens be sure you get the larger lens collar. Mine is on order. This is the same lens collar on the 70-200 2.8 and it is just too small and compact for this lens.

I attached my 1D to the lens and it is a nice tight fit. Headed outside into the snow and started testing out the AF. Seems to focus quickly and accurately, but it will take some testing to figure out how good the AF is, but so far I am impressed. Two days after getting it, I finally had a chance to test it out. High School JV Volleyball. Bad lighting, so I was forced to shoot at ISO 3200 at 1/400th and 2.8. The lens performed great. I missed some shots, but that I attribute to user error. I am sure as I use the lens more, it will perform better and better for me. I have hockey, wrestling, and basketball coming up, so it will get lots of workout.

The view through the lens is great. Bright, contrastiy, and clear.

Honestly, with the exception of the lens hood/cap issue, the lens itself is great.

Now the case it comes with, that is another story. The Sigma Lens case plane sucks. I am looking for a new case for it, and I am leaning towards the Think Tank Photo Glass Taxi, but for now, it fits in my Lowepro MiniTreker Classic along with the 70-200 2.8 second body and some more short lenses. I have not tried it yet in my Stealth Reporter AW650 or my Kata stuff (which is for sale), and of course the Domke is just too small for it. The Sigma case is awkward and falls off my shoulder a lot when just walking along. Not nice if you have the lens in it.

I will update the review of this lens and add pictures as I go....

Take Care

1 comment:

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