Lens review

Sigma 300 mm f/2.8 EX DG HSM APO

Sigma 300 mm f/2.8 EX DG HSM APO
29 January 2010
Arkadiusz Olech

1. Introduction

Originally posted 2008-08-18 on Optyczne.pl

A 300 mm focal length and f/2.8 aperture model is one of the classic journalistic lenses, ideal for sport or nature photos. Although its front element is almost 11 centimeters in diameter, its dimensions still make it possible to put it into a backpack and take it on any trip you want. Its serious advantage is the possibility of using converters 1.4x and 2x, which allow you to reach f/4 or f/5.6 aperture – it guarantees a correct autofocus work without taping any pins.

Most of optics manufacturers have such an instrument on offer. Of course we find it also on the Canon’s or Nikon’s offer – with an optical image stabilization, costing about 4000 - 5000 $. Even more peculiar are the prices of similar Olympus and Sony products, for which we must pay as much as 5500 - 6500 $ and they come without stabilization. Of course we have stabilized sensors in these systems but it doesn’t change the fact that the stabilization is not included in the lens and the production costs are lower so the lens should have been cheaper than the stabilized instruments.

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Even more interesting is the Sigma company’s strategy, as it offers the 300 mm f/2.8 EX HSM APO model for the price of about 3000 $ so around two times cheaper than the competitors. To tell you the truth, for many people the amount of over 4000 $ or even over 6000 $ is totally abstract when we speak about buying just one lens. On the other hand an expense of less than or around 3000 $ seems to be still acceptable for a device of this kind.

Does the Sigma lack anything at first glance? It is not stabilized but the lack of stabilization didn’t prevent Sony and Olympus from charging around two times more. The Sigma 2.8/300 belongs to the highest series of this producer, marked with an EX symbol; the APO letters mean that high class low-dispersion elements were used, the HSM acronym indicates a quick and silent ultrasonic autofocus motor. Everything seems to be above suspicion. Courtesy of the K-Consult company we don’t have to contend with guessing any longer and we can share our impressions of this instrument’s test.

Information about our review method can be read in our article “How do we test lenses?"

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