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Lens review

Sigma 300 mm f/2.8 EX DG HSM APO

29 January 2010
Szymon Starczewski

11. Summary

Pros:
  • very solid barrel and build quality,
  • excellent image quality in the frame center at all apertures,
  • good image quality at the frame edge,
  • chromatic aberration controlled quite well,
  • practically zero distortion,
  • low coma,
  • moderate vignetting,
  • good work against bright light,
  • silent and quick autofocus,
  • rich accessory kit (lens hood, tripod adapter, hard case, polarizing filter),
  • three-year-long guarantee with the possibility to extend it by next two years.

Cons:

  • autofocus could have been more accurate,
  • significant decrease of the image quality after attaching the converter.

The Sigma 2.8/300 is an extremely well made lens. Although it is the cheapest in its class, it has very good optical properties. Its faults aren’t very serious. The autofocus accuracy is not very good but by f/2.8 and at such a focal length the depth of field is so small that every slip-up of the focusing mechanism becomes clearly seen. The converter does deteriorate the image quality a lot but it’s a fault found in most of lenses. Apart of that, when se stop down by one stop, even with the converter attached, we get good quality, useful photos.

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The only serious drawback of this lens is the lack of any image stabilization. The instrument is really big and heavy so you must use 1/500 second and shorter times of exposure to make sure your photos are not moved when you hold the camera in your hands and shoot. It entails the necessity of working in truly good, well-lit conditions or using high ISO values. Of course if you can use a tripod or a monopod the lack of stabilization stops being such a problem. In spite of everything I hope that on this year’s Photokina fair we’ll see the successor of this lens equipped with the OS mechanism. If the optics was improved a bit as well, without raising significantly the price, we would have practically a perfect lens. Of course it doesn’t mean you can’t take photos with the model currently available. The combination of f/2.8 fastness and such focal lengths provides really great comfort – personally, I enjoyed shooting pictures with this lens very much.


Sample shots:

Sigma 300 mm f/2.8 EX DG HSM APO - Summary Sigma 300 mm f/2.8 EX DG HSM APO - Summary Sigma 300 mm f/2.8 EX DG HSM APO - Summary
Camera: Canon 20D
Parameters: 300 mm, f/3.5, exp. 1/320 sec., ISO 800
File: JPG, 3504x2336 pix, 3.4 MB
Camera: Canon 20D
Parameters: 300 mm, f/2.8, exp. 1/4000 sec., ISO 200
File: JPG, 3504x2336 pix, 2.8 MB
Camera: Canon 20D
Parameters: 300 mm, f/5.6, exp. 1/1000 sec., ISO 200
File: JPG, 3504x2336 pix, 3.1 MB
Sigma 300 mm f/2.8 EX DG HSM APO - Summary Sigma 300 mm f/2.8 EX DG HSM APO - Summary Sigma 300 mm f/2.8 EX DG HSM APO - Summary
Camera: Canon 20D
Parameters: 300 mm, f/4.0, exp. 1/1600 sec., ISO 200
File: JPG, 3504x2336 pix, 2.4 MB
Camera: Canon 20D
Parameters: 300 mm, f/2.8, exp. 1/1600 sec., ISO 200
File: JPG, 3504x2336 pix, 2.5 MB
Camera: Canon 20D
Parameters: 300 mm, f/7.1, exp. 1/640 sec., ISO 400
File: JPG, 3504x2336 pix, 2.9 MB
Sigma 300 mm f/2.8 EX DG HSM APO - Summary Sigma 300 mm f/2.8 EX DG HSM APO - Summary Sigma 300 mm f/2.8 EX DG HSM APO - Summary
Camera: Canon 20D
Parameters: 300 mm, f/4.0, exp. 1/2000 sec., ISO 400
File: JPG, 3504x2336 pix, 2.6 MB
Camera: Canon 20D
Parameters: 300 mm, f/2.8, exp. 1/640 sec., ISO 400
File: JPG, 3504x2336 pix, 2.7 MB
Camera: Canon 20D + TC 1.4x
Parameters: 420 mm, f/5.6, exp. 1/2500 sec., ISO 400
File: JPG, 3504x2336 pix, 2.7 MB
Sigma 300 mm f/2.8 EX DG HSM APO - Summary Sigma 300 mm f/2.8 EX DG HSM APO - Summary Sigma 300 mm f/2.8 EX DG HSM APO - Summary
Camera: Canon 20D + TC 1.4x
Parameters: 420 mm, f/4.5, exp. 65 sec., ISO 800
File: JPG, 3504x2336 pix, 2.8 MB
Camera: Canon 20D + TC 1.4x
Parameters: 420 mm, f/6.3, exp. 1/1000 sec., ISO 400
File: JPG, 3504x2336 pix, 2.7 MB
Camera: Canon 20D + TC 1.4x
Parameters: 420 mm, f/6.3, exp. 1/800 sec., ISO 400
File: JPG, 3504x2336 pix, 2.7 MB



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