Canon EF 100-400 vs Sigma 150-500?

Discussion in 'Canon EOS' started by raghuveermakala, Jun 23, 2011.

  1. Hello,
    I'm considering getting a zoom lens for my canon dslr and am debating between the Canon EF 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6 L IS USM and the Sigma 150-500 mm F 5-6.3 APO DG OS HSM.
    My primary interest is to make images of wildlife and birds. Also, would either of this work with a Tamron AF 1.4x Teleconverter? Aside from the cost $1650 vs $970 and reviews, what are the other practical considerations? I'm sure at least a few canon shooters had to consider these choices at one point of time and I'd like to get some feedback. Thanks!
    Best Regards,
  2. I have the Sigma on a 7D. It is big and bulky as you would expect and has to fool the Canon AF into working at f6.3, however I don't have much trouble with the focusing, but I think it would struggle with a converter if the autofocus works at all. The lens can give good results used correctly and is certainly worth the money, however that said if I could have afforded the 100-400 at the time, I would have bought it instead for build and image quality. To be honest with you, for my needs I am likely to sell the Sigma soon and get the 70-300L. With a tripod and stopped down, the Sigma is capable of good results, but I suspect you'll always have doubts over whether you should have got the Canon.
    One further note on the practical side, I have found it impossible to use video with long lenses. Not that I need to, but try holding the Sigma at arms length and track a subject using live view and you will see what I mean.
  3. If you're in the US, Canon sells the 100-400 as a refurbished lens (with all accessories and 90 day warranty) for a little over $1,300. You may have to wait till it comes back in stock, as I did, but it was worth it.
  4. Also, would either of this work with a Tamron AF 1.4x Teleconverter?​
    Depends on the camera, Raghuveer.
  5. F5.6 is the maximum AF capability for all EOS bodies except the 1 series (which goes to F8). Assuming that you do not have a 1 series body you will find that the AF will not work (there are tricks to fool it) and even if you could fool it it will be too slow to be much use. You may want to look at the resale values of these two lenses as I suspect the Canon holds it's value much better.
  6. I've used my 100-400 with the Canon 1.4x on my 7D and you can autofocus in live view and that's at f8. However, I've recently discovered, there may be Error 30 problems associated with using live view.
  7. Forget about the Sigma. Sharpness inferior from about 350mm. No focal length locking device. Constantly slips if you don't hold it in place. Unless, of course, it's being held fairly level.
  8. Have you considered the Sigma 120-400mm? Just a thought.
    Darwin Wiggett has a thorough review on his web site.
  9. Other lenses to consider:

    EF 300mm f/4L IS with EF 1.4x TC
    EF 400 f/5.6L
    You'll hardly ever use these zooms at their wider end, so why spend money and give up speed for a zoom feature that'll be seldom used?
  10. For bird photography, I'd easily choose the Canon EF 400 f/5.6L over all the other choices listed. It's sharper than the Sigma 150-500 and the Canon 100-400. It's significantly lighter than the Sigma as well, so it will be easier to hand hold and catch flying birds. Sure, it doesn't have IS, but I don't think its a huge drawback.
    The 300 f/4 with 1.4 TC is another great option, but I'm not sure it's as good for birds. The TC tends to slow things down. But since you're not limiting yourself to birds, that might be a better option for your needs.
  11. Thank you all for the great feedback!
    I'm leaning towards the Canon 100-400mm. I just feel that the focal length range may be handy than the 400 f 5.6L. I read about the "push/pull' zoom mechanism on this lens and it's been dubbed a "dust pump" that requires expensive cleaning. Any thoughts or experiences that one can share on this?
    Thanks again for your time and patience!
  12. The push-pull action is to make zooming faster, it works. As for dust, I've had mine for 5 years and use it frequently, sometimes in dusty areas. I've had no problems with dust.
  13. The dust pump talk is bull.... end of story.
    My 100-400 has become my small light travel tele as I now reach for the 300 2.8 with or without TC's but for a couple of years I used it a lot. It's a great lens. It is frequently misunderstood. I think many shooters get this lens for their first tele and run into trouble due to the challenges of shooting at 400mm. It is not as easy as one might think and there is a learning curve. Great lens...
  14. Thanks Neill and Richard, Appreciate your feedback.
    Any suggestions on a 77mm filter for this lens?
  15. I love my 100-400. I consider the zoom way too convenient to give it up for a little more IQ with a fixed 400. Never had a problem with dust and I've dropped this lens at an airshow onto the tarmac with (thankfully) no damage. You'll be very happy with this lens.
  16. Assuming that you do not have a 1 series body you will find that the AF will not work​
    Not correct. I had a 50D paired w/ a Tamron 18-270mm/f3.5-6.3 which when zoomed past 200mm was f6.3. AF worked just fine. I understand that this is what the literature says, but actual lighting conditions are FAR more important than f5.6 vs. f6.3. In reasonable lighting (even twilight in my experience) f6.3 focuses reliably on most Canon bodies (including my old XTi). To make the blanket conclusion that >f5.6 wont AF is factually incorrect.
  17. All Canon cameras (other than 1D models) will not autofocus beyond f/5.6 unless they're fooled in some way. For instance, take a canon 1.4x extender and put it on an f/5.6 lens. It will not auto-focus, since the camera knows it's now shooting at f/8. Now I had an old Tamron 1.4x extender that I used to use. For some reason, on my old Elan 7 it would still display f/5.6 when used with a f/5.6 lens. Because of that miscommunication, the auto-focus still worked, though not as well. Since those f/6.3 lenses auto-focus, they must be tricking the camera somehow. Perhaps its no big deal, but if I'm going to spend many hundreds of dollars on a lens, I want it to shoot properly at f/5.6 or faster.

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